Here we list cameras preferred by astrophotographers for their excellent performance. If you are choosing a new camera, we recommend you look into these options first. However, if you already know what camera you want and it is not on the list, please do not hesitate to contact us, most likely we can make your model astro-ready too!
Canon cameras have a proven track record of outstanding performance in astrophotography. Even in unmodified form, there are plenty of good images made with unmodified Canon DSLR cameras. It gets much better though! At the Canon factory the DSLRs are fitted with and IR/UV cut filter and a low pass filter, this stops infrared and UV light reaching the sensor, and it also removes quite a bit of visible red light too. Unmodified DSLR cameras produce nice images from everyday situations, but there is room for significant improvement.
A modified Canon DSLR camera is a serious contender to expensive CCD systems, it has the large sensor size we all crave, high resolution, and thanks to the modification - high sensitivity! The newer models are much more sensitive than their predecessors too, there has never been a better time to take up astrophotography! These cameras come with all the accessories that you would expect with a new camera, including strap, battery, charger, manuals and software. The camera can even still be used in daily life by the use of a custom white balance profile. So you really get a complete system, that is capable of terrestrial photography, astrophotography and in most cases also IR photography.
For some time, Nikon was behind his main competitor in terms of digital camera noise and high ISO performance. Camera noise is one of the most critical characteristics of quality for long-exposures needed in deep-sky astrophotography. By using the latest generations of Sony sensors, Nikon caught up to Canon, and for all practical purposes the two manufacturers are extremely close today in terms of the noise present in their latest DSLR cameras.
With products like Nikon D5300, the brand now is a popular choice for photographers interested in capturing faint objects. Furthermore, Nikon offers cameras specifically aimed at astrophotography market, e.g., D810a which has an enhanced red sensitivity in a top-of-the-line full-frame camera body.
Sony offers a new full frame camera system that has pushed the bounds of digital photography. Cameras like a7s deliver the tremendous low-light capability that enables the best landscape astrophotography.
Regardless of which camera you choose, we will make it even better!
There are two major variations of the modification of a DSLR camera. Our standard modification is a true full spectrum modification, this is biased towards astrophotography. We remove both the low pass and the IR/UV cut filter, which increases sensitivity to the h-alpha line by around 300% and also allows for NIR photography. This modification has the great advantage that the sensor is completely unfiltered, we do not fit a clear glass filter. These are a source of reflections and halos around bright objects. If you are using a light pollution filter, the IR/UV will be cut anyway, although you will need a clip in IR/UV filter (Astronomik is a good choice). If you wish the camera to be more balanced and easily useable for regular photography too then we can leave in the IR/UV filter (or change it for a Baader filter), this will eliminate the need for a clip in filter for proper terrestrial photography.
Our modification is totally transparent to the user, the camera works as before, just with greatly increased sensitivity. We do not just remove the filter but also correct the optical path. There are three additional benefits to this type of modification besides the large increase in sensitivity:
How is the JTW modification any different from other modifications?
We modify cameras in a controlled clean room environment by highly experienced hands. Buying modified cameras from a company that has altered thousands of cameras over years, satisfying both hobbyists and professional film makers, you can be confident to receive a reliable product that will take your photographs on a new level.
We take great care with the modification, from simple things such as being cosmetically perfect - not a single scratch to the case is permitted, the slightest damage to the black paint on a screw leads to it being replaced with a new one on reassembly. You will not be able to tell the camera has been opened. With the utmost attention to hygiene, the camera is disassembled under an in-house produced glovebox (no dust can get into the camera!). We do not fit clear glass as standard to correct the autofocus, we instead correct the position of the sensor. This retains auto-focus without the need for clear glass, the reason for this is that it totally eliminates reflections near the sensor, which even with coated glass will still be present around bright objects.