The best astrophotographers in the world mainly use Nikon cameras

A recent study analyzed the 685 star shots that had been shortlisted for the Astronomical Photographer of the Year competition over the past five years, and some pretty interesting findings and trends emerge.

The Sony A7III (opens in a new tab) proved to be the most successfully used camera in 2022 competition (opens in a new tab)according to the study of Skies and spans (opens in a new tab). It also found that Canon cameras had fallen from their former top spot in 2018 and 2019, overtaken by Nikon in 2020 – and continued to be the preferred camera system in 2021 and 2022 as well.

Looking for the best cameras for astrophotography? (opens in a new tab)

That said, Sony placed a close second in this year’s competition – and it would be interesting to see if it takes the top spot as the most successfully used system in the 2023 competition.

Sony’s A7 III was the top camera used in the 2022 Astronomy POTY, with 14% of the shortlisted images taken on a (Photo credit: Sony)

What’s interesting is that manufacturers like Canon and Nikon make camera bodies dedicated to astrophotography, such as Canon EOS Ra and Nikon D810Awhich have specific IR cut filters for four times the amount of hydrogen-alpha light entering the sensor for better star photos.

However, this study showed that the top three cameras used in the 2022 contest were the Sony A7III (opens in a new tab) (14%), Sony A7R III (opens in a new tab) (11%) and Nikon D850 (opens in a new tab) (ten%). In fact, the only dedicated astro camera to make the list this year was the D810A down 3%, so it would seem that astrophotographers prefer to buy other camera models and convert them themselves for astro shots. .

The Jovian family © Damian Peach (Image credit: Damian Peach)

The study also saw mirrorless cameras becoming more popular than DSLRs in the competition for the first time. DSLR camera use has fallen from 83% in 2018 to just 48% this year, while mirrorless use has fallen from 17% in 2018 to 52% in 2022, making the system slightly the most popular. This may be a growing trend that will continue to grow as many camera manufacturers have now moved away from DSLRs to focus on mirrorless systems.

In other news, ZWO’s dedicated astro cameras were clearly the favorite for planetary images, and also the most popular for deep sky imaging. Of all the pre-selected planet images, 47% were taken with a ZWO camera, while 19% of the pre-selected planet photos over the past 5 years were taken with the ZWO ASI174MM, making it the most popular model for close-ups of planets.

Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer 2 (Image credit: Sky Watcher)

Celestron leads the way in planetary images with 40% of all pre-selected planetary images taken on a single one. This puts it ahead of telescope brands such as Takahashi, Sky-Watcher and Planewave.

Some 32% of images used a Sky-Watcher telescope mount and the Sky-Watcher EQ8 Pro has been the most popular individual model over the past two years. The Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer is the most popular camera star tracker (opens in a new tab) too.

You might also like these guides:

Best camera for astrophotography (opens in a new tab)
Best telescope for astrophotography (opens in a new tab)
Best CCD Camera for Astrophotography (opens in a new tab)
The best lenses for astrophotography (opens in a new tab)
Best Star Tracking Mounts for Astrophotography (opens in a new tab)
Best Equatorial Mounts (opens in a new tab)

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