5 Best lenses for night sky star photography – Astrophotography – A Complete Guide

Best lenses for star photography - Astrophotography
Beautiful star sky photo – astrophotography

Hi, again guys. As you know, when it comes to very specific topics of photography, in this case, night sky or star photography or more generally astrophotography, I like to start the article with a bit of theory.

So first, we need to understand what type of lens we need. In the case of start photography, we will need a shorter focal range lens. This is due to the fact that shorter focal length lenses can capture a wider field of view, and this is important when we want to take photos of the night star sky. This will enable us to capture as much of the sky as possible. It is also preferable to have a full-frame camera – without any cropping factor – for that additional range of field view. To be on the safe side, one should not consider the focal length of lenses above 50mm. In this article, I will only recommend lenses, whose focal length is ranging between 10mm to 35mm, as I consider these focal lengths to be ideal when it comes to astrophotography.

Taking pictures of stars is probably the hardest task you can give to a lens. Since your environment is dark, you need to shoot at a maximum shutter speed, before star-trail becomes visible. That is why a lens with a wide maximum aperture is really important. It is best to have a lens with a max aperture of F1.8, F1.4 or larger. Acceptable max apertures are also F2.8, F2.0. While there are many lenses on the market that can satisfy this wide aperture requirement, not many can render the starts that well. Any good astro-lens needs to be sharp at these wider apertures. Stars are very small, so the sharper your lens, the more details you are able to resolve. Astrophotography is one of the few genres where sharpness is really important. A penalty of many wide aperture lenses is their high degree of aberrations. Spherical, comatic, or astigmatic aberrations can ruin the shape of stars, while chromatic aberration causes stars to have purple and green fringes.

A good astral lens will correct for these detrimental qualities. Finding lenses that satisfy these requirements is harder than you think, so I’ve decided to list the 5 Best lenses for night sky star photography.

What are the 5 Best lenses for night sky star photography – Astrophotography?

Here I will share the 5 Best lenses for night sky star photography. These lenses are very wide lenses intended for a full-frame camera. These lenses have a short focal length, allowing us to capture as much of the sky as possible.

Recommended
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
Budget option
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
Budget option
Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
Recommended
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
Zoom
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
-
125 Reviews
1,414 Reviews
104 Reviews
479 Reviews
50 Reviews
$1,403.88
$274.95
$399.00
$898.00
$899.00
Recommended
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
-
125 Reviews
$1,403.88
Budget option
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
1,414 Reviews
$274.95
Budget option
Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
104 Reviews
$399.00
Recommended
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
479 Reviews
$898.00
Zoom
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
50 Reviews
$899.00

Last update on 2022-07-10

If price is no option then this is the best lens for night sky or star photography and it is the fastest 14mm lens currently on the market. It has the wides aperture of any lens below 20mm. Because of this, it is hard to compare this lens to anything else, since nothing can truly compare. Even so, there is some moderate aberration when the lens is wide open. Another thing to know is that the lens is pretty heavy. But from all the lenses I have tested for astrophotography, this is my go-to lens when it comes to astrophotography.

The lens comes in 3 different mounts – Canon, Nikon, Sony – making it easy to fit on your current camera. Below you can find the camera with 3 different mount options.

Sale
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
125 Reviews
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Canon EOS Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking
  • Ultra-wide Angle of view
  • Super multi-layer coating helps reduce flare and ghosting
  • Large HSM (hyper-sonic motor) delivers ample torque to the focusing group for outstanding speed, ensuring exceptionally stable performance even at lower speeds

Last update on 2022-07-10

Sale
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Nikon Cameras)
125 Reviews
Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Nikon Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking
  • Ultra-wide Angle of view
  • Super multi-layer coating helps reduce flare and ghosting
  • Large HSM (hyper-sonic motor) delivers ample torque to the focusing group for outstanding speed, ensuring exceptionally stable performance even at lower speeds

Last update on 2022-07-10

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Sony E Cameras)
38 Reviews
Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Art DG HSM Lens (for Sony E Cameras)
  • Large diameter delivering f/1.8 brightness
  • Beautiful bokeh effect, and outstanding control of light streaking
  • Ultra-wide angle of view
  • Super multi-layer coating helps reduce flare and ghosting
  • Large HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) delivers ample torque to the focusing group for outstanding speed, ensuring exceptionally stable performance even at lower speeds

Last update on 2022-07-10

Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens

Rokinon 14mm F2.8 is a great budget option for those of you who are just getting started in astrophotography. The lens will do a great job of capturing the sky and the aberrations are really not that bad relative to the price you pay for the lens. This lens is very popular with beginner astrophotographers and it offers the best value for its price.

Sale
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
1,414 Reviews
Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon (Black)
  • Ultra wide-angle 14mm lens with an approximately 90° angle of view using an APS-C camera, for dramatic effects
  • Lens has a minimum focusing distance of 0.9' (28 cm) for enhanced close-up shots. Lens includes a built-in petal-type lens hood.Do not soak the lens in water, and avoid water splashing onto the lens
  • Maximum Diameter: 3.4”(87mm). Aperture Range: F2.8 to F22
  • Focal Length: 14mm. Mounts : Canon: FE14M-C, Nikon AE: FE14AF-N. Pentax K: FE14M-P. Sony α: FE14M-S, Fuji X: FE14M-FX, Samsung NX: FE14M-NX, Sony E: FE14M-E, Four Thirds: FE14M-O, Micro 4/3: FE14M-MFT, Canon AE : AE14M-C

Last update on 2022-07-10

Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly Lens

Another great option, for those of you on a budget, is Irix 15mm f/2.4. It is a little bit more expensive than Rokinon 14mm F2.8, but in my opinion, the higher price is offset by better sharpness, and aberrations are kept well in check with this lens. I would say this is still a great budget buy for night sky star photography.

Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
104 Reviews
Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4-22 Ultra Wide Angle Lens with Built-in Chip for Canon EF Digital SLR Canon EF Wide Angle Lens
  • Neutrino coating for minimum ghosting, CA and flare
  • Features built-in chip for auto metering with Canon DSLR cameras
  • Lightweight ABS construction
  • Ergonomic focus ring - Innovative focus lock
  • Manual focus

Last update on 2022-07-10

Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G

The Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G is one of the best astro lenses currently available. While it is not as fast as some other 20mm lenses, it does not suffer from any aberration wide open! It is nearly perfect at 1.8, which is usually not the case with other lenses. Vignetting is somewhat strong wide open though. Seeing the performance of this lens, I expected a price of around $1200, but at only $900 this lens is truly an excellent value. I highly recommend it!

Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
479 Reviews
Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G Full-Frame Large-Aperture Ultra-Wide Angle G Lens, Model: SEL20F18G
  • Compact ultra-wide prime G lens w/ stunning wide-open resolution
  • F1.8 max aperture provides extraordinary exposure and depth of field
  • Compact, lightweight design, ideal for both full-frame and APS-C2 cameras
  • Advanced Aspheric elements for natural, lifelike high resolution
  • Two XD Extreme Dynamic Linear motors for fast, precise autofocus

Last update on 2022-07-10

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens

As for the last lens, I wanted to recommend a zoom lens that is suitable for night sky star photography. While prime lenses offer better image quality due to their wider maximum apertures, zoom lenses are extremely convenient. This lens is the best wide-angle zoom lens for astrophotography. While sharpness is not comparable to primes in the same focal range, it is the class-leading zoom lens in astrophotography. Astigmatism, chromatic aberration, and other defects are also very well controlled.

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
50 Reviews
Tamron SP 35mm f/1.4 Di USD Lens for Canon EF
  • Consummate image quality across the entire frame from edge-to-edge
  • Exceptionally reliable, fast and accurate AF
  • Next-generation BBAR-G2 Coating
  • Vastly improved highly durable Fluorine Coating
  • Moisture-Resistant Construction

Last update on 2022-07-10


Final Thoughts

Any of these cameras will do a great job at shooting the night sky or stars. The only question is how high of a quality you want your picture to have. If you are a beginner pick up the Rokinon 14mm F2.8 or Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly. For advanced astrophotographers, I would suggest to go for Sigma 14mm F/1.8 Art or Sony FE 20mm F1.8 G. Be sure to check that the lens mount is suited for your camera – in most cases listed above I have used the link for Canon Mount lenses, but these lenses usually also come with Nikon and Sony mounts.

I hope you found my guide useful and it will help you make the right decision also for yourself. Oh, and if you have a question you are welcome to comment below or contact me through the contact form. I am always happy to exchange experiences with my fellow photography enthusiasts. Wish you tons of great photos with your new lens ?.

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