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

Jan 12, 2024 | Buying Guides

Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to own the best night sky photography lens?

If roaming dark alleys or natural habitats devoid of artificial lighting is your cup of tea, you probably have.

Night sky photography is fantastic because it shows the true power of camera technology while also giving us a glimpse into the world we usually don’t see that often since we spend a third of our lives sleeping.

image for night sky photography lenses guide

Despite the popularity of nighttime shooting sessions among photographers, the internet still lags in providing valuable and comprehensive buying guides to ensure more straightforward navigation through the market.

Since I love exploring the world by night, I have decided to create an ultimate guide that aims to aid fellow photographers in getting the best possible optics for night sky photography.

Best Wide-angle
Best Wide-angle
 

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Lens

3.5
5.0
4.0
Best Wide-angle

Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

3.5
Best Wide-angle

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

5.0

Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Lens

4.0
Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 Lens

The Sony lens has a solid build and a top-notch quality, smooth bokeh and a high resolution images while also being weather sealed.

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Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 offers an optical design of 16 elements in 13 groups, with 11 rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 107° to 63° with a minimum focus distance of 11.02″ and a maximum magnification of 0,19x. It doesn’t have optical image stabilization, but it compromises with the presence of a fast aperture.

The constant aperture, combined with the fast aperture and a rich in-box package, is why it made the best lens for the night sky photography list.

The fantastic thing about this Sony is the zero chromatic aberration, a problematic result, even under laboratory conditions. The aperture is neat and performs well under challenging light conditions, enabling photographers to capture great shots in lowlight situations. Furthermore, it doesn’t suffer from distortion issues, which is another great thing, mainly due to its “ultra-wide” focal length.

It produces a significant bokeh effect and can even be used for portrait photography. I didn’t have issues capturing stunning images both handheld and with the tripod. It manages the noise quite well, and thanks to the aperture, I didn’t have to use too high ISO values.

The color transmission is solid, with strong contrast and vibrant coloring. It is also weather-sealed and is designed in such a way as to withstand challenging conditions. Although it is pretty heavy for its category, it is the only objection worth mentioning.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide focal length
  • Fast focus
  • Wide aperture
  • Weather-sealed

Cons

  • Lack of OIS
  • Heavy

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G Lens

This is a premium wide-angle lens from Nikon that captures beautiful photos and it is considered as one of the best lenses for landscapes.

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Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 has an optical design of 14 elements in 11 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 114° to 84°, with a minimum focus distance of 11.02″ and a maximum magnification of 0,15x. The given optics is an excellent piece of equipment, and one of the reasons why it made the night sky photography lenses list is the ultra-wide capability that makes it quite versatile.

Although:

It doesn’t have optical image stabilization; it’s the wide aperture of an f/2.8 ensures maximum photographic quality under challenging conditions. I tested it for the night sky shootings, allowing me to shoot pictures with a minimum amount of barrel distortion only at 14mm. The vignetting was negligible and present only at the widest opening.

The overall sharpness is excellent, with detail preservation. From edge to edge, it is undoubtedly sharp. Color transmission is solid, with a well-managed amount of contrast, without the fringing, at any given f-stop.

Due to a fast aperture and solid focus system, it doesn’t have issues with shooting under low lighting and can achieve great shots from hands. The lens is heavy, but it doesn’t fall in the “too hefty” category, so it shouldn’t be a reason to avoid buying it.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide capabilities
  • Fast focus
  • Wide aperture

Cons

  • Heavy

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L Lens

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L is a high-performance ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with an f/2.8 aperture throughout the whole zoom range

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The best lens for night sky photography Canon, is designed with 16 elements in 11 groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 108° 10′ to 63°, with a minimum focus distance of 11.02″ and a maximum magnification of 0,22x. Its sub-wavelength air sphere coatings significantly reduce the flare and ghosting, and the optics are resistant to dust and water.

Two reasons made me put it on the best lens for night sky photography – versatility in the focal length and a fast aperture, which compensates for the lack of optical image stabilization. The Canon 16–35mm f/2.8 lens produces tack-sharp results, with an excellent color distribution and many preserved details, while retaining a color palette that feels natural and without too much artificial saturation.

I could capture solid night sky photos using long exposure and a tripod. In urban environments, I also captured great shots even without using a tripod when the lighting was dim but present.

I also had no issues with chromatic aberrations and fringe, and t; then it is next to nonexistent. The focus system is accurate and responsive, and the overall design of the lens is extraordinary (not that I expected less from an “L” category).

Pros

  • Versatility
  • Design
  • Overall sharpness

Cons

  • No OIS

Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 Lens

The overall image quality it produces is rock-solid, with strong contrast and the color transmission that is worthy of a magazine cover. 

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Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 has an optical design of 14 elements in 12 groups, with nine aperture blades. The angle of view is 104.34° – 72.42° and has a minimum focus distance of 11,2 inches. Although it lacks optical image stabilization, the wide aperture ensures a solid lowlight performance.

The main reason it made the best lens for night sky photography is the extreme versatility that allowed me to capture fantastic images with a broad perspective, even under night sky conditions.

The overall image quality it produces is rock-solid, with solid contrast and color transmission that is worthy of a magazine cover. Although I noticed small traces of vignetting and distortion, it is possible to remove them with the help of post-production software.

The aperture of an f/2.8 controls the image quality in low light situations, and it does a phenomenal job of providing solid quality even when you don’t use a tripod.

It also adds to the flexibility and is somewhat wide enough to create a shallow depth of field suitable for amateur portraits. The focus system is accurate and responsive, but it is relatively loud. The lens is somewhat on the heavy side of the spectrum, but since it has a robust and sturdy design, it is a well-thought compromise.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide capabilities
  • Fast focus
  • Wide aperture
  • Design

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Lens

Unleash your creativity with the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 lens; offering unmatched sharpness, fast aperture, and a unique perspective for every shot.

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The last name on the list has an optical design of 15 elements in 10 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 116.6°, with a minimum distance of 7,87 inches and a 0,15x maximum magnification.

This Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 has ultra multi-coated glass and aluminum construction, which is why it made the lens for the night sky photography list.

The first thing I noticed was the phenomenal speed of autofocus which was responsive and accurate in all conditions, despite being loud at the time.

Another vital point is the excellent ultra-wide capability of the lens, which makes it a suitable candidate for shooting night sky images, especially in urban conditions, when you want to frame architecture and landscapes. The overall sharpness of the lens is solid and pretty good at the maximum opening, although I saw significant improvements when I stepped down a couple of f-stops.

Design-wise:

I object to the lack of an infinity focus ring. Still, the aesthetical and ergonomic solution is solid, and the design makes the lens durable and able to withstand rough handling in the field. During the testing phase, I didn’t have issues managing the lens without a tripod, and I achieved decent results under night circumstances.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide capability
  • Fast focus
  • Aluminum body

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Verdict

Mounting the night sky photography lens on your camera is vital for ensuring a tremendous photographic performance under the most demanding lighting conditions. The advancements in optical design have allowed us to capture fantastic images even when light is virtually non-existent.

However, to do it properly, we need solid gear. No matter which manufacturer or brand you prefer, picking any of the lenses I have chosen for the list will make your portfolio stand out among many others.

I hope this article has helped you find the best camera lens for night sky photography. Check out this option if you’re still unsure which lens to get.

For fantastic tips on improving your photography, check out our other articles, especially the Nikon Z5 lens guide and guide for Canon Rebel XS.

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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