Getting a better Moon photo
In nearly every case, your first photo through the telescope is going to be the Moon. That's because the Moon is awesome. You know that it's something you absolutely have to do.
I've written about attaching your mobile phone or DSLR to a scope before, and how you can get a single shot. But people often ask me how to get a better photo.
You use lots of shots.
Here's my effort. A while back, there was a bit of sun, and the Moon was visible high in the blue sky when I got back from walking the dog. I fetched my camera and birding lens and put it on a tripod.
I set the camera to manual, and focused carefully using the live view on the back of the camera. I set a 1/1000 second with ISO 200, and set the aperture to underexpose slightly. I didn't want any part of the Moon overexposed. Then I switched to video mode and shot for about a minute - during which a plane passed.
Back inside, I downloaded the movie onto my computer. It's an MOV file, which had about 1900 frames, of 1920x1080 pixels. Remember, even high definition video is a lot lower resolution than still frames.
Processing takes three steps. PIPP, Registax and GIMP.
PIPP (planetary image pre-processing) is free. I used it to winnow down the frames to the highest quality ones, and crop and centre the Moon for later. It spat our another video, and AVI, with about 200 smaller, stable frames.
Registax (stacking and sharpening program) is also free. It took the frames, stacked them on top of each other, creating a higher quality frame. Then it sharpened the image using "wavelets" (which I confess I don't understand).
Lastly, I adjusted the image in GIMP (image processing - also free), pushing the contrast and making other minor tweaks.
There's nothing complicated or costly about this. Try it yourself!
Even better by using more of your pixels
How to improve more? Shoot individual stills - they use all the camera's pixels.