Nikon is keen for the world to know that its D3S is now being used by no less than NASA. By implication they're also letting you know that if it's good enough for NASA it can certainly handle anything thrown at it by by Mr A Punter of Milton Keynes. And who are we to argue?

According to the press release NASA has captured more than 700,000 images with Nikon equipment carried into space, and Nikon cameras have been used by NASA since a Nikon Photomic FTN was taken aboard Apollo 15 in 1971.

Current Nikon kit on board the International Space Station includes the aforementioned D3, plus 8 D2XS bodies, 36 Nikkor lenses and 7 Speedlights.

Of the pair of images from the D3S just released by Nikon this one, showing the International Space Station and Space Stuttle suspended above the earth below, is our favourite.Makes you want to go there, doesn’t it?

Well here at WDC we like to find a practical angle to our stories wherever possible, so we’ve put together a lis of our top 10 tips for anyone planning to have a go at this themselves…


Top 10 tips for your best ever Space Pictures

  • Train to become an astronaut
    Don’t risk your safety by going up in space without the proper training!
  • Join NASA
    You’ll need to hitch a ride with somebody! Sure there are other space agencies but NASA is the big one. They’ll supply the room and board, even the clothing.
  • Tether the camera to you
    You don’t want your Nikon to float away just as you’re about to get that killer shot!
  • Set manual exposure mode
    We’re just guessing here, but we reckon that little exposure compensation button is going to be pretty hard to press with those fat gloves on. At least in manual mode those front and rear input dials for aperture and shutter speed should be easier to adjust.
  • Shoot Raw
    Given the difficulty of changing settings during the shoot is a good idea to shoot in the raw format. Not only will you get better quality but you’ll find it easier to fine tune the exposure and white balance afterwards.
  • Set multi-point AF
    Your focusing will be easily fooled by the infinite blackness of outer space. Setting multiple focus points will increase the chances of getting any off-centre subjects sharp.
  • Don’t use a tripod
    Tripods may be great for landscape photographers but they’re not much use in space. Go hand held. Many of Nikon’s lenses feature Vibration Reduction, so you’ll be fine!
  • Charge you battery before you go
    You don’t want to get all the way to space and find your camera goes flat after a few shots because you forgot to charge your battery. Keep a spare in your pocket, though good luck trying to change it with those gloves on.
  • Use a high capacity media card
    Make sure you’ve got at least 8GB of space on your media card because you might get a bit trigger happy once you’re up there, and if your card slips through your fingers while trying to change it the chances of it being handed in to lost property are slim to none.
  • Tell the story
    Don’t just go for wide views of the space shuttle or space station, try a few close up detail shots too. And don’t forget portraits of fellow astronauts – reflections of the shuttle in their glass visor is a bit of a cliché but always looks impressive.