Photographing the Aurora does not require a high end camera, but does require a camera (or phone) with a manual mode with the following minimum features:
- Manual focus
- Adjustable exposure time - up to 15 seconds
- Adjustable ISO - with minimum 400 ISO and preferably higher
- Adjustable aperture - preferably less than f3.5
- Tripod mount or some way to hold the camera still
- Delayed shutter mode or a remote trigger
- Ideally the capability to take pictures in RAW format - not necessary, but will improve results when using Photoshop or Lightroom to develop the picture after.

Settings will vary depending on sensor light sensitivity/size. Generally the larger the sensor, the more sensitive to low light. The best is known as a full frame sensor and are available in typically DSLR or Mirrorless type cameras. These tend to start at in excess of $2000 (or as little as $1000 used) for the camera without a lens.

Generally, use the largest aperture (lowest F stop) available for your camera.

Find a location that has clearly visible stars with no significant clouds or city lights to the north.

Set the camera up on a tripod facing north. For phones - you can hold it against a clean glass window if it has a rubber case.

(practice the following at home in the light before trying this in the dark)
In Manual mode (often called Pro mode on a phone):
- if your phone or camera supports RAW output enable that as it will provide more detail to work with if you are going to enhance/clean up the final image with a photo editor.
- set the aperture to the lowest f stop available
- set the manual focus to Infinity (with a DSLR - you can try focusing on a star with a very high ISO to acquire perfect focus - this may be short of full infinity)
- set the ISO to 800
- set the exposure time to 15 seconds (or highest if 15 seconds not available such as on a phone)
- set the camera to a 2 second delay before taking the picture or use a remote trigger

Take a test shot. If it is too bright, reduce the ISO to 400 and try again. If still too bright, reduce exposure time by a few seconds at a time until you acquire the desired brightness.

If first test shot was too dark to see stars, increase the ISO - this will result in a more grainy image but will increase your chance of succeeding.

High end cameras with large apertures (f2.3 and smaller), and very high ISO capabilities (12,000+), can start with a higher ISO (but still generally under 6400) and shorter exposure time (as low as 4 seconds).

tip - If you have a higher end camera, try with an ISO as high as 1/4 of the maximum and shorten the exposure time appropriately so it isn't over exposed. For fast moving auroras, these settings will provide the greatest details.

If you can clearly see stars in the shots, you should be able to capture the Aurora if conditions are appropriate for your latitude.

If a bright moon is out, the Aurora will need to be significantly stronger to still be visible.

The further south you live the brighter the Aurora will need to be visible. It will also take up less of the sky from the northern horizon unless quite strong.

If there is interest, I can provide more information on developing RAW pictures in Photoshop or Lightroom.

I can also provide more information about Kp and Bz values and how they relate to the Aurora. Send requests through the Contact page listed below.