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I really want to take a picture of the Milky Way using my camera. I'm not sure if it is able to pick it up? The lens I am currently using is a Canon EF 55-200mm. Should I be able to this?

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Yes, put it on a tripod, point it at the right part of the sky at the right time and do a long exposure in bulb mode. The only problem you might run in to is that the field of view of the 55mm lens may be too narrow, but you can get part of it. –  AJ Henderson May 2 at 14:31
    
In seriousness though, I suggest you take a look at this post. It covers everything you need to know. –  AJ Henderson May 2 at 14:36
    
Okay Thank You :) –  Zoe Seymour May 2 at 15:01
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The problem with long exposures for astrophotography is the apparent motion of the stars as seen from the surface of the earth. This is particularly true as focal lengths increase. The longest exposure with a 55mm focal length on an APS-C camera such as the 300D that will not show star trails (8x10 print viewed at 10 inches by a person with 20/20 vision) is about 7 seconds. For 200mm it is just under 2 seconds. –  Michael Clark May 3 at 1:35
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Further, the span of the Milky Way in the sky requires a much wider focal length to capture an appreciable part of it with an APS-C camera. Something along the lines of the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 would be more appropriate for capturing views of the Milky Way. See photo.stackexchange.com/questions/43114/… –  Michael Clark May 3 at 1:39

1 Answer 1

While it's definitely possible to capture the Milky with that lens, I would highly recommend something fast and wide. I recommend f/2.8 but you could probably get away with f/3.5. The problem is that you need to let in a lot of light for the Milky Way to be visible and the wider the aperture, the easier this is. You're 55-200mm lens might be too narrow for this use. If you're looking for a cheap lens to do the job, you might be able to get away with the 18-55mm Canon kit lens that comes with beginner DSLR's.

Obviously you're going to need a tripod since your exposure time is going to be rather long. I also recommend using live view if possible since focusing using the viewfinder in the dark is a pain.

Choosing the correct shutter speed can be tricky. The earth is spinning pretty dang fast so leave open to long and you're going to get star trails. I recommend using the 500 rule.

shutter speed = 500 / (focal length * crop factor)

The crop factor varies from camera to camera but for Canon I believe it's 1.6.

Shoot at the highest ISO possible without introducing any noticeable noise. Once again, you need all the light you can get. Also, be sure to shoot away from cities, homes, etc... The ambient light will distract from the picture and most likely ruin it. (The moon can also do this.)

I did a quick Google search and found this: How to see the Milky Way. It's not always visible in all the parts of the world, so be sure you known where to be when it's visible.

Good luck!

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