So I have a Nikon D5500 with kit lens and wish to take nicer pictures of the moon, I have a tripod and remote control.

Can someone tell me what I need lens wise, AF-s(??) DX(??) make(??), all I know so far is to look for 70-300mm. I would like as cheap as possible, and probably second hand via ebay.

Any advice?


1 Answer 1


A long lens is essential to frame the moon and you also need a relatively bright aperture since if you end up needing more than one second of exposure, the moon will appear blurry due to motion.

Nikon makes several suitable lenses but they are very expensive. If you only need an occasional shot of the moon, just rent one. Could be an AF-S 400mm, AF-S 500mm or AF-S 600mm.

Now if you really want to buy, you would have to look at off-brands and used lenses that are no longer in production. Sigma used to have a very nice 300mm F/4 and I am sure thank Samyang or another third-party at some point made a long lens prime with decent aperture. Search used sites for telephoto lenses for Nikon F-mount. Since the moon does not move fast, you do not have to worry about AF.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you, so would something like this work do you think? ebay.ie/itm/Nikon-AF-Zoom-NIKKOR-70-300mm-f-4-5-6G-Lens-/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Mr Man
    Aug 5, 2017 at 15:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ You may look into inexpensive telescopes, some of which could have a motor drive (not required for the moon but helpful, and very helpful if you want to take shots of other night objects. \$\endgroup\$
    – Linwood
    Aug 5, 2017 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Considering the moon is bright enough to inspire the 'Lunar 11' rule that is just one stop away from Sunny 16, a particularly wide aperture really isn't that much of a necessity. ISO 100, f/8, 1/200 second is a good starting point. With any lens in the focal length range needed to fill an appreciable percentage of the frame with the moon, a tripod and very careful manual focusing will be needed to get the sharpest results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 5, 2017 at 15:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MrMan - No. That is a very dim lens, particularly when zoomed in. Sure, it will take a photo of the moon but will be most likely quite blurry or noisy if you raise ISO to compensate. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Aug 5, 2017 at 16:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't need a fast lens to photograph the moon since the illuminated portion of the moon is in direct sunlight. A quick look at many of the questions on this site show that most of them were taken at f/5.6, f/8, or even f/11. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Aug 6, 2017 at 5:21

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