Astrophotography/macro help


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Feb 21, 2013
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Hey everyone I need some help in choosing a new lens. Right now I have a d5200 and 3 lenses. The kit 18-55, a 50mm 1.8g, and a 55-300 4.5-5.6 Ed vr2. My favorite shots to do are astro and micro. The 55-300 works pretty good for my macro at the moment and my 50 works ok at best for astro.

So here's where I need help, which should I upgrade first? I enjoy both equally so neither is more important than the other. I'm considering either the nikkor 300 2.8g vr2 for astro or 85 micro. Both are a big investment so I guess I'm asking which I would see a bigger improvement with. Any help and tips are appreciated.
$ImageUploadedByTapatalk1374455022.560119.jpg here is a sample micro, don't have an astro on my phone.
Go for the 300mm f2.8 VR 2 its the biggest investment cost and the most likely area you'll see significant improvement in (macro can be done on fairly cheap setups to a good degree of quality).

That said don't forget that astro photography often has more additional costs such as tripods - equatorial tripod heads and other items - macro is also the same with things like flashes often being important additions. I can't comment on how suitable the 300mm f2.8 is for astro photography; but I can say that I'd go for the biggest cost first if I could afford it.
To begin with, we don't know which of the two NEEDS improvement, so we can't say which one will benefit more.

Also part of the formula involves which is more important to YOU.

Then there's that pesky thing called money. So your budget may have a lot to do with it.
Well I think both need improvement, astro maybe a little more. Both are very important to me though.
It depends on if you already have a mount to do astro with the 300. At that focal length you will need an equatorial mount for anything usable and with the weight of the 300 and body you are looking at a CG-5 ($600) at a minimum and most likely you'll want an Orion Atlas or similar EQ-6 ($1200) because of max load capacity, tracking accuracy, and stability.

I'd go with the macro unless you're willing to shell out the money for the other stuff for astro.

There is an old phrase in astrophotography - "Take the cost of all necessary equipment, then be prepared to pay triple that price"
If you are buying a computerised mount for astro photography dont feel a cheap one is enough, I have used a couple of cheap ones and they really do have issues, even one for 800 euros i borrowed had some tracking issues. It is quite frustrating when you are after some nice images and right near the end of the recording the mount makes some jerk and picture is ruined.
EQ - mount is best to use. Alt az mount you can get away with using for the moon sun and Orion nebular as can crop the messy corners of them off without noticing but thats really limited use, so you wouldnt be able to make any kind of landscape night sky shots.
Then you have the problem of conditions out side.

So really if you dont have much in the way of astro photography gear already head more towards the macro work for now unless you really have a high budget. Just take your time planning out what you need for astro photography its not a hobby to rush into.

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