If you’re shooting the night sky with a consumer DSLR and a kit lens, you may wonder if you can make them impressive enough. Well, of course, you can. In this video, Michael Ver Sprill aka Milky Way Mike will share with you some tips and tricks for making sharp and stunning images of the Milky Way even with a crop sensor camera and a kit lens.
For the sake of this video, Mike uses a Nikon D7200 and an 18-55 mm kit lens. And he advises you that, before you start shooting, you have everything you need: your camera and lens of course, plus a sturdy tripod, a headlamp or a flashlight, and a remote trigger. He also uses stacking software (Starry Landscape Stacker for Mac or Sequator for Windows).
You need to make sure that your foreground object is on the right distance and that’s sharp in the photo just like the Milky Way. Mike suggests that you go to PhotoPills and use their Depth of Field table to determine the settings for your camera and lens.
Out in the field, make sure to start with the lens focused to infinity and take a few test shots until you get the focus right. Mike suggests using manual focus, and he finds that using an LCD screen is more helpful for hip than looking through a viewfinder. A flashlight will help you to see where your foreground subject is, so you can focus properly. The tripod and the remote trigger will minimize the camera shake, making the images tack sharp.
Now, when it comes to sharpness, make sure to dial in the shutter speed so you don’t have star trails. The 500 Rule will help you here, although it has now changed to 400 or even 300 rule. It’s basically taking the number 500 and dividing it with your focal length, and you can read more about it here.
Make sure to watch Mike’s entire video for more tips and tricks, as well as photo examples and his editing and stacking process.
[Photographing The Night Sky With A Kit Lens and Crop Sensor DSLR| Milky Way Mike]