Nikon D5200 Astrophotography!

Elevate Your Stargazing with Nikon D5200 Astrophotography!

Heavenly bodies have been objects of admiration for us for a long time. As long as humans have existed they’ve tried to capture the heavens in some form. 

A modern DSLR allows even a novice to do just that with impeccable aesthetics.

But will a mid-tier camera like the Nikon d5200 capture the sky in all its glory? Well, with the right instructions it just might. 

So how is Nikon d5200 astrophotography?

The Nikon d5200, although a mid-tier camera is capable of taking good quality pictures. However, with the required higher ISO for astrophotography, the sensor suffers from reading noise. This means you won’t be able to achieve high levels of contrast. But there are ways to work around this. 

That was a brief review of the d5200’s astrophotography capabilities. Let’s get into the main discussion to get the full picture and learn how to improve it-

How is the Nikon d5200 for Astrophotography?

Nikon’s d5200 is its upper mid-tier offering. The camera manufacturer decided to fit it with the same sensor as the higher grade d7100. 

Given the powerful sensor, it is more than capable in most situations. Especially for capturing nighttime photos. 

Moreover, the sensor inside the d5200 produces excellent pictures at low ISOs. Unfortunately, Nikon d5200 astrophotography settings require high ISO. 

But at the higher ISOs, the high read noise makes it difficult to achieve high contrasts. As a result of this, certain parts of the image cannot be differentiated. Which ruins the quality of the image. 

To add to this, at the lowest ISOs the camera suffers from banding issues. But, this doesn’t mean the camera can’t capture the sky. 

Want to know how to reduce noise in your photos? Let’s watch the following video- 

However, your noise issue can be solved by increasing the shutter speed. I would suggest getting a shutter release remote for this purpose. It’ll make the process easier for you.

Here are some of the best shutter release remotes listed only for you-

Wait there! I’ve some tips to offer you. So that you can get the most out of your Nikon d5200 astrophotography.

4 Tips for Enhancing Nikon D5200 Astrophotography

As with most things, there’s a way to work around the problems the d5200 faces. And this solution is usually getting the right astrophotography DSLR settings. Here’s how you do it. 

Tip 1: Getting the Right Lens

Trying to deal with photography without accounting for the lens is impossible. It’s like asking what can be seen with 25×100 binoculars, without getting the right lens for it.  

The lens you choose greatly affects the quality of your pictures. When it is astrography it is even a more sensitive fact. Given that your subject is placed really far away, your stock lens will probably be ineffective.

Instead, you should get a wide-angle 24mm or more wide-angle or vibration reduction lens. If you don’t know which one to get, I can suggest one of these listed below. 

These lenses will help you capture excellent pictures of the night sky with auto zoom quality.

Tip 2: Dealing with the ISO

At the lowest ISO level the colors band together. But at the higher ISO levels, the noise ruins the picture. So, what do you do? You’ll need to pick an ISO level that makes the right tradeoff. 

We suggest sticking to ISO level 1600 for astrophotography settings ISO. However, don’t just set it to that level. Instead go up to the highest ISO level, select a subject, focus on it. And then lower the ISO back to 1600. 

In that case, you can also use a grey/white balance card to determine the exposure. After adjusting your camera in this way you can start your shoot with convenience.

Tip 3: Picking the Right Subject 

Stars at the celestial equator move very fast. If you select one of these stars as your subject it will mess up the focus. Instead, select one of the stars nearer to the pole. These stars are virtually stationary. 

You should also pick a star that isn’t too bright. If you focus on excessively bright stars, there is a possibility of missing out on details. A dimmer star nearer to the pole will be the best subject for the picture.

However, if you can get yourself a star tracker, you’ll be able to capture even the dimmest star. Because the trackers are motorized and move with the earth rotation.

Here are some recommendations from me that you can rely on-

Tip 4: Completing the Set-up

You know what ISO to use, you know what subject to pick. Now, let’s tie it all together. The first thing you’ll need to do is set your camera on a tripod.

Didn’t get yourself a tripod yet? It’s one of the must-have accessories for a photographer. So, get one today for yourself for the recommendations below-

Next, switch to manual focus and focus on your subject. 

Don’t zoom in. Raise the ISO, pick your subject, and then magnify it. Then set the focus and lower the ISO to 1600. 

Once that’s done, carefully lower the magnification. Make sure to not mess up the focus ring’s placement

Now, set the exposure time to 10 – 15 seconds and let the camera do its thing. With these settings, you should get aesthetically pleasing astrophotography. 

Nikon night photography settings might be tricky, but they will get the job done. 

Well, this covers dealing with the camera. But, there are other aspects to astrophotography. 

External Factors for Good Astrophotography

Astrophotography is a very sensitive art. The slightest changes in the factors affecting the picture and the quality will change exponentially. 

So, here I’ve covered the factors that will affect the picture quality. 

Humidity 

This will affect the nature of your picture immensely. The higher the humidity, the worse your astrophotography will be.

Highly humid air makes light pollution more apparent. The light from various sources gets amplified, while starlight gets blocked out.  

For the d5200 this is doubly worse. Since the camera suffers from noise at higher ISOs, the amplified light pollution will worsen quality. So, it’s essential that you select a day with low humidity for astrophotography. 

Nevertheless, spend a little more money and get some equipment. Because they can help you to protect your camera gears from humidity or moisture.

Interested to know about the tools? Here is a list-

Moon Cycle

The brightest source of light in the night sky will be the moon. And if the moon is too bright, it will make the stars less visible. 

Additionally, if you are trying to shoot the milky way you must consider the moon’s phase. 

A bright moon will wash out the milky way entirely. Making it completely invisible. The best time for astrophotography is 5-6 days before or after the new moon.

However, using a moon filter would be a wise move in this case.

Air Condition 

You need to pick a location with as little air pollution as possible. If there are too many particles in the air, you will get a bad-quality picture. 

On the other hand, haze and fog will block the light from the stars. 

Picking a spot with little to no air pollution is, therefore, essential. 

Light Pollution 

If you pick a spot with a lot of artificial light around, you won’t see anything. Not only for cameras but sky conditions are also important for seeing it with a Dobsonian telescope.

The best thing to do is to get as far away from the sources as possible. Various online resources will help you check the level of light pollution in areas around you. 

Using those resources you should pick a spot with the least amount of pollution. But using a light pollution filter can be a good solution as well.

Because these filters saturate colors effectively for raw colored images. Choose one today now-

Account for all these factors and set up your camera as instructed. And shoot the sky. You’ll get a perfect picture of the heavens. 

FAQs

Will Humidity Damage My Camera? 

Yes. If the humidity is too high it might damage your camera. Condensation from the water particles in the air can damage the electronics in your camera. In addition to this, high humidity creates the ideal condition for fungal growth on the lens. 

How to Shoot In Humidity Without Damaging Camera? 

There are multiple ways of protecting your camera from the effects of humidity. The most important of these processes is acclimatization. Keep your camera in the open for an hour before going for a humid shoot.   

How to Take a Long Exposure Picture Without a Tripod?

Increase the ISO and take a burst of pictures. Once you’re done, transfer the pictures to your computer and raise the exposure. Then add all the pictures as layers and auto-align. Finally, convert to smart objects and then stack the layers. 

Conclusion

We’ve covered everything about Nikon d5200 astrophotography

To make sure you get good pictures even in light-polluted skies use a lower white balance. 3400k – 3900k white balance in urban areas will yield good results. 

That’s it from us folks. Make use of the tips and take your astrophotography to a new level.

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