Night sky photography, also known as Astrophotography is a special kind of photography. As it requires taking pictures in the dark, it needs different devices.
Without the right aperture, focal length and stabilization, you can not take good-quality pictures of the beautiful night sky. That makes astrophotography lenses different from others.
Some people are spending a lot in this field because of their passion. You can have a good start by purchasing a decent lens that goes with night sky photography.
Best lens for night sky photography in 2023
There can be found a good number of prime lenses in the market. So, it is essential to determine which one is the best for astrophotography. Night sky photography needs a wide aperture and focal length.
If you go blind without gathering much information, you might accidentally buy a lens that is great in other fields but not in astrophotography. That is why we strongly suggest that you gain all the necessary knowledge for making a good purchase.
In 2023, we have more lightweight lenses than before. Prime lenses are usually lighter than zoom lenses. There are a lot of features in these lenses that can help in specific fields.
Comparison table of top 10 lens for night sky photography
|* 18 mm (Focal Length)|
* 1 (pounds)
* 4 x 3 x 3 (inches)
|Panasonic LUMIX S||* 24 mm|
* 2.6 (pounds)
* 5.5 x 10 x 5.5
|Tamron||* 28 mm|
* 1.21 (pounds)
* 4.6 x 2.9 x 2.9
|Sony – FE|
|* 24 mm|
* 1.46 (pounds)
* 4.5 x 3.4 x 1
|Sony – E||* 50 mm|
* 7.2 (pounds)
* 2.4 x 2.4 x 2.4
|Samyang SY14M-O||* 14 mm|
* 1.2 (pounds)
* 4.2 x 3.2 x 3.2
|Rokinon||* 10 mm|
* 1.28 (pounds)
* 4.1 x 3.4 x 3.4
|HK Meike||* 12 mm|
* 12.6 (pounds)
* 2.8 x 2.8 x 2.8
|Sony SEL24240 FE 24||* 24 mm|
* 1.72 (pounds)
* 4.7 x 3.2 x 3.2
|Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR||* 18 mm|
* 1.21 (pounds)
* 3.9 x 3.1 x 3.1
Our 10 picks of best lens for night sky photography
Having a good lens is a necessity for photography. For choosing a good-quality lens, we have included our top ten list. We reached out to professional photographers and general users for gathering the information that helped us create this top ten list. These are the best lens for night sky photography.
1. Canon EF-S – Highly stabilized camera for night sky photography
For Canon’s cameras or any APS-C cameras, Canon EF-S is our most recommended product. Having a great-quality stabilization property makes is one of the best lenses for night sky photography.
Canon EF-S has a lot of features that might surprise you as we have experienced ourselves. Like we have said before, it has a high-quality stabilization feature. Stabilization can adjust the lens by itself in an unstable environment. So, even if you don’t have a tripod, the camera would still be able to take clear pictures.
The lens has an aperture of f/3.5, which makes it able to take good shots in low light environments. It makes it an excellent tool for night sky photography. More light passes through the lens and makes it able to take bright pictures of stars and the moon.
This camera lens is favourite amongst EOS users. The main reason for this is their wide focal length range. The lens offers from 29 mm to 216 mm of focal length for any types of photography. The lowest 29 mm is good enough for astrophotography. The wider it becomes; the ability of the lens increases for using it in street, portrait and landscape photography.
It has 0.45 meter closest focusing distance for taking close-up shots. This lens is not only suitable for astrophotography but also used in a variety of photography fields such as wildlife photography, street photography, etc.
- f/3.5 maximum aperture is suitable for night sky photography.
- Focuses faster than other lenses.
- Good for action photos.
- Autofocus is super silent.
- Allows good-quality pictures even without a tripod.
- Photos are very clear and beautiful.
- Has a loose fit.
- Some users had problems with the manual setting in focus.
As it is the top one on our list, we can safely say that it can assist you greatly with your astrophotography career. A lot of professionals use this with the necessary equipment that helps them to take the best quality of pictures.
2. Panasonic LUMIX S – Astrophotography lens with macro lens feature
Panasonic is one of the top players when it comes to cameras and camera-related equipment. Their products are affordable yet high-quality. That is why they have been a consistent name for quite a while.
Panasonic LUMIX S is a zoom lens for cameras. The L mount lens is a good fit for Panasonic LUMIX cameras and is a must for you if you have the brand’s camera. Its focal length makes it the best wide-angle lens for night sky photography. It has versatility in the focal length which makes it usable for astrophotography, street photography, wildlife photography, etc.
Even though the macro lens isn’t usable for night sky photography, it is still worth mentioning. Such macro lenses are designed to take close-up shots of small objects or insects from a very close distance. Technological photography and wildlife photography need this feature.
Some users said that the constant f/4 aperture is better from some lens’s f/2.8 aperture. From our perspective, it is good enough for low light photography and provides the necessary features.
The lens can be used in any weather conditions. It is dust and splash-proof that makes the lens durable and unique. Sudden rain, waterfalls, water splash, etc. won’t have any harmful effects on it.
- 3 m closest focusing distance for close-up snaps.
- The focal length is adjustable for different types of photography.
- The stabilization is enabled when connected with Lumia.
- Constant f/4 aperture ensures excellent quality pictures in dark.
- Weather-resistant feature for durability and function.
- Usable in wildlife photography.
- Aperture is not as high as other products.
- Stabilization only works with specific cameras.
The stabilization and variation of lens angles make this lens one of the best choices not only for night sky photography but also for general photography. This is why it is highly recommended by professionals and users who have used and enjoyed its good service.
3. Tamron – Cheap but high-quality
Tamron is not as famous as some other camera brands, but the brand has been in the game since 1950. Their lenses are a good option if someone is looking for a cheaper alternative. They are widely used by many people who don’t wanna spend a lot on the cameras.
Tamron lens is a perfect fit for the Sony E mount. The lens is a piece of great equipment for full-frame mirrorless cameras as it has an aperture value of f/2.8 with fast focus feature. Higher aperture makes it suitable for night sky photography.
The lens is much more lightweight compared to other lenses. Maybe because it is an E mount camera lens, it is effortless to carry, and the shape is not much significant. That allows it to be carried in a camera bag easily.
The lens is moisture resistant for high-quality durability. The body is made of good materials that make it dust and splash-proof. But comparing to Nikon or Canon lenses, it is not very long-lasting and needs maintenance.
- f/2.8 aperture for high-quality night sky photography.
- Very lightweight and does not add much to the overall weight of the setup.
- 19 meters minimum object distance allows close up pictures of small objects.
- Has unique background blur effects.
- Weather protection for increased durability.
- Quiet and fast autofocus feature.
- Image quality is not so good with full zoom.
- Autofocus performance is inconsistent.
If you are looking for a cheap option, nothing can beat Tamron in quality. It can’t beat Nikon or Canon lenses, but it is a worthy product that gets the job done. Some minor issues are present, but customers seem to ignore them because of the lens’s low price.
4. Sony – FE – Full-frame E mount lens for night sky photography
Sony has always been there and has affected the technological advancement of humanity. Sony’s cameras and lenses are high-grade with updated technology. That is why Sony has remained a relevant brand for decades, and you can easily trust their products.
Sony – FE is an E mount camera lens for full-frame mirrorless cameras. With a constant aperture of f/4, it is able to take stunning photos in low light conditions. That is why we have brought it up on our night sky photography lens review.
It is also adjustable according to the distance of a subject. It can take close up shot due to having a minimum focusing distance of 14.9 inches. Macro pictures can be easily captured with it.
Overall, it is a great choice for both beginners and experts photographers. Although, beginners should have a slight idea about manual focus before purchasing it.
- Constant f/4 aperture can promise clear pictures in any lighting conditions.
- 24 mm wide-angle for high-quality night sky pictures.
- Minimal dust and moisture resistant feature.
- Usable in low-temperature situations.
- Optical image stabilization ensures quality.
- Easy to switch from automated control to manual control.
- Too much water or dust can damage the lens.
- Autofocus has minor issues.
This E mount lens is ideal for night sky photography and many other fields of photography. When equipped with the right camera, the lens is able to show its full potential. This is why it is liked by many professionals who are in this field of photography.
5. Sony – E – High-quality image stabilization lens for Sony cameras
It is no matter of surprise that we have the well-known Sony in our list again. It is also an E mount camera lens that is a perfect fit for Sony cameras. With its well-known OSS image stabilization, it sits on the top five of the best lenses for astrophotography.
What makes this lens suitable for night sky photography? Well, it has the highest aperture between all the lenses of our list. With f/1.8 aperture, it can take pictures in the darkest of areas without any problem. You need to adjust the camera when you’re out at night taking star pictures.
If it’s a moonlit night, keep the aperture a little low for the best result. One of the issues of this lens is, it cannot zoom in or out. It is designed to take only close up shots. So that might have some effects.
A feature that is liked by many customers is its high-quality optical SteadyShot image stabilization. This is important for close-up snaps as the photo can be affected by shakes if the lens does not have image stabilization.
- Optical SteadyShot (OSS) image stabilization allows shake-free and clear pictures.
- Aperture is as high as f/1.8.
- The minimum focus distance of 0.39 m allows close up snaps.
- Gives good background and foreground effects in pictures.
- The ‘Bokeh’ feature brings an artistic feeling to the pictures.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Does not zoom in or out.
- Autofocus often has issues while detecting faces.
- Some users weren’t satisfied with its size.
Sony’s products are trustable and high-quality, and this one is no different. With all the essential features, it can do a decent job in taking pictures of the beautiful night sky. As our experts have ensured us of its quality, we can safely recommend this to you if you are trying to be a professional astrophotographer.
6. Samyang SY14M-O – DSLR and DSLM camera lens
If you’re perhaps looking to go out in a very open area like the Mountains, what you need is a lens that will give you an ultra-wide view so that you can really capture the dazzling beauty of the starry sky.
Like most other night-sky-photographers, we know that this is the kind of feature you are looking for in your lens. Therefore, in number 6 of our list is the stylish Samyang SY14M-O lens.
If you are doing night sky photography for a long time, you are most likely familiar with the Samyang manufacturers. But if you are new to this, our editors and many professional photographers we have spoken to can assure you of the quality and integrity of the Samyang lenses.
Aside from the great features, this lens is a fantastic value considering that it gives way shaper photos than similar cameras of the same price range. This feature makes it the best DSLR lens for astrophotography.
Sharpness is one of the primary features you should be looking for when buying an astrophotography lens. The only downside of this lens, we think is that it’s not autofocus. So, it might not be the perfect lens for beginners.
- Works with both DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
- Ultra wide-angle view.
- Incredibly sharp photos.
- Great value for all the features.
- Amazing plastic body design.
- Filters can be used so that it works perfectly fine for day-photography too.
- It’s a fully manual lens, so some users may face problems like setting the focus correctly.
- There’s little distortion in the photos
- Filters are needed to be used for daytime photography
Because this is a fully manual lens, it is essential to tweak the dials to perfection before going out on that photography trip you have been planning to take. New users need to follow the user manual to get a hold of everything. So, this might be the perfect camera you are looking for to start your career in astrophotography.
7. Rokinon – 10mm Wide Angle Lens for spectacular night sky photos
If you are an astrophotographer who uses APS-C Sensor digital cameras, or perhaps someone who’s looking for a lens with versatile features or both, then this is the perfect camera for you. With its focal ratio of 2.8, this lens is specially made to take photos in a far to infinite distance.
One might think that the high focal length makes the view narrower than a wide-angle lens, but it has all the features of wide-angle lenses and more. It actually has a wide-angle view of 109.5°.
This lens has the perfect combination of wide-angle view and focal length that is crucial for taking infinite range shots of the night sky. But that’s not it; this lens is also optimized for taking close-range shots that a journalist or a commercial photographer might want to take.
It is also very lightweight for a camera that has so many features, thus making it a perfect lens for travelling photographers. This is what you expect from a lens with versatile features, a lens that is compatible with a lot of types of people. Let’s look at the pros and cons of this lens:
- Tested for excellent performance in low-light conditions.
- It uses a Nano Crystal Anti-Reflection Coating System that can eliminate any reflection problems.
- Utilizes three high precision lens. elements for more top-quality photos
- A perfect companion for travelling because of its lightweight.
- Optimized for close-range photography allowing greater user flexibility.
- Can’t fully resolve sharpness issues of images.
- Low durability.
The durability issues are almost nothing compared to the impressive quality this lens provides for such low range lenses. Ultimately, if you are looking for an astrophotography lens that has flexible usability, then we think this is the lens you should buy.
8. HK MMeik – 12mm Ultra Wide-Angle lens with high-quality MF
This lens is designed to work with specific models of Sony E mount cameras. So, it’s not suitable for a lot of photographers. If you don’t have a Sony camera, feel free to skip this review.
This is one of those lenses that are optimized to do one job only but does that job with maximum performance and precision. HK mike 12mm F/2.8 is not a versatile lens unlike Rokinon 10 mm Wide Angle.
This lens is optimized explicitly for doing landscape photography and astrophotography. You can quickly understand this by seeing its high focal ratio and focal length, a wide-angle view of up to 99°.
The combination of these features is perfect for astrophotography. It’s a fully manual lens, making it less compatible for new or inexperienced photographers. Let’s have a look at the pros and cons:
- Optimal aperture range for astrophotography (8- f22).
- Perfect for owners of Sony E mount cameras.
- Multi-layer coating and nanotechnology.
- 9 Aperture Blades that provide a circular aperture.
- Not zoomable, making it very inflexible to use.
- Comparatively less visual angle than other cameras in our list.
Sony E mount mirrorless camera users should consider this lens in the top of their to-buy lens list.
9. Sony SEL24240 FE 24 – Lens with increased zooming
This is a zoom lens which is compatible with mirrorless cameras. Like other Sony lenses, it is also a high-performance lens containing all the essential requirements. We’ll discuss its quality, advantages and disadvantages for giving you a full narration of this product.
First of all, it has a 10x zoom feature which can be hardly found in such lenses. It is an important feature when it comes to astrophotography. By attaching it with a good astrophotography camera, you can take close up shots of the night sky objects.
Like all other lenses in our list, it also has a stabilization feature. Although it can be slightly different from other lenses, it is called Optical SteadyShot stabilization. It does its work well by providing a shake-free picture.
For night sky photography, the lowest requirement of the aperture is f/4. This lens has an aperture of f/3.5, which is more than enough for astrophotography.
- 10x zoom helps taking close up pictures of the moon.
- Optical steady shot (OSS) is built-in for shake-free pictures.
- Has 24 mm to 240 mm of wide zoom angle for enabling different types of photography.
- Maximum aperture of f/3.5 gives high-performance in low-light conditions.
- Has the ‘bokeh’ effect that gives an artistic touch to the pictures.
- Contains fast focus feature.
- Dust and moisture resistant.
- More substantial than most of the lenses in our list.
- An expensive option.
Even though it’s heavy and expensive, it is still a better option than many other lenses. Professionals use it frequently for different types of photography. It is a highly recommended choice for you if you are a newbie.
10. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR – Wide aperture range lens
Nikon lenses are most suitable for wildlife and other photography. This is one of the few Nikon lenses that are usable for astrophotography. That makes this lens the best Nikon lens for night sky photography. Most of the lenses we have mentioned above have a constant aperture or minimal range of aperture. But this lens offers a wide range of aperture from f/3.5 to f/22. This enables you to take good quality pictures in both dark and bright environment.
It has a different type of stabilization feature, and it is called Vibration Reduction Stabilization. It helps taking close-up snaps without having a bad effect due to shakes. The lens works well, even without a tripod.
The manual focus achieved all the good reviews for being very and handy. Every professional photographer wants a good manual focus for taking better pictures. But the autofocus is not that good. Some users have complained about it for not working well.
It is the right choice at an affordable price. Like all the products we have mentioned before, this also has a good number of positive reviews that you can check before buying this product. We recommend that you buy it after being entirely sure of its ability.
- Offers a wide range of aperture from f/3.5 to f/22.
- Offers up to 16.7x wide-angle photos, and zoom up to .32x.
- Offers Ultrasonic Focus technology.
- Vibration Reduction technology helps you when you have shaky hands.
- Has a compact and lightweight body.
- Suitable for both still photos and HD video.
- Focus Distance Indicator doesn’t work the best.
- Auto-focus doesn’t work all the time.
- Complaints about after-sale service.
Its versatility of the wide range and zoom and stabilization make this lens a good competitor against other lenses in the market at the same price. Though some users found some minor issues with the auto-focus, this is an excellent lens at the price which is recommended by lots of people.
Things to consider when buying best lens for night sky photography
Night sky photography or astrophotography is quite different from general photography. As a result, some unique features are needed to be kept in mind. It is not recommended to go blind if you want to make a worthy purchase of the best camera lens for night sky photography. Best camera lens for astrophotography must have some essential features that should be considered.
Here, we have included some crucial things that should be considered when buying the best lens for night sky photography.
Aperture is the most critical factor when it comes to night sky photography. People who have slight ideas about cameras or lenses know how great of an effect aperture has. It is not only an essential matter in astrophotography but also general photography.
So what actually is aperture? Aperture is a term that is used to describe the opening of a lens’s diaphragm. Through the diaphragm, light passes and falls on the mirror for DSLR cameras or the sensor in a mirrorless camera.
We define aperture with f/number. The smaller the number is, the wider is the opening of a lens’s diaphragm. As an example, f/2.8 lets more light to go through the lens compared to f/20.
In astrophotography or night sky photography, you’d want more light to pass through your camera’s lens so that the pictures are bright enough. When buying a lens for night sky photography, we recommend that you get a lens that can offer an aperture between f/2.8 and f/4.
The focal length is a bit more complicated compared to aperture. The actual focal length (often measured in mm) is the projection length of light on the lens.
This can be a little tough to understand it fully; firstly we’ll tell you what it does. It determines how wide-angled pictures you can take.
Some lenses have a fixed focal length. As an example, if the focal length is 18 mm, it cannot be changed. Such lenses are called ‘Prime Lens’. Another type of lens has a variable focal distance and is called ‘Zoom lens’.
It is recommended to have a wide-angle lens for astrophotography. Prime lenses can be perfect for this. It can take wide pictures of stars and other night sky objects. Zoom lenses are used for wildlife photography or taking photos of small insects while primes lenses are the best lens for shooting the night sky.
High-quality cameras should have a built-in stabilization feature. Without it, images will be shaky and blurry. Image stabilization allows taking pictures without tripods. Still, tripods are essential for night sky photography.
You should look for an image stabilization feature in the lens before buying. It can help you to take high-quality pictures very quickly.
Frequently asked questions
Lenses are a crucial element of photography. For astrophotography, you do not want to make any mistakes while purchasing. This is why we have included the top ten frequently asked questions when buying the best lens for night sky photography.
What is the required aperture for night sky photography?
For astrophotography, the aperture should be between f/2.8 and f/4. Best lens for sky photography should offer a good range of aperture.
Are general lenses usable for astrophotography?
Astrophotography needs a unique lens as the photos are taken in a dark environment. General lenses may not work well in this case.
What is ‘closest focusing distance’?
Closest focusing distance is the closest distance between the subject and the camera’s sensor. Narrower than this will create a blurry picture.
How can I clean my camera’s lens?
You can use Isopropyl Alcohol for this. Rub the glass with some alcohol on cotton for a clean glass.
What is a macro lens?
A macro lens is able to take high-level close-up shots. It is used in wildlife photography for taking pictures of small insects.
What is ‘working distance’?
Working distance refers to the minimum distance between the camera’s lens’s front end and the subject.
Do camera lenses have image stabilization feature?
Yes, most of them have this feature for a steadier picture.
What is necessary for a lens to have for astrophotography?
High aperture and wide-angle play a vital role in astrophotography.
How do I know if the lens will fit my camera?
Cameras contain information about what kind of lenses they can take. You can find a perfect fit from that.
What type of lens is good for beginners?
Beginners can purchase a cheap but decent-quality camera for getting used to astrophotography. After that, they can always upgrade to a better option.
Astrophotography is a beautiful art, and that needs care and effort. Not only cameras play a vital role in night sky photography. Lenses are important equipment for a camera to make better and easier art.
New photographers that are joining the astrophotography field need the best equipment to help them keep their interests in this field. We hope our listing will help such people to have a great start.
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