Capturing the Aurora for under $500

Every time the news stations post about the Aurora Borealis showing up, groups are flooded with questions like “Can my camera capture them? ” “Does this lens work?”

While there are other cameras you can buy used, I compiled a list of new cameras so you don’t have to worry if the camera will work for you.

Things you will need:

Camera: Preferably a DSLR or mirrorless for changing out your lenses, but you can still capture them with a bridge camera or all in one cameras like the RX100)
Lens: Wider the better 10mm to 24mm will work. Prime lenses allow the fstop to be dropped from f2.8 to 1.2 depending on which one you get and how much you want to spend 
Tripod: A sturdy tripod is essential for long exposure shots. You also want a quality tripod that won’t break on your. Also cheaper tripods can’t hold as much weight.
SD card: Preferably 16gigs or more since you will be taking a lot of photos.
Remote: Some newer cameras have a built in delay you can use instead

Four new cameras to choose from:

Sony RX100: $450

Sony DSC-RX100/B 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom

The Sony RX100 is an all in one camera that allows take amazing photos with out all the bulky equipment. The camera comes with a Zeiss 1.8 lens that is equivalent to 28 to 100mm lens. This means you are able to have it opened up wide to let a lot of light in without needing to up your ISO or keep your shutter open for too long. This camera also works as a day to day travel camera. Most importantly it allows you to control the setting in manual mode.

Sony A5000: $498

Sony Alpha a5000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50mm OSS Lens (Black)

The A5000 is an older model that you can still get brand new. It does come with a 16-50mm lens and it also allows you to change out the lenses. This means you can get a faster, wider lens to help capture the lights. The A5000 is a mirrorless camera which is why the body is a lot smaller than most DSLR cameras.

Nikon D3400: $499

Nikon D3400 w/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Black)

Nikon’s entry level camera still packs a punch. Sitting at 24 megapixels, it allows you to have high quality images without breaking the bank. The 18-55 lens allows you to shoot at a wide view, but it the fstop stays around 3.5 at 18mm. If you want to go faster, you will have to replace the lens with a prime lens that will allow you to be around f2.0 or faster. The camera even comes with a scene selection mode that allows you to shoot at night without having to mess with the settings.

Canon T6: $449

Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera Kit with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II Lens (Black)

The Canon Rebel 6 may be a little basic out of all the Canon current line up, but it comes with WIFI which allows you to connect to your phone. This connection allows you to use an app to control your camera as a remote. This means you will not have to pay for a remote to take pictures. Again, you will be getting the 18-55mm lens and to help out with capturing the lights, you will need to buy a faster lens.

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