The All-time Canon Astrophotography Lens for 2022
What is the ultimate Canon astrophotography lens?
- Sigma 14mm f/i.viii DG HSM Art Lens
- Catechism EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens
- Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Fine art Lens
- Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L Two USM Lens
- Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
- Sigma 24mm f/i.4 DG HSM Art Lens
- Rokinon (Samyang) 24mm f/one.iv U.s. UMC Lens
Exercise you own a Canon mirrorless camera? Our Best Catechism Mirrorless Camera Astrophotography Lens page has your recommendations.
About Catechism Astrophotography Lenses
Beginning, I need to clarify that I’thou referring to nightscape, Milky Way, and general dark heaven photography that typically includes a foreground in the frame. If photographing deep-sky galaxies, nebulas, and other similar subjects, select a sharp telephoto lens and a quality equatorial tracking mount.
With that clarification out of the way — have you seen the Milky way? Few subjects are as spectacular as this i.
I live under a moderately dark sky and become to see this incredible sight regularly. Still, I never abound tired of seeing it and will schedule photo trips to come across it at other locations. I asked the question because nearly people (near fourscore% of Americans) cannot see the milky way from their homes, and a surprisingly high percentage have never seen this phenomenal sight. If yous are amid that percent, you have an unchecked line item on the bucket listing (add i of my photography workshops to your schedule?).
Here is a selection of nightscape pictures to inspire your involvement.
Back to the lens selection. These are the characteristics of the ultimate astrophotography lens:
- Ultra-broad-angle or wide-angle focal length
- Extremely wide aperture
- Corner-to-corner tack-abrupt wide-open up image quality
- Depression amount of peripheral shading
That is non an easy prepare of requirements to fill. Permit’southward have a closer look at these requirements.
Select the Focal Length
Selecting the optimal focal length is usually the beginning step in choosing a lens for any purpose, and it is for this 1.
While nigh whatsoever wide bending of view can be used for nightscapes, I seldom use a focal length longer than 24mm and rarely go longer than 35mm (full-frame angle of view reference). The widest focal lengths available are dandy for this pursuit. The image immediately in a higher place is a 12mm capture.
Here is an illustration showing what the full-frame 14-35mm focal length range looks like with the Milky Way in the frame:
We come across that the longer the focal length, the less Milky Way length fits in the frame. However, a longer focal length expands the width of the Milky Way in the frame, resulting in a higher pct of the frame filled with Milky Fashion.
What is my favorite Milky Mode lens focal length from an angle of view consideration? If I had to choice one, it would be 24mm. However, lenses covering 14mm, 20mm, and 24mm are unremarkably in my Milky way pack, and long exposures provide time to operate two camera setups simultaneously.
Other aspects must be factored into the focal length pick. For example, the longer the focal length, the shorter the exposure required non to exceed the minimum acceptable star trails. I’ll talk more about this issue in the next section.
Another factor is that longer focal lengths provide shallower depth of field. Keeping a foreground and the stars sharp (without focus bracketing) is easier with a wider-bending focal length.
Related to focal length is the availability of front filter threads. Some of the widest-bending lenses have bulbous front elements that forbid forepart filter use. Primarily, nosotros are referring to light pollution filters as blocking whatever other lite is detrimental to night sky photography.
Extremely Wide Aperture
When stars and the Galaxy are visible, the night sky is extremely dark, and that darkness sets the phase for the next night sky lens selection criteria.
If it is nighttime, merely apply a longer exposure, right? Partially right. While the stars announced to be motionless, the required exposures are so long that the earth’south rotation promotes night sky photography into a form of action photography.
The amount of activeness in the nighttime sky is dependent on the distance of the bailiwick stars from the north star, which doesn’t move. Since broad-angle focal lengths take in a broad area of the sky, the stars appearing to move the fastest mostly need to exist deemed for.
The amount of activeness in the night sky is too dependent on the focal length selected. The longer the focal length, the more the stars are magnified, the faster the camera’due south motility causes them to cantankerous over pixel wells (the source of motion mistiness), and the shorter the tolerable exposure durations go. For instance, 14mm is half of 28mm, and the 2x longer exposure bachelor at 14mm equates to a full stop of aperture or dissonance within the tolerable exposure elapsing.
Also factoring into the exposure consideration is the pixel density of the imaging sensor. College density means motion is going to cross pixels more than chop-chop.
The final output size must be considered. Viewing the unabridged image on a mobile phone will hibernate star trails far better than a 100% resolution view on a large monitor.
While various tools are available to summate the adequate star trail-less shutter speed, I prefer to learn directly from my photographic camera’southward results in the field. When photographing nightscapes, the manual focus setting must exist confirmed, and assessing the star trails is easily achieved simultaneously. My images usually show a slight star trail at 100% view.
Even with the widest apertures available, the necessary ISO settings for Milky way photography are very high, and noise is a significant nightscape prototype quality factor.
The lesser line is that the ideal astrophotography lens will accept an extremely wide max discontinuity. A wider discontinuity allows more light to reach the imaging sensor, permitting a shorter exposure or lower ISO setting.
While an ultra-wide-angle f/4 lens can piece of work, f/two.eight is a better minimum max aperture. Wide-angle f/two.8 lenses are arable, including zoom lens options, and multiple f/2.eight lenses made this recommendation listing.
However, the fastest lenses suited for this purpose open to f/ane.four, letting in 4x equally much light equally the f/2.eight options.
Getting into specifics — the image below was captured at 24mm, f/1.4, 13 sec., ISO 6400, and 50 MP (learn more virtually Low-Level Lighting).
Precipitous Epitome Quality
Stars are tiny and sharp. Rendering them true to life in a photograph requires a corner-to-corner sharp lens.
While many lenses are sharp when stopped downwardly a couple of stops, requiring that attribute from an ultra-wide aperture raises the bar significantly. Don’t wait accented perfection from whatsoever of them — the perfect lens does not exist.
While many lenses, including some inexpensive ones, tin can produce abrupt wide-open image quality in the center of the frame, a select few tin can produce even close to perfect corner image quality. Coma, astigmatism, and lateral CA (more hands corrected) combine to stretch stars into undesired, sometimes wild-looking shapes.
I mentioned that I am not referring to deep sky photography using a tracking mount. All the same, a mount such as the Sky-Watcher Star Charlatan Pro tin can exist extremely advantageous for general nightscape photography.
A mount with 1/two speed rotation upward to doubles the acceptable exposure duration past splitting the motion between the foreground and the sky. The up to 1-stop departure in discontinuity or ISO setting is considerable.
Depression Amount of Peripheral Shading
The amount of a lens’s peripheral shading directly offsets the reward of its widest apertures.
Unfortunately, wide apertures and broad angles commonly result in strong peripheral shading. I saved this requirement for last because my strategy is usually to deal with any the lens delivers.
Stopping down the aperture decreases peripheral shading, merely a college ISO setting is required to offset that change. The college ISO setting results in increased dissonance throughout the entire paradigm. So, consider a balanced arroyo if stopping down for this reason.
Considering dark sky post-processing by and large involves increasing contrast, uncorrected peripheral shading results in very nighttime corners. Therefore, correcting most or all of the vignetting during RAW image processing is recommended, and increased noise in the image periphery is the finish upshot.
The Ultimate Night Heaven Lens is Too the Ultimate Northern Lights Lens
A good northern lights bear witness is considerably brighter than the Milky way. However, dancing northern lights can move fast, meaning a substantially shorter exposure is required to avert smearing of the light. Thus, the same attributes needed by a Milky way lens are needed for photographing the aurora borealis.
During a Canon event a couple of years ago, an engineer asked which lens I wanted to see side by side. I requested an astrophotography lens as described above. That optimal lens still seems missing in the Catechism lineup. Here are my recommendations.
The Best Canon Astrophotography Lenses
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Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art Lens
Ultra-Wide Discontinuity, Ultra-Wide Focal Length, Fine art Serial Build Quality, Solid Overall Performer
No one will charge the Sigma 14mm f/i.8 DG HSM Fine art Lens of beingness small-scale or light, just the f/one.8 aperture and 14mm focal length combine to create a great nightscapes lens. This lens’s optical performance makes the grade for this challenging pursuit.
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Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Iii USM Lens
Canon’s All-time Ultra-Wide Zoom Lens
The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Three USM Lens is the Catechism broad-angle zoom lens yous want. This professional person-class lens is the perfect choice for a wide diverseness of uses, and the prototype quality it creates is impressive. The lens is well built and includes atmospheric condition sealing. If weddings and other indoor events are on your to-do list, this lens should exist in your kit. Those photographing the night sky will also notice the f/2.8 discontinuity advantageous.
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Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Fine art Lens
Ultra-wide Angle, Impressive Paradigm Quality, Wide f/2.viii Aperture, Modest Price
Sometimes, the Sigma xiv-24mm Art’s wide f/ii.8 constant max discontinuity can salve the solar day. The lens’ AF consistency did not evidence to be great, and like many other ultra-wide-angle lenses, it will not accept forepart filters, but most photographers will observe the Sigma xiv-24mm Fine art’s benefits outweigh its downsides.
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Catechism EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
Incredible Prototype Quality, Ultra-wide f/one.4 Aperture, Very Useful Focal Length, Fast Ring USM AF, Pro-Grade Conditions-Sealed Build Quality
The 35mm focal length is a staple for photojournalism, and the wide f/1.4 aperture is prepare for the darkest venues. When paradigm quality is paramount, this lens will surpass the requirement. The 35 f/1.4L Ii is the complete package, including a bully AF system and ready-for-daily-professional-use build quality.
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Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM Fine art Lens
Extremely Wide Discontinuity, Dandy Nightscapes Focal Length, Art Series Build Quality
This is a large and heavy lens, but it delivers expert center and mid-frame image quality at its extremely wide maximum aperture. From a nightscapes perspective, the primary downside to this lens pick is the mediocre peripheral image quality performance.
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Sigma 24mm f/1.four DG HSM Art Lens
Extremely Broad Aperture, Great Nightscapes Focal Length, Art Series Build Quality
While this lens is otherwise an ideal nightscapes lens choice, it delivers only mediocre image quality at f/1.iv.
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Rokinon (Samyang) 24mm f/1.4 US UMC Lens
Affordable, Slap-up Nightscapes Focal Length
My feel with this lens is that it must be stopped downward about two stops to f/2.8 for decent paradigm sharpness. The f/2.8 aperture is not peculiarly broad for 24mm dark sky photography, but at f/2.8, this lens is sharp from corner to corner and has a very low amount of peripheral shading, taking back some of the loss from stopping downwardly.
This is a transmission focus, manual aperture lens. While neither of those problems are concerns for nightscapes, they reduce the versatility of this lens.
Visit the Catechism Lens Recommendations folio for more than lens advice.