DSLR and Mirrorless Settings for Astrophotography

Posted by Daniel Amado on

The Best DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras Settings for Astrophotography



These settings are recommended for long exposure photography of deep space objects. The same settings are suitable for Nightscapes or widefield shots of Milky way using lenses and stationary tripods, and for pictures of nebulae and galaxies using telescopes and motorized mounts.


 Best settings for deep space astrophotography:

  • Shooting mode without remote or computer: Manual with 10 seconds delay
  • Shooting mode with remote or computer: Bulb
  • Drive mode: Single shooting
  • Wide diaphragm aperture when shooting with lenses (i.e. f/1.8-f/4)
  • Release shutter without lens: For Canon EOS Mirrorless cameras, set to enable when shooting with telescopes
  • High ISO Noise Reduction: Off
  • Long Exposure noise reduction: It halves the available exposure time. Turn On during nights with significant temperature change.
  • AF-assist beam firing: Disable (Canon cameras in custom settings)
  • Flash firing: Disable
  • White Balance: Auto in-Camera settings. Choose “Daylight” preset in Photoshop Adobe Camera Raw  
  • Exposure compensation: Set to zero
  • Auto Lighting Optimizer: Off
  • Exposure length with stationary tripods: *500 rule limit.
  • Exposure length with motorized mounts and autoguider: Up to 5 minutes
  • Image file format: RAW
  • Mirror lock-up: With lightweight tripos, set ON (Some Canon cameras found in custom settings)
  • Red-eye reduction: Disable
  • Focus: Set to manual
  • Image review: Off
  • ISO for crop (APS-C) Sensor Cameras: 800 or 1600
  • ISO for Full Frame Cameras: 1600 or 3200


*The 500 Rule:

Divide 500 by the lens’ focal length when using a full frame camera. The equation result is the exposure limit in seconds before stars have noticeably trails. For a 14mm focal length lens, the exposure limit would be 35 seconds. When using a crop sensor (APS-C) camera, you need to multiply the lens’ focal length by 1.6, and with a micro four thirds sensor camera by 2.

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