10 of the Best Wide Angle Lenses For Stellar Astrophotography Images

These fast, wide angle lenses will help you create truly stunning starscapes.

Astrophotography season is right around the corner in the Northern Hemisphere, so we thought it would be great to take a look at some of the best wide angle lenses that are well suited to this genre of photography. In the past, astrophotography was really only for those who could afford wide angle lenses (primes and zooms) that had apertures of at least f2.8, but now you can get some truly stunning wide angle lenses that are perfect for this genre for very little outlay.

In the Northern Hemisphere, Astrophotography season begins at the end of March and runs until about the middle of October. During this time we are able to capture the galactic core of the Milky Way just above the horizon in the southern sky. In order to be able to capture stellar astrophotography images and starscapes you’re going to need fast, wide angle lenses that are up to the task. Listed below are 10 wide angle lenses for various platforms that will make it easier for you to capture the magic in the sky this astrophotography season.

 

Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f2.8 Compact Dreamer APS-C

 

  • Decent image quality
  • Sharp
  • Keeps the distortion down a whole lot
  • With a lens like this you’re either focusing up close and personal or far away. There is no in between.

Cons

  • The colors are just adequate. There’s no spark!
  • Distortion around the corners is a bit annoying.

Check out our full review

Buy now Sony ($499): Amazon

Buy now Fujifilm ($499): Amazon

Buy now Canon M ($499): Amazon

 

Rokinon 12mm f2

 

astrophotography

  • Great colors
  • Small build
  • Lightweight
  • Nice aperture clicks
  • Sharp

Cons

  • There are lenses with better bokeh for sure

Check out our full review

Buy now Fujifilm ($299): Amazon

Buy now Sony E ($349): Amazon

Buy now Canon M ($299): Amazon

 

Rokinon 14mm f2.8

 

Pros

  • Sharp images
  • Really excellent colors
  • ergonomically pleasing
  • Controls distortion quite well

Cons

  • Cannot be used with filter due to front element

Check out our full review

Buy now Canon EF ($299): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($318): Amazon

Buy now Sony A ($249): Amazon

Buy now Pentax ($249): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you want to give yourself every chance to get beautiful astrophotography, and night time images you’re going to need to make sure that your lenses are nice and clean before you start shooting. Keep a basic lens cleaning kit with you at all times so that you can wipe away any water spots, dust, or grease spots on your lenses. Best to take care of it out in the field rather than in post.

 

IRIX 15mm F2.4 FireFly

 

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Fairly lightweight
  • Accurate focusing depth of field markers
  • Sharp optics
  • Innovative features like the ability to lock the focus with a separate ring

Cons

  • Focusing communication with a Sony FE camera via a Metabones adapter wasn’t the absolute best.

Check out our full review

Buy now Canon ($475): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($375): Amazon

 

Sigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN Contemporary (Sony E Mount)

 

Pros

  • Fast aperture
  • Weather sealing to a point
  • Fast autofocus performance for the most part
  • Nice bokeh
  • Sharp, surprisingly sharp

Cons

  • To be honest, nothing

Check out our full review

Buy now ($399): Amazon

 

Pro Tip: If you can’t get away from city lights, or other areas where light pollution may affect your night time and astrophotography images, you should consider purchasing a light pollution filter. These filters work by blocking out light given off by sodium lamps (the most common street lights). They are available with different thread sizes so get one that’s the right size for your lens, and block that nasty yellow glow from your images.

 

Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 R WR (X Mount)

 

Pros

  • Very sharp wide open
  • Very sharp overall
  • Excellent metal build quality
  • Focusing ring allows for zone focusing
  • Focusing ring allows for zone focusing
  • Fast focusing performance
  • Weather sealed construction
  • Keeps distortion down pretty well

Cons

  • Depth of Field scale could have given us more focusing markers
  • More purple fringing than a modern lens should have despite it easily being removed in post-production
  • There are so many other things that you can do for just under $1,000
  • Autofocus is just a hair too slow for street photography.

Check out our full review

Buy now ($749): Amazon

 

Canon 22mm f2 STM (EF-M)

 

Pros

  • Sharp output
  • Nice bokeh
  • Pancake size is perfect for a camera like this
  • Fast aperture, which the EOS M5 really needs
  • Lets the M5 fit into your pocket

Cons

  • Slow autofocus

Check out our full review

Buy now ($229): Amazon

 

Pro Tip:  To add a little more sparkle to your astro images try a little light painting. By using a small light source like this during your long exposure, you can add some interest to some of the objects in your scene. The tree was lit for just a few seconds in the above image and it makes it a nice focal point of the image along with the Milky Way. It’s an easy technique and it can make your astrophotography images stand out a little more.

 

Nikon 24mm f1.8 G (Nikon F Mount)

 

Pros

  • Surprisingly sharp
  • Lightweight, you’ll never want to take it off of your camera
  • Nice bokeh
  • Great colors
  • Fast autofocus and very accurate overall

Cons

  • Fairly pricey

Check out our full review

Buy now ($746.95): Amazon

 

Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM

 

wide angle lenses

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Extremely sharp
  • Fast focusing
  • Stellar build quality

Cons

  • May need some micro adjustment out of the box
  • No weather sealing

Check out our full review

Buy now Canon ($761.39): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($743.09): Amazon

 

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8

 

Pros

  • Damned good build quality
  • Super sharp wide open
  • The fact that you’ve got  wide to normal focal length range at a constant f1.8 blows our minds
  • Fast to focus
  • Perhaps the absolute best concert photography lens that anyone can get their hands on

Cons

  • APS-C only; but that isn’t really a con. Sure, everyone wants a full frame version.
  • Positively nothing else

Check out our full review

Buy now Canon ($644.89): Amazon

Buy now Nikon ($641.39): Amazon

Buy now Pentax ($689): Amazon

Buy now Sony A ($660.19): Amazon