Best Accessories for Astrophotography | 2024

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When it comes to photography, there's nothing like the night sky! The skies above us are full of fantastic subjects, glorious celestial objects that are more within our reach than ever, thanks to advances in astronomical technology. Deep-space objects impossibly far away can now be brought into sharp focus with the right technique and a little patience, and even objects in our solar system like our fellow planets can be photographed in more detail than ever before. 

But first, you need to be able to bring the stars closer to you. At Wex, we stock a huge range of fantastic telescopes perfect for viewing and photographing the night sky in all its glory. Telescopes range from beginner models at affordable prices to more sophisticated, professional scopes for serious spotters. Check out our telescope buying guide but in the meantime, here are a couple of options.

Celestron Astromaster 114EQ Reflector - If you're looking for your first telescope, this may be a great choice for you. It’s perfect for celestial viewing and powerful enough to bring the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn into sharp focus. 

Celestron NexStar 4SE Computerised Telescope - This is a great option if you’re looking for something more sophisticated. It has a computerised interface and includes state-of-the-art features that help you align the scope correctly to view celestial objects. 

You may also need an adapter to affix a camera to a telescope, depending on brand. You can browse the range of camera/telescope adapters here.

Next, you’ll need a camera. While any camera can potentially be used for night sky and astrophotography, it's best to use a high-sensitivity model that can make as much use of the available light as possible. You want something with a large sensor (to produce less noise in low light) and a high ISO ceiling. We have a guide for astro cameras but here are a few picks to get you thinking:

Sony A7 III – Not the newest model but wholly capable and still a fan-favourite. It has a broad dynamic range and does well at high ISOs.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II – a slightly older DSLR, but still a fantastic imaging machine, with an ISO ceiling of 102,400 and a full-frame sensor.

Nikon Z6 II – a lightweight full-frame camera, whose wide lens mount diameter allows more light to reach the sensor.

So, once you have the camera and lens, these are the accessories that will make a real practical difference in helping you see and photograph the planets and stars, both in terms of improving your shots and in terms of just making you more comfortable throughout those long nights! We've compiled a quick run-down of what we think are the best, most vital accessories for night photography you can buy right now.

Binoculars

A big part of your astrophotography will be spent scouting, whether that's viewing locations or scouting the sky for the correct positioning before you set up your camera. To that end, a pair of binoculars makes for a great addition to your kit bag.

We'd recommend the Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 Binoculars, which offer 15x magnification and a large 70mm objective lens for maximum brightness even in dark conditions. Protective rubber covering makes the binoculars easy to grip, and a long eye relief means they're even easy to use if you wear glasses. 

Alternatively, there’s the Pentax Jupiter 16x50 Binoculars. Even cheaper than the Celestron pair, the Pentax Jupiter 16x50 Binoculars are the perfect starter pair for the amateur stargazer. They deliver 16x magnification and sport a 50mm objective lens, which is smaller than the 70mm on the Celestron, but still good at light gathering. They also have a rubber armouring to protect against bumps and knocks. 

Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 Binoculars

Ideal for grab-and-go Lunar observations

£119.00 View

Pentax Jupiter 16x50 Binoculars

£88.00 View

Filters

Not all of us are lucky enough to live in an area free from light pollution, and you'll find that there are many sources of unwelcome light that can make Astro shooting a challenge. That's why it's worth picking up an STC Clip filter; these are placed between your camera's sensor and lens and are designed to filter out specific bands of light, resulting in clean and sharp astro images.

Here are just a couple of examples, one built for Sony cameras and the other, for Canon, but there are other options. You can find filters for various camera brands here. And, if you can’t find one that’s suitable for your camera, be sure to contact us and we can look into ordering a specific filter for your camera.

STC Clip Astro Nightscape Filter for Sony APS-C

£142.99 View

STC Clip IRP850 Filter for Canon FF

£96.00 View

Tripods

For night photography, you’re going to be shooting in the dark, which means you’ll be using long shutter speeds and even the most sophisticated five-axis image stabilisation system won’t let you get away with shooting handheld. If you aren't using a telescope with its own built-in tripod, then having a dedicated one for your camera is a must, ideally paired with a good ballhead. 

First up, we’d recommend the Manfrotto Befree GT Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit. It’s a superbly portable tripod and ball head combination that also provides rock-solid stability for setups weighing up to 10kg, with a ball head that's advanced and intuitive to use. It’s relatively pricey but you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck!

Perhaps one of the best options we can suggest is the Benro Mach3 TMA37C Carbon Fibre Tripod. It’s pricey but as a tripod, it is highly durable, sturdy and easy to use. This one doesn’t come with a ballhead and for that, we’d suggest the Benro G3 Ball Head. Again, it’s costly but if you’re looking for the best of the best, this is one of them - premium build and entirely reliable. 

Manfrotto Befree GT Carbon Fibre Tripod Kit

£329.00 View

Benro Mach3 TMA37C Carbon Fibre Tripod

£299.00 View

Triggers

Another vital accessory when shooting long exposures – even the minuscule movement of depressing the shutter button can cause blur and ruin a great shot. A release to trigger your camera remotely is the perfect solution. Even if your camera is Wi-Fi enabled and you can use your smartphone to trigger it, a reliable remote release is an inexpensive and worthwhile backup.

You'll need to pick the right release for your specific brand of camera, so it's worth looking at the full list of remote releases to make sure you get something compatible with your camera. Here are a couple of tried and tested triggers that are the go-to options for Sony and Canon.

Canon BR-E1 Remote Controller

£42.00 View

Sony RMT-P1BT Remote Commander

£65.00 View

Rain Covers

Since you’re going to be out for a while, it’s good to have some protection if the heavens open. A rain cover will also be useful for keeping your gear safe from the dew and moisture that comes from spending a lot of time outdoors at night. We have lots of options to look at to suit most camera/lens combinations; you can view those here. But we’d encourage you to check out these two options.

The Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover range is available for a variety of different camera and lens combinations and is a simple, compact solution to protect your gear from a downpour or dusty conditions. The polyurethane build is durable and will keep your gear safe. The other option comes from LensCoat; a highly regarded brand within the industry for producing a wide range of lens wraps, rain covers and other accessories. 

Think Tank Emergency Rain Cover - Medium

£44.00 View

LensCoat RainCoat RS Small - Black

£68.00 View

Torches

A small torch is a hugely useful thing to have if you're going to be out at night, allowing you to see where you're going to prevent injuries, as well as hunt with ease for that pesky dropped lens cap. While you can use the usual torches with white light, there are other options with a red glow. The glare from bright white light at night can leave you squinting while red light is non-glaring and doesn’t affect your ability to see stars, comets and other celestial objects.

We'd say the Celestron PowerTank Glow 5000 is a great buy for the simple reason that it's specifically designed for astrophotographers; it emits that red light, allowing you to see in the dark without compromising your night vision. There’s also the Celestron Elements ThermoTorch 3 Astro. This is a 3 in 1 torch that features the same red flashlight, a hand warmer and acts as a power bank. It’s everything you could need.

Celestron Elements ThermoTorch 3 Astro

£44.00 View

Celestron PowerTank Glow 5000

£44.00 View

Stools

This might not occur to you when planning your shoots, but you’re likely going to be waiting around for some time while your camera does its thing, and something to sit on that isn’t the bum-dampening grass will be very welcome. A light foldable chair or stool won’t add much to your kit’s weight and will give your poor knees a rest.

We'd recommend the Walkstool Comfort 55 XL, a portable stool with telescopic legs that folds away and comes with its own bag for easy transportation to your location. Sure, you could get a camping chair or something else, but again, if you’re trying to limit the weight of your camera bag if you’re photographing the stars in the middle of nowhere, a packable stool like this is a solid choice.

Walkstool Comfort 55 XL

£94.99 View

Batteries

Nights tend to be cold, and this will adversely affect your camera’s batteries, meaning they won’t last as long. This means you should absolutely be carrying spares so that you don’t end up cutting your night short for this most trivial of reasons. You can go for native batteries or you can go third-party (there are some solid options out there now); either way, in this scenario, more is better. It’ll also be a good idea to pack some spare AA batteries for your torches and headlamps, and a power bank for your smartphone or other small electronics. Browse our full selection of batteries here

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FAQs

What equipment do I need to start astrophotography?

To start astrophotography, you'll need a DSLR or mirrorless camera, a wide-angle lens (f2.8 or lower), a sturdy tripod, and a remote shutter release. A star tracker is optional but helpful for longer exposures.

How do I focus my camera for astrophotography?

Set your lens to manual focus and use the camera's live view. Zoom in on a bright star and adjust the focus ring until the star appears sharp. Check your focus with a test shot and make minor adjustments if needed.

What camera settings should I use for astrophotography?

Use manual mode with a wide aperture (f2.8 or lower), a shutter speed of 15-30 seconds, and an ISO between 800 and 3200. Use the 500 rule to avoid star trails: divide 500 by your lens's focal length.

How do I avoid star trails in my astrophotography?

To avoid star trails, use the 500 rule: divide 500 by your lens's focal length to get the maximum exposure time in seconds. Alternatively, use a star tracker to compensate for the Earth's rotation.

How can I process my astrophotography images to enhance them?

Use software like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom. Adjust exposure, contrast, and brightness, use curves for better contrast, apply noise reduction and correct colour balance. Stacking multiple exposures can also improve image quality.

How do we decide?


Our in-house photography experts, store staff and partners all work collaboratively to pour over these guides. The cameras and equipment recommended in our guides are based on their personal opinion, empirical experience and of course, feedback from our customers. We way up price, features, quality and the all-important 'je ne sais quoi' to make sure we recommend products that will delight and inspire. 

If you would like more advice on any purchase our contact centre staff are here to help. Alternatively, you can reach us via email or social media. And don't forget. If you were to purchase anything based on our recommendations you'll be covered by our full returns policy