Astrophotography is a photographic discipline that is attainable to well-nigh everyone with a camera and kit lens. While kit lenses are useful, nearly astrophotographers discover that soon afterwards getting started they desire to upgrade. Then to get decent results you’ll need to invest in a fast, vivid lens with skillful optical clarity.
Once you’re ready for a new lens, apertures of f2.8 and wider are what you’re looking for, to let as much light reach your photographic camera’s sensor equally possible. If y’all’re serious nigh the hobby, investing in one of the best cameras for astrophotography is likewise a no-brainer — when y’all’re set upwards with a good body and a solid lens, you’ll come across some serious improvements in your images.
There are plenty of other astro accessories worth throwing in your kit pocketbook too, from pocket-sized things like lens heaters and intervalometers to larger bits of kit like star trackers. Yet, you’ll notice a huge difference once you upgrade to high-quality glass, so this is the all-time place to outset.
Tertiary-party lens manufacturers such equally Sigma come into their own when you lot’re looking for astrophotography lenses, every bit not only are their lenses oftentimes cheaper, merely they tend to create lenses that fill niches overlooked past the camera manufacturers. Whether primes or zoom lenses, there’s an astro lens to fit every sort of budget. In fact, some of the cheaper manual-focus lenses tin can outclass their more sophisticated competition, as you lot don’t necessarily need AF when focusing on the stars.
The first affair we noticed during our Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Fine art review was only how heavy information technology is. At ii.58 lbs information technology’southward on the weightier side, just with heft in the hand comes heft in terms of optical quality, too. The build quality is exceptional and the lens is also weather-sealed, but this isn’t much of a concern for the astrophotographer because inclement weather condition means bad night sky imaging. The fixed focal length and extra-wide field of view are also ideal for capturing expansive vistas of the landscape and night sky.
Performance in the field is zilch short of stunning. Stars announced pin-sharp, fifty-fifty when the discontinuity is opened up to its impressive f/1.8 maximum, although stopping downwards the discontinuity a fiddling will improve the coma that appears towards the corners of the image frame at its widest opening. Chromatic aberration (colour fringing) is well controlled when shooting at wide apertures and prototype baloney is handled as well — non something you will discover with all ultra-wide lenses.
It’s worth noting that the lens doesn’t have a filter thread due to the bulbous nature of its front element. This may not be a deal-breaker for astrophotography, but it’s a consideration to keep in mind if yous besides plan to utilise this lens for daytime shoots. For an ultra-wide lens, the performance of the Sigma 14mm f/one.8 DG HSM Fine art is top class.
Read our full
Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art review
The Sigma xiv-24mm f/2.eight DG HSM is some other lens from Sigma’due south ‘Fine art’ range, well known for its optical quality and high-grade engineering. When nosotros reviewed the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM we couldn’t aid only notice more than than a passing resemblance to the stock-still 14mm focal length of Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art. But the f/2.eight has the added benefit of boasting a zoom range from 14mm through to 24mm. There is always a trade-off when using zoom lenses for astrophotography and information technology comes in the shape of a reduced maximum discontinuity size of f/two.8.
Sure, at f/2.8 it won’t soak in as many photons equally its 14mm f/1.8 cousin, but the benefit of shooting with a zoom lens is the versatility it gives for composing at multiple focal lengths, reducing the need to move the camera equally much.
The lens is optimized for full-frame cameras and has a typically solid Sigma structure. Zoom and focus rings operate smoothly and the lens has rapid and almost silent autofocus – handy if you wish to use the lens for daytime use. Image distortion is minimal and stars appear precipitous throughout most of the image frame with trivial to no chromatic abnormality, fifty-fifty at the widest aperture setting. This lens is bachelor in Canon and Nikon mount options but the Canon version tin too be used on the Sony Eastward-Mount system when using Sigma’s MC-11 mount converter.
This lens is quite simply one of the best lenses on the marketplace today for astrophotography.
Read our total
Sigma xiv-24mm f/2.eight DG HSM review
Astrophotography can be an expensive hobby, not least because this genre of photography demands the utilize of expensive lenses that have broad maximum apertures. Fortunately, there are some excellent upkeep-friendly options bachelor, too, like the Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Although this South Korean-made lens is one of the cheapest models in this round-upwards, we gave it 4/five stars in our Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/ii.8 review and feel information technology deserves to be listed every bit 1 of the best lenses for astrophotography.
There are reasons why this lens is cheaper than other ultra-wide lenses and that is primarily because this lens is fully transmission – both the focus and discontinuity are controlled manually. As the focus is usually set up manually in astrophotography anyhow, this doesn’t nowadays a trouble. Similarly, setting the aperture using the manual aligning ring nigh the base of the lens is not a huge effect. It does, nonetheless, mean that there’southward no electronic connection between the lens and the camera attached to it, and so no image information will be relayed with your images. The structure of the lens torso, although plastic, is adequately solid and lightweight.
Star sharpness is mostly very good on the Rokinon/Samyang but there is deteriorating sharpness towards the corners at f/2.8, with some evidence of coma and chromatic aberrations. The distortion and vignetting are heavy with this lens but both of these can be corrected in post-processing.
In summary, this is a very capable and affordable ultra-broad lens that is ideal for newcomers to astrophotography or those with a smaller budget.
Read our total
Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/two.8 review
Released in 2015, the Tokina AT-X 11-20mm f/ii.8 AF Pro DX has now been replaced by the Tokina atx-i 11-20mm f/2.8 CF, but the older AF Pro DX listed hither is withal worthy of a identify in the camera bag.
Despite its retro aesthetics, Tokina has congenital a tough, sharp lens with a fast aperture of f/two.8 which is abiding throughout the zoom range; perfect for astrophotography. The Tokina has been specifically manufactured for crop sensor cameras that take an APS-C sensor and offers mountain options for both Catechism and Nikon users.
Both Catechism and Nikon have competing ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses for APS-C cameras, however, but the Tokina offers a constant f/2.viii discontinuity throughout the zoom range. The lens is provided with a removable lens hood, which is a handy improver and helps to go on dew from forming on the drinking glass element during boiling nights nether the stars. When the hood is removed, at that place’s an pick of using the 82mm thread to attach filters such as noise disturbance or star glow filter to enhance your night images. Auto-focus is a piddling tiresome and noisy on the Tokina, although this is unlikely to be of business concern when shooting the night sky considering manual focusing is the society of the solar day.
Optically, the Tokina produces splendid results with precipitous images fifty-fifty when shot wide open up at an aperture of f/2.8. Coma is well controlled. Overall, this lens represents fantastic value for coin and is probably the best ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for photographers using a ingather sensor, APS-C Catechism or Nikon camera.
The Sony FE 12-24mm f/ii.8 GM is from Sony’south line of best-quality lenses, the ‘M-Main’ range, and is the most expensive lens on the list. This lens has a solid build, is compact and relatively light at only 1.87 lbs — quite a feat for an f/2.viii aperture lens with such a wide viewing angle. The combination of a large aperture and extra-wide viewing angle means that the front glass element is large and bulbous past design. A petal-shaped integrated hood protects the drinking glass, all the same, this also means in that location’s no option to utilise a front filter without investing in an adjusted filter system. The proficient news is that there’s a slot in the rear of the lens for gel filters.
Image quality is nothing less than spectacular. Stars appear extremely sharp in the center of the image and withal very precipitous in the corners throughout the full focal length range, even at the widest aperture of f/2.8. The shortest focal length of 12mm gives a whopping viewing bending of 122 degrees — perfect for capturing huge portions of the Milky way and landscape, which can just be achieved by taking panoramas with many other lenses.
This swish lens is ideal for astrophotography if you lot’re a Sony shooter and want only the best quality astro images. Sure, this lens is expensive but it’s also of the highest caliber and it may simply exist the only broad-field astro lens you always demand.
This bright, ultra-broad 14mm prime number lens is Sony’s reply to Sigma’s 14mm f/i.8 DG HSM Art lens. Both lenses offer the same stock-still focal length and maximum aperture but at that place’s a marked deviation between the 2. The Sony Iron 14mm F1.8 GM has been designed specifically for its mirrorless system, which means Sony take been able to engineer a much smaller and lighter lens. For comparison, the Sony weighs in at 1.02 lbs and the Sigma tips the scales at a mesomorphic 2.six lbs. This translates into a much better balance when the native Sony lens is fitted to a Sony photographic camera.
The Sony Atomic number 26 14mm f/i.8 GM is the widest Sony prime lens and it has the usual loftier-resolution, weather seals and smooth focusing like all the lenses in Sony’s G-Principal range. The lens too incorporates a dedicated aperture command ring for manual control, which is a handy feature for quick exposure changes. The front element is fluorine-coated to repel wet and is protected past an integrated lens hood. With minimal baloney and vignetting, star sharpness is maintained throughout the frame and towards the corners.
At a similar price to the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM, it’south hard to encounter why a Sony user would choose something else for an ultra-wide astrophotography lens.
Touted by Nikon as the world’s shortest total-frame f/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom, this fully sealed lens slots into the trinity of Nikon’s professional mirrorless zoom lenses. At just 1 lb 7oz in weight the Nikkor Z xiv-24mm f/ii.8 S has a compact and lightweight structure, despite its wide aperture and ultra-wide viewing angle at the shortest end of the focal range. Build quality is excellent and the front element is noticeably less bulbous than similar lenses from other brands. This allows the option of attaching 112mm filters to the front of the lens using the supplied lens hood. However, this is of limited appeal for astrophotography and 112mm threaded filters are costly. The inclusion of a customizable Lens Function (Fifty-fn) button gives the user the ability to further alter settings instantly without having to scroll through menus.
The Nikkor has exceptional epitome quality with little distortion and vignetting. More importantly, coma and other aberrations are largely absent from the far corners of the epitome frame. The lens sports a programmable lens control ring which, although non very useful for astrophotography, may exist beneficial for daytime photography. Nonetheless, astrophotographers will probably be more interested in the handy LCD brandish on the lens which lets them see and make changes in the dark without having to switch on a headlamp.
In summary, this is an ideal astrophotography lens for the Nikon mirrorless organisation, even if it’south a little pricey.
The Nikon AF-Due south 14-24mm f/2.8 ED has been around since 2008 and is a part of the ‘holy trinity’ of Nikon FX lenses, along with the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8. A favorite amidst astrophotographers, nosotros gave information technology a hair’s breadth off full marks on our Nikon AF-S fourteen-24mm f/2.8 ED review.
No lens is bomb-proof just the construction of this lens ways information technology is congenital to terminal and it deals with whatever weather condition are thrown at information technology, including the occasional knock. Its simple but constructive design means the lens is easy to handle, even on cold nights while wearing gloves. The integral petal-shaped lens hood protecting the front element means that a costly tertiary-political party filter adapter is needed to attach filters, although this is only likely to exist an issue if you plan to apply the lens during the daytime. The focus band is comfortable to grip and the movement is polish.
At f/2.eight, the lens delivers well-baked, clear images with pocket-size pinpoint stars, a characteristic of this type of lens. There is a slight amount of barrel distortion, but information technology is easily corrected with a simple click in the lens profile section in mail-processing software.
Total frame Nikon users will dear the versatility and quality of images this lens delivers simply now there are newer alternatives on the market, such as the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM Art, which offers total weather sealing and fluorine-coated optics. That being said, the Nikorr is a top ultra-wide zoom for astrophotography, provided you are happy to comport around the extra weight.
Read our full
Nikon AF-South 14-24mm f/2.8 ED review
The Canon RF xv-35mm f/2.8L IS USM uses Catechism’due south highest quality L-serial glass and is beautifully crafted, with a clean uncluttered design. Exposure controls can exist assigned to the customizable command ring via an RF photographic camera body and the lens has polish, silent focus and zoom rings. The lens boasts 5 stops of optical stabilization which, although non relevant in astrophotography, is a huge bonus when shooting handheld in other depression light situations. When reviewing the Canon RF fifteen-35mm f/ii.8L IS USM we connected information technology to a compatible RF torso to boost IS to an impressive 8 stops.
At 15mm, the lens has a 1mm wider viewing angle than the existing 16-35mm incarnations from Canon’s DSLR range of lenses and the design of the front lens element is such that filters can be attached via the 82mm thread when the detachable hood is removed. Images are razor abrupt throughout but there is some edge sharpness drop-off when shooting wide open at f/2.viii. A decrease in edge sharpness is exhibited in many lenses just and then the Canon isn’t cheap, which is mildly disappointing, but certainly non a deal-breaker.
In comparison to other ultra-wide zoom lenses featured on this listing, the 15-35mm covers a broader and more than useful focal range, enabling you lot to crop images more tightly, which is simply non possible with other lenses. The Milky Fashion core can exist seen at 35mm in glorious detail.
This lens is a wonderful, high-performing tool for astrophotography and extremely capable. Only this is more than than just an astrophotography lens — its versatility means the lens is also perfect for landscape and compages photography. Sure, it’s an expensive lens, simply the Canon RF xv-35mm f/ii.8L IS USM one of the best lenses Catechism has made and is highly recommended for EOS R-series owners.
Read our full
Canon RF 15-35mm f/two.8L IS USM review
Canon 16-35mm 50 lenses have a reputation for quality so information technology’due south unsurprising that amateurs and professionals employ them and then widely. A very pop lens, the
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Iii USM
replaces the previous Mk Ii and in doing so addresses the flaws of its predecessor.
Upon reviewing the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Three USM, the latest iteration of this lens builds upon the quality of the Mkii and introduces improvements to the autofocus organization, diaphragm and optics, leading to sharper images at the image periphery when shooting at its widest aperture settings and focal range. Image stabilization was unfortunately dropped from this latest version, but this would need to exist switched off for long exposures at nighttime anyhow.
The useful constant aperture of f/ii.8 is ideal for astrophotography, as is the focal range, allowing the user 20mm of flexibility to play within the field. The lens handles nicely with solid build quality and the loftier-speed USM autofocus arrangement is rapid and accurate. Focusing manually is the norm when shooting images of the dark sky but this is a handy characteristic to have on a versatile lens that tin also be used for more applications than just nightscapes. The lens is as well compatible with filters due to the inclusion of an 82mm thread.
The lens has been designed to correct chromatic abnormality and baloney, although there is some very slight distortion at the corners at close examination. Nonetheless, this distortion only becomes apparent when examining the entire image at very high magnification.
Although expensive, this lens produces fantabulous results when information technology comes to shooting wide-field images of the night sky.
Read our full
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM review
How nosotros test the best lenses for astrophotography
In lodge to guarantee y’all’re getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the all-time lenses to buy here at Space.com nosotros brand sure to put every camera lens through a rigorous review to fully test each production. Each lens is reviewed based on a multitude of aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical musical instrument and its performance in the field.
Each lens is carefully tested past either our skillful staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject area areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed past personal, easily-on feel with each lens and is judged based on its price point, class and destined employ. For example, comparing a 150-600mm superzoom telephoto lens suitable for a full-frame camera to a sleek little wide-angle prime destined for a crop sensor wouldn’t be appropriate, though each lens might be the best performing product in its own class.
We await at how easy each lens is to operate, whether information technology contains the latest upwardly-to-date imaging technology and await at its weight and portability. We’ll likewise brand suggestions if a particular lens would benefit from whatever boosted kit to requite you lot the best viewing experience possible.
With complete editorial independence, Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on camera lenses, whether you should purchase one or non, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.
Prime lenses vs Zoom lenses for astrophotography
Some photographers prefer using fixed focal length prime number lenses for astrophotography and others prefer zoom lenses, but which lens is the right astrophotography lens for yous? It will come up down to a balance between versatility, cost, personal preference and which photographic camera arrangement you utilise.
In general, prime lenses exhibit less distortion and perform ameliorate in low lite. Alternatively, zoom lenses are more versatile and offer a larger range of focal lengths, but at the expense of a slightly smaller maximum discontinuity and reduced light-gathering ability.
If you’re looking for ane lens to do the job, a broad-bending zoom option is a not bad choice as it allows you to work across a range of focal lengths in one user-friendly parcel. If, on the other hand, your priority is maximum lite collection and y’all don’t mind a stock-still focal length, go with one of the bright and extremely fast f/1.viii options nosotros’ve listed here. These are excellent for photographers without star trackers, when exposure times are limited. Alternatively, if yous’re but starting out on your astrophotography journey and don’t want to spend a fortune but notwithstanding, information technology’due south hard to await past the very affordable Rokinon 14mm f/two.eight which is fantabulous value for money.
Join our Infinite Forums to go on talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or annotate, let the states know at: email@example.com.