Best lenses for astrophotography in 2024

One of the best lenses for astrophotography will be the perfect addition to your kit if you're looking to get serious about night-sky photography. These specialist lenses are designed with large apertures and wide focal lengths to help let in as much light as possible for capturing detailed images of the stars and galaxies above.

Ideally, astrophotographers should be looking for an aperture of f/2.8 or lower and a focal length of 20mm or less to capture the best shots. This means that these lenses tend to be bigger and heavier, as well as more costly, than standard lenses due to the size and quality of the glass. Since they represent a significant investment, it's worth reading through the reviews below to ensure you're getting the best lens for your current kit and budget.

If you're new to the field of astrophotography, be sure to check out our guide to astrophotography for beginners and consider pairing one of the lenses from this list with one of the best cameras for astrophotography. We also have guides to other handy accessories like the best tripods and best camera backpacks for transporting your kit out in the field.

Kimberley Lane author image
Kimberley Lane

Kimberley Lane is a landscape & seascape photographer living in South Wales. Originally using photography as a way to cope with health issues, she aims to portray a feeling of calm and peace through her images. Her work has been featured in a number of national photography magazines and she is a regular contributor to Space.com.

The quick list

Below we've summarized the most important information about our top picks among lenses for astrophotography, including their main characteristics and whom they might be best for. If you want to know more about a product before you make a purchase, click 'Read more below' and you'll find more in-depth specs and performance reviews.

Best lenses for astrophotography we recommend in 2024

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The best lens for astrophotography overall

Best overall lens, the new wide-angled 14mm f/1.4 lens from Sigma looks to offer unparalleled low-light performance.

Specifications

Type: Full-frame and APS-C
Compatibility: Canon EF, Nikon F-mount, Sony E-mount, L-mount
Focal range: 14mm prime
Aperture range: f/1.4 - f/16
Autofocus: Yes. HLA motor
Thread size: 82mm
Weight: 1.6 lbs (725g)

Reasons to buy

+
Well-built, reliable and durable lens
+
A marvel at creating sharp low light images
+
Great autofocus, color rendition and overall image reproduction

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy and bulky
-
Needs a tripod to maximize its potential
-
Only for those with the budget
Buy it if

✅ You want the best: Optically, we think this might be the best lens for astrophotography out there.

✅ Maximum aperture is a deal-breaker: A maximum of f/1.4 is ideal for astro.

✅ Build quality is important: We feel like this lens is built to last.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need something lightweight: This lens is quite heavy and best used with a tripod.

❌ Zoom is important: The fixed 14mm focal length can be restrictive for some.

The bottom line

🔎 The Sigma 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art lens is staggeringly good for astrophotography. Better yet, its speedy autofocusing and ability to de-click the aperture ring for video makes it useful for hybrid shooting as well. ★★★★½

The Sigma 14mm f/1.4 DG DN Art offers an ideal astrophotography combination with an ultra-wide 14mm view accompanied by impressive low-light capabilities.

Design: It's a large and heavy lens, but it's robust, well-built and has a pleasingly tactile feel to it. You probably wouldn't want to use it for long handheld, but for astrophotographers using a tripod this lens is a real gem. It also has an innovative lens cap which doubles as a filter holder and can be used even when the lens hood is in place.

Performance: You get fantastic sharpness across the entire image with this lens, which is no mean feat for a lens this wide. Distortion is well managed even at the edge of the frame, and the autofocus is crisp and clear with a manual focusing ring which is a joy to use. Its low-light abilities are formidable, allowing you to easily reach for higher ISOs and producing pin-sharp stars.

Functionality: This Sigma lens offers a range of features which extend its use outside astrophotography as well. Aperture control is seamless, with a manual ring which features detents at every third of a stop as well as an auto mode and a switch to declick the control when shooting video. Filters can only be applied at the mount end due to the bulbous front element, but it includes Sigma's GP-11 filter holder at the back to make this as easy as possible.

Although this lens could potentially be used for architecture, portraiture and live event photography as well, it's probably best suited to specialist astrophotography where its low-light abilities remain unbeaten.

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Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art
AttributesNotes
DesignSturdy but bulky.
PerformanceIncredible sharpness and no noticeable distortion.
FunctionalityFast aperture for night sky shooting.

Best Sony lens

Best for Sony cameras: The 12-24mm has outstanding optical clarity but a price to match

Specifications

Type: Zoom lens for full frame Sony cameras
Compatibility: Sony E-mount
Focal range: 12mm-24mm
Aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Autofocus: Yes. XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motor AF
Thread size: No filter thread
Weight: 1.87 Ibs (847g)

Reasons to buy

+
Superb image quality
+
Extremely wide viewing angle
+
Supports rear gel filters 

Reasons to avoid

-
Front filters not supported
-
Eye-wateringly expensive 
Buy it if

✅ You want exceptional image quality: this lens has incredible optical clarity.

✅ You want a large viewing angle: the shortest focal length gives an angle of 122 degrees.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this lens is one of the most expensive on this list.

❌ You use front filters: they are not supported on this lens due to the domed glass.

The bottom line

🔎 The Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM is great if you don't want to commit to one photography niche. It is versatile enough to have the option to use the wider 12mm for nighttime shots, while also being able to zoom in for daytime landscapes. ★★★★

Design: The Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 GM belongs to Sony's elite 'G-Master' lens series, renowned for outstanding quality, though it's also one of the priciest options here. With its f/2.8 aperture and remarkably wide field of view, it offers exceptional performance. Despite this, it maintains a relatively lightweight and compact design compared to others, weighing just 1.87 lbs (847g).

It's an incredibly attractive option if you're looking for an ultra-wide-angle lens that preserves excellent build quality but without the added weight. The glass is shielded by a petal-shaped integrated hood, but the glass is big and bulbous, so you can't use a filter on the front of the lens due to its rounded nature. However, there is a slot on the back of the lens for gel filters. 

Performance: The image quality from this lens is nothing less than spectacular. When we reviewed the Sony FE 12-24 f/2.8 GM lensthe images were extremely sharp from the center to the corners throughout the full focal length range, even at the widest aperture of f/2.8. For wide-angle landscape photography, this lens produced stunning images and we really loved shooting with it.

Functionality: The shortest focal length of 12mm gives a whopping viewing angle of 122 degrees which is perfect for capturing huge portions of the Milky Way and night sky landscape. With many other lenses, such a wide portion of the sky can only be captured by taking panoramas.

If you want top-notch quality in your astrophotography and have the budget for it, this Sony lens is a winner. While the price is undoubtedly high, its versatility makes it a potential all-in-one wide-field astro lens that will last for years, and, being a zoom lens, can turn its hand to other styles of photography, too. If your budget is tighter but you still want an ultra-wide-angle lens for astro, the next one on this list might be a better fit for you.

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Sony FE 12-24 f/2.8 G Master
AttributesNotes
DesignVery sturdy and well-built, light for its size.
PerformanceIncredibly sharp.
FunctionalityFixed f/2.8 aperture.

Best Nikon Z-mount

Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Best Nikon Z-mount lens: For astro, this lens gives premium performance for those with the budget

Specifications

Type: Zoom lens for Nikon mirrorless cameras
Compatibility: Nikon Z-mount
Focal range: 14-24mm
Aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Autofocus: Yes
Thread size: 112mm with supplied hood
Weight: 1.4 lbs / 650g

Reasons to buy

+
Fast f/2.8 constant aperture
+
Minimal aberrations
+
Front and rear filters supported 

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side
-
Requires large 112mm filters 
Buy it if

✅ You want a lightweight lens: at just 1.4 lbs, this is one of the lighter picks on this list.

✅ You use filters a lot: both front and rear filters are supported.

✅ You want to reduce post-processing: this lens creates minimal aberrations.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You're on a budget: this lens is one of the more expensive ones on this list.

❌ You already own filters: this lens requires large 112mm filters.

The bottom line

🔎 The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S combines a lightweight and compact design with exceptional image quality. It creates very few aberrations and has a handy LCD display. ★★★★½

Design: This Nikon zoom lens is notably the most compact among full-frame f/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses, measuring just 5 inches (124.5mm) in length. It's lightweight at 1.7 lbs (650g), maintains a wide aperture and offers a broad viewing angle at the shorter end of its focal range. Additionally, it's fully weather-sealed for protection against various weather conditions.

The customizable Lens Function (L-fn) button allows users to quickly change exposure and adjust settings without having to flick through endless menus, which is useful when you need to act fast to avoid missing a shot.

When you compare it to similar models from other brands, this lens has a less bulbous front element. This means you can easily attach 112mm filters to the front using the included lens hood, making it more versatile for daytime and astrophotography. Keep in mind that these filters might be a bit expensive, but having the option is a great feature. Plus, you won't need to buy a separate rear filter system.

Performance: The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S provides outstanding image quality with minimal distortion, vignetting and aberrations. The LCD on the lens barrel is especially helpful for astrophotographers, allowing you to make adjustments in the dark without the need for a headlamp.

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Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
AttributesNotes
DesignLightweight and compact.
PerformanceNo noticeable coma or aberrations.
FunctionalityFast f/2.8 constant aperture.

Best widely compatible prime

Best widely compatible: Thanks to its stunning image quality and ultra-wide angle this Sigma is incredible for astro

Specifications

Type: 14mm prime lens for full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras
Compatibility: Canon EF, Nikon F-mount, Sony E-mount, L-mount
Focal range: 14mm fixed focal length
Aperture range: f/1.8 - f/16
Autofocus: Yes. Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM)
Thread size: No filter thread
Weight: 2.58 Ibs (1,170g)

Reasons to buy

+
Very well built
+
Phenomenal image quality 
+
Ultra-big maximum aperture 

Reasons to avoid

-
Can feel heavy
-
Niche focal length
-
No filter thread  
Buy it if

✅ You want exceptional image quality: you can't get much better results than with this lens.

✅ You want a large maximum aperture: with a range of f/1.8 - f/16, this lens is hard to beat.

✅ You want a sturdy lens: this high-quality build means this lens will last.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a lightweight lens: at 2.58 lbs, this isn't the lightest lens on this list.

❌ You want a versatile focal length: at 14mm fixed, this lens is a bit niche.

You use filters a lot: this lens isn't equipped with a filter thread.

The bottom line

🔎 The Sigma 14mm F1.8 DG HSM ART lens really is a phenomenal lens for night-sky photography. If you’re after a lens that will get you long shutter speeds without a star tracker, with technically excellent results throughout its aperture range, this is a piece of kit that will serve you well. ★★★★★

Design: In our review of the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens, the first thing that stood out was its weight. At 2.58 lbs (1,170g), it's quite heavy compared to other lenses. However, this weight usually indicates higher optical quality. Also, if you mainly shoot astrophotography with a tripod, the weight won't be a big issue unless you're trekking long distances with it to remote dark sky spots.

This lens is incredibly sturdy and has the bonus of being weather-sealed, which is great for outdoor shooting. While astrophotographers usually don't shoot in bad weather at night, this feature is useful for daytime photography like landscapes or architecture. For nighttime shooting, its fixed focal length and wide field of view are ideal for capturing expansive views of the night sky.

Like some of the other lenses on this list, it's worth noting that the front element is big and rounded, meaning you can't use any filters on the front. While it's not a deal-breaker for astrophotography, it's something to consider if you intend to use the lens in the daytime and want to protect the glass better, or if you want to do any kind of long exposure shooting during the day with ND filters.

Performance: The lens excels in optical performance, providing exceptional image quality all-round. Even at its widest f/1.8 aperture, the stars remain sharp and clear all across the frame. However, closing the aperture slightly can help minimize distortion in the corners of the image frame when you're shooting wide open.

The chromatic aberration (color fringing) is minimal even when shooting at wide apertures and you also won't see any significant issue with image distortion — something which certainly cannot be said for all ultra-wide lenses.

As far as ultra-wide lenses go, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art is close to unbeatable in terms of its performance and quality.   

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Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art
AttributesNotes
DesignWell built, but can feel heavy.
PerformanceOutstanding image quality.
FunctionalityWide maximum f/1.8 aperture.