Lenses & telescopes

William Optics ZenithStar 73 II APO – This high quality doublet telescope is a joy to use. When teamed with the 73a field flattener it produces fantastic results with pinpoint stars at 430mm / f5.9.

William Optics SpaceCat 51 – This tiny but perfectly corrected quadruplet telescope is a best seller for a reason. The 250mm field of view and a fast f4.9 focal ratio consistently gives phenomenal results in a travel friendly package.

Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD – Sharp with virtually no chromatic aberration. This lens gave me some fantastic shots of the Andromeda Galaxy and North America nebula, but has now been superseded by the Zenithstar.

Viltrox 75mm f1.2 (Fujifilm) – Newly acquired lens is exceptionally sharp and bright at f1.2. A stellar choice for Milky Way core and widefield astrophotography, as well as auroras and sprites.

Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN (Fujifilm) – Newly acquired lens purchased specifically to capture aurora, as well as landscape and Milky Way shots. Bitingly sharp straight from f1.4!

Nikon 35mm f1.8 G – Exceptional value DX lens which can also be used on full frame cameras. I usually stop this lens down to f2.8 to maximise sharpness and reduce any lingering coma.

Nikon 50mm f1.8 D – Very sharp lens when stopped down to f4. Excellent value at around £75 new. A great choice for astrophotography on a budget.

Nikon 180mm f2.8 ED Ai-s – Sharp and high contrast with outstanding colour saturation. Can be shot wide open at f2.8, especially for shorter total exposures such as comets. A great buy at under £200 second hand.

William Optics ZenithStar 73 II APO
William Optics SpaceCat 51


Nikon D5500 (24mp) – Fantastic crop sensor camera with no AA filter gives excellent detail and a high dynamic range. In Late 2022 I modified the camera to allow more H-Alpha light to reach the sensor. The light weight of the camera (420g), along with the fully articulating screen and ease of modification makes this camera very easy to recommend for astrophotography.

Fujifilm X-T1 (16mp) – Mirrorless camera with great transmission of H-Alpha wavelengths. Mostly used for travel and timelapses.

Nikon D7000 (16mp) – Now old but has an excellent 16mp Sony sensor. Bought new in 2013, now an absolute bargain second hand.

Nikon D70 (6mp) – Bought in 2004 and recently converted to infra-red.

Mounts & Tripods

AstroTrac TT320X-AG – Motorised tracking mount with autoguiding option. Very precise, can handle upto 10kg payloads.

Barn door tracker – Used to track the stars and prevent star trails. View the barn door tracker website for more info and a full build guide.

Three Legged Thing ‘Dave’ – Heavy duty photography tripod with sturdy construction to help minimise vibration.

Filters & other equipment

Optolong L-eNhance filter – Modern dual-band and tri-band narrowband filters have transformed the notion of what’s possible to capture from light polluted skies. As the name implies, the L-eNhance filter massively enhances contrast in images of emission nebulae, although it does not work with broadband targets such as galaxies and comets.

Kenko didymium filter – Red intensifier for reducing light pollution and enhancing nebulas. I made a page with more info and tests with the didymium filters. Although cheap, this filter is in no way a substitute for a dedicated narrowband filter such as the L-eNhance.

Softon Filter – Filter used to create diffuse images. A great tool for the photography of constellations, bringing out the colour and relative brightness of stars.

Hoya ND400 filter – Cuts down light to lengthen exposure times. Also used for sun shots.

Hama 8 Cross filter – Ancient filter found at the bottom of a drawer. Creates an interesting star cross effect.

Nikon ML-L3 remote release – Needed for exposures longer than 30 seconds. Also reduces camera wobble.

Optolong L-eNhance filter


N.I.N.A. – Phenomenal, fully featured free software for sequencing images and controlling all aspects of imaging sessions.

Deep Sky Stacker – Excellent free software for stacking astro images.

StarNet++ – Free software used to remove stars form an image. Allows easier editing on nebulae without affecting the starfield.

Adobe Photoshop – Used for final post processing of images to get them spot on.

StarStaX – Free software for stacking star trail images and creating time lapse videos.

PhotoLapse – More free software for building time-lapse videos from photo sequences. Quick and easy to use.