The best camera gear for Milky Way Photography 2024

Ever questioned which gear a few of the best astrophotographers on this planet are utilizing? Well, right here is an up to date and revised article from final 12 months’s one. Last 12 months, I talked about my favourite system being Canon, however after doing a little digging round and experimentation, my opinions have completely shifted, and now I’m all in for Sony. After being a Canon shooter for a number of years and extremely backing them because the best, that point has ended. I’ve lastly given in to the inevitable: Sony outshines all of them.

Sony is the best – Why would I make such a daring assertion?

Let’s face it: Sony has risen in recent times. It consistently strives to offer us with the most recent expertise and pushes the boundaries of what cameras can supply novice {and professional} photographers like myself.

Their cameras are astonishing in low mild situations, and the truth that they’re ISO invariant makes an enormous distinction for somebody like me who has at all times labored on a Canon camera being ISO variant. To put it in clear phrases for these of you who don’t perceive these phrases, ISO invariant means I can seize a picture uncovered, and in post-processing, I can increase the publicity by 1 to 2 stops with out damaging the picture an excessive amount of. The difficulty with the ISO variant cameras is that it’s a must to be uncovered sufficient to see your picture, as making an attempt to recuperate the brightness within the submit course of isn’t an possibility; one other draw back is that you simply burn out your highlights. To put it clear, it wasn’t an ideal state of affairs, it doesn’t matter what you probably did with such cameras. That’s why Sony wins when it comes right down to it.

If that’s not sufficient to persuade you, how about this?

While being a powerful believer in Canon over the remainder of the earlier years, one assertion I at all times made and at all times knew was that No different model has a glass like Sony. They smash it with picture high quality, light-weight lenses, and a broad vary of lenses protecting the wants of any photographer on the market. In the previous, I used to be pressured to make use of third-party lenses as the unique Canon ones simply didn’t lower it when it comes to picture high quality for the celebs. If you learn my earlier article after I was boasting about Canon, you’d have seen I don’t personal a single Canon lens. Thats to not say they don’t have nice lenses too, they simply wouldn’t have the lenses I as an astrophotographer want and that’s a pitty. On the opposite hand, Sony has a few of the best lenses for evening pictures on the market, and they’re tremendous light-weight. Anyway, I’ll point out a couple of of my favourite lenses that Sony has to supply in a while within the article.

If you haven’t already thrown your camera to the facet and began trying for a brand new Sony camera, then permit me to make one final level.

If you didnt know already, then now i’ll inform you. The firm ZWO ASI (Astronomy Imaging Camera) is the world’s main model for Deep Sky Astrophotography cameras, and hey, guess what sensors they’re utilizing? Sony, it doesn’t take a lot to place two and two collectively, however there should be an excellent motive they’re utilizing them, and it’s fairly easy as a result of there are not any different sensors on the market like those Sony gives.

This is the assertion from ZWO ASI

Sony’s back-illuminated CMOS picture sensor improves sensitivity and noise discount—the important thing components in enhancing picture high quality—whereas radically realigning its elementary pixel construction from entrance illumination to again illumination.

So, with that being mentioned, let’s get into the best gear for Milky Way Photography 2024.

The Camera

Sony A7IV – With 33MP and a flip-out display screen, that is the strongest contender in opposition to my outdated favourite, the Canon R. It occurs to be additionally my favourite imaging camera for Milky Way from the Sony lineup. As I acknowledged earlier than, this camera is ISO Invariant, so now I can under-expose my pictures and nonetheless brighten the shadows within the submit course of with out damaging the highlights by masking out the sky when doing so. This alone takes my single pictures to a different stage. The Sony A7IV may also take 670 pictures versus 370 pictures from the Canon R with one single battery, that’s nearly double, so I’ve no points taking timelapses anymore and don’t want an exterior energy supply.

The Sony A7IV additionally permits in-camera interval taking pictures, whereas the Canon R doesn’t. So, no want for an exterior intervalometer anymore. And if I have to take my exposures longer than 30, then I can simply use the Sony app, which works like a appeal for taking these lengthy exposures. There’s rather more, however I gained’t go into them as these factors alone make it a no brainer for deciding on which camera to get. Of course, you may say, nicely, different Sony and Canon fashions might supply these options, however the important thing motive I had the Canon R and now have the Sony A7IV is due to the midpoint MP vary; too many MP ends in extra noise and fewer mild sign being picked up and decrease MP ends in extra mild however much less noise however with the sacrifice of particulars. That’s why I are inclined to at all times lean towards cameras within the vary of 26-33 MP for Astrophotography.

Some different nice cameras within the Sony line-up are as follows:

Sony A7III ($1,498) – The cheaper various to an A7IV that also offers nice ends in low mild situations however with a sacrifice of a few of the superior options the A7IV has to supply.

Sony A7SIII ($3,198)– The final low mild camera for filming at evening, additionally an incredible camera for deep sky pictures however comes with the sacrifice of a few of the particulars.

Sony ZV-E1 ($1,898)—The extra reasonably priced model of an A7SIII—has the identical sensor that produces wonderful low-light movie at the price of no uncooked filming in camera (the A7SIII wants an exterior display screen to do that anyway, so for those who’re not filming on the professional stage and nonetheless need wonderful content material, then that is your best guess).

Sony A7RV ($3,498)—This is an superior all-rounder camera that excels in low-light pictures. However, its 61 MP sensor will lead to extra noise than the A7IV. The hottest camera from ZWO ASI, the ZWO6200, makes use of the identical sensor.

Sony A1 ($6,498)—The Sony A1 makes use of all of the best options from the A7 and A9 camera lineups, making it a really robust contender. It additionally has the most important viewfinder of all of the cameras in Sony’s lineup, which makes it a breeze to look by way of throughout low-light situations.

The best lenses for Milky Way pictures

I take advantage of a wide range of lenses, and I’ve examined nearly every thing on the market. Here are my favourite lenses for Milky Way Photography:




All of those lenses are wonderful for Milky Way and Astronomical Photography. The key to having an excellent lens is a quick aperture with superior optics which have little or no or near no coma or aberrations on the perimeters of the pictures.

The best tripod for Milky Way pictures

Once you nail your camera and lens, the tripod is essentially the most essential half. It is the muse of your imaging and setup, and your outcomes are extremely depending on it. Do not be low-cost, and attempt to get away with an unstable and unreliable tripod. In doing so, you possibly can spoil your pictures and, even worse, injury your camera. I typically work in tough situations with wind or currents within the water, and stability is vital to my pictures being dead-sharp.

I’ve tried many tripods on the market from high manufacturers and marks however ended up with a lineup of tripods I actually consider to be one of many best tripod corporations on the market; their title is Sunway Foto. The high quality of their gear is excellent, they usually have rigorously thought by way of their gear when creating them. They are stronger, lighter, simpler to make use of, sensible, and extra compact than another tripod I’ve ever used.

My two favourite fashions from them are the:

T3640 CM ($578) (for heavier hundreds and supreme stability, which can be travel-friendly)

T2840 CK ($219)(additionally handles heavy hundreds however isn’t as robust as the larger mannequin and is tremendous travel-friendly.)

Additionally, I take advantage of different equipment from Sunway Foto. They are superbly machined and well-made merchandise.

I take advantage of the EB-44 Ball head ($99), which is ideal for any load, heavy or small, and really easy to make use of. It’s robust and dependable. It’s additionally light-weight and may deal with a heavy payload.

I additionally use their IRC-64 Panning base, which is an ideal device for panoramas on account of its click-in-degrees operate.

I additionally at all times have a leveling base on the highest of my tripod or excellent steadiness. This can be an enormous recreation changer for getting polar aligned when utilizing a star tracker. I take advantage of the LB-90 R from Sunwayfoto, which additionally has a panorama operate for rotating.

Another device I’m utilizing is the A-Toll from Silence Corner, the last word option to swap between panorama and portrait orientation with out even having to dismantle your camera from the ball head. Another nice benefit is that it doesn’t cowl any of the ports in your camera, which permits freedom and makes the general pictures expertise so a lot better. I extremely advocate you get one, as it is a game-changer.

The monitoring mount

The subsequent stage up in spite of everything of that is star trackers, that are units that flip and compensate for the rotation of the earth as soon as aligned to the celestial pole. These units permit us to reveal longer than what we’re usually restricted to. In doing so, we are able to cut back the ISO and decelerate the aperture to have sharper and cleaner pictures total.

My two favourite trackers are the:

iOptron Skytracker Pro ($288) (very small and dependable)

iOptron Skyguider Pro ($398) (barely greater, permits greater payloads, and is extraordinarily dependable)

Both of those trackers are simple to make use of for learners and superior sufficient for astrophotographers with expertise like me. I’ve tried all the opposite manufacturers and when it comes right down to it, iOptron is the best for moveable star trackers.


An intervalometer can be extremely really useful for setting a number of exposures or intervals for time lapses, and so on. The foremost motive I take advantage of one is to keep away from camera shake when touching the shutter button to take an publicity.

Secret weapon

My secret weapon is one little bit of equipment that I by no means go away the home with; it’s my drop-in filter adapter with my HA Alpha and OI dual-band filter. Created initially by IDAS, these bad-boy filters take imaging to a different stage. Now, there are a lot of filters on the market, however what makes this one particular is there isn’t something higher on the market that even comes near the outcomes it produces. For one, we have now no vignetting second sharp pictures edge to edge no matter how huge your focal size is, and third, the distinction that ends in the uncooked picture of the ha alpha and oi sign is simply astonishing, making post-processing a breeze when making an attempt to mix the RGB knowledge with the filtered knowledge. Now in terms of the drop in filter adapter system itself it isn’t for everybody, persons are restricted to which lenses and cameras they will truly use it with. To make issues simpler, let’s share an instance of my setup:

I’m utilizing a Samyang 14mm XP F2.4 lens ($699) (EF Canon Mount) hooked up to my Meike drop-in filter adapter, which is hooked up to my Sony A7IV. The benefit of the drop-in filter system is that I can simply alternate between the clear filter (taking pictures RGB) and the Nebula booster filter. The result’s that the pictures ought to align completely, making merging the 2 pictures a lot simpler than another kind of filter. It’s not bodily potential to make use of native lenses on native our bodies with such an adapter because the distances change between lens and sensor. You might have already seen a lot of these filters from opponents, however earlier than you make investments, be mindful they have been designed for telescopes and never wide-angle lenses. I’ve examined every thing on the market available on the market, and nothing produces the identical high quality as this filter. Check out the pictures beneath your self to see the outcomes, and for those who’re fascinated about utilizing an identical setup, then be happy to contact me. Currently, I’m the one individual in inventory of those filters, as I purchased the final out there earlier than they discontinued this mannequin. I promote the filters at 400 CHF a bit, and it comes with a free tutorial on learn how to combine the pictures in post-processing.

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