HomeDevelopersMilky Way to Northern Lights: Astrophotography works so well with a smartphone

Milky Way to Northern Lights: Astrophotography works so well with a smartphone

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Do you need expensive cameras and special accessories for astro photos? No longer. Smartphones achieve surprisingly good results.

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The night sky shows beautiful motifs all year round. But now, in autumn, the dark season is beginning and brings with it an unbeatable advantage: You no longer have to stay up late to be able to observe and photograph the stars. In the far north – and sometimes even in Germany – you can now also photograph fantastic northern lights.

Astrophotography for beginners to advanced

Reach for the stars: Astrophotography is as varied as the motifs in the sky. And the combination of landscape and astrophotography is also extremely attractive. With our workshops and advice articles, you can get started and advanced users will find inspiration for new motif worlds.

  • Astrophotography: Connect the system camera to a telescope

  • Astro landscape shots

  • Astro landscape photography challenge

  • Landscape photography with moonlight

  • Photographing the lunar eclipse: How to take pictures of the blood moon

  • Photo practice: high-resolution moon images with simple means

  • Shooting Tips Shooting Stars: How to photograph the Geminids

  • With simple means: deep sky photography for beginners

  • Telescopes, mounts, challenges: advanced astrophotography

  • Pentax cameras with Astrotracer function

  • Milky Way photos: plan better and fake properly

  • Milky Way Photography: Noise Reduction Methods

  • Photograph startrails: create landscapes with star trails

  • Photograph the sun

How well or how poorly a camera works in the dark and thus for astrophotographs essentially depends on the size of the sensor or the individual pixels. The following applies: the larger, the better the noise behavior in poor light conditions. For this reason, SLR or mirrorless system cameras with a full-frame sensor and moderate resolution are particularly common in astro-landscape photography. This includes models like the older Canon EOS 6D, but also newer devices like the Sony A7 III.

Of course, a smartphone cannot keep up with these cameras! Or maybe yes? In order to test where mobile phones are currently at their best, I took Google’s Pixel 6 with me on my astrophoto tours to Norway and the Alps over the past year. I used it here alongside my standard equipment consisting of the Canon 6D single-lens reflex camera with a 24 mm f/1.4 wide-angle lens and the Sony A7 III mirrorless system camera with the 20 mm f/2.0. Spoiler: I was surprised what good results could be achieved with the smartphone!

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