Camera Setup for Astrophotography.


This series of settings is for the Fuji XA2. Your camera may well differ. 

  • Having decided to stay at 16 mm for the  night, the next thing to do is change the settings and the first one is ISO.
  • The setting I use is ISO 3200. This keeps noise well under control but supplies sufficient sensitivity to capture a good deal of data.
  • Next I check that RAW is set. You could use RAW+Fine but this makes the write times even longer.
  • Next is the film simulation. I choose Velvia to maintain as much colour as possible if shooting RAW+Jpeg. If shooting RAW leave it there anyway as the info is retained in the RAW, but not processed.
  • Next on the list is setting the camera to Manual mode and selecting manual focus. This is very important. While most higher end cameras have pretty good AF focus, very few are capable of accurately obtaining focus on a star that is twinkling rapidly due to atmospheric turbulence. You could set the focus to infinity and  try, but generally you will find focusing on a bright star will settle a little back from infinity.
  • After setting the focus option make sure you have the aperture set to F3.5 as you will want to draw in as much light as possible.
  • Follow this step with changing the setting from single frame to shooting at 5.6fps. This sounds counter-intuitive but will make sense as we progress to the method for taking images.
  • At this point you can set the camera to take images with a shutter speed of 20 seconds. This will reduce if you decide to opt for a longer focal length. For example a focal length of 35 mm will mean an exposure time of 10 seconds and will be at around  f5.0
  • For metering I set the camera to average as we are dealing with the whole frame being largely dark and evenly lit.( If a Jpeg is also required)
  • I choose 3:2 Large as the image aspect ratio and file size if required for jpegs+RAW
  • Last setting on the list is Image stabilisation. As you will be working on a tripod I would suggest you have it off. It will help with battery life and doesn’t introduce any odd movement variations in the images, as IS is active even when the camera is at rest.

These settings are all you should need to start a imaging session under the stars.

The next section will cover how to go about acquiring the images…..

  1. Introduction To Astrophotography.
  2. Camera settings for astrophotography
  3. Taking the Images
  4. Astrophotography Post Processing Software
  5. Select the editor and Image
  6. Editing light & colour
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2 thoughts on “Camera Setup for Astrophotography.”

  1. There is no reason to change the metering setting if you are using manual exposure. The meter setting doesn’t change how the image is processed only how the camera would choose the aperture and/or shutter speed in one of the auto exposure modes.

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    1. True enough in some instances, however if you shoot with auto ISO then the metering helps the camera decide as to what the relevant ISO should be. Its also handy to have it set so you can view the images as you take them and get an idea as to how the exposure levels are, especially if you are using the histogram as a guide to what the final image looks like in camera when viewed on the LCD.

      This isn’t so important when shooting galacticaly , but helps a great deal on the brighter objects such as the moon and brighter planets.

      I prefer it left set as I describe, however depending upon the user and equipment its up to the operator to decide at the time.

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