Astrophotography Setups Under $2000

Astrophotography Setups Under $2000

Affordable Astrophotography: A Guide to Astrophotography Setups Under $2000

Introduction to Budget Astrophotography

Astrophotography, the art of capturing celestial objects and events in the night sky, can seem like an expensive and complex hobby. However, with the right equipment and techniques, it's possible to produce stunning images of the cosmos without spending a fortune. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the best budget-friendly astrophotography setups under $2000, offering expert tips and recommendations to help you get started in this captivating hobby.

Essential Astrophotography Equipment

To create beautiful astrophotography images, you'll need a few essential pieces of equipment:

  1. Camera: A DSLR or mirrorless camera with good low-light performance and manual settings is crucial for astrophotography.
  2. Telescope or Lens: A telescope or lens with a suitable focal length and aperture is needed to capture clear, detailed images of celestial objects.
  3. Mount: An equatorial mount, which compensates for Earth's rotation, is necessary for long-exposure astrophotography.
  4. Accessories: Items such as a T-ring adapter, intervalometer, and filters can enhance your astrophotography experience.

DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras for Astrophotography

When selecting a camera for astrophotography, consider these budget-friendly options:

  • Canon EOS Rebel T7i: This entry-level DSLR offers a 24.2-megapixel sensor, good low-light performance, and a wide range of compatible lenses, making it an excellent choice for beginners.
  • Nikon D5600: With a 24.2-megapixel sensor and an extensive selection of compatible lenses, the Nikon D5600 is another excellent option for those starting in astrophotography.
  • Sony Alpha a6000: This mirrorless camera features a 24.3-megapixel APS-C sensor, compact size, and compatibility with a variety of E-mount lenses, making it a versatile option for astrophotographers on a budget.

Budget-Friendly Telescope Options

To capture detailed images of celestial objects, consider these affordable telescope options:

  • Orion AstroView 6 Equatorial Reflector Telescope: This 6-inch reflector telescope offers excellent light-gathering capabilities and sharp views of deep-sky objects, making it a great choice for astrophotography enthusiasts on a budget.
  • Celestron NexStar 130 SLT: This 5.1-inch reflector telescope features computerized GoTo capabilities and a sturdy mount, allowing beginners to easily locate and photograph celestial objects.
  • Sky-Watcher Evostar 72ED: This 72mm refractor telescope delivers excellent contrast and sharpness for astrophotography, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious photographers.

Affordable Astrophotography Mounts

A stable and accurate mount is essential for long-exposure astrophotography. Consider these budget-friendly options:

  • Sky-Watcher EQM-35: This versatile and portable equatorial mount offers GoTo capabilities and a payload capacity of up to 22 pounds, making it suitable for small to medium-sized telescopes and astrophotography setups.
  • Celestron Advanced VX: With a payload capacity of up to 30 pounds and computerized GoTo functionality, the Celestron Advanced VX mount provides an excellent balance of performance and affordability for astrophotographers.
  • Orion Sirius EQ-G: This popular equatorial mount offers a payload capacity of 30 pounds, precise tracking capabilities, and compatibility with a variety of telescopes, making it an excellent option for budget astrophotography setups.

Essential Astrophotography Accessories

To enhance your astrophotography experience, consider investing in these affordable accessories:

  • T-ring Adapter and T-adapter: These adapters allow you to attach your DSLR or mirrorless camera to your telescope's eyepiece, effectively transforming it into a telephoto lens for astrophotography.
  • Intervalometer: An intervalometer enables you to take multiple long-exposure images without touching your camera, reducing the risk of camera shake and blurred images.
  • Filters: Light pollution and specialized astrophotography filters can help improve image quality and contrast in your photos, particularly when shooting from light-polluted areas.

Astrophotography Techniques on a Budget

Even with budget equipment, you can still capture stunning images of the night sky by mastering the following techniques:

  • Wide-Field Astrophotography: Using a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a wide-angle lens, capture images of the Milky Way, star trails, or constellations without the need for a telescope or equatorial mount.
  • Stacking and Tracking: Combine multiple short exposures using specialized astrophotography software to create a final, high-quality image with reduced noise and improved detail. This technique can be particularly useful when using budget equipment with limited tracking capabilities.
  • Moon and Planetary Imaging: Photograph the Moon and planets using a telescope and a high-quality eyepiece or a planetary camera to capture stunning, detailed images without requiring advanced tracking capabilities.

Post-Processing Software for Astrophotographers

Enhance your astrophotography images using these budget-friendly post-processing software options:

  • DeepSkyStacker: A free software that allows you to stack multiple exposures and align your images, reducing noise and improving the overall quality of your astrophotography.
  • GIMP: A free, open-source image editing software that offers many of the features found in premium programs like Adobe Photoshop, allowing you to enhance and fine-tune your astrophotography images.
  • AstroPixelProcessor: While not free, AstroPixelProcessor offers a 30-day trial and affordable pricing options, providing a powerful suite of tools specifically designed for astrophotography image processing.

Tips for Getting Started in Astrophotography

  • Start Small: Begin with wide-field astrophotography using your existing camera and lens before investing in more advanced equipment.
  • Learn the Night Sky: Familiarize yourself with constellations, star patterns, and celestial objects to make locating and photographing your subjects easier.
  • Seek Advice: Join online forums and local astronomy clubs to learn from experienced astrophotographers and gain valuable insights into equipment and techniques.

Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Astrophotography

  • Can I use my smartphone for astrophotography? While smartphones have limited capabilities compared to DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, you can still capture basic images of the Moon, planets, and brighter stars using a smartphone adapter for your telescope.
  • What is the best focal length for astrophotography? The ideal focal length for astrophotography depends on your specific targets and equipment. Wide-angle lenses (14-24mm) are great for wide-field astrophotography, while longer focal lengths (400-2000mm) are more suitable for capturing detailed images of deep-sky objects and planets.
  • Do I need a dedicated astrophotography camera? While dedicated astrophotography cameras offer advantages such as increased sensitivity to certain wavelengths of light and reduced noise, beginners can still achieve impressive results using DSLRs or mirrorless cameras.
  • How can I reduce the impact of light pollution on my images? Invest in a light pollution filter to help improve contrast and image quality when shooting from light-polluted areas. Additionally, consider using post-processing techniques to minimize the effects of light pollution in your images.


Embarking on the journey of astrophotography doesn't have to break the bank. With the right budget-friendly equipment, techniques, and software, you can capture breathtaking images of the cosmos without spending a fortune. By following the tips and recommendations provided in this comprehensive guide, you'll be well on your way to exploring the night sky and creating stunning astrophotography images that showcase the beauty of our universe. Remember, patience, practice, and a passion for the night sky are the keys to success in this rewarding hobby. Clear skies and happy shooting!

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