In short, astrophotography is the art of taking photographs of objects in space. Whether shot with a camera phone or by the Hubble Space Telescope, it’s all astrophotography.
Although you can take photos of the night with a camera phone, using a telescope that is built solely with astrophotography in mind is obviously a much better option. These telescopes are made for capturing breathtaking, high definition photographs of space objects that simply go unnoticed by the human eye.
Best Beginner Telescopes for Astrophotography
Here are our reviews of the best beginner telescopes for astrophotography
1. Explore Scientific ED80 Essential Edition
This telescope is a great option for any beginner. Capable of taking clear photos of the Andromeda Galaxy, this telescope will have you wishing the nights were longer.
- Affordable option for beginners
- Compact and lightweight means this telescope can easily be transported
- Illuminated finder scope
2. Orion 9534 ED80T CF
The Orion ED80T CF is a highly recommended model for beginners due to its ability to capture high definition, professional photographs at a reasonable price.
- Built-in dew shield and dual-speed Crayford focuser
- Lightweight and strong
- Built with extra-low, dispersion glass for exceptional resolution
3. William Optics ZenithStar
Weighing in at just over 5 pounds, this telescope, from William Optics, is a great option for any beginner who loves to travel outside of the city in search of dark sky sites.
- Precision dual-speed focuser
- Built-In thermometer to monitor temperature while imaging
- Compatible with a wide range of high-definition cameras
4. Orion 9005 AstroView 120ST Equatorial Refractor Telescope
This telescope, from Orion, Is amazing for viewing deep-sky objects with high resolution. Complete with a sturdy, adjustable tripod, this telescope is highly portable.
- Capable of slow motion tracking
- Internal polar alignment scope for precision
- Includes Starry Night astronomy software, an amazing reference for beginners.
5. Gskyer Telescope, 600x90mm AZ Astronomical Refractor Telescope
This telescope was built with beginners in mind. Easy-to-use for both adults and children alike, sit back and enjoy taking photos of deep sky objects the whole family will enjoy.
- Comes with three replaceable eyepieces for strong magnification
- Adjustable aluminum tripod
- No tools required, perfect for any beginner
Beginner Telescopes for Astrophotography Buyer’s Guide
With so many amateur telescopes available on the market, choosing the right one for your needs can seem a little daunting. As in any new hobby, there can be a big learning curve when it comes to astrophotography. Telescopes ranging from very affordable to highly expensive will cause a lot of amateurs to scratch their heads. Thankfully, our buyer’s guide is here to help. Below are a few things to keep in mind when making your purchase.
As mentioned above, depending on the brand and features, these telescopes can have a massive price range. As there is a steep learning curve in regards to astrophotography, we suggest starting small and simple. If your passion for the craft grows, then consider spending a little more on your next purchase. There is no sense in spending thousands on a high-tech telescope just to become disenchanted with the craft, packing your expensive telescope into a box for storage.
Different companies include different accessories with their telescope packages. Whether included with your purchase or not, as a rule of thumb, every beginner will need the following: a field flattener, carrying case, tube rings, a diagonal and a finder’s scope. Read the product list carefully before making your purchase. If any of these items are not included, they will need to be purchased separately.
As a novice, consider buying a starter kit. These kits are geared toward beginners and come with everything you need to get started, right out of the box. Many of these kits also include digital software and online databases to help beginners navigate the skies.
These telescopes can vastly vary in size and weight, from small and compact to massive and stationary. Think about how you plan on using your telescope: do you plan on travelling to dark sky locations? If so, a compact model that will fit into a hiking bag would be a good choice; do you live in the country, away from city lights and light pollution? Then perhaps a large, sturdy model would suffice. Consider this before making your final decision.
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