Equipment for initial capturing and its cost

Required equipment for astrophotography

At the beginning of the occupation with astrophotography interested people are sometimes not aware that this hobby can be very cost-intensive. At discounters there are sometimes quite great bargain offers for telescopes with fantastic statements about the quality and that as an increase almost still in the two-digit price segment. Some buyers of these offers certainly assume that just any telescope is mounted on a camera, and fantastic astro images succeed.

However, optical components that deliver high quality are very price-intensive. In order to give an idea of the approximate costs to be expected by interested persons, the following overview is intended to show a rough price range of how much must be invested for good images as a minimum. Of course, there are no upper limits, and some things can theoretically be made on a do-it-yourself basis. But here it is about what has to be invested without do-it-yourself in order to achieve halfway good photo results without the disappointment becoming too big. This overview shows a recommendation from personal experience. For other astrophotographers such a table would probably look somewhat different.

When considering costs, it is assumed that a laptop is available.

DesignationDescriptionMinimum price marginRequiredOptional
TelescopeDepending on preference, a smaller refractor or a small Newtonian telescope is recommended for a beginner, with the Newtonian telescope being less expensive and thus used as a reference for price.300-500€X
Tripod with mountA stable parallactic mount with Go-To function (approaching the objects) is absolutely necessary. No inferior mounts should be purchased here. The frustration about blurred images would otherwise be very large with these.1.000-1.400€X
Astro cameraTheoretically, an uncooled color CMOS camera /DSLR would suffice for the start, but a cooled camera is very helpful, and it would be double the cost to switch to a cooled model after a year. Therefore, a cooled color camera is recommended here. (A mono camera with color filters is more challenging as a starting point).1.000-1.200€X
Guiding cameraA guiding camera is essential. However, small monochrome versions also work here. (Tip: A guiding camera can also be equipped so that it can be used for capturing planets later).180-260€X
Eyepiece focuser with gear ratio for precise adjustment around the focus pointRefractor and Newtonian telescopes are usually already equipped with an eyepiece focuser. If not, this is needed. With a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, focusing can be done via the mirror, which requires a lot of sensitivity. Here, too, an eyepiece focuser is recommended.200-250€X
Bahtinov-mask for focusingHighly recommended for finding the correct focus point.15-35€X
Reducer, Flattener, Coma CorrectorSuch accessories are almost always to be installed and even if it is only a 1x coma corrector for a Newtonian telescope or a 1x flattener for the refractor. In this case, it is important to make sure that the components were manufactured specifically for the existing telescope.150-350€X
Heated dew cap, heating tape or secondary mirror heating with control to avoid dew formationFrom personal experience can be said: Never shoot without a dew cap. If dew forms on the lense or mirror, the shooting session is over for that night.

Refractors usually already have a small extendable dew cap, but it is not heated. Small heating tapes are often helpful here. For a Newtonian telescope, a small heater for secondary mirror and an unheated dew cap on the outside is usually sufficient. Dew caps provide additional protection from extraneous light. For a Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, a heated dew cap should be used.

Off-axis-guider or guiding telescopeNecessary to guarantee error-corrected tracking of the Earth's rotation.100-160€X
Duo-Narrowband filterThere are very many emission nebulae to discover. Since pure narrowband filters are not useful on the color camera, a Duo-Narrowband filter can be recommended.200-280€X
Light pollution filterCan be used in areas close to the city for better contrast.130-200€X
Filter drawer for changing filtersIn case you want to change the two filters without adjusting the camera again.100-180€X
Flatfield mask for generating the flat-framesIs very helpful for creating the flat-frames. There are also approaches like hanging a T-shirt in front of the telescope and shining a lamp in front of it, but the flatfield mask is preferred here.120-200€X
Distance adapter for adjusting the working distances of the camerasTo set the correct working distances, some distance rings (fixed or adjustable) are needed.15-60€X
Transport case for accessoriesA transport case with foam lining is used to transport the sensitive components.80-100€X
Transport bag for telescope and / or tripod with mountIt is essential to have a suitable padded transport bag for the telescope.50-80€X


For the required parts, the approximate price range is as follows: 3.075-4.430€.

If the helpful optional components are added, the following results are obtained: 3.800-5.475€.