📸 5 Best Lenses for Night Photography In 2024 [Guide]

Jan 12, 2024 | Buying Guides

Have you ever asked yourself what it would be like to have the best lens for night photography?

If you have at least one bit of night crawling preferences inside, the chances are that you have.

Night photography is one of the growing niches in the whole game (not just the concert and nightclub scene).

It continues to grow, thanks to technological advancements that combat bad lighting after the sun goes down.

image for night photography lenses guide

Unfortunately, the internet still doesn’t offer many helpful buying guides which would light the way to high-quality gear that would allow one to capture fantastic night shots.

Because I’m also a nightcrawler, I have created a comprehensive buying guide to help fellow photographers obtain the best optics to use in nighttime conditions.

Best Wide-Angle
 
 

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 Lens

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G Lens

3.5
4.0
4.5
Best Wide-Angle

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens

3.5

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 Lens

4.0

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G Lens

4.5
Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 Lens

Pictures tend to have an artistic look, and it provides a pleasant shooting experience. Focusing is relatively fast and precise with virtually no hunting.

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  • Lens Type: Wide Angle
  • Mounting Type: Sony E
  • Focal Length Range: 14-24mm
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.28 m
  • Weight: 1.75 pounds
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 3.35 x 9.1 inches

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 sports an optical design of 17 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 114.2° to 84.1° with a minimum focus distance of 10,94 inches and a maximum magnification of 0,19x. Although it doesn’t have optical image stabilization, it packs a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture and a fast autofocus system.

One of the reasons why I put it on the night photography lenses list is its extraordinary color rendering capabilities. All the colors appear friendly and vibrant, with solid saturation levels of stars and space objects, which is convenient for photos with such a modest chance of coloring.

Focus works quite well; I just had trouble finding the focal point so the camera could pinpoint the spot under low lighting. Lens operates well in autofocus mode. It is responsive and accurate, and most of the frame stays in sharp focus.

The lack of optical image stabilization is noticeable in lowlight settings without a tripod. However, I always use a tripod for nighttime photos with almost zero light, so it wasn’t a big deal.

I noticed small amounts of vertical distortion during the testing, but it was an easy problem to fix in post-production. The contrast is also quite well managed. Design-wise, the lens is built of high-quality materials and is relatively heavy.

Pros

  • Fast aperture
  • Fast focus
  • Color rendering
  • Solid design

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 Lens

Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 is one of the fastest lenses one could get for E-mount, and the manual focus operates smoothly.

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Rokinon 12mm f/2.0 has an optical design of 12 elements in 10 groups, with an angle of view of 98,9 degrees and a minimum focus distance of 7,87 inches. It used a nanocrystal coating system for increased transmission and reduced internal reflection. It is also a lens that utilizes manual focus and is a prime example of optics that photography veterans would love.

One of the reasons it made the best night photography lens list is the build quality since it is well constructed and relatively small in size (not counting the significant front element).

The lens mount is made of metal, with the plastic front of the barrel and the focus ring. The overall impression is that it is a durable piece of optics. The general performance is excellent as well. I achieved the best results around an f/5, but it was also tack-sharp at the maximum opening. I also used focus on the stars, and the edges were quite good at the top space.

Generally, it is one of the fastest lenses one could get for E-mount, and the manual focus operates smoothly. On the other hand, it does lack autofocus and optical image stabilization, but if you use the tripod, it won’t be an issue.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide focal length
  • Overall sharpness
  • Fast aperture
  • Affordability

Cons

  • Lack of OIS and autofocus

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G Lens

Nikon 20mm f/1.8G is compact, a lightweight lens that produces high-quality images with beautifully blurred backgrounds.

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The third contender has an optical design of 13 elements in 11 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 94 degrees, and a minimum focus distance sits at 7,87 inches, with a maximum magnification of 0,23x. Nikon 20mm f/1.8 sports a silent wave motor that ensures quiet and accurate focusing, and it is one of the reasons it made the best lens for the night photography list.

Design-wise, the lens is relatively light, and despite popular opinion, it doesn’t give a cheap look. It is made out of quality and durable materials. Its focusing is smooth and doesn’t create hunting issues, so I didn’t have problems missing any shots.

The general performance in terms of image quality is excellent. Although there is a certain softness at the maximum opening, the overall impression is that the lens produces highly leveled and sharp images when you step down a couple of f-stops.

The color rendering is solid with excellent color distribution, a minimal amount of fringing and contrast edges, and only at large apertures. Vignetting is present, but it is far from predominant, and the distortion is well-managed.

It offers a solid night performance, and when you mount it on a tripod, it produces gorgeous night sky images with an accurate color representation and phenomenal detail, without the noise. If you are looking for the best Nikon lenses for night photography, the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 is the best choice.

Pros

  • Excellent focus
  • Fast aperture
  • Lightweight
  • Color rendering

Cons

  • Fringing

Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Lens

Powerful, versatile, and delivers stunning image quality with a wide aperture for beautiful portraits and low-light shooting.

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The second Sigma 85mm f/1.4 here sports an optical design of 14 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 28.6 degrees, a minimum focus distance of 33,46 inches, and a maximum magnification of 0,12x. The lens doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but the fast aperture of an f/1.4 ensures a high-quality performance even under challenging lighting conditions.

I included it on the best lens for night photography list due to its highly accurate, responsive, and almost dead-silent autofocus. Another crucial point is the bokeh effect.

The lens can produce gorgeous portraits and macro shots thanks to a shallow depth of field. The general image quality is outstanding. It is sharp at the widest opening and gets even better as you step down a notch.

Color rendering is also quite close to what the human eye sees, although you can spot strong contrast and saturated colors that contribute to the artistic feel of the lens. Combined with a tripod, a fast aperture allows one to capture mesmerizing night photography, whether in the night sky or the cityscape when the sun goes down.

The lens also offers a solid body with intelligent design solutions and an excellent finishing touch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a weather resistance feature, so be careful when using it in the rain.

Pros

  • Fast aperture
  • Great focus
  • Design
  • Artistic “feeling”

Cons

  •  Lack of OIS and weather resistance feature

Sony 20mm f/1.8G Lens

This lens doesn’t have any chromatic aberration problems, and the color transmission is next to phenomenal, with vibrant and live colors.

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The best lens for night photography Sony has an optical design based on 14 elements in 12 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 94 degrees, and a minimum focus distance of 7,09 inches, with a maximum magnification of 0,2x.

It doesn’t come with optical image stabilization, but it does have a powerful and fast aperture combined with two XD linear motors that ensure fast and accurate autofocusing, even in lowlight situations. This is an additional plus that focusing is extremely silent.

One of the reasons why it made the best lens for night photography is its versatility. It is great to shoot during the night at 20mm, whether it is a sky or city rooftops. I was able to get quite close to objects and manage to get razor-sharp focus. Although there is a vignetting present, it doesn’t represent much of an issue, thanks to post-production.

This Sony 20mm f/1.8 also doesn’t have any chromatic aberration problems, and the color transmission is next to phenomenal, with vibrant and live colors. It is a wide prime lens with portrait and walk-around capabilities, packed in a lightweight and compact body aimed to serve the wide array of photographers. The general design of the lens is satisfactory, with solid materials used and a nice finishing touch.

Pros

  • Excellent focusing
  • Solid design
  • Fast aperture

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Verdict

Acquiring the lenses for night photography is crucial to becoming a perfect photographer who can tackle nearly all-natural conditions. As you can see, getting high-quality optics at reasonable prices is possible, no matter what manufacturer or brand you prefer.

On the other hand, getting the right lenses at a reasonable price takes a lot of effort. No matter which one from the list you pick, your camera will be grateful.

Check out this option if you are unsure which lens to choose.

Also, you can find more helpful information about the best lenses for concert photography and the best lenses for full-body portraits on our website.

Disclaimer: "As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.

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