Moon Imaging with A DSLR AND Backyard EOS ON A Tracking Mount

I have a Canon 70D DSLR that I bought about 6 years ago when I first started astrophotography…recently I wanted to find out the detail I would be able to achieve without a telephoto lens or a telescope on the moon with my DSLR…I was surprised. My basic lens kit that came with the camera only had a focal length maximum of 250 mm. I found that there was a solution without having to go into the expense of a buying a new lens….Backyard EOS.

The DSLR has a Live View mode but it is very difficult to get a good focus with such a small screen on the back of the camera. Backyard EOS software not only solves this problem but also has a 5x view that when used gives a 1:1 resolution, basically like the “Region Of Interest” as in dedicated astro cameras. In order to have a more detailed image it is best to record the Moon in Planetary Mode. Essentially this method is known as “lucky imaging” which amounts to taking a video instead of single images, in this case in avi format. This is another advantage of using Backyard EOS with your DSLR, as the in-camera video mode… the MOV file format is compressed and not ideal. The framerate that you can record will largely be determined by your computer using Backyard EOS. The resultant avi video is processed in AutoStakkert!3 to achieve a final stacked image…post processing can be done in a number of software including Photoshop, Siril, Gimp,Raw Therapee and Luminar.

A camera tripod would be the minimal for stability but still a better solution, a tracker would afford you more ease of use and a longer video recording before the Moon would move out of range of the camera fov. A crude polar alignment is all that is necessary and setting the tracking on moon instead of the stars, of course. Having a tracker will allow you to image the other planets as well and in this case framerate and your total imaging time would be more important because the planets rotate more rapidly than the Moon and to get the best result, image capture must be more rapid and within a certain total exposure time…for example it is recommended to video image Jupiter within 2 minutes to prevent blurring due to its rapid rotation.

If you prefer to take single images of the Moon the Manual Mode is the best to use. First go to settings on your camera and set up the 2 second delay timer…preventing camera vibration and image blurring due to the mirror. This done you will then be controlling ISO, aperture and shutter speed… in Backyard EOS set the cameras ISO to the lowest possible number…around ISO 100. Then set the aperture to about F11 and adjust the shutter speed to start at about 1/25 of a second. Adjust the shutter speed if too bright or too dark. To focus, zoom in on the Moon in Backyard EOS software and with the aid of the StdDEV Focus Tool find the best focus while the software takes a series of test shots automatically.

I have included below a few references to get you started…have fun and enjoy.

Introduction Backyard EOS…

Moon Photography For Beginners


14 Tips for Shooting the Moon