Black Friday is now here and that means street and online retailers are offering discounts on products to entice early festive shoppers or those who simply want to grab a bargain before the season begins.
A large proportion of the UK shops that embrace Black Friday are electronic and camera retailers, which means there are often very good discounts on DSLR and other astrophotography cameras to be had, provided you know where to look.
As Black Friday has historically been a big event in North America, many here in the UK perhaps haven’t yet fully embraced the concept, but each year we see great offers on DSLR cameras, and more recently CCD and CMOS camera suppliers have started to get in on the action.
This makes it a great opportunity for those on the lookout for their first astrophotography camera, or perhaps seasoned astrophotographers looking for an upgrade.
But remember: don’t be dazzled by the offers on show this Black Friday. It pays to do your research before parting with your hard-earned money.
And if you need some general tips on using your camera to image the night sky, read our beginners’ guide to astrophotography.
Best Black Friday camera deals 2021
Black Friday is finally upon us, here are the best offers on cameras for astrophotography that we’ve found.
The GFX 50R is a powerful medium-format camera from Fujifilm that packs a 51.4-megapixel CMOS sensor and Fuji’s X-Processor Pro image processing engine.
Its weather-sealed body is lightweight and compact for a medium-format design and supports Fuji’s expansive G-mount range of lenses. A camera this popular is rarely seen with £1,000 swiped from its retail price.
The Sony a7 Mk III is a full frame mirrorless camera boasting a 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, auto focus and 10 fps. ISO can be extended to 50 – 204900 and the camera also offers 4K video shooting.
The Sony a7 III is currently on offer across a few online retailers for Black Friday, making this a potential big-hitter for 2021.
In summer 2021 we had the pleasure of testing out the Canon EOS R6 DSLR camera and found it to be a great option for newcomers and more experienced DSLR users, offering superb astrophotography abilities for those who want to image the night sky.
It features an ISO range between 100 and 102400, expandable to 204800, while maintaining low noise. We tested the camera during full Moon and took the opportunity to try out its fast video capability.
The camera shoots in 4K at up to 25 fps and offers a nifty high-speed video option that can reach in excess of 100fps: excellent for lunar and solar imaging. We were also able to attach the EOS R6 to a short focal length refractor and found it gave a wide field of view, allowing us to capture large objects such as the Rosette Nebula. The nebula’s associated central star cluster was clearly visible in the ‘Live View’ screen.
This is a great camera for astrophotography and is currently reduced in price as part of Black Friday offers across a range of retailers including John Lewis, Jessops and Wex Photo Video.
For more info, read our full Canon EOS R6 mirrorless camera review
The Panasonic Lumix G9 boasts a 20.3 megapixel Live MOS sensor, image stabilisation and an 80MP mode that shoots in jpg and RAW by taking 8 images concurrently then stitching them together (provided you have it mounted on a tripod). It can also shoot video in 6K and 4K.
Nikon make a range of trusted DSLR cameras suitable for astrophotography, and the company’s D780 is currently reduced as part of Amazon’s Black Friday deals. The camera offers a time-lapse motion that could be used for recording the motions of the stars, plus the ability to share jpg and RAW files with smart devices.
ISO ranges from 100-51200 and the camera also features a low-light auto focus. The body measures 10x10x10cm and weighs 840g, making it a good option for transporting to a dark-sky site for astrophotography.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III boasts a 20.4-megapixel Live MOS imaging sensor with dust-repellant coating, image stabilisation and 60fps recording.
Perhaps most interesting for astrophotographers is the ‘Starry Sky’ autofocus, specifically designed for imaging the night sky.
The camera is currently available as part of a few Black Friday offers, most of which offer a free M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f1.2 PRO Lens with your purchase.
365Astronomy is currently offering earlybird Black Friday deals on ZWO’s ASI range of CCD cameras, and we have fond memories of the ASI294MC in particular, having reviewed it way back in our October 2018 issue.
We had a great experience shooting the Moon, Saturn, Mars and the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s a great device for live capture and live stacking, and we even got to enjoy watching a comet cross the screen in real time.
For more info, read our full ZWO ASI294MC Pro camera review.
- Buy now from 365Astronomy
Where to find Black Friday camera deals
A list of suppliers and online shops to keep an eye on for Black Friday deals
When is Black Friday 2021?
Black Friday normally falls on the last Friday of November, which is the Friday after Thanksgiving in the US.
In 2021, Black Friday is on 26 November, but sales will most likely begin a week or more before.
If you’re on the lookout for a Black Friday camera deal, there are usually a good number of bargains to be found at the start of the week.