Looking at the rich details of the moon can be exciting. However, you don’t need expensive gear to capture good pictures of the moon. For the pictures I’ve taken, I used the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. This camera cost around $389.99. This camera features a 50x optical zoom which is equivalent of a 1200mm lens.
You may also use the Canon PowerShot SX170 IS which has 16x optical zoom. This camera cost around $179.99.
If you own a DSLR camera, I would recommend using a 300mm lens or larger. If you don’t own a DSLR, I would recommend a camera with 12x optical zoom or more. Never use digital zoom as this is considered artificial zoom.
Also, if you don’t understand your camera very well, you should refer to your manual. It is important you know what settings to set your camera to for the next set of instructions. If you can’t find your manual, you can try looking it up via Google search; simply type in the name of your camera model and the word “manual”.
It is very important to own a tripod if you want to get great photos of the moon. A cheap full size $30 tripod will do the trick.
Once you have your camera set up on your tripod, set your camera to shutter priority mode. Start with a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. Then, set your ISO level to 100 and your lens to 300mm/13x zoom or higher. The higher the value, the more details you can capture of the moon. Set your camera to timer mode. Press you shutter half way down and ensure your camera is in focus. If you know how to use manual focus, take advantage of this mode. After that, press the shutter button.
If you don’t get the results you expected you will need to adjust your settings. If the moon was too dark, use a slower shutter speed. If the moon is too bright, use a faster shutter speed. You can also adjust the ISO level but I would not exceed 200. It will take some time for you to find the right setting you need to capture the moon for the night while you are shooting. Once you find your ideal settings, make a note of it. Some cameras allow you to save your settings. Take advantage of this feature if your camera has it.
Below, I will show examples of the moon using different lenses and zoom levels. I have also used slightly different shutter speeds for each photo.
Note if I cropped the 300mm lens/12.5 x zoom photo, the photo can appear as what’s shown below.
Please note you will not be able to have large prints with a camera that has a lower optical zoom compared to having a camera and/or lens that has a higher zoom level. However, you can still be able to capture good quality pictures.
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