Best Lens For Night City Photography

By | 25/10/2022

Dark photography is something that a lot of photographers enjoy; I certainly practise, along with countless others. Modern cameras tin can capture more detail at night than we can see with our naked eyes, revealing entire worlds that couldn’t exist otherwise. Nonetheless, more than almost whatsoever other genre, night photography also challenges your camera equipment to its most extreme. In this article, I volition become through some of the acme lenses for Nikon cameras if you desire to take pictures at night, including information nigh their low-lite operation and depth of field. I cover more than 20 lenses in this article, and then information technology’s pretty all-encompassing – hopefully, yous’ll acquire something new about the equipment you need in order to capture good star and nighttime landscape photos.

This list doesn’t encompass every lens fabricated, and there certainly are some gaps in the lineup below. (For instance, I don’t embrace any lenses longer than 35mm, but some people like using longer focal lengths to stitch nighttime panoramas.) On balance, though, this does cover most of today’due south common nighttime photography lenses.

These lenses are described assuming that you want sharp stars, without any star trails. That ways that wide-bending lenses (which permit you use longer shutter speeds without visible star motility) have priority. The ISO score for each lens takes into account both its maximum aperture and the longest shutter speed y’all tin can use without getting pregnant star trails.

Annotation: Earlier reading this commodity, in order to understand the “ISO score” and “full-frame equivalent ISO score” rankings, yous’ll want to read my before commodity, which provides an explanation of what makes a good night photography lens. That article explains exactly how I observe the ISO values listed in the sections below, and it’s likewise useful if y’all aren’t familiar with topics like coma or crop-sensor ISO performance. I found the depth of field values by looking at the Photo Pills reckoner for each of these lenses, using a circle of confusion value of 0.03 mm.

Table of Contents

1. FX Cameras

Nikon’southward FX cameras – and the full-frame cameras of other brands – are arguably the best tools on the market place for dark landscape photography. Their sensors perform very well at loftier ISO values, and, more chiefly, they offer a huge lineup of lenses that work well at dark.

The lenses below are measured in terms of the ISO that they will allow you to use and still capture sharp star photos. Merely like on your photographic camera, a lower ISO value in this ranking system is improve, since you’ll cease upwards with less noise/grain in your images. Once more, more data is available in our other nighttime photography lens article.

The lenses below aren’t ranked in any item order. In fact, it isn’t possible to rank nighttime photography lenses at all, since all photographers will have dissimilar needs for their ain piece of work. With that in listen, let’s brainstorm:

ane.1. Nikon fourteen-24mm f/2.8

  • ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 3576
  • Depth of field (widest bending, widest discontinuity): i.xvi meters to infinity
  • Weight: 998 grams, or two.twenty pounds
  • Price: $1900
  • Our review: Nikon 14-24mm f/ii.8

This lens is well-known for its nighttime performance. Shoot at f/2.8 and 14mm, and you’ll be able to become some very interesting shots.

At that place is no perfect nighttime photography lens, and the 14-24mm is a example in point. For example, f/2.8 is non the ideal aperture for night photography. Something similar f/2.0 allows in twice as much light, letting you use an ISO that is significantly lower.

On the other manus, 14mm and f/2.viii is just near the platonic intersection of ISO performance and depth of field. Sure, other lenses have a wider aperture, but this one can render a precipitous image from one.xvi meters (iii.8 feet) to the stars in a single photo. At night, that’s incredibly useful. With other lenses, if you want a large depth of field, y’all’ll need to focus stack – not something that is easy, or sometimes even possible, when it’s dark.

It doesn’t hurt that Nikon’south 14-24mm f/ii.eight is also good for normal landscapes. It is quite sharp, even at f/2.8 in the corners, and is near entirely costless from coma.

Still, it’s non perfect. This lens has very high levels of flare, appearing prominently when the moon is in your frame. Plus, the xiv-24mm f/2.eight is heavy and expensive (though decent on the used market place), deterring many potential buyers.

If you’re willing to spring for information technology, though, this is one of the most balanced nighttime photography lenses y’all can buy.

NIKON D800E + 14-24mm f/2.viii @ 14mm, ISO 200, 25 seconds, f/2.8

1.2. Tamron xv-30mm f/ii.eight

  • ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 3828
  • Depth of field (widest bending, widest discontinuity): one.33 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 1100 grams, or two.43 pounds
  • Price: $1200
  • Our review: Tamron 15-30mm f/2.eight

By most accounts (including our own review) the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.eight lens is on par with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.viii in optical quality, if non slightly better. Specifically, the Tamron has less flare than the Nikon, while being even a bit sharper in the corners at wide discontinuity values – something that is particularly useful for dark photography.

Because their specifications are almost the aforementioned, the Tamron and the Nikon require essentially identical ISO values for a proper exposure at night. Although the Nikon has a flake more than depth of field, the ii are so close that you lot’ll barely notice a difference.

The primary negative of the Tamron is its weight. At 1100 grams, it’southward even heavier than the Nikon, making it one of the heaviest ultra-wide lens for Nikon cameras on the market. Information technology’s also not quite as broad as the Nikon; 14mm gives you noticeably more coverage than 15mm. Of course, in commutation, you lot’ll become the additional range from 25mm to 30mm, which the Nikon does not offering.

The Tamron’due south retail cost is $800 cheaper than the Nikon 14-24mm. For near photographers (unless you already own the Nikon), it’s the better option.

1.3. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8

  • ISO score (widest bending, widest aperture): ISO 4080
  • Depth of field (widest bending, widest aperture): 1.52 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 950 grams, or 2.09 pounds
  • Cost: $580
  • Our review: Tokina sixteen-28mm f/ii.eight

Some other like lens is the Tokina sixteen-28mm f/ii.eight. It doesn’t have every bit long of a zoom range every bit the Tamron, but information technology makes upwards for that by costing less than half the price. At $580, this lens is a wonderful value.

As our review shows, the Tokina 16-28mm is a hidden gem. While non as precipitous every bit the xiv-24mm f/2.8 or 15-30mm f/2.eight at their widest apertures, this lens is a good choice if you lot desire a nighttime photography zoom lens on a budget.

1.4. Nikon 24-70mm f/two.8E VR (also as the older version and all third-party variants)

  • ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 6136
  • Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): 3.41 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 1070 grams, or 2.35 pounds
  • Price: $2400
  • Our review: Nikon 24-70mm f/ii.8E VR

If nighttime photography is your chief goal, this lens shouldn’t be your top choice. At 24mm and f/ii.8, it’s 2 stops darker than other lenses that cost far less money (such as the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 or the Sigma 20mm f/1.4).

Yet, a lot of people already ain a 24-70mm f/2.viii lens, opening it upwards every bit a potential option. If you do have one of these lenses, should yous buy something unlike solely for nighttime photography?

Hither’s the skilful news: with a 24-70mm f/ii.8, you lot can take some very proficient nighttime photos as-is. This combination lets in enough light to capture stars that are nevertheless bright and clear, and about 24-70mm f/2.viii lenses have low levels of coma.

At the same time, if you keep taking dark photos, you’ll eventually want something more. Other dark lenses either have a greater depth of field (equally is true for the ultra-wide f/2.eight zooms) or a brighter aperture (true for nigh of the prime lenses covered next).

There are plenty 24-70mm f/ii.8 lenses that I won’t become into detail on all of them here. Here are our reviews for the original Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the newer Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Nosotros as well reviewed the Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC. Other options be from Sigma and Tokina as well.

These lenses aren’t ideal for dark photography, simply, if this is your widest f/2.eight lens, don’t shy abroad from using information technology at dark; it is still a solid choice that tin can result in some fantastic photos.

1.5. Laowa 12mm f/2.eight

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 3072
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 0.85 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 609 grams, or 1.34 pounds
  • Price: $950

This lens is very new to the market, merely, at to the lowest degree on paper, it has the right specifications for nighttime photography.

At 12mm, it has a huge depth of field, even at the widest aperture of f/2.8. If yous desire to capture a landscape’s foreground at night, this is i of the best options available.

Unfortunately, there are some bug. For one, this lens has noticeable blackout – more than the Nikon 14mm-24mm f/2.viii or the Samyang 14mm f/2.eight. At $950, it’due south besides not a cheap lens, especially because that information technology is manual-focus only. I think that most photographers will see the cost of this lens and option one of the 14mm lenses beneath. I certainly would. Optically, the Laowa just is not very expert.

Of grade, some photographers volition find the 12mm focal length to exist invaluable. That’southward significantly wider than 14mm, pregnant that you lot can capture more of the Milky Way in a single shot, as well equally become a somewhat larger depth of field. For certain images, that could be the deciding factor.

Although the price and coma make this lens hard to recommend, I tin come across certain nighttime photographers buying it only considering of the incredibly wide angle.

i.6. Sigma 14mm f/ane.8

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 1482
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 1.84 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 1170 grams, or 2.57 pounds
  • Price: $1600
  • Our review: Sigma 14mm f/1.eight

This lens has one of the all-time ISO scores on the market place, and, equally we found in our review, it is very well controlled for photographing the night sky. Unfortunately, information technology is a very expensive lens that weighs 1170 grams, more than than 2.v pounds.

If you lot know y’all need an f/one.8 discontinuity at a lens this broad, go for information technology. But, quite often, you will be stopping down to smaller apertures anyway (even ane/iii or 2/three of a stop) in order to get a bit more depth of field and minimize coma. So, it is clearly a specialty lens.

1.vii. Samyang 14mm f/2.four

  • ISO score (widest discontinuity): ISO 2636
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 1.38 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 791 grams, or 1.74 pounds
  • Price: $800

As well known as the Rokinon 14mm f/2.4, this is one of the sharpest lenses we have ever tested for night heaven photography (review coming soon), conspicuously beating the cheaper Samyang 14mm f/ii.eight, and even edging out Nikon’s xiv-24mm f/2.8 (previously the king of sharp night sky photography). It has minimal vignetting and practically no coma, along with a slightly wider f/2.4 aperture that gives about an extra 1/3 stop of light in critical circumstances.

Information technology isn’t a budget lens, but, at $800, information technology is a better cost than many others on this list, and it outperforms almost all of them. The simply outcome is that $800 is notwithstanding quite a bit of coin to spend on a transmission focus prime lens, so information technology is reasonable that non every photographer will find it worthwhile.

D7500 Night Sky Star Photography
NIKON D7500 + 14mm f/2.4 @ 14mm, ISO 3200, 30 seconds, f/2.iv

1.8. Samyang 14mm f/2.8

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 3576
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 1.16 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 552 grams, or 1.2 pounds
  • Cost: $300, but fluctuates – Check current price

This Samyang lens (identically sold nether the brand names Rokinon, Vivitar, Bower, and many others) is a compelling selection.

For starters, information technology has the same ISO score and depth of field every bit the Nikon fourteen-24mm f/2.8, since it’s likewise 14mm at f/ii.viii. Everything I said nigh the 14-24mm f/2.viii rings truthful here – it’southward ane of the best compromises between depth of field and necessary ISO that yous tin buy.

The Samyang is also
$1600 less
than the Nikon 14-24mm f/ii.viii’s retail price, as well as around half the weight. Not bad.

The downside, as with all Samyang lenses, is that you’ll have to focus manually. This isn’t an upshot for most photos at night, since you’ll accept to focus manually regardless of the lens you lot use. However, it could be a problem if you lot want to use this lens for general-purpose landscape photography during the 24-hour interval. Although I personally like using manual focus for some landscapes (magnified 100% in live view), autofocus is certainly convenient. For some photographers, in fact, information technology’s a necessity.

Similar the Nikon, this Samyang has noticeable levels of flare, although it also has noticeably more coma. Information technology is not the sharpest of broad bending lenses on the market for photographing the Milky Mode, although information technology’south certainly passable. It works very well for photographers who don’t mind a lack of zoom or autofocus capabilities and demand a good, cheap choice.

On balance, every bit a budget prime lens – and even compared to much more expensive options – there’s a skilful reason why the Samyang is so pop for nighttime photography today.

one.9. Irix 15mm f/2.4

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2822
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 1.58 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 581 grams, or one.28 pounds
  • Cost: $425, just fluctuates – Check current price

The Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly is a well-built lens and very enjoyable to use. Information technology also sells for a dainty toll at only $425.

Compared to the Samyang 14mm f/two.8, it picks up noticeably more stars, especially in the corners of images, where it is quite sharp. It too has slightly less vignetting than the Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Nevertheless, the Samyang is less expensive and wider, and then it’southward a shut contest.

However, compared to the Samyang 14mm f/2.four, it falls backside optically, both in terms of coma and vignetting (likewise as wide angle field of view). The differences aren’t massive, just they are visible. However, proceed in mind that the Irix is about half the price, making it a great option for those who are looking for a upkeep wide angle lens.

1.10. Nikon 20mm f/1.eight

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2126
  • Depth of field (widest discontinuity): iii.75 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 357 grams, or 0.79 pounds
  • Price: $800
  • Our review: Nikon 20mm f/1.viii

The Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is another solid night lens – in fact, past the light it allows, this one is about a stop better than the 14-24mm f/2.8 or 15-30mm f/2.eight options (though it doesn’t have the same depth of field).

I’ve used the Nikon 20mm f/1.viii for night photography for about a year, and I’ve found information technology to exist an excellent performer. It’s sharp and has very low levels of flare, making for make clean images at night, even when the moon is in your frame.

From what I’ve seen, though, this lens has noticeable coma in the corners at f/1.viii. I finish up stopping down to f/2.2 for some nightscapes, which sharpens things up a scrap (at the cost of a college ISO, of course). I don’t do this for every photo, though; it’s all a balancing act.

What makes this lens so appealing is its relatively low price and lite weight. At $800, information technology isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s priced improve than almost any other autofocus FX lens in this article. It’s also low-cal enough to carry forth without a trouble, which is not something you can say of the f/2.8 zooms. If you have a medium-range budget, the 20mm f/i.8 should exist near the top of your list.

NIKON D800E + 20mm f/1.8 @ 20mm, ISO 1600, 15 seconds, f/i.viii

1.11. Sigma 20mm f/1.4

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 1282
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): iv.72 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 950 grams, or 2.09 pounds
  • Price: $900

This is a relatively new lens, every bit well every bit the ane with the best ISO score on this list (which, as mentioned in our before article, is a measure of the noise you lot’ll get in a night photo without blurry stars). In other words, you’ll be able to utilise a lower ISO with this lens than any other in this article, assuming that you shoot at its widest discontinuity setting on an FX photographic camera.

Since it is the widest f/1.4 lens available for Nikon cameras, this was likely a huge challenge for Sigma to design (which unremarkably would suggest a lower optical quality). Despite that, it’due south a very good lens. There is some noticeable coma in the corners at f/1.four, though, so y’all may desire to stop downwardly to f/one.8 or f/ii. It’south like to the Nikon 20mm f/one.8 in this department.

The main bug with the Sigma are its weight and lack of a filter thread. This lens weighs near a kilogram (more than than two pounds), which is about three times as heavy as the Nikon 20mm f/one.viii. And, if you want to use filters, yous’ll take to purchase a large and expensive holder, too as bigger filters than normal, since the front element of this lens is pretty big.

For many people, the Nikon 20mm f/one.eight will exist a more than practical choice. However, if nighttime photography is your main focus, the Sigma’s big f/1.four aperture even so holds a clear advantage. For photographers who intendance more about low-cal manual than depth of field, this is perhaps the all-time lens available today for dark photography.

1.12. Any 24mm f/1.4

  • ISO score (widest discontinuity): ISO 1534
  • Depth of field (widest discontinuity): 6.8 meters to infinity

There used to be just one choice if you wanted a 24mm f/1.4 lens – Nikon’due south own version. Now, there are two others: the Sigma 24mm f/i.4 and the manual-focus Samyang 24mm f/1.iv.

Of the iii, the Samyang has the least coma, which ways that yous volition become the sharpest stars in the corner of your frame. Notwithstanding, the differences aren’t as favorable to the Samyang as you might recall; in fact, the Nikon and Sigma lenses are clearly sharper than the Samyang if you lot aren’t photographing stars (even at f/i.4).

The Nikon 24mm f/1.four lens is one of Nikon’s sharpest wide-angles, every bit our review covers. The Sigma, though, doesn’t only hold its own – it’south really a bit sharper than the Nikon version. Although both of these lenses have articulate coma at f/1.4, either is notwithstanding a good option for nighttime photography simply due to the large aperture. If the coma is objectionable in a detail shot, yous tin always finish down by 1/three or 2/three of a end.

The three lenses are roughly the same weight: 620 grams for the Nikon, 665 grams for the Sigma, and 680 grams for the Samyang. This isn’t plenty difference here to worry.

In terms of price, though, things are more interesting. The Samyang is $500, the Sigma is $850, and the Nikon is $2000 (though significantly less on the used market place).

Don’t forget that the Samyang lens is manual focus. That’s fine for dark photography, where you’ll exist focusing manually nearly of the fourth dimension, but it’s not ideal for work during the day.

If your merely goal is dark photography, and cost is a factor, the Samyang is a wonderful value. It’s the least expensive lens on this list, equally well as the one with the everyman coma. However, if you want to accept pictures during the 24-hour interval or with autofocus, the Sigma should be your choice instead (and, other than the coma issue, is a better lens optically).

Although the Nikon is a wonderful lens, you don’t need to pay $2000 to get a skillful 24mm f/ane.4, so it is hard to recommend unless you already own it.

1.thirteen. Nikon 24mm f/1.8

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2546
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 5.4 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 355 grams, or 0.78 pounds
  • Price: $750
  • Review: Nikon 24mm f/ane.8

This lens doesn’t have quite as wide an discontinuity as a 24mm f/1.iv, but that doesn’t mean you lot should overlook it.

In fact, Nikon’south 24mm f/1.8 is one of their all-around best prime lenses for landscape photography, given its lite weight and great functioning. We covered all this in our review, merely there are very few wide-bending primes that match the Nikon 24mm f/1.eight’southward paradigm quality.

For nighttime photography, this lens does have some coma – slightly better than the operation of the 20mm f/i.8, simply still non great. However, this is true of every lens in this article at f/1.8. The other trouble is depth of field. Although it’south non horrible, a depth of field from five.4 meters (17.7 feet) to infinity is noticeably worse than other lenses in this article. If you have any nearby objects in your foreground, they’ll be blurry.

If you are interested in the 24mm focal length rather than something like 14mm (maybe for general photography also as nighttime photography), it is hard not to recommend this lens. Although it doesn’t let in as much lite as one of the 24mm f/1.iv lenses, information technology even so lets yous apply very low ISOs at night. Its light weight and high optical quality should not be disregarded.

1.14. Sigma 35mm f/one.4 Art (and other brands’ variants)

  • ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2232
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): fourteen.45 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 665 grams, or 1.47 pounds
  • Price: $900
  • Review: Sigma 35mm f/1.iv Art

At this indicate, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 has caused a reputation as i of the best 35mm lenses available today. Although others can potentially challenge this reputation (such as Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8, discussed below), it certainly shows that the Sigma is a great piece of equipment.

Yet, for nighttime photography, information technology would be far from my height choice. The problem hither isn’t the ISO that you can use; in fact, the Sigma’southward broad discontinuity ways that you lot tin can utilize a relatively low ISO and still capture a bright epitome. Instead, the trouble is depth of field. At its largest discontinuity of f/1.iv, the Sigma is only sharp in the range from 14.5 meters (48 feet) to infinity (using a very generous depth of field measure, as explained in section four of my before nighttime photography commodity).

If you’re trying to capture a distant mountain, this won’t exist a problem – both the mountain and the stars can exist abrupt in a single image. Withal, if y’all try to include annihilation in your foreground, it will but be out of focus. As mentioned before, you can always try focus stacking, but, at night, that can be incredibly difficult.

You may already own the Sigma 35mm f/i.4, or a 35mm f/1.iv of a different brand. If and then, don’t be discouraged from using information technology for nighttime photos. However, if you’re looking to buy a lens specifically for star photography, there are ameliorate options on the market place.

one.fifteen. Nikon 35mm f/i.eight ED (and other brands’ variants)

  • ISO score (widest discontinuity): ISO 3701
  • Depth of field (widest discontinuity): 11.48 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 305 grams, or 0.67 pounds
  • Cost: $530
  • Review: Nikon 35mm f/1.8 ED

This is a bang-up lens, but, like the 35mm f/one.4, it’s not actually intended for nighttime photography.

On 1 hand, nil in the photo will exist abrupt unless information technology’s 11.5 meters away from the lens (38 feet) or farther. That doesn’t give you much of a foreground. And, since it requires an ISO of 3701, it’s one of the lower-ranked prime lenses in this article.

Once more, though, if you already own this lens, you certainly tin use information technology for nighttime photography. Y’all’ll actually get relatively clean images; the chief problem, as with the 35mm f/1.4 lenses, is depth of field. Unless all of your subjects are far away, this lens won’t permit you accept particularly sharp nighttime photos. Other options are ameliorate if nighttime photography is your primary goal.

ii. DX Cameras

Crop-sensor cameras – including Nikon’s DX lineup – are not necessarily known for their nighttime photography prowess. They’re about a stop noisier than Nikon’s FX cameras, and they don’t have the aforementioned all-encompassing lens lineup for star photography. Nevertheless, yous all the same can capture night photos successfully with a DX camera.

The FX lenses listed in a higher place, for example, notwithstanding tend to be proficient lenses for DX cameras. Something like the Nikon 20mm f/1.viii or Sigma 20mm f/1.4 remains a very good selection. Even so, some DX-specific lenses have the potential to work just likewise, or potentially amend.

Note: The “total-frame equivalent ISO score” does not represent the actual ISO you should set while taking pictures. Instead, it’s a style to compare the corporeality of racket to that of a full-frame photographic camera. In other words, you may be shooting at ISO 1600 with your DX camera, but the noise levels will be roughly equivalent to ISO 3600 on an FX sensor. That’s why some of the values below are so high. Again, for more information, read the earlier commodity on night photography.

2.1. Samyang 16mm f/2.0

  • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest discontinuity): ISO 6163
  • Depth of field (widest discontinuity): iii.41 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 571 grams, or 1.26 pounds
  • Price: $420

As a make, Samyang does a adept job creating nighttime photography lenses, both for full-frame and crop-sensor cameras. Their 16mm f/two.0 lens, for example, is one of the most pop nighttime photography lenses available for DX cameras.

Equivalent to a 24mm f/two.eight lens on a full-frame photographic camera (in terms of depth of field and the racket in your photograph), this lens is a peachy way to exam the waters of nighttime photography. Although information technology doesn’t quite friction match the racket functioning of a full-frame camera, you lot’ll be able to capture fairly clean images of the dark sky, which is all that really matters.

This lens is manual-focus only, which can be problematic for daytime shots, simply that isn’t an issue at dark (since you’ll be focusing manually regardless). On top of that, the 16mm f/2.0 is a solid value at $420.

Combined with an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3400, this is one of the almost affordable ways to get good nighttime photos.

two.2. Samyang (also known as Rokinon) 10mm f/2.viii

  • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 8640
  • Depth of field (widest aperture): 0.89 feet to infinity
  • Weight: 612 grams, or 1.35 pounds
  • Cost: $400, but fluctuates – Check current price

This lens is one of the best – if not thesingle best – nighttime lens specifically for Nikon DX cameras. The wide angle and bright aperture hateful that this lens will give you excellent depth of field at dark.

The price fluctuates because the brand Samyang goes by several different names: Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, and so on. It also offers frequent discounts and savings. Last fourth dimension I checked (January 26, 2018), the best value was the Rokinon version at merely $353. That’due south a steal if you have a Nikon DX camera and want a great night lens, bold that you don’t mind manual focus.

2.3. Tokina 11-20mm f/two.eight

  • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest angle, widest discontinuity): ISO 9508
  • Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): 1.07 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 560 grams, or one.23 pounds
  • Price: $600

I of the most popular choices for nighttime photography with a DX camera is the Tokina xi-20mm f/two.viii, every bit well as its variants (the 11-16mm f/2.eight lenses). At 11mm and f/two.eight, this lens will allow you to accept dark photos with a large depth of field – something that isn’t piece of cake with well-nigh other options.

However, in terms of the dissonance in your final photo, this 11-20mm f/ii.viii is roughly equivalent to a sixteen-30mm f/4.0 lens on a full-frame camera. There’s a reason I excluded Nikon’s 16-35mm f/4.0 from the prior department: It simply doesn’t let in much light as other total-frame options.

However, with DX cameras, you accept to relax your standards somewhat. Compared to almost other options available, this lens really works quite well for night photography on a crop-sensor camera. Y’all won’t get total-frame image quality, simply y’all’ll be able to capture the stars and Milky way amend than with virtually other DX equipment on the market. Think of it equally a zooming, autofocusing version of the Samyang 10mm f/2.8 listed to a higher place – for an actress $200.

2.four. Tokina fourteen-20mm f/2.0

  • Total-frame equivalent ISO score (widest bending, widest discontinuity): ISO 5128
  • Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): 2.37 meters to infinity
  • Weight: 725 grams, or one.60 pounds
  • Price: $600

This is a very interesting lens, and non one that is particularly well-known. For nighttime photography with a DX camera, though, information technology ranks near the peak.

What makes the xiv-20mm f/2.0 so odd is its express zoom range. This lens is merely for ingather sensors, making information technology a 21-30mm total-frame equivalent. That’due south not much. It feels like Tokina but could have created a 14mm f/two.0 prime number lens instead (saving additional weight and cost), although some people certainly will find the slight zoom to be useful.

For general landscape photography, at that place is very little reason to buy this lens rather than the 11-20mm f/2.eight. With the 11-20mm, you’ll go a longer zoom range at exactly the same cost, and both lenses perform well optically.

All the same, if you are interested in a dedicated astrophotography lens, this 14-20mm is a improve pick. Its wide aperture lets you use a relatively low ISO, but it even so offers a very good depth of field and a high paradigm quality standard. Not a bad lens by any means.

two.5. Sigma 18-35mm f/i.8

    • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 5689
    • Depth of field (widest bending, widest discontinuity): 5.ii meters to infinity
    • Weight: 811 grams, or 1.78 pounds
    • Price: $800
    • Review: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

As the widest-discontinuity zoom lens bachelor for DX cameras, information technology’due south no surprise that the Sigma 18-35mm f/one.8 made this listing. Information technology is well-known for its optical quality, even at f/one.8, which makes it i of the better night options for a crop-sensor Nikon body.

However, if stars are the only affair you want to photograph, you might consider simply getting the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 instead. It’s the same aperture and nigh the same focal length, still costs and weighs significantly less (not to mention that it can be used on FX cameras besides).

If you lot are more interested in a zoom, though, this is a great option. The 18-35mm zoom range is non particularly big, but it’southward certainly welcome if you plan to do daytime photography equally well.

ii.half-dozen. Any 17-55mm f/2.8

  • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest bending, widest aperture): ISO 14,303
  • Depth of field (widest bending, widest aperture): 2.56 meters to infinity

A lot of manufacturers make 17-55mm f/2.8 lenses for Nikon (or 16-50mm, 17-50mm, 18-50mm, and then on). There are worse lenses for astrophotography, simply in that location are far improve ones besides.

I used Nikon’south own 17-55mm f/2.eight lens for about a yr, and I had moderate success shooting some star photos with it. Nevertheless, you’ll be left wanting more.

The problem with these lenses is just a lack of light. In terms of noise, y’all’re shooting a full-frame equivalent of a 28mm f/4 lens, which doesn’t really compete against other options out there. You’ll either need to use a high ISO or brighten things significantly in post-production. However, it can still be done, every bit the image beneath demonstrates:

Stars over Half Dome
NIKON D7000 + 17-55mm f/ii.8 @ 18mm, ISO 1250, xx seconds, f/2.8 Any 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

  • Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest bending, widest aperture): ISO 18,482
  • Depth of field (widest angle, widest discontinuity): 2.28 meters to infinity

For astrophotography, 18-55mm f/three.v-5.6 lenses are noticeably worse than the 17-55mm f/2.eight lenses, which weren’t not bad in the starting time place.

Yous’ll be pushing your ISO very high (in the ISO 8000 to 10,000 range), equivalent in noise operation to roughly ISO 18,000 on a total-frame photographic camera. Not great.

However, if you lot ain an eighteen-55mm f/3.5-5.half-dozen, you can nevertheless go star photos – they’ll just exist grainier than you may desire. Don’t let that discourage you from taking pictures at night. The xviii-55mm f/three.5-5.6 lenses volition give you lot a gustation of astrophotography, which makes it easy to tell if this is something y’all want to continue doing.

3. Determination

There is no one “best” lens for nighttime photography. Each one has its pros and cons, and unlike photographers will observe some lenses better than others for the work they practice.

If y’all want a large depth of field at night, as well as a general-purpose mural photography zoom lens, the Nikon 14-24mm f/ii.8 and Tamron fifteen-30mm f/2.eight are among the best options available today. Or, if you’re on a tighter upkeep, the Tokina sixteen-28mm f/2.viii should be loftier on your radar.

Other photographers – those who desire a lens solely for nighttime photography – will find a lot of value in the Samyang 14mm f/2.viii lens. It focuses manually, only it’s a sharp lens that only costs $330, making information technology perhaps the best value in this entire article. Or, for higher optical performance, the Irix 15mm f/2.4 or Samyang 14mm f/2.four could be the better selection.

At the same time, some photographers will prefer a lens that prioritizes a big aperture rather than offering a large depth of field. If that sounds like you, accept a look at something like the Sigma 20mm f/ane.iv; at its widest aperture, it allows y’all to take star photos at lower ISO values than anything else on the market. Or, if y’all want to salvage weight and use filters, Nikon’s 20mm f/1.8 is another practiced option.

Finally, if you lot have a DX camera, lenses like the Samyang 16mm f/ii.0 or Tokina 14-20mm f/2.0 too can aid atomic number 82 to some spectacular images at night. This article isn’t a complete list (and then experience gratuitous to mention other possibilities in the comments section), and information technology already covers 20 lenses!

As y’all can see, in that location’due south no shortage of options for nighttime photography. Even if you don’t have one of these lenses yourself, you should all the same go out and experiment. It’s fun to accept pictures of stars, and you’ll come back understanding which options fit your personal needs the best.