Fuji X-Series Cameras For Astrophotography

Milky Way galaxy 2

I had an opportunity to go out and do some night photography somewhere dark with the Fuji X-Pro1 camera last weekend and had my mind blown yet again by this little camera system.  I’ve been experimenting with this camera over the past month, first to get to know it and then with a digiscoping setup.  This particular astrophotography experiment was in the plans for a while and then David Hobby sent me a Tweet with a stunning photo of the Milky Way made with his Fuij and the 35mm, f/1.4.  That photograph appeared in the MeFoto blog today and now I wished that I would have at least tried a longer lens…



I had a digiscoping setup with me, and grabbed one shot of the moon, but for reasons that are now unclear, I did not point that setup at the Milky Way.  Next time for sure.


BWJones in desert

Big Dipper

Regardless, all the traditional lenses I had with me were the 8mm fisheye and the 14mm and I figured that the Fuji 14mm f/2.8 should do the trick as it is tack sharp, but the detail, color and resolution that came through really impressed me.  Most of all perhaps was the lack of noise in the image.  Granted, one can get a cleaner image with more information in it through image stacking and averaging as well as noise reduction, but this is what is possible right out of the camera.


Shooting star Canon

By comparison, the Canon 1DX I had with me on the same ISO setting of 4000 and could not resolve as many stars without cranking up the color noise.  You can make beautiful night images with the Canon, that is for sure, but the Fuji X-trans sensor shows its added dynamic range when pushed in environments like this.


Milky Way1

Fundamentally though, there is a huge advantage of the Fuji X-trans sensor in that there is no aliasing filter which allows for many more of the fainter stars to be visible as they are not effectively median filtered out of the scene.

As an aside, the other thing to note with the wider lens is how unbelievably many stars there are out there.  And check out the galaxies and nebulae that you can make out!  Its a little shocking to think that current estimates are that 30% of those stars out there have planets orbiting about them.  The implications are absolutely stunning.  I’d love to see what can be done by someone with a proper telescope with the option to mount a camera via a T2 adapter.  It would be very interesting to see how an X-trans sensor compared with a cooled CCD for instance.


In the tent

You really do owe it to yourself to seek out one of the places on the globe with truly dark skies.  Most folks that spend their lives in urban centers will never recline on a sleeping bag in a tent and see a view like this unfold above them.  It is a life changing experience that forever alters your view of the universe and just, where you fit in.



One final Fuji related note:  This outing also revealed that Fuji really needs an internal intervalometer and an option to turn off all viewfinders on the camera back and in the eyepiece to prolong battery life for long exposure sessions.  This is just software at this point and Fuji seems to get that better than most camera companies out there.  Additional exposure time options would be desirable as well.  Its true that one can use the bulb setting, but for true intervalometer based photography, exposure should be programable.

13 Replies to “Fuji X-Series Cameras For Astrophotography”

  1. You don’t have to give all your secrets away but where do you go for these shots? I figure you follow I80 out into the west at least for a little bit but then what? Knolls exit and into the rough? How far from the freeway?

    The pictures are really great. Like the one from the tent for some context. The animation is great too.

    1. Hey Stu,

      Yeah, I gotta say that Fuji has done some amazing work in realizing that cameras can be upgraded through software. Most camera companies make you wait and pay for another model of camera to get new features while Fuji just gives them to people, even when those cameras have been discontinued. Love that company.

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