by Don Selle
On occasion, I have talked or traded emails with a new HAS member who was interested in learning astrophotography but was hesitant to get started. The one reason most often given for the hesitation has been that the cost of the equipment is prohibitive. This is followed closely by “if I get into it, I know I will go all-in”.
While I can’t help much with the second reason (after all -- there’s always an upgrade!) there are some ways to get into astrophotography without totally breaking the bank. One of them is to start by using one of the more advanced camera trackers which are currently on the market.
If you are already into photography, especially landscape and wildlife, adding a camera tracker can open the door to both nightscape and wide field astrophotography. If you already have a camera, sturdy tripod, and a good wide field lens (for nightscapes) and a good telephoto lens (for wide field astrophotography), a camera tracker is the next logical step. You can find used units in the $2-$300 while a new one with most of the bells and whistles will set you back a bit over $500, with a little bit of practice, your results can look really high end.