Star Eater – UPDATED. Why I No Longer Recommend Sony Cameras for Astrophotography: An Open Letter to Sony

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Sony makes excellent cameras. In the last few years, they launched a completely new full frame camera system that has pushed the bounds of digital photography. I switched entirely to Sony gear after first seeing the tremendous low-light capability of their a7S and have enjoyed many outings shooting astrophotography on many different Sony camera bodies since. I have previously recommended Sony gear to countless numbers of fellow photographers looking for the best landscape astrophotography cameras. That is no longer the case. If you want to shoot landscape astrophotography, don’t buy a Sony. If you already have a Sony camera, don’t update the firmware.

Here’s why I no longer recommend Sony cameras and how the latest firmware update made Sony’s a7RII and a7SII terrible for astrophotography.

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How I Planned and Shot an Erupting Volcano with the Milky Way by Albert Dros

how-i-planned-and-shot-an-erupting-volcano-with-the-milky-way-by-albert-dros

Albert Dros has been a great friend to Lonely Speck over the last few years, sharing with us his experiences shooting landscape astrophotography around the world. We had the pleasure of meeting him in his native environment of the Netherlands when we traveled through Europe last spring. A few weeks ago, Albert messaged me about his plans to photograph the Milky Way behind an erupting volcano. In this article, Albert Dros recounts his personal experience planning and shooting the Fuego Volcano in Guatemala.

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How to Find the Best ISO for Astrophotography: Dynamic Range and Noise

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ISO is one of the three major exposure settings in the exposure triangle of a digital camera. Of the three: shutter time, f/number, and ISO, it is ISO that is probably most misunderstood. Even more so than f/number. In fact, it is a common misconception that higher ISO settings will cause images to be noisier. In fact, the opposite is often true. Wait, what?

That’s right, higher ISO settings alone do not increase image noise and higher ISOs can even be beneficial to low-light photography. In this post, I talk about the craziness surrounding ISO settings, how ISO actually affects exposure and how to find the optimal ISO setting on your camera for astrophotography.

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Photographing the Milky Way on Film

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I often find myself drooling over news of the latest digital camera gear and lenses. I think we all do it a little. Astrophotography has benefitted greatly by the advancement of digital photographic technology and I’m always on the lookout for gear and techniques that will help increase the quality of my astrophotography. Most of all, astrophotography is more accessible than it has ever been because of newer, more affordable and more advanced technology.

I’ve made it a point to experiment with capturing the night sky on affordable and limited gear like point-and-shoot cameras and even a smartphone. I consistently support the idea that you don’t need the most expensive camera gear to learn how to photograph the night sky. That said, the point-and-shoot cameras and smartphone that I tested still use advanced modern technology to do what they can do. They have modern, back-illuminated CMOS sensor and the latest in miniaturization tech.

What if we instead approach astrophotography by going full retro?

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