Nikon Coolpix 5400 Astrophotography

Intent of this page is to cover the use of the Nikon Coolpix 5400 camera for digital astrophotography.

The Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord is an essential accessory as are additional batteries, charger and a large memory card. When first starting out, you may use up the battery very fast while you keep the monitor turned on. Having two stored settings is a very nice feature. Once you get a setup you like for astrophotography, you can keep it stored as "2" and keep "1" setup for normal photograpy.


Here are some basic settings for the Nikon Coolpix when doing astrophotography:

Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord

The Nikon Mc-Eu1 Remote Cord is very useful. The 5400 will not do continuous mode exposures when using the timed release mode (30 sec, 1, 3, 5, 10 min). However, the Mc-Eu1 has an interval mode where it will "press" the shutter release at regular intervals starting at 2 minutes up to 24 hours with 1 second steps (HH:MM:SS). Set the camera up as above, set the Mc-Eu1 in mode "A" or "B". Press the shutter release all the way. A picture every 2 minutes with a 30 second exposure will be taken until the memory card fills up or until the remote shutter release is given a 1/2 press.

I prefer mode "B" which does not start the first photo until one interval has passed - plenty of time to attach the remote to the telescope and all vibrations to stop (2 minutes is what I have tried). Now, go spend the next hour or so with your other telescope (you DO have two telescopes by now, right?) and do some visual observing of the sky while the camera and telescope do the work.


Make certain you have the camera set to landscape mode (the icon that sort of looks like a mountain range) so that the camera focus is set at infinity. Do your focusing with the telescope, not the camera. Use an attached TV/Monitor or you can use the digital zoom for checking focus. I find that the digital zoom works very nice for setting focus - just remember to go back to the maximum optical zoom before starting to make exposures.

The photo of the moon below was focused using the digital zoom to check focus. First lunar photo, 6" meade starfinder newtonian on equatorial mount. F/6.3, 1/125 sec., ISO-50 using fine resolution. Image was converted to grey and reduced resolution for Web site display. Minimal image processing done. Taken evening of October 24, 2004 from my backyard in Atlanta, GA.

October 24, 2004

Last modified on January 25, 2009
Your Web Page Creator for this page is P. Allen Jensen

You are visitor  to this page .