Hi there! As a fellow 18 year old who started doing astrophotography with very similar equipment a year ago, I'll put my 2¢ in:
It is not impossible to take astrophotos with the equipment that you have right now! You just need to be aware that without tracking, you won't get results similar to what you see posted here on Cloudy Nights. But you can capture a significant amount! For example, with my old Canon 350D and 18-55mm kit lens, in my urban backyard, on a stationary tripod, I was able to capture an 11th magnitude galaxy-- the trick was that it was NGC 6217, near the north pole (so I could let the exposure go on for a long time without trailing), and it was only a tiny smudge a few pixels above background level. I stacked two hours of exposures to get it, and man, was I proud!
You won't capture much faint nebulosity with what you have, but you can definitely get the brighter objects-- the Orion Nebula won't be around for a while, but you can try the Lagoon Nebula, the Omega Nebula, M13, and other showpiece objects. Star clusters are underrated targets that are easy to get without tracking! Try Collinder 256/Melotte 111 (both are names for the huge star cluster that makes up the bulk of the constellation Coma Berenices), M7 and the False Comet in the tail of Scorpius (the False Comet is a conglomoration of a ton of clusters), the Double Cluster and the Muscle Man Cluster (Stock 2) east of Cassiopeia, Collinder 39 around Alpha Persei, and even smaller targets like the E.T. Cluster.
The real secret of short-exposure astrophotography, though, is timelapses. Check out this timelapse that I took using my DSLR without tracking:
I can post a bunch more examples later, if you're interested (I have to upload them to YouTube first).
Timelapses transform a flat-seeming image into a dynamic, gripping one. When shooting super-short exposures on a static tripod, you don't get much improvement from stacking a ton of shots, and you're not going to compete with the types of images you see posted here on CN-- you just don't have the reach. So I recommend you test playing to the strengths of short exposure photography; find an interesting subject, line it up with some foreground, and shoot a timelapse.
You can also go all artsy and get some unique still shots; there's not really a trick to this besides keeping an open mind and being ready to shoot any time. For example, here's a shot I took of Jupiter a couple of nights ago:
It was taken through clouds with some trees in the foreground, but it makes Jupiter look like a little seashell on a beach of darkness. (Samyang 135mm f/2 lens, unedited.)
Or this shot of Cassiopeia, which was a failed attempt to stack a couple hours of data that I took untracked at a dark sky site-- I left my lens at f/1.4 and the stars had too much coma to stack properly, but the result was neat:
(old Olympus 50mm f/1.4 SLR lens -- these are very cheap on Ebay and good quality when stopped down two stops. The colors in the photo are really, but this is heavily enhanced in post-processing.)
All that said: Tracking is awesome. If you can do a lot without tracking, you can do exponentially more with. Tracking opens up the possibility of deep photography focusing on specific objects, not just constellations. I'm going to copy-paste something I wrote on another recent thread about this really great camera tracker I have:
A significantly less expensive option is the Omegon MiniTrack LX2, at only $129 + shipping:
I have one, and I really love it! It can reach track times of up to 100 divide by the lens focal length, in minutes. So that means a 50mm lens can get 2 minute exposures and a 200mm lens can get 30 second exposures. In practice, I find that to be a pretty close rule of thumb. And the best part is that it's completely electronics-free! It winds up like a kitchen timer and tracks for one hour. There is a spring counterweight system. The ballhead available as an add-on is high quality in my inexperienced opinion; it does require some strong cranking of the knob to keep it from slipping with a 3 pound assembly on top of it pointed at the zenith; but if your friend already has a ballhead he can use that.
I recommend getting the polar finder bracket and a compatible polar scope if he wants to push the exposure length. I haven't used one myself yet, but there is at least one report of exposure times of up to 400/fl in minutes being achieved with a good polar alignment with a polar scope:
For reference, I was able to get 10 second subs with a rough polar alignment pointing near the celestial equator with an ASI178MM + Samyang 135mm f/2 -- that's an effective focal length of over 400mm!
An improved version of the MiniTrack has been announced, the LX3, and is coming out in August. It is said to have a higher payload capacity (3kg vs. 2kg), improved mechanics, and an optical polar scope by default. It's also $60 more expensive. I don't know if your friend wants to wait, but it's something to be aware of:
Hope this helps!
As I said above-- hope this helps! Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you have any questions.