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Circuit Breaker

Take better pictures of the night sky by strapping a minifridge to your camera

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If you’re doing any serious astrophotography, a long exposure time is critical to get good, bright images of the night sky. But taking shots with an exposure for minutes at a time with a DSLR leads to the sensor heating up, which can add digital noise to your pictures.

The solution to excess heat, of course, is to cool down your camera. Which, in the case of PrimaLuceLab’s modified Nikon D5500a, means attaching a massive cooling system to the back to allow you to perfectly regulate your sensor’s temperature.

And while it may seem like a minor thing, a sample image from PrimaLuceLab shows a visible difference between keeping the camera cooled to 28.4 degrees Fahrenheit and leaving it at room temperature at 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

There are a few catches to the Nikon D5500a Cooled cameraThere are a few catches to the Nikon D5500a Cooled camera, however. First, and most obvious, is the added weight and bulk you’re adding to the camera by attaching what is, for all intents and purposes, a small refrigerator to the back.

Next is power; as anyone who's paid an electric bill after spending a month blasting their AC knows, keeping things cool takes a lot of energy, which is why the cooling unit needs its own 12V power supply (it can also power the rest of the camera, though with an adapter).

Lastly, there's the price to consider – PrimaLuceLab sells its cooled version of the Nikon D5500a for €2,190 (around $2,422), which is a significant increase over a standard Nikon D5500’s $650 price tag.