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I've seen breathtaking milky way photos that have no trail/streaks which of course I always get when shooting my DSLR at 30 seconds or longer - I can't find a clear answer that doesn't include using editing software to layer multiple images into one. How do you guys do it? And is it possible with a Nikon D50 & kit lens 18-55 Tia?

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is achievable with your kit, though a little harder as the camera is a little old and the lens not so fast (buying a cheap 50/1.8 might help). The most important thing is to find an area to shoot from with very dark skies - light pollution from urban areas is a huge problem. If you find a good spot you could even see it with your own eyes. Get a fast wide lens, get yourself in a very remote location - I've taken milky ways in single shots on just a tripod - location was key \$\endgroup\$ Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 0:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? photo.stackexchange.com/a/14696/65832 \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 8:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? What is the "Rule of 600" in astrophotography? \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 8:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You can search the web for the 500 rule which is also sometimes referred to as the 600 rule and also the more complex NFP rule \$\endgroup\$
    – MrUpsidown
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 8:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this answer your question? How can I avoid star trails without an expensive tracking mount? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Sep 27, 2022 at 11:37

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You would typically use an equatorial tracking mount. This is a motorized mount that tracks the apparent movement of the sky. The inexpensive systems run about USD 400. You can get an idea of what is offered at the BH Photo web site. Another technique is piggy backing the camera to a telescope with a tracking mount which is what I do when others/organizations allow me to do so. Typically, you set up the mount so it is approximately aligned (about 0.5° off) with the Pole Star.

The D50 coupled with the 18-55 kit lens isn't the best system for astro photos, but you can have fun with it if you have a tracking mount. For good results, you will need to take multiple images and stack them using a program like Sequator. There are better and more confusing astro stacking programs out there, but Sequator is relatively easy to use. Stacking will allow you to reduce camera image noise. Also, the features in an astro stacking program allow you to remove other artifacts which detract from the image.

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