Screenshot of the home page for Astronomy Photographer of the Year at the Royal Museums Greenwich website. (11.16.22)
By Frank Gallagher, NANPA Marketing, Communications & Blog Coordinator
Anthony Robinson of Skies & Scopes, a website dedicated to astrophotography and astronomy, has been taking a deep dive into analyzing images entered over the last five years into the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition to determine what gear has been used. So, what are astrophotographers using these days?
In addition to cameras, dedicated astrophotographers are often also using telescopes, star trackers and other devices to peer deeply into space. For this article, however, we’ll stick with cameras. Here are a few of the findings.
More of the cameras used in the top images were made by Nikon than any other brand. It has held the top spot the last three years. Models like the D850, D750, Z6 and Z6ii have been and remain popular.
Canon once dominated and the EOS 6D is the single most used camera over the last five years, but it’s use has dropped dramatically recently and didn’t appear at all in the top images of the 2022 competition.
Sony is rapidly gaining and leads the mirrorless pack by a substantial margin, with Nikon beginning to move up. In 2022, the Sony A7iii was the single most used camera in the competition, being used in 14% of the images examined.
In 2022. mirrorless cameras outpaced DSLRs for the first time, used in 52% of the images. Quite a change after only accounting for 17% of the images in 2018.
If you’re curious about which telescopes, star trackers, mounts and deep space or planetary cameras are popular, all the data is in the article, including their methodology.
For most purposes, stellar images (if you’ll pardon the pun) can be made by any recent camera if you use the proper techniques. And it definitely helps to have a sharp, very fast (like f/1.2, f/1.8, etc.) lens, quality tripod, remote trigger, or even a star tracking mount, but you can come away with great images without any of that. Still, it’s sometimes interesting to see what the top astrophotographers are using.
Frank Gallagher is a landscape and nature photographer based in the Washington, DC, area who specializes in providing a wide range of photograph services to nonprofit organizations. He serves as NANPA’s Interim Marketing and Communications Coordinator and manages NANPA’s blog. He can be found online at frankgallagherphotography.com or on Instagram @frankgallagherfoto.