Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

Planets on a Superzoom Camera

These are the results of trying some planetary photography with Nikon's P1000 camera with superzoom lens. This lens zooms from 4.3mm to 539mm in a single fixed lens. With its 1/2.3 in. sensor (16 Megapixels), this is the 35mm camera equivalent range of 24 to 3000mm!

While the results aren't up to what modern amateur astrophotographers can get with a real telescope and camera, it's amazing to see what's possible in a single-package consumer camera.

The camera was (precariously) mounted on a portable tracking mount, but the shots were taken by hand (no remote control). The camera's built-in image stabilization made up for the non-optimal setup. Multiple frames were stacked with AutoStakkert software for planetary images. Autostakkert was used to increase resolution 3x, and these shots were cropped significantly due to the very small angular size of the planets. Jupiter is currently 49 arcseconds across. Saturn is 18.5 arcseconds in diameter. Both planets are shown at the same scale.

From left to right, Jupiter's moons are Callisto, Europa, and Ganymede to the left of Jupiter, and Io is to the right.

Photo info
  • Date/Time: 7 Aug 2021
  • Location: Cerritos, CA
  • Camera: Nikon P1000 @ ISO 400
  • Exposure: 19 x 1/250 sec. (Jupiter), 12 x 1/40 sec. (Saturn)
  • Lens/Scope: zoom at maximum (539mm FL)
  • Filter: --
  • Mount: Skywatcher Sky Adventurer tracker
  • Guiding: --
  • Image Processing: AutoStakkert / Lightroom