Advanced Astrophotography Shutter Time Calculator

This calculator goes beyond the basic “500 Rule” to determine the best shutter time for non-tracked astrophotography on a fixed tripod. Rather than just focal length, this calculator also factors in the effects of sensor pixel density, declination and allows for an adjustable tolerance for star trailing. Input your camera parameters and the calculator will output a recommended shutter time that minimizes star trailing depending on where you’re pointing your camera in the sky.

Continue reading

Review: Urban Night Photography with the Fujifilm X-T2

Fujifilm X-T2 Review: Urban Nightscapes

Using one of my favorite techniques for astrophotography, I take a shot at shooting ultra high resolution urban nightscapes with the Fujifilm X-T2. In this user experience review, I test the X-T2’s low light shooting performance while exploring the cities of London, England and Edinburgh, Scotland at night.

Continue reading

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

star-eater-why-i-no-longer-recommend-sony-cameras-for-astrophotography

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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

how-to-find-the-best-iso-for-astrophotography

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.

Continue reading