As a photography educator I am constantly asked about which gear I recommend when shooting the night sky.  So, finally, after years or typing an individual response to everyone that asks I finally decided it was time to put together a recommended gear page.   The items on this page include gear I have used or highly recommend.   

 Memory Cards                                                                                                                                                   

When shooting, the performance of a memory card is all about the card's WRITE speed.   SanDisk cards constantly rate in the top of their class when it comes to both read and write speeds.   Most cards on the market only advertise their read speed (transfering to a computer), because their write speeds are usually very slow (camera saving images to card).

 Lighting Your Foregrounds (Astro Photography & Timelapse)                                                            

These dimmable lights offer tungsten or dual (cool / warm) light and have great battery life - especially when dimmed.  When shooting astro photography our cameras are set to very high ISO values, wide apertures and slow shutter speeds - so having

a very dim light is important.   The Goal Zero and Q6M lights are super small and offer extremely long battery life (days, not hours) when shooting at the lowest brightness.   The VIJIM DSLR Light is for when you need to light a larger object from a greater distant.  Even with it's larger light source, you'll still get up to 17 hours per charge at 5% brightness.  

 Canon to Sony Lens Adapters                                                                                                                      

I have never met a Canon to Sony adapter that I actually like when it comes to getting full use of a Canon lens on a Sony Body, but for astro photography and timelapse we don't use or need autofocus or image stabilization, thus these adapters are ideal despite their limited functionality.    The ND Throttle listed below even features a built-in variable ND filter, allowing you to use it with ANY Canon Lens (on a Sony Body)  which is great for those super wide 14mm 15mm, and 16mm lenses that are often hard to filter.

 Lenses for Astro Photography                                                                                                                     

When shooting the night sky the features that matter are focal length, sharpness, control of coma, and a fast aperture.  These lenses are considered some of the best in their respective price ranges.   I've included the Sigma 150-600mm lens not for astro photography, but rather for moon rise shots - especially for those using PhotoPills or Plan it! Pro apps for pre-planning.

 Intervolmeters                                                                                                                                                 

A good inexpensive intervalometer should always be in your bag, even when you already own a more advanced model.   I prefer the ones that allow you to detach the camera cable from the remote, since the ones that have built-in cables always seem to break at the point where they connect to the remote.   The remote below is one of the only ones on the market that can set intervals at 1/10th second increments, starting at 1 second (aka 1.2 sec, 2.6 sec, 2.7 sec, etc).  Most only allow you to set in 1 second increments. 

 Motion Control Systems                                                                                                                                

The eMotimo ST4 is my favorite motion control head.  It's 4-motor controller not only provides pan & tilt built-in, but also the ability to power 2 external motors including a slider and focus/aperture or zoom.   The kit below comes with the focus motor, as well as the integration kit for the Dana Dolly.  You can contact eMotimo directly if you would like to use the eMotimo with other dollies from companies such as Dynamic Perception, Rhino Camera Gear or Kessler Crane.

The eMotimo ST4 is my favorite motion control head.  It's 4-motor controller not only provides pan & tilt built-in, but also the ability to power 2 external motors including a slider and focus/aperture or zoom.   The kit below comes with the focus motor, as well as the integration kit for the Dana Dolly.  You can contact eMotimo directly if you would like to use the eMotimo with other dollies from companies such as Dynamic Perception, Rhino Camera Gear or Kessler Crane.

 Camera Recommendations                                                                                                                          

These are my favorite mirrorless or DSLR's for Astro Photography.  But there are other cameras from Fuji, Pentax, Panasonic, and Olympus that are fantastic as well, just maybe a bit less fantastic in low-light compared to these popular models.

 Sensor Cleaning Recommendation                                                                                                            

You don't have to be scared to clean your sensor and you surely shouldn't be paying $79 to have it done.  Pick up this full-frame sensor cleaning kit, put your camera in sensor cleaning mode, remove the lens, put a couple of drops of solution (included) on one of the sealed sensor swabs and lightly wipe across the sensor - one to clean and back to dry.  Then throw the swab out.   If you still have a dust spot use a second swab and repeat the process.    This kit provides at least 6 cleanings (assuming 2 swabs per cleaning) and is safe to use.

 External Power Solutions                                                                                                                             

Whether you need to keep your phone charged, charge your camera batteries, power a motion controlled slider or keep your camera charged while shooting - the Omni 20+ is one of the best on the market.  It's variable DC out allows you to set the voltage from 1v to 20v in small increments.  It also provides an AC outlet (pure sine wave) and two fast charging USB ports as well as  wireless charging for phones that support this feature.

 Portable Hard Drive Recommendations                                                                                                  

Shooting timelapses often means capturing thousands of high resolution images in just a couple of days time.   Make sure you don't run out of space on your laptop by bringing along a portable hard drive.  These 4TB hard drives are reliable and affordable, while the SanDisk 2TB SSD drive offers no moving parts and faster performance.

 Tripod Recommendations                                                                                                                            

How do I recommend a tripod when there are literally over 100 on the market?    It's simple!  These are two that I use or have used and highly recommend.  They are not the best or the most expensive, but they have worked for me for many years in a wide range of environments.   I do recommend getting an inexpensive ROCK BAG since wind can wreak havoc with any lightweight Carbon Fiber tripod.

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