Astrophotography Camera: Nikons VS. Canons

Nikon and Canon are some of the more renowned brands when it comes to astrophotography cameras. This is not to say that other brands do not produce their own models for use in astrophotography. It is just an issue of finding the right models which can do the job well. Astrophotography is a specific field in photography which involves documenting or recording images of the night sky. Cameras need to have long exposures in order to effectively do the job.

The History of Cameras Used for Astrophotography

The first photographs of astronomical objects, such as the moon and stars, were taken during the 1940s. It took a few more decades before technology advanced far enough to allow for documentation of the night sky in greater detail. Over time, other objects documented included the sun, planets, galaxies, dim stars, the nebulae and other heavenly bodies.

The first DSLR cameras were high in noise and could not be effectively used in deep-sky astrophotography involving the use of long exposure. With the next generation of cameras, the noise was significantly improved with a good ratio between signal and noise. The pixels became larger, making DSLR cameras popular for use in the field. Succeeding models had smaller pixels. Technological advancements such as the development of microlenses

How It Works

Theoretically, telescopes work in the same way as cameras used in astrophotography. As there is less light available during the evenings, it is collected over a longer period of time. The longer exposure times record information which is not visible to the human eye. This technology is used in designing more specialized telescopes.

Using Canon Cameras

When it comes to astrophotography, out of the two brands, Canon is more renowned with users in the field. As such, more programs have been developed to support Canon cameras. It is also considered the more affordable of the two. A key strength of the brand is the way the lenses were built with the EOS line. The distance from flange to focal plane has been improved from 42 mm on the FD series to 44 on the EOS series.

Although it is possible to use an FD lens on an EOS camera, it will not be able to focus at distances of infinity. Lenses from other manufacturers can also be used on Canon cameras by using adapters, making the brand more open for customization. One of the models built specifically for the discipline is the Canon 20Da. Although it is no longer produced by the company, it can still be bought second hand for a lower price.

Using Nikon Cameras

Nikon cameras and lenses are also capable of focusing on infinity. However, there is a smaller number of lenses produced by other manufacturers which are compatible with Nikon cameras. A Nikon gear will require a greater amount of investment, but starting with a Nikon camera will incur more savings over time. The company has not changed their lens design, making almost all of their older lenses compatible even with the most recent camera models. However, some functions, such as the autofocus, may no longer work.