astrophotography with nikon d3200

Astrophotography with Nikon D3200: Can It Be Better?

If you’re into astrophotography choosing the right camera is immensely important. After all, not all cameras can do justice to the beauty of the night sky. But proper skill and investment also matter.

Such is the case with the Nikon D3200 for astrophotography. It’s not the best choice out there but it can be better.

So, how is astrophotography with Nikon D3200?

Astrophotography with Nikon D3200 is satisfactory. But it has some general issues. The performance isn’t up to the mark at low-light exposure. It also lacks in support of accessories and third-party software. But you can improve the image quality by using a few methods. 

Care to know what those methods are? We’ll be explaining them in a bit. So stay with us until the end.

Let’s start!

Nikon D3200 Astrography Performance

If you’re an astrophotographer your best friend must be that camera of yours. We know how important the camera is to an astrophotographer. Without a powerful spec, it’s hard to get the details out.

Nikon D3200 is a well-known model among astrophotographers. However, we can’t say it’s one of their top choices. That’s because when taking astrophotographs you’ll find yourself with some restrictions with the Nikon D3200.

Nikon D3200 has some lackings when it comes to accessories and software issues. This is why most people prefer and suggest using Canon cameras. However, the Nikon D3200 is in no circumstances a bad camera.

In fact, with a few techniques, it can be good as any camera for astrophotography.  You just have to follow these tips and test them out.  Here’s someone who clicked beautiful astrophotography with Nikon D3200.

Wondering what those valuable tips are? We’ve explained them in the next section.

How to Improve Astrophotography with Nikon D3200?

There are a few ways to improve your astrophotography skills with a Nikon D3200 camera. Here’s what you can do to make the night sky photos better-

Collect the Correct Lens:

One of the quickest ways to nail astrophotography is to upgrade your camera lens. You’d require a high-quality lens that’ll go well with the Nikon D3200. Not any lens will match well with Nikon D3200 even if those are of high quality.

There’s a common complaint among the users about Nikon D3200’s low light performance. The night sky looks too white in the camera. Although the cause is light pollution, you can certainly expect better from your camera.

For that, you’ll require a low-light budget-friendly lens. The best match for the Nikon D3200 would be Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens. Its fixed focal length of 14mm gives the advantage of having an ultra-wide angle.

For astrophotography using wide-angle shots results in better outcomes. You can try looking for lenses that will give you similar advantages. Well, some other lenses that will provide the same advantages are listed below.

The Nikon 70-300mm is easier to handle and perfect for beginners. You can check the price on Amazon.

For larger aperture photos, go for Rokinon 16MAF-N 16mm f/2.0 Aspherical Wide Angle Lens. You can check the price on Amazon.

To click crisp sharp imagery you can check the Meike 85mm F1.8 Auto Focus lens. You can check the price on Amazon.

Choosing the right lenses will result in beautiful photos like the one below using Nikon D3200.

Nikon D3200 astro photo
Source: Stargazers Lounge

Time to Choose a Tripod:

Astrophotography without propers accessories rarely gives the satisfaction a stargazer can look for. A tripod is immensely necessary if you’re to improve the quality of your photographs.

Even more so if it’s used for astrophotography. Taking pictures with shaky hands messes up the timelapse. Even the smallest movement for a second can ruin your image quality.

So, when you are not using a tripod, be sure you can not expect the best outcomes. Try choosing a sturdy one that can support the weight of a Nikon D3200 well.

Use High-Quality ND Filters:

To get the perfect image of the night sky you’ll need a long exposure. But not being able to use it to your best advantage won’t get you anywhere. To not miss this chance slip by you’ll need high-quality natural density filters.

Using a good quality ND filter can lessen the intensity of light pollution. It’ll also adjust the color and all wavelengths to the right intensity. The colors, wavelengths, and lights that enter the camera will be in a steady amount.

Thus giving more stability to the photographs which is very important for astrophotography. It also aids in giving more control to the shutter speed of the camera. 

The Gobe ND filter and the Urth ND filter would be a nice choice. They’ll be a great addition to your Nikon D3200 kit. Make sure to choose the thread size carefully.

Nikon D3200 kit
Source: City Live

Pick Appropriate ISO:

Using high ISO is an important trick for astrophotography. It is the measurement of the sensitivity of your camera’s photo sensor. Cameras can fetch more details if the ISO is set high. 

Ever wondered why your Nikon D3200 has noise problems in image sensors?

Nikon D3200 has noise problems in image sensors for higher ISO values. The higher you set the value the more the sensor gets sensitive to light sources. Thus it creates a noise problem in image sensors.  That’s why choosing the appropriate ISO makes a lot of difference.

Astrophotography with Nikon d3100 is better in this regard. But for your Nikon D3200, it’s best to kick off with ISO 3200. 

Don’t forget to evaluate the conditions of your photography area before the ISO setting. Because of light pollution, the ISO can differ drastically.

Pick the Right Focal Length:

Even with a tripod and the weather perfectly still astrophotography isn’t so easy. After all, we are rotating at 30 km per every second. So focusing on the stars is quite difficult.

What is even more troublesome is picking the improper focal length. To get rid of this problem find out the longest shutter time. Then you can figure out the minimum time needed to capture the stars. 

Based on that you can choose the appropriate focal length. In most cases, the answers lie between 14mm, 50mm, or 85mm. Now, how to tell that you have focused your lens appropriately?

To ensure that adjust the camera to the live view mode. Now choose a bright star to point your camera at. For example, the venus at midnight. Start zooming on to the star while keeping the focus steady.

Keep going until you get the sharpest image possible. Once you’re satisfied with the outcome change the mode to manual focus. You can zoom out and zoom in again to check out if the focus is right.

Hopefully, all these tips can help you have a better experience of astrophotography with the Nikon D3200.

Right Focal Length of NIKON D3200
Source: Digital Photography Review

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to capture the moon using a Nikon D3200?

First set the aperture of the camera to f/16 or f/11. The shutter speed of the camera has to be a minimum of 1/15 seconds. The faster the better. Because the moon rotates quite fast. The focus should be set to infinity. To get the right exposure use spot metering.

How to blur image background with Nikon D3200?

Set your camera to aperture priority mode and extend the focal length of the lens. Or you can turn the control dial and set the aperture to the widest setting. Another trick is to place the camera closer to the subject.

What memory cards are compatible with Nikon D3200?

With Nikon D3200 you can use any regular SD card. The SDXC and SDHC cards are also compatible. The SD card format in Nikon D3200 can support up to 2GB of data. SDXC can support 2 TB and SDHC can hold up to 32 GB of data.


So, how was your experience in astrophotography with Nikon D3200? Hopefully, it lived up to your expectation. If not, don’t get disheartened yet. Try the tips above and see if they give you a better outcome.

Also, upgrading your camera kits can lead you to amazing results. Wishing you all the very best with your night sky photography. 

Take care!

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