What is the best camera to take pictures of the Moon? (2024)

By Antoni Cladera


John Gaudette, the author of the beautiful picture I used as the cover of this article, didn't copy and paste the Moon in Photoshop.

He followed 2 basic steps:

  1. He thoroughly read our Moon photography guide.

  2. He planned his shot with PhotoPills.

That's it! ;)

OK. I know, I know.

I'm simplifying things a bit too much.

But that's really all it takes to capture amazing pictures of the Moon.

Obviously, apart from doing what John did, you also need to think a little bit about your camera equipment. And more specifically, about your camera body and your lens.

And then, nail the shot using the right Moon photography settings.

But first thing first.

You ask me what the best camera to take pictures of the Moon is.

Here's my answer...

"The moon lives in the lining of your skin." - Pablo Neruda

Moon Photography: The Definitive Guide

Get this ebook for free now!


  1. What is the best camera to take pictures of the Moon?
  2. How to choose the best camera for Moon photography
  3. Your camera choice depends on the Moon picture you want to capture
  4. Best Nikon camera for Moon photography
  5. Best Sony camera to take photos of the Moon
  6. Best Canon camera for taking photos of the Moon
  7. Best Fujifilm camera for capturing the Moon
  8. Best Panasonic camera to take pictures of Moon
  9. Best cheap cameras for Moon photography
  10. Moon photography with a smartphone
  11. Capturing the Moon with a DSLR or mirrorless camera
  12. Photographing the Moon with a smartphone
  13. Run away for the GAS

1.What is the best camera to take pictures of the Moon?

super blue blood moon aligned with the top of Albert Bridge in London, UK
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | 250mm | f/11 | 1/15s | ISO 800
Photo by Jonathan Bond

"Toni, tell me... What's the best camera to take pictures of the Moon?"

Don't worry, because you don't need to spend a fortune! :D

The best camera is the one you have.


To get the best possible Moon photos, make sure your camera:

  • Has a sensor with a reasonably high dynamic range sensor.
  • Produces as little noise as possible.
  • Has a good resolution.
  • Features some stabilization technology.

After years testing and comparing many camera bodies these are, in my opinion, the best cameras to take pictures of the Moon:

And remember that you can always take advantage of a camera body with a cropped sensor as it brings you closer even further.

Let's say that you have a mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor. So, depending on the brand of camera you use, your 400mm focal length might increase to an equivalent of 640mm.

And if you wish to go longer, you can always use a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter... ;)

2.How to choose the best camera for Moon photography

full moon over the Seu Vella, Lleida (Spain)
Canon EOS 7D Mark II | 400mm | f/5.6 | 1.6s | ISO 400
Photo by Jorge Lázaro

Contrary to what most people believe, in Moon photography the camera is not as important, but the lens is paramount.

Yes, a good camera can help you achieve outstanding results.

But you don't need the best and most expensive camera in the market to capture jaw-dropping pictures of the Moon...

So what should you look for in a camera?

Because choosing the best camera to take pictures of the Moon can be overwhelming.

Let me help you with some practical advice ;)

Here are a few features that you should consider when investing in the best camera to capture the Moon:

  • No need to have a 50MP sensor. It produces files with a huge size, it effectively restricts camera's frame rates and its buffer, it requires high-quality lenses capable of resolving a lot of detail and you'll need to pay much more attention to your focusing techniques – even a slight focus error will show.
  • Look for stabilization. Choose a camera with some sort of internal stabilization to avoid motion blur.
  • Invest in high-quality autofocus. You want your subject to be tack sharp regardless of the scene's natural light conditions, so the faster and accurate the better.
  • Make sure it has a good battery life. In very cold weather, batteries produce electricity much more slowly and less efficiently. Your battery can run down extremely quickly and stop powering your camera right in the middle of your shooting session.
  • Consider its weight. Try to get a camera body that's not excessively heavy. You'll really start to notice that extra weight after carrying it for hours during an uphill hike...

"But Toni... What about the camera's sensor?"

Ah! I was waiting for that question :D

There's no need to obsess over sensors: dynamic range and noise may not be crucial depending on the scene's natural light conditions.

So your choice between a cropped or a full frame (FF) sensor will actually depend on the picture you've imagined.

Let's have a look at each system advantages:

  • Cropped sensor. The crop factor increases your focal reach. And with a longer focal length, the Moon looks bigger vs the subject in frame.
  • Full frame sensor.
    • Dynamic range. A FF sensor has a higher dynamic range, so it's easier to get the exposure you want and capture the shot in just one frame (vs other sensor that would force you to take 2 shots and blend them in post-processing).
    • Noise. A FF sensor produces less noise at high ISOs, so you'll get crisper and cleaner images.

So... What's more important to you?

3.Your camera choice depends on the Moon picture you want to capture

diagram with different examples of the moon size inside the frame based on the focal length used

Deciding the type of Moon picture you want to capture implies that you need to ask yourself a couple of questions.

Question #1. What natural light do you want in the scene? It's important to decide it because it will determine:

Question #2. How big do you want the Moon in the frame? It's important to determine it because it will affect on:

  • The shooting spot position.
  • The lens choice.

What natural light you want in the scene

The first factor that you should take into account when imagining your shot and thinking about the composition is what natural light you want in the scene.

Why is natural light so important in Moon photography?

For starters because depending on the type of natural light in the scene, the color of the Moon will change. So the Moon's color can be white, yellow, orange, pink or red.

But the type and quantity of natural light in the scene will also affect the exposure. So depending on the scene's dynamic range, you'll be able to capture the Moon and the landscape in a single exposure. Or not.

And here's where the camera you're shooting with comes into play.

Depending on the sensor it has, you may easily shoot in low light conditions while not having to worry about the dynamic range or the noise.

Become a master learning everything you need to know about natural light.

How big you want the Moon in the frame

As I said before, the second factor that you should take into account when imagining your shot and thinking about the composition is how big you want the Moon in the frame.

Now, how can you determine the Moon size?

Well, you should take 2 things into account:

  1. The shooting spot determines the size of the Moon relative to the subject size. So the further away you are from the subject, the bigger the Moon will look like.

  2. The focal length determines the Moon size in the frame. And that's because a telephoto lens compresses perspective.

So if you want a:

  • Moon as a dot, use a wide-angle lens (10-35mm).
  • Small Moon, use intermediate focal lengths (35-200mm).
  • Large (or huge!) Moon, select long focal lengths (>200mm).

If you want to know more on the subject:

4.Best Nikon camera for Moon photography

Moonrise over Maroon Bells, USA
Canon EOS 6D | 200mm | f/11 | 1.3s | ISO 100
Photo by Sean Qiu

Nikon Z6 II is the best Nikon camera for Moon photography.

With a 24MP sensor, it hits the sweet spot between resolution and processing power.

In terms of autofocus, the hybrid AF system locks onto subjects with unerring accuracy. It's still a half step behind the phase-detect systems employed by other cameras, but it's not far off.

The Z6 II is a low light specialist.

It's capable of capturing excellent dynamic range. And it's particularly high from ISO 100 right through to ISO 6400, giving you plenty of scope for capturing high-speed or low light shots without having to sacrifice highlight or shadow detail.

Exposure metering works all the way down to -6EV, enabling the camera to practically see in the dark. And shooting in the dark is one of the areas where the in-body image stabilization comes into play.

Nikon's system is right up there with Canon and Panasonic in terms of full frame stabilization, leaving Sony in the rear-view mirror.

If you shoot with a DSLR or have an FTZ/FTZ II mount adapter for your Z-series camera, you're spoilt for choice when it comes to super-tele prime and zoom lenses.


  • Great for low-light shooting.
  • Excellent weather sealing.
  • Great lens options.


  • No articulating screen.
  • Lots of competition at a similar or lower price.
  • Menu system needs improvement.

5.Best Sony camera to take photos of the Moon

earthshine moon during sunrise above a telescope of the Teide observatory, Tenerife (Spain)
Canon EOS 80D | 45mm | f/5 | 1/5s | ISO 800
Photo by Antonio Martín

An advanced hybrid mirrorless camera, the Sony a7 IV has an outstanding resolution and autofocus performance.

Its 33MP full frame sensor features a back-illuminated design that promotes high clarity, low noise, and vivid color rendering.

However, the extra resolution does mean some compromises.

The first compromise with the a7 IV is dynamic range, which is noticeably weaker than the competition once you exceed ISO 400.

The second one is noise. The raw files appear a little noisy to the naked eye, which is understandable – all other things being equal, more megapixels means smaller photosites which means more noise.

The autofocus is just amazing. The system incorporates 759 phase-detection points for quick and precise focusing in a variety of lighting conditions with sensitivity down to -4EV.

If you're ready to jump into full frame from a cropped sensor or even a DSLR camera, this is a very well-rounded camera for all purposes including Moon photography, and at a reasonable price.


  • Fully articulated LCD.
  • Solid build quality.
  • Great EVF.
  • Sensor anti dust function.


  • Complex to set up and use.
  • Overheating issues in some units.

6.Best Canon camera for taking photos of the Moon

Moonset through the rock arch of Pont d'en Gil, Menorca (Spain)
Canon EOS 5D Mark II | 120mm | f/5.6 | 1s | ISO 1000
Photo by Xavier Riera

The Canon R6 is a versatile all-round camera that can shoot pretty much anything.

While you might feel that 20.1MP is on the low side, it should be more than enough for taking photos of the Moon. But as you may have guessed, the Canon R6 can't quite resolve the same amount of fine detail as the more pixel-packed Nikon, Panasonic and Sony cameras.

Of course, the big bonus of having a sensor with fewer megapixels is that it gives the Canon R6 an advantage in terms of low light and ISO performance.

Its autofocus is truly otherworldly and the in-body image stabilization is the best of any full frame system. The focusing system offers smooth and fast focusing performance.


  • Astonishing low light performance.
  • Excellent autofocus.
  • Outstanding image stabilization.
  • Good value for price.


  • Limited resolution (20.1MP).
  • Limited lens options.
  • Improvable monitor and viewfinder.

7.Best Fujifilm camera for capturing the Moon

Moonrise over the windmill of Durban, Gers (France)
Canon EOS 1100D | 186mm | f/16 | 1/40s | ISO 100
Photo by Alban Portello

The Fujifilm X-H2S is certainly one of the best professional cameras you can buy.

Its 26.1MP stacked sensor, which has an amazing low-light performance and a design that helps reduce noise while improving tonality and clarity.

The hybrid focusing system uses 425 phase-detection points and is now sensitive down to -7EV for working in truly low-light conditions.

Built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by up to 7 stops. This system works in conjunction with most Fujifilm X Series lenses, including non-stabilized ones, and benefits working with slower shutter speeds and when shooting in difficult lighting conditions.

In terms of resolution, the Fujifilm X-H2S has a fantastic resolving power at lower sensitivities, and resolves great detail at high ISOs.

The other key factor is that Fujifilm has built a very convincing array of lenses for all manner of photographic genres.


  • Excellent image quality.
  • Up to 7 stops of stabilization.
  • Good battery life.


  • Costs as much as full frame competitors.
  • May need an optional cooling fan.

8.Best Panasonic camera to take pictures of Moon

Full moon rising over Torre Sevilla, Seville (Spain)
Canon EOS 5D Mark III | 600mm | f/6.3 | 1.6s | ISO 320
Photo by Jose Romero

The Panasonic S1 is a well-rounded camera offering advanced stills capabilities, along with a robust physical construction.

While other manufacturers have plumped for phase detection or hybrid AF systems for their full frame cameras, Panasonic stuck with contrast detection for the S1. However, it's impressive.

Its 24MP sensor strikes a nice balance between detail level and noise visibility.

The dynamic range is very high. If you need to, low ISO raw files can be brightened by as much as 5EV with a relatively modest increase in luminance noise.

Another benefit of a moderate pixel count on a full frame sensor is that noise is controlled well up to around ISO 12800.


  • Stunning image quality.
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization.
  • Accessible price relative to S1R.


  • Too bulky.
  • No fully-articulated screen.

9.Best cheap cameras for Moon photography

Full Moon at 98% behind the Altare della Patria monument, Rome (Italy)
Canon EOS 70D | 200mm | f/6.3 | 1s | ISO 800
Photo by Fabrizio Paravani

As I said at the beginning of this article, you don't need to break the bank and invest in a super expensive camera to capture jaw-dropping shots of the Moon.

As a matter of fact, you just need a camera (e.g. the one you already have) and a telephoto lens (and that's not even mandatory, but just advisable).

So yes, you can take Moon pictures with a cheap camera.

"That's great Toni... But what's the best cheap camera to shoot the Moon?"

If you're looking for the best value for money, these are the best cheap cameras for Moon photography:

Let's have a look at each one of them.

The Nikon Z5 is a very good entry-level full frame camera. It's fully weather sealed, featuring 5-stop in-body image stabilization, a 24.3MP sensor that goes up to ISO 51200 in native settings, and a class-leading electronic viewfinder.

The Sony a6600 stunning AF, in-body image stabilization and large battery make it suitable for demanding stills photography. It's Sony's most powerful APS-C mirrorless camera to date with a very attractive price tag.

The Canon R8 kind of does it all. Whatever your photographic medium, this camera can shoot it. It uses the same sensor and processor as the R6 Mark II, with the latest subject recognition and tracking, 24.2MP images, ISO all the way up to 102400, and an amazing 40 frames per second shooting speed.

So as you can see, there are excellent options in the market even if you have a small budget.

10.Moon photography with a smartphone

full moon rising above the castle, Monteagudo (Spain)
Canon EOS 80D | 220mm | f/11 | 1s | ISO 100
Photo by Pedro Cazorla

Taking pictures of the Moon with a smartphone can be challenging, and you'll often be disappointed by the results. The sky might look grainy, or the moon and stars may not show up in your photo.

But it's not impossible...

With a few simple solutions, you'd be surprised at what you can capture when you shoot the night sky with your smartphone.

Let me start by saying that since I'm an iPhone user, I'll talk from my own experience. But most of what you're about to read is also valid for a lot of Android phones.

Now... What should your iPhone ideally have to nail your Moon shots?

Well, here are a few features that will help you photographing the Moon with an iPhone:

  • One vs several lenses.
  • Exposure lock option.
  • Night mode.
  • RAW shooting option.
  • 3rd party app to control the settings.

Obviously, right now the best iPhone to take pictures of the Moon is the iPhone 14 Pro.

Or go for the iPhone 14 Pro Max if you need a bigger screen, but the camera system is the same.

One vs several lenses (1)

Nowadays, except for some very specific old models, most iPhones have at least 2 lenses and one of them is a telephoto lens (either 2x or 3x).

So, avoid shooting with your iPhone's short (wide angle) focal length. If you do, the Moon will appear very small in the photo, almost like a dot (section 3).

Switch to the telephoto lens instead, and zoom in so that the Moon appears as large as possible on the screen.

Exposure lock option (2)

The exposure lock option is particularly important if you decide to take your Moon photos during the last part of the golden hour and during the blue hour, when the Sun is already below the horizon.

In that time frame the amount of natural light in the scene is decreasing and as the smartphone camera has a very small sensor its capacity to deal with a high dynamic range scene is limited.

So tap and hold the screen to lock focus on the Moon. You'll see AE/AF lock in yellow at the top of the screen when focus is locked.

Then, simply swipe down to reduce the exposure. You'll see the sun icon on the exposure slider and the image will begin to appear darker as you swipe.

Night mode (3)

Night mode in the iPhone Camera app allows you to take better low light photos than ever before.

Night mode uses in-camera software to create sharp, grain-free photos with amazing color and detail.

When you shoot with Night mode, the camera captures multiple shots over a few seconds. These images are then blended into a single high-quality image.

And the best of it all is that Night mode actually comes on automatically whenever you shoot in low light.

RAW shooting option (4)

On the latest iPhone models, you can take photos in Apple ProRAW – an native RAW image format that gives you greater creative control when editing photos.

Apple ProRAW combines the information of a standard RAW format along with iPhone image processing, which gives you more flexibility when editing the exposure, color, and white balance in your photo.

Alternatively, there are several 3rd party apps that allow you to shoot in RAW as well.

3rd party app to control the settings (5)

Nowadays, the vast majority of smartphones (including iPhones) don't allow you to change the aperture.

If your iPhone doesn't have the Night mode, it will automatically increase the ISO. That means your photos will have a lot of noise.

So look for a 3rd party app with iPhone manual camera controls. It will allow you to control the shutter speed and ISO settings at least.

Depending on the app, you may even control more settings.

11.Capturing the Moon with a DSLR or mirrorless camera

Blue hour shot of moon positioned right above turbine blade in the plains of Easter Colorado, USA
Canon 5DS R | 160mm | f/6.3 | 1/640s | ISO 200
Photo by Paul Malinowski

Have I told that our motto is "Imagine. Plan. Shoot!"... ;)

That's right.

  1. Imagine. It all begins with the same question: "What story do you want to tell?"

  2. Plan. You can't expect to arrive at a location at any time of the day (or night), put your tripod anywhere, work a bit on your composition and settings and get a jaw-dropping picture. You need to plan your Moon shot (with PhotoPills of course).

  3. Shoot! It's finally time to grab your gear and capture that Moon shot you've planned so carefully...

Imagine your Moon shot after getting inspired (1)

PhotoPills Awards Instagram feed
PhotoPills Awards - Have a quick glance at our Instagram feed to see all the featured images.
PhotoPills Awards photo detail
PhotoPills Awards - If you're interested in a particular photo, tap it to see all the details.

If you need more examples to get inspired, check the PhotoPills Awards where dozens of PhotoPillers like you submit their best Moon photos every day.

You'll find them in our Instagram account (follow us!) and in the PhotoPills app (My Stuff Menu > Awards).

But there's more...

Because if you have an amazing shot that you want to be showcased, you can submit your own photos too and help us inspire other PhotoPillers! ;)

Apart from these specific examples, one good source of inspiration is this article I wrote with a selection of the 2022 best Moon pictures.

Plan your picture of the Moon (2)

PhotoPills Advanced depth of field tool
PhotoPills Planner - The Moon is aligned with the Torre Sevilla on 05/04/2023 at 08:38 pm and is 198.1 m above the Black Pin (see top panel). The Field of View tool allows you to view the field of view (FoV) with a 400mm focal length on the map.
PhotoPills Augmented Reality view
PhotoPills Planner - Thanks to the Augmented Reality view you can visualize on your smartphone the position of the Moon relative to the Torre Sevilla.

You can't expect to arrive at a location at any time of the day (or night), put your tripod anywhere, work a bit on your composition and settings and get an amazing picture.

That's not how it works.

You need to plan your photos.

Planning is always essential but even more so in Moon photography.

And this is where PhotoPills comes into play.

It's the best tool to help you plan your Moon picture, including the 3 basic pieces of information – the shooting spot, the shooting date and the shooting time.

And now let's have a look at the 2 types of Moon picture that you can shoot:

  • A Moonrise (or a Moonset).
  • A big Moon aligned with a subject.

If you want learn how to do it step by step, have a look at my tutorial on

Time to shoot your Moon photo! (3)

Setting full moon during the sunrise blue hour at death valley national park, USA
Nikon D810 | 250mm | f/9 | 1/60s | ISO 64
Photo by Arpan Das

To take a great picture of the Moon you basically need to follow the same steps regardless of whether you're shooting the Moon alone or with a foreground. The only difference is where you should focus.

Let's have a look at each of the shooting workflows.

How to take a picture of a certain Moon phase

To take a picture of a certain Moon phase, follow the steps below:

  1. Get to your shooting spot in advance.

  2. Place the tripod at the shooting spot.

  3. Prepare your camera equipment.

  4. Set the shooting mode to Manual (M).

  5. Set the focal length according to the Moon size you want in the frame.

  6. Set the aperture between f/8 and f/11.

  7. Focus on the Moon and make sure that it's tack sharp.

  8. Set the ISO to 100.

  9. Adjust the shutter speed, but never above 1s.

  10. Take a test shot and check the histogram to make sure the exposure looks good.

How to take a picture of the Moon with a foreground

Watch this video where you'll learn how to photograph the Moon with a foreground:

To take a picture of the Moon with a foreground, follow the steps below:

  1. Get to your shooting spot in advance.

  2. Place the tripod at the shooting spot.

  3. Prepare your camera equipment.

  4. Set the shooting mode to Manual (M).

  5. Set the focal length according to the Moon size and the framing (composition) you want.

  6. Set the aperture to f/8 but be ready to open the aperture to f/5.6 or f/4 depending on the natural light you have in the scene.

  7. Focus on the subject.

  8. Set the ISO to 100 and be ready to push it up to 400 or 800 depending on the natural light you have at the time of the photo.

  9. Adjust the shutter speed, but never above 1s.

  10. Take a test shot and check the histogram to make sure the exposure looks good.

  11. Take a 3-shot bracketing of 1 stop if you need it.

Read more on how to take a picture of the Moon with a foreground.

12.Photographing the Moon with a smartphone

full moon setting over a rock formation, Ibiza (Spain)
Canon EOS 6D | 150mm | f/9 | 1/60s | ISO 400
Photo by Marc Torres

One of my favorite sentences in photography is the one that says that "the best camera is the one you have on you".

Not everyone has a good camera. But everyone has a smartphone.

And you can actually take a cool picture of the Moon whether you have an iPhone or an Android phone if you follow a very basic workflow.

Remember that, depending on the natural light present on the scene, you'll need to use a tripod, take a long exposure or be careful with the exposure.

Here's what you should do:

  1. Zoom in on the Moon.

  2. Lock down the focus.

  3. Lower the exposure.

  4. Take the photo! :)

13.Run away from the GAS

We're all gear-heads at heart. We love hearing about the newest and greatest camera out there, and we love seeing comparisons with different lenses.

We all fall victims to gear acquisition syndrome (also commonly known as "GAS").

I'm weak, – I get tempted by gear all the time... And I bet you are too...

Otherwise, you wouldn't be reading this article, would you? :P

You were looking for the best camera to take pictures of the Moon, right?

So you asked for it and I delivered:

  • My top picks for Moon cameras in 2023.
  • A guide to help you choose the best camera for shooting the Moon.

And that's cool, but there's something more important.

Having gear can make it easier to capture the type of image you want, but won't make you a better photographer.

So what makes you a better photographer?

  1. Learning.

  2. Practicing.

Learn, learn, learn. How to plan a Moon shot. A shooting technique. What other Moon photographers do. You name it.

And then, practice what you've learnt.

Instead of checking out specs on new cameras and lenses, spend your time planning and taking more pictures (of the Moon)!

And of course, don't forget to learn and practice how to plan your next Moon shot with PhotoPills.

It's the best piece of advice I'll ever give you ;)


Antoni Cladera is a landscape photographer commited to the environment. Artist of the Spanish Confederation of Photography and member of the Spanish Association of Nature Photographers (AEFONA). He's part of the PhotoPills Team.

Special thanks to Sandra Vallaure, a great photographer and friend, for her tremendous help in making this article possible.

Note: Some links on this page are affiliate links. What does this mean? If you buy/rent using these links you're helping support us and it costs you nothing extra. Thank you for your support.

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