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Is my gear and some application capable enough to photograph the Aurora Borealis?

My gear:

I have heard many suggestions try to use compact camera at least, which shoot while holding shutter for few second for taking the northern lights. So, my question

  1. Am I able to take the Aurora Borealis with the given gear?
  2. Any suggestions? Additional gear, application or rather to get new camera?
share|improve this question
as @esapaulasto says, taking a real camera would be so much better for this instead of hacking together a rig. Think about it like this, you're going to go to a fairly harsh environment, shoot one of the most spectacular sights nature has to offer, and you're going to do it from your phone and hope that it all works out? Sounds like a sure fire way to get disappointing results. –  NULLZ Aug 10 '13 at 15:52
@D3C4FF Thank you for your comment, I totally agree with you that it would be better by using real camera. But I just want to know and learn that we can apply any technique or using additional reasonable price gear to acquire certain photo if we have limited camera and budget. –  Sakares Aug 11 '13 at 16:23
Well, I wouldn't call an iPhone reasonably priced either to be honest. An entry level DSLR like the Canon 550D + kit lens will cost you around $500 whereas an iPhone 5 will cost around $750. If you include 'prosumer' point and shoots that changes it even more :) –  NULLZ Aug 12 '13 at 0:26
@D3C4FF That's good point but the reason for my question since I only have an my own iPhone4S but not any DSLR camera. Why I need to buy more? if i can adjust from my own stuff. Is it wise consideration? :) –  Sakares Aug 12 '13 at 17:11
From a cost saving point of view its probably not a bad idea. An idea would be to head out somewhere with as little light pollution as possible on a clear night and then shoot a shot of the stars with your phone and then look at the image quality. Do this before you go and see if you're happy with the results. You could also try borrowing a camera off friends and family for the trip? Don't forget to come back and post pics if you do use the iPhone! :) –  NULLZ Aug 12 '13 at 23:46

2 Answers 2

You need to be at the perfect latitude(65-72deg), on a crisp, cold, clear, and cloudless night, with zero light pollution, and a huge amount of luck. Even then you are pushing it with equipment like that.

See the Auroa-Borealis tag here for much more info - http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/aurora-borealis

share|improve this answer
Could you explain more detail for perfect latitude, please? Do I need a certain degree? –  Sakares Aug 10 '13 at 10:10
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/65th_parallel_north - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/72nd_parallel_north , look at those for an idea. –  DoStuffZ May 6 '14 at 10:11

1) Yes, I believe you can capture at least something with your smartphone.

There seems to be slow shutter speed apps for iPhone, I just googled a couple and those offer max 15 second shutter speed plus Bulb mode. You will need one of this kind of apps to have long exposure on Aurora Borealis.

To keep your camera still during the long exposure you'll need a tripod with a iPhone suitable head, something like a clamp or a car phone holder.

That's what is needed, if it ever is possible to capture the Northern Lights with an iPhone. Whatever you'll catch with it, you will need some post processing on the photo. That you would best do with a real computer program, but I guess there are nice photo editing apps for iPhone too.

2) No, although you might capture something with colors in the night sky with an iPhone, it would be so much better with a real camera.

share|improve this answer
+1 for it would be so much better with a real camera! –  NULLZ Aug 10 '13 at 15:51

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