Best lenses for astrophotography in 2024

If you're looking to get serious about night-sky photography, one of the best lenses for astrophotography could be a great addition to your kit. 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. 

The best astrophotography lenses are often larger, heavier and pricier than standard lenses because of the size and quality of the glass. Because they're a big investment, our expert reviewers have carefully highlighted both the positives and negatives of each lens for your consideration.

If you're new to 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

Why you can trust Space.com Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test and review products.

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 big, heavy lens, but it's strong, well-made, and feels nice to handle. It might not be great for long handheld use, but it's fantastic for astrophotographers using a tripod. Plus, it has a clever lens cap that also works as a filter holder, and you can use it even with the lens hood on.

Performance: This lens gives you excellent sharpness across the whole image, which is impressive for such a wide lens. Even at the edges, distortion is minimal. The autofocus is quick and precise, and the manual focus ring is very enjoyable to use. It's great in low light, letting you use higher ISOs to capture sharp stars easily.

Functionality: This Sigma lens offers a range of features that extend its use outside astrophotography as well. Aperture control is seamless, with a manual ring that 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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
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. If you're looking for an ultra-wide-angle lens that preserves excellent build quality but without the added weight, it's incredibly attractive. 

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).

The lens has a built-in petal-shaped hood to protect the glass, but the glass is large and rounded, so you can't attach a filter to the front. However, there is a slot on the back of the lens where you can use gel filters.

Performance: The image quality from this lens is nothing less than spectacular. For wide-angle landscape photography, this lens produced stunning images and we loved shooting with it. 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. 

Functionality: At its shortest focal length of 12mm, this lens offers a wide viewing angle of 122 degrees, ideal for capturing large areas of the Milky Way and night sky. Many other lenses can only capture such a wide view by stitching together multiple photos into a panorama.

If you want excellent quality for astrophotography and can afford it, this Sony lens is a great choice. It's expensive, but its versatility makes it a long-lasting, all-in-one wide-field astro lens. As a zoom lens, it can also be used for other types of photography. If you have a smaller budget but still want an ultra-wide-angle lens for astrophotography, the next one on this list might be better for you.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
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 stands out as the most compact among full-frame f/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses, measuring only 5 inches (124.5mm) long. It's lightweight at 1.7 lbs (650g), has a wide aperture and provides a broad view at its shorter focal lengths. Plus, it's completely weather-sealed to protect against different weather conditions.

Compared to similar lenses from other brands, this lens has a less protruding and rounded front element. This allows you to easily attach 112mm filters to the front using the included lens hood, which makes it more versatile for both daytime and astrophotography. It's worth noting that these filters can be a bit pricey as they're so big, but having the option is a valuable feature. On the plus side, you won't need to purchase a separate rear filter system.

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.

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.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
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 we noticed was its weight. At 2.58 lbs (1,170g), it's heavier than many other lenses. However, this weight often indicates better optical quality. If you primarily shoot astrophotography with a tripod, the weight shouldn't be a major concern unless you're carrying it long distances to remote dark sky locations.

This lens is very durable and has the added benefit of being weather-sealed, perfect for outdoor photography. Although astrophotographers typically avoid shooting in bad weather at night, this feature comes in handy for daytime photography, such as landscapes or architecture. When shooting at night, its fixed focal length and wide field of view are perfect for capturing vast 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. 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.

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.

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.   

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AttributesNotes
DesignWell built, but can feel heavy.
PerformanceOutstanding image quality.
FunctionalityWide maximum f/1.8 aperture.

Best Canon RF lens

Best Canon RF lens: This pro-grade all-rounder has superb image stabilization

Specifications

Type: Zoom lens for Canon mirrorless cameras
Compatibility: Canon RF mount
Focal range: 15mm-35mm
Aperture range: f/2.8 - f/22
Autofocus: Yes. Nano-Ultrasonic AF
Thread size: 82mm
Weight: 1.85 Ibs (840g)

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar image quality
+
Sleek, portable design
+
5-stop image stabilization 

Reasons to avoid

-
On the expensive side
-
Softer edges at f/2.8 
Buy it if

✅ You want excellent image quality: this lens uses the highest quality L-series glass to guarantee stellar results.

✅ You want a portable lens: this is designed to be carried around, weighing just 1.85 lbs.

✅ You want good image stabilization: this lens has 5-stops of IS.

Don't buy it if:

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

❌ You want edge-to-edge sharpness: this lens reveals softer edges at f/2.8.

The bottom line

🔎 The Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM is the brand's best ultra-wide zoom lens which makes it a sound investment for photographers. Unfortunately, it’s also quite pricey so it may put off some that are on stricter budgets. ★★★★½

Design: The Canon RF 15-25mm f/2.8 IS USM has a simple and sleek design, with just two buttons on the lens itself to operate the autofocus/manual focus and stabilizer. It maintains the same shape down the entire length of the lens barrel, so it's easy to store away in whatever camera bag you use.

This lens features a large 82mm filter thread right at the front, allowing you to attach screw-in filters directly without requiring an adapter. We particularly liked how smoothly and quietly the focal length and focus rings operate, making it excellent for shooting time-lapses and recording videos.

Performance: In our Canon RF 15-25mm f/2.8 IS USM review, we tested the lens out with the Canon EOS R6 camera and were extremely impressed with the results. The autofocusing speed was excellent and it produced super sharp images, with only a tiny amount of sharpness dropoff right at the very edge of the frame when we were shooting wide open at f/2.8.

When we reviewed the images we took, we observed a minor chromatic aberration at the edge of the image, but it was only noticeable when zoomed in to 400%. While this isn't perfect, especially for astrophotographers shooting wide open, the overall image quality remained stunning.

Functionality: With a zoom range of 15-35mm, it's versatile enough for wide landscape shots and detailed close-ups. This lens offers strong image stabilization, providing five stops on its own and up to eight stops when paired with a Canon RF mount camera with in-body stabilization, making it perfect for handheld shooting.  For anyone using Canon RF mount cameras, we think it's an essential addition to your kit bag.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AttributesNotes
DesignSleek & portable design.
PerformanceSofter images at f/2.8.
FunctionalityHas 5 stop image stabilization.

Best Sony prime lens

Best Sony prime lens: Bright, ultra-wide resolution in a compact design makes this fixed focal lens a winner

Specifications

Type: 14mm prime lens for Sony cameras
Compatibility: Sony E-mount (full-frame supported – FE)
Focal range: 14mm fixed focal length
Aperture range: f/1.8 - f/16
Autofocus: Yes. XD (extreme dynamic) Linear Motor AF
Thread size: No filter thread
Weight: 1.01 Ibs (460g)

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Excellent build and design 
+
Impressive image quality 

Reasons to avoid

-
Front filters not supported
-
No Optical SteadyShot
Buy it if

✅ You want a lightweight lens: at just 1.01 lbs, this is one of the lighter picks on this list.

✅ You care about the looks: this lens boasts an excellent build and design.

✅ You want outstanding image quality: the results obtained with this lens are impressive.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You use front filters: they're not supported.

❌ You want image stabilization: this lens is not equipped with Sony's Optical SteadyShot technology.

The bottom line

🔎 The Sony 14mm f/1.8 G Master is ideal for seasoned astrophotographers or professional street photographers that need a wide field of view combined with sharp optics and a fast f/1.8 maximum aperture. ★★★★½

Design: In our review of the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master lens, we liked the clickable aperture ring option, which allows for easy aperture adjustment even in situations where the visibility of the screen is limited, like when shooting from low angles. However, it's important to mention that you can't use filters on the front of the lens due to the bulbous front element, so any filters will need to be attached to the back.

A big selling point of the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 G Master lens is that it's almost unfathomably lightweight for a 14mm ultra-wide lens. At only 1.01 lbs (460g), it's 2.5x lighter than Sigma's 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens and doesn't look at all out of place on a full-frame camera body. It also makes it a dream to use, particularly if you like having the option of shooting handheld.

Performance: The image quality of this lens is amazing, delivering clean, sharp photos even when shooting wide open at f/1.8. There's a small amount of vignetting that can be easily fixed in editing, but almost no barrelling, chromatic aberration or distortion. Besides its super-sharp images, it also creates beautiful bokeh and dramatic sun stars at apertures down to f/4, making it versatile for both daytime photography and astrophotography.

Functionality: This lens excels in low light with its fast f/1.8 aperture, which allows you to use longer shutter speeds to capture things like star trails. The wide angle lets you capture large areas of sky, as well as facilitating easy close-up shots during the day alongside its effective autofocus. The only thing it lacks is image stabilization, but with many cameras featuring in-body stabilization these days, this may or may not be a problem for you.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
AttributesNotes
DesignSurprisingly compact and lightweight.
PerformanceBeautiful image quality.
FunctionalityNo image stabilization, but it doesn't suffer for it.