Dark photography is something that a lot of photographers enjoy; I certainly practise, along with endless others. Mod cameras can capture more detail at night than we tin see with our naked eyes, revealing entire worlds that couldn’t exist otherwise. Still, more almost whatever other genre, night photography also challenges your photographic camera equipment to its almost extreme. In this article, I volition go through some of the top lenses for Nikon cameras if yous desire to have pictures at nighttime, including data about their low-light operation and depth of field. I encompass more than 20 lenses in this article, so it’s pretty all-encompassing – hopefully, you’ll larn something new most the equipment you need in order to capture good star and nighttime mural photos.
This listing doesn’t cover every lens made, and at that place certainly are some gaps in the lineup below. (For example, I don’t cover any lenses longer than 35mm, but some people like using longer focal lengths to stitch dark panoramas.) On balance, though, this does embrace virtually of today’due south mutual night photography lenses.
These lenses are described bold that you want precipitous stars, without whatever star trails. That means that wide-angle lenses (which let y’all apply longer shutter speeds without visible star movement) have priority. The ISO score for each lens takes into business relationship both its maximum aperture and the longest shutter speed you tin use without getting significant star trails.
Notation: Before reading this article, in gild to understand the “ISO score” and “total-frame equivalent ISO score” rankings, you’ll want to read my earlier article, which provides an explanation of what makes a proficient night photography lens. That commodity explains exactly how I find the ISO values listed in the sections below, and information technology’s also useful if yous aren’t familiar with topics like coma or crop-sensor ISO performance. I constitute the depth of field values by looking at the Photo Pills calculator for each of these lenses, using a circle of confusion value of 0.03 mm.
Tabular array of Contents
1. FX Cameras
Nikon’s FX cameras – and the full-frame cameras of other brands – are arguably the all-time tools on the market for nighttime landscape photography. Their sensors perform very well at high ISO values, and, more importantly, they offering a huge lineup of lenses that work well at night.
The lenses below are measured in terms of the ISO that they will allow you to use and still capture sharp star photos. Just similar on your camera, a lower ISO value in this ranking system is better, since you’ll cease upward with less dissonance/grain in your images. Again, more than information is available in our other nighttime photography lens article.
The lenses beneath aren’t ranked in any particular club. In fact, information technology isn’t possible to rank nighttime photography lenses at all, since all photographers will accept dissimilar needs for their own piece of work. With that in mind, let’s begin:
1.1. Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
- ISO score (widest angle, widest discontinuity): ISO 3576
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): ane.sixteen meters to infinity
- Weight: 998 grams, or 2.20 pounds
- Price: $1900
- Our review: Nikon 14-24mm f/two.8
This lens is well-known for its night performance. Shoot at f/two.8 and 14mm, and y’all’ll be able to become some very interesting shots.
There is no perfect nighttime photography lens, and the xiv-24mm is a example in indicate. For instance, f/two.8 is not the ideal aperture for dark photography. Something like f/2.0 allows in twice every bit much low-cal, letting you lot use an ISO that is significantly lower.
On the other hand, 14mm and f/2.8 is just about the platonic intersection of ISO operation and depth of field. Sure, other lenses accept a wider aperture, but this i can render a precipitous prototype from ane.16 meters (3.eight feet) to the stars in a unmarried photo. At dark, that’s incredibly useful. With other lenses, if you lot want a big depth of field, you’ll need to focus stack – not something that is easy, or sometimes even possible, when it’southward nighttime.
It doesn’t hurt that Nikon’s 14-24mm f/two.8 is also good for normal landscapes. It is quite abrupt, even at f/2.viii in the corners, and is almost entirely gratis from blackout.
However, information technology’s non perfect. This lens has very high levels of flare, actualization prominently when the moon is in your frame. Plus, the 14-24mm f/2.8 is heavy and expensive (though decent on the used market), deterring many potential buyers.
If you lot’re willing to bound for it, though, this is ane of the almost balanced night photography lenses you lot can buy.
1.2. Tamron fifteen-30mm f/2.8
- ISO score (widest angle, widest discontinuity): ISO 3828
- Depth of field (widest bending, widest discontinuity): 1.33 meters to infinity
- Weight: 1100 grams, or 2.43 pounds
- Price: $1200
- Our review: Tamron fifteen-30mm f/2.8
Past nearly 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 beingness even a bit sharper in the corners at wide aperture values – something that is particularly useful for nighttime photography.
Because their specifications are nearly the same, the Tamron and the Nikon require essentially identical ISO values for a proper exposure at dark. Although the Nikon has a bit more than depth of field, the two are and so close that you’ll barely notice a departure.
The main negative of the Tamron is its weight. At 1100 grams, it’south even heavier than the Nikon, making information technology one of the heaviest ultra-wide lens for Nikon cameras on the market. It’south too not quite equally wide as the Nikon; 14mm gives you noticeably more coverage than 15mm. Of course, in exchange, you’ll become the additional range from 25mm to 30mm, which the Nikon does not offer.
The Tamron’s retail toll is $800 cheaper than the Nikon 14-24mm. For most photographers (unless y’all already own the Nikon), information technology’s the better choice.
1.iii. Tokina 16-28mm f/2.viii
- ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 4080
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest discontinuity): ane.52 meters to infinity
- Weight: 950 grams, or 2.09 pounds
- Cost: $580
- Our review: Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8
Another like lens is the Tokina xvi-28mm f/2.8. It doesn’t accept as long of a zoom range equally the Tamron, but it makes upwardly 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 subconscious gem. While not every bit precipitous as the 14-24mm f/2.viii or fifteen-30mm f/2.8 at their widest apertures, this lens is a practiced option if you desire a dark photography zoom lens on a budget.
ane.4. Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR (as well as the older version and all third-party variants)
- ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 6136
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest discontinuity): three.41 meters to infinity
- Weight: 1070 grams, or 2.35 pounds
- Price: $2400
- Our review: Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR
If nighttime photography is your master goal, this lens shouldn’t be your top choice. At 24mm and f/two.8, information technology’due south two stops darker than other lenses that price far less money (such as the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 or the Sigma 20mm f/1.4).
However, a lot of people already ain a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, opening it up as a potential option. If you do have one of these lenses, should y’all purchase something dissimilar solely for nighttime photography?
Hither’southward the good news: with a 24-70mm f/two.8, you lot can take some very good nighttime photos as-is. This combination lets in enough calorie-free to capture stars that are all the same bright and clear, and most 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses accept low levels of blackout.
At the same time, if you keep taking nighttime photos, you’ll eventually desire something more. Other night lenses either have a greater depth of field (every bit is truthful for the ultra-wide f/2.viii zooms) or a brighter aperture (truthful for near of the prime lenses covered next).
There are enough 24-70mm f/two.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/ii.viii and the newer Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. We as well reviewed the Tamron 24-70mm f/two.8 VC. Other options exist from Sigma and Tokina as well.
These lenses aren’t ideal for nighttime photography, but, if this is your widest f/two.8 lens, don’t shy away from using it at dark; information technology is even so a solid option that tin can upshot in some fantastic photos.
1.5. Laowa 12mm f/2.8
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 3072
- Depth of field (widest aperture): 0.85 meters to infinity
- Weight: 609 grams, or i.34 pounds
- Price: $950
This lens is very new to the marketplace, 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 discontinuity of f/2.8. If you want to capture a landscape’s foreground at dark, this is one of the best options available.
Unfortunately, there are some problems. For one, this lens has noticeable coma – more than the Nikon 14mm-24mm f/2.eight or the Samyang 14mm f/2.eight. At $950, information technology’south too not a inexpensive lens, especially because that it is manual-focus only. I think that nigh photographers will run across the price of this lens and pick one of the 14mm lenses below. I certainly would. Optically, the Laowa just is not very practiced.
Of form, some photographers will observe the 12mm focal length to be invaluable. That’s significantly wider than 14mm, meaning that you can capture more of the Galaxy in a single shot, too as go a somewhat larger depth of field. For certain images, that could exist the deciding factor.
Although the price and coma make this lens hard to recommend, I can meet certain nighttime photographers buying information technology simply because of the incredibly wide angle.
1.6. Sigma 14mm f/one.eight
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 1482
- Depth of field (widest aperture): one.84 meters to infinity
- Weight: 1170 grams, or two.57 pounds
- Toll: $1600
- Our review: Sigma 14mm f/i.8
This lens has i of the best ISO scores on the marketplace, and, every bit we found in our review, it is very well controlled for photographing the night sky. Unfortunately, it is a very expensive lens that weighs 1170 grams, more than than ii.5 pounds.
If you lot know you lot need an f/1.8 aperture at a lens this wide, become for it. But, quite often, you will be stopping down to smaller apertures anyway (even ane/three or two/3 of a terminate) in order to go a bit more depth of field and minimize coma. So, it is clearly a specialty lens.
1.seven. Samyang 14mm f/2.4
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2636
- Depth of field (widest aperture): ane.38 meters to infinity
- Weight: 791 grams, or one.74 pounds
- Toll: $800
Also known as the Rokinon 14mm f/two.iv, this is one of the sharpest lenses we accept always tested for night sky photography (review coming presently), clearly beating the cheaper Samyang 14mm f/2.eight, and even edging out Nikon’s 14-24mm f/two.eight (previously the male monarch of precipitous dark sky photography). It has minimal vignetting and practically no coma, forth with a slightly wider f/2.4 discontinuity that gives nearly an extra one/three stop of light in disquisitional circumstances.
It isn’t a budget lens, but, at $800, it is a better price than many others on this list, and it outperforms almost all of them. The but issue is that $800 is however quite a flake of money to spend on a manual focus prime number lens, and then it is reasonable that non every photographer will find it worthwhile.
1.8. Samyang 14mm f/ii.viii
- 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, only fluctuates – Check current price
This Samyang lens (identically sold nether the make names Rokinon, Vivitar, Bower, and many others) is a compelling selection.
For starters, it has the aforementioned ISO score and depth of field as the Nikon xiv-24mm f/2.eight, since it’southward likewise 14mm at f/2.8. Everything I said almost the 14-24mm f/2.eight rings true here – it’due south i of the best compromises between depth of field and necessary ISO that you tin buy.
The Samyang is also
than the Nikon xiv-24mm f/2.8’s retail cost, as well every bit around half the weight. Non bad.
The downside, every bit with all Samyang lenses, is that y’all’ll have to focus manually. This isn’t an issue for most photos at night, since you’ll have to focus manually regardless of the lens y’all utilize. However, it could be a problem if you want to apply this lens for general-purpose landscape photography during the day. Although I personally like using transmission focus for some landscapes (magnified 100% in live view), autofocus is certainly convenient. For some photographers, in fact, it’s a necessity.
Similar the Nikon, this Samyang has noticeable levels of flare, although information technology as well has noticeably more coma. It is not the sharpest of broad angle lenses on the market for photographing the Milky way, although it’south certainly passable. It works very well for photographers who don’t listen a lack of zoom or autofocus capabilities and need a skilful, inexpensive option.
On balance, as a budget prime number lens – and fifty-fifty compared to much more than expensive options – there’s a good reason why the Samyang is so popular for dark photography today.
1.9. Irix 15mm f/ii.4
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2822
- Depth of field (widest aperture): 1.58 meters to infinity
- Weight: 581 grams, or one.28 pounds
- Toll: $425, but fluctuates – Bank check current cost
The Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly is a well-built lens and very enjoyable to use. It also sells for a squeamish price at just $425.
Compared to the Samyang 14mm f/2.8, it picks upwardly noticeably more stars, specially in the corners of images, where it is quite precipitous. It also has slightly less vignetting than the Samyang 14mm f/two.8. Yet, the Samyang is less expensive and wider, and then it’south a close contest.
However, compared to the Samyang 14mm f/2.4, information technology falls backside optically, both in terms of coma and vignetting (besides as broad angle field of view). The differences aren’t massive, just they are visible. However, keep in listen that the Irix is about one-half the price, making it a corking pick for those who are looking for a budget wide angle lens.
1.ten. Nikon 20mm f/one.8
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2126
- Depth of field (widest discontinuity): 3.75 meters to infinity
- Weight: 357 grams, or 0.79 pounds
- Price: $800
- Our review: Nikon 20mm f/1.8
The Nikon 20mm f/i.8 is another solid nighttime lens – in fact, past the lite information technology allows, this 1 is almost a cease better than the 14-24mm f/2.8 or xv-30mm f/2.eight options (though it doesn’t accept the aforementioned depth of field).
I’ve used the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 for dark photography for about a year, and I’ve found it to exist an excellent performer. Information technology’due south sharp and has very low levels of flare, making for clean images at nighttime, even when the moon is in your frame.
From what I’ve seen, though, this lens has noticeable blackout in the corners at f/1.8. I end up stopping down to f/2.ii for some nightscapes, which sharpens things upwards a bit (at the toll of a higher ISO, of course). I don’t do this for every photo, though; it’south all a balancing act.
What makes this lens and then appealing is its relatively low price and calorie-free weight. At $800, information technology isn’t exactly cheap, but information technology’s priced better than almost whatever other autofocus FX lens in this article. It’s besides light plenty to carry along without a problem, which is not something you can say of the f/2.8 zooms. If you have a medium-range budget, the 20mm f/ane.8 should be near the top of your listing.
i.11. Sigma 20mm f/1.4
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 1282
- Depth of field (widest discontinuity): four.72 meters to infinity
- Weight: 950 grams, or two.09 pounds
- Price: $900
This is a relatively new lens, as well as the i with the best ISO score on this listing (which, as mentioned in our earlier article, is a measure of the dissonance you’ll get in a nighttime photo without blurry stars). In other words, you’ll be able to use a lower ISO with this lens than whatever other in this article, bold that you shoot at its widest aperture setting on an FX camera.
Since it is the widest f/1.iv lens available for Nikon cameras, this was likely a huge claiming for Sigma to design (which normally would suggest a lower optical quality). Despite that, it’s a very skilful lens. At that place is some noticeable coma in the corners at f/1.4, though, so you may want to finish downwardly to f/i.8 or f/2. It’s similar to the Nikon 20mm f/ane.8 in this section.
The main bug with the Sigma are its weight and lack of a filter thread. This lens weighs almost a kilogram (more than than two pounds), which is about three times as heavy as the Nikon 20mm f/1.8. And, if yous want to utilize filters, you’ll have to purchase a big and expensive holder, too as bigger filters than normal, since the front element of this lens is pretty large.
For many people, the Nikon 20mm f/i.viii will be a more practical pick. Yet, if nighttime photography is your chief focus, the Sigma’s large f/i.4 discontinuity still holds a clear advantage. For photographers who care more than nigh light transmission than depth of field, this is perhaps the best lens bachelor today for nighttime photography.
1.12. Any 24mm f/1.iv
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 1534
- Depth of field (widest aperture): 6.viii meters to infinity
In that location used to exist just i pick if you wanted a 24mm f/1.four lens – Nikon’south own version. Now, there are ii others: the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 and the manual-focus Samyang 24mm f/1.4.
Of the three, the Samyang has the least blackout, which ways that y’all will get the sharpest stars in the corner of your frame. However, the differences aren’t equally favorable to the Samyang as y’all might recall; in fact, the Nikon and Sigma lenses are clearly sharper than the Samyang if yous aren’t photographing stars (fifty-fifty at f/1.4).
The Nikon 24mm f/ane.4 lens is one of Nikon’s sharpest broad-angles, as our review covers. The Sigma, though, doesn’t just hold its own – it’s really a bit sharper than the Nikon version. Although both of these lenses have clear coma at f/i.iv, either is still a good selection for nighttime photography merely due to the large discontinuity. If the coma is objectionable in a detail shot, you lot tin always end down past 1/three or 2/3 of a stop.
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 divergence 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 marketplace).
Don’t forget that the Samyang lens is transmission focus. That’s fine for nighttime photography, where you’ll exist focusing manually most of the time, simply it’s non platonic for piece of work during the day.
If your only goal is night photography, and price is a cistron, the Samyang is a wonderful value. It’southward the least expensive lens on this listing, likewise as the one with the lowest coma. Nevertheless, if yous desire to have pictures during the day or with autofocus, the Sigma should exist your choice instead (and, other than the blackout issue, is a better lens optically).
Although the Nikon is a wonderful lens, you don’t need to pay $2000 to get a good 24mm f/1.iv, so it is hard to recommend unless yous already ain it.
1.13. Nikon 24mm f/ane.8
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2546
- Depth of field (widest discontinuity): 5.iv meters to infinity
- Weight: 355 grams, or 0.78 pounds
- Price: $750
- Review: Nikon 24mm f/1.8
This lens doesn’t have quite as broad an discontinuity as a 24mm f/one.4, just that doesn’t hateful yous should overlook it.
In fact, Nikon’s 24mm f/ane.8 is one of their all-effectually best prime number lenses for landscape photography, given its light weight and dandy performance. We covered all this in our review, but at that place are very few wide-angle primes that lucifer the Nikon 24mm f/1.viii’due south image quality.
For nighttime photography, this lens does have some coma – slightly better than the performance of the 20mm f/1.8, but notwithstanding not great. However, this is true of every lens in this article at f/1.viii. The other problem is depth of field. Although it’s not horrible, a depth of field from 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) to infinity is noticeably worse than other lenses in this commodity. If y’all 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 (perhaps for general photography as well as night photography), it is hard not to recommend this lens. Although it doesn’t let in every bit much light as one of the 24mm f/1.4 lenses, it yet lets you use very low ISOs at night. Its light weight and high optical quality should not be overlooked.
1.14. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art (and other brands’ variants)
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 2232
- Depth of field (widest aperture): 14.45 meters to infinity
- Weight: 665 grams, or ane.47 pounds
- Price: $900
- Review: Sigma 35mm f/i.four Fine art
At this bespeak, the Sigma 35mm f/1.iv has caused a reputation as one of the best 35mm lenses available today. Although others can potentially challenge this reputation (such every bit Nikon’southward 35mm f/1.viii, discussed below), it certainly shows that the Sigma is a groovy piece of equipment.
However, for dark photography, information technology would be far from my acme choice. The trouble here isn’t the ISO that you can use; in fact, the Sigma’s broad aperture means that you lot can use a relatively depression ISO and still capture a vivid image. Instead, the problem is depth of field. At its largest aperture 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 department four of my earlier nighttime photography commodity).
If y’all’re trying to capture a distant mount, this won’t be a problem – both the mount and the stars can exist sharp in a unmarried image. Yet, if y’all try to include annihilation in your foreground, it will just be out of focus. Equally mentioned earlier, you tin always try focus stacking, just, at nighttime, that can be incredibly hard.
Y’all may already own the Sigma 35mm f/1.iv, or a 35mm f/1.four of a different brand. If then, don’t be discouraged from using it for nighttime photos. However, if you’re looking to buy a lens specifically for star photography, there are better options on the market.
1.fifteen. Nikon 35mm f/1.eight ED (and other brands’ variants)
- ISO score (widest aperture): ISO 3701
- Depth of field (widest aperture): 11.48 meters to infinity
- Weight: 305 grams, or 0.67 pounds
- Price: $530
- Review: Nikon 35mm f/1.eight ED
This is a great lens, but, like the 35mm f/1.4, it’s not really intended for nighttime photography.
On one manus, nothing in the photo will be sharp unless information technology’s 11.five meters away from the lens (38 feet) or further. That doesn’t requite you much of a foreground. And, since it requires an ISO of 3701, it’s ane of the lower-ranked prime lenses in this commodity.
Again, though, if y’all already own this lens, you certainly can utilise it for nighttime photography. You’ll actually get relatively make clean images; the main 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 let you lot take especially precipitous nighttime photos. Other options are meliorate if nighttime photography is your chief goal.
2. DX Cameras
Crop-sensor cameras – including Nikon’s DX lineup – are not necessarily known for their nighttime photography prowess. They’re most a stop noisier than Nikon’southward FX cameras, and they don’t take the aforementioned extensive lens lineup for star photography. Nevertheless, y’all still tin can capture night photos successfully with a DX camera.
The FX lenses listed above, for case, still tend to be good lenses for DX cameras. Something like the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 or Sigma 20mm f/1.4 remains a very good option. However, some DX-specific lenses accept the potential to work simply every bit well, or potentially better.
Note: The “full-frame equivalent ISO score” does not stand for the bodily ISO you should set while taking pictures. Instead, it’s a mode to compare the corporeality of dissonance to that of a full-frame camera. In other words, you may be shooting at ISO 1600 with your DX photographic camera, but the noise levels will exist roughly equivalent to ISO 3600 on an FX sensor. That’south why some of the values below are and then high. Over again, for more than information, read the earlier article on nighttime photography.
ii.1. Samyang 16mm f/ii.0
- Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest discontinuity): ISO 6163
- Depth of field (widest discontinuity): 3.41 meters to infinity
- Weight: 571 grams, or i.26 pounds
- Price: $420
As a brand, Samyang does a good job creating dark photography lenses, both for full-frame and ingather-sensor cameras. Their 16mm f/two.0 lens, for example, is one of the most popular nighttime photography lenses bachelor for DX cameras.
Equivalent to a 24mm f/two.8 lens on a full-frame camera (in terms of depth of field and the noise in your photo), this lens is a great manner to test the waters of dark photography. Although it doesn’t quite match the dissonance functioning of a full-frame camera, you’ll be able to capture fairly clean images of the night heaven, which is all that actually matters.
This lens is manual-focus only, which can exist problematic for daytime shots, but that isn’t an issue at night (since you’ll be focusing manually regardless). On top of that, the 16mm f/ii.0 is a solid value at $420.
Combined with an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3400, this is one of the most affordable ways to get expert night photos.
2.2. Samyang (also known as Rokinon) 10mm f/2.eight
- 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, only fluctuates – Bank check current price
This lens is one of the all-time – if not thesingle best – nighttime lens specifically for Nikon DX cameras. The wide bending and bright aperture mean that this lens will give yous excellent depth of field at dark.
The price fluctuates because the make Samyang goes past several dissimilar names: Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, and and so on. Information technology also offers frequent discounts and savings. Last time I checked (January 26, 2018), the all-time value was the Rokinon version at merely $353. That’s a steal if you have a Nikon DX camera and want a great nighttime lens, bold that yous don’t mind manual focus.
two.iii. Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8
- Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest bending, widest aperture): ISO 9508
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): one.07 meters to infinity
- Weight: 560 grams, or 1.23 pounds
- Toll: $600
One of the nigh popular choices for night photography with a DX camera is the Tokina xi-20mm f/2.8, as well every bit its variants (the 11-16mm f/2.8 lenses). At 11mm and f/2.8, this lens will allow you to accept nighttime photos with a large depth of field – something that isn’t piece of cake with almost other options.
Notwithstanding, in terms of the noise in your last photo, this 11-20mm f/two.8 is roughly equivalent to a 16-30mm f/4.0 lens on a full-frame camera. At that place’due south a reason I excluded Nikon’s 16-35mm f/iv.0 from the prior section: It simply doesn’t permit in much low-cal every bit other full-frame options.
Still, with DX cameras, you have to relax your standards somewhat. Compared to most other options available, this lens actually works quite well for nighttime photography on a crop-sensor camera. You won’t get full-frame epitome quality, simply you’ll be able to capture the stars and Milky Way better than with most other DX equipment on the marketplace. Call back of it as a zooming, autofocusing version of the Samyang 10mm f/2.8 listed to a higher place – for an actress $200.
two.4. Tokina 14-20mm f/ii.0
- Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 5128
- Depth of field (widest bending, widest aperture): 2.37 meters to infinity
- Weight: 725 grams, or ane.sixty pounds
- Toll: $600
This is a very interesting lens, and not one that is especially well-known. For night photography with a DX camera, though, information technology ranks virtually the top.
What makes the 14-20mm f/2.0 so odd is its limited zoom range. This lens is merely for crop sensors, making information technology a 21-30mm full-frame equivalent. That’due south not much. It feels similar Tokina only could have created a 14mm f/2.0 prime number lens instead (saving additional weight and toll), although some people certainly will find the slight zoom to exist useful.
For general landscape photography, there is very little reason to purchase this lens rather than the 11-20mm f/2.viii. With the 11-20mm, yous’ll get a longer zoom range at exactly the same price, and both lenses perform well optically.
Still, if you are interested in a dedicated astrophotography lens, this 14-20mm is a ameliorate choice. Its wide discontinuity lets you use a relatively low ISO, but it nonetheless offers a very practiced depth of field and a high image quality standard. Not a bad lens past whatsoever means.
2.5. Sigma xviii-35mm f/1.8
- Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO 5689
- Depth of field (widest bending, widest aperture): 5.2 meters to infinity
- Weight: 811 grams, or 1.78 pounds
- Price: $800
- Review: Sigma xviii-35mm f/ane.8
As the widest-aperture zoom lens available for DX cameras, information technology’s no surprise that the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.eight made this list. It is well-known for its optical quality, even at f/one.eight, which makes it one of the better nighttime options for a crop-sensor Nikon body.
However, if stars are the only thing you lot want to photograph, you lot might consider simply getting the Nikon 20mm f/1.viii instead. It’s the same aperture and virtually the same focal length, however costs and weighs significantly less (not to mention that it can be used on FX cameras as well).
If you lot are more interested in a zoom, though, this is a great option. The xviii-35mm zoom range is not peculiarly big, but it’s certainly welcome if yous plan to do daytime photography as well.
two.six. Whatsoever 17-55mm f/2.8
- Total-frame equivalent ISO score (widest bending, widest aperture): ISO fourteen,303
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest discontinuity): 2.56 meters to infinity
A lot of manufacturers make 17-55mm f/2.viii lenses for Nikon (or 16-50mm, 17-50mm, 18-50mm, and so on). There are worse lenses for astrophotography, but there are far amend ones too.
I used Nikon’s ain 17-55mm f/2.8 lens for about a year, and I had moderate success shooting some star photos with it. However, you’ll be left wanting more.
The problem with these lenses is merely a lack of lite. In terms of noise, you lot’re shooting a full-frame equivalent of a 28mm f/4 lens, which doesn’t really compete confronting other options out there. You’ll either demand to use a high ISO or brighten things significantly in post-product. Yet, it tin can still be done, equally the epitome below demonstrates:
ii.7. Whatsoever 18-55mm f/iii.5-v.6
- Full-frame equivalent ISO score (widest angle, widest aperture): ISO eighteen,482
- Depth of field (widest angle, widest aperture): 2.28 meters to infinity
For astrophotography, 18-55mm f/3.5-five.6 lenses are noticeably worse than the 17-55mm f/2.8 lenses, which weren’t keen in the offset place.
You’ll be pushing your ISO very high (in the ISO 8000 to 10,000 range), equivalent in racket functioning to roughly ISO 18,000 on a full-frame camera. Not great.
However, if yous own an 18-55mm f/3.5-five.half dozen, you lot can still go star photos – they’ll just be grainier than you may want. Don’t allow that discourage you from taking pictures at night. The eighteen-55mm f/3.5-5.6 lenses will give you a gustatory modality of astrophotography, which makes it like shooting fish in a barrel to tell if this is something you desire to continue doing.
In that location is no i “best” lens for night photography. Each one has its pros and cons, and different photographers will find some lenses better than others for the work they do.
If you desire a large depth of field at night, likewise as a general-purpose mural photography zoom lens, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and Tamron fifteen-30mm f/2.8 are among the best options bachelor today. Or, if you’re on a tighter budget, the Tokina sixteen-28mm f/2.viii should be high on your radar.
Other photographers – those who want a lens solely for nighttime photography – will observe a lot of value in the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 lens. It focuses manually, but it’southward a precipitous lens that only costs $330, making it perhaps the best value in this entire article. Or, for higher optical performance, the Irix 15mm f/2.4 or Samyang 14mm f/2.4 could be the better choice.
At the same fourth dimension, some photographers will prefer a lens that prioritizes a big aperture rather than offer a big depth of field. If that sounds like you, take a await at something similar the Sigma 20mm f/i.4; at its widest aperture, it allows you lot to accept star photos at lower ISO values than anything else on the market. Or, if you lot want to save weight and use filters, Nikon’s 20mm f/1.8 is another good option.
Finally, if y’all take a DX camera, lenses like the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 or Tokina 14-20mm f/2.0 also tin can assist lead to some spectacular images at night. This commodity isn’t a complete list (and so feel free to mention other possibilities in the comments department), and it already covers twenty lenses!
As you can see, there’s no shortage of options for nighttime photography. Fifty-fifty if you don’t have one of these lenses yourself, y’all should yet go out and experiment. Information technology’s fun to have pictures of stars, and you’ll come back agreement which options fit your personal needs the best.