12 Best Canon Camera Lenses for Astrophotography 2017

Canon Camera Lenses for atsophotographyCapturing a good shot of the Milky Way can be one of the most rewarding moments of being a photographer. There’s a sense of wonder to be experienced when looking up at the wide expanse of space on a cool, crisp night. It’s not easy though, and many an amateur has been foiled by simply pointing their camera at the sky on a long exposure. An appropriate lens is the key ingredient when taking photographs of the night sky. They need to have a wide aperture, produce a sharp image and have as much chromatic aberration control as possible.  There are plenty of lenses to choose from, largely dependent on the type of camera you own. Below are some of the best Canon camera lenses for astrophotography.

Best Canon EF (Full-Frame) Lens for Astrophotography


1. Rokinon/Samyang 14mm f/2.8 – Best Budget Super Wide Angle

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.8 constant aperture.
  • A budget way to get into astrophotography.
  • Multi-layer coating to reduce lens flare.

Photography isn’t always cheap, especially when it comes to capturing the stars. Good astrophotography lenses can often reach the thousand mark and beyond. That’s what makes the Rokinon (or Samyang, depending where in the world you are) 14mm f/2.8 such a fabulous lens. It’s affordable enough for beginners, without compromising on quality. Images are sharp and clear with little coma, and the build is solid.

Buying considerations:

  • No autofocus or aperture control means you’ll have to do a fair bit of manual tinkering.
  • There is some barrel distortion and vignetting.

2. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art – Fast Wide Angle Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Wide f/1.4 aperture and wide angle.
  • Shallow depth of field for softer bokeh blur.
  • Less expensive than other brands in the same range.

The wide aperture of the Sigma 3mm f/1.4 makes it a sensible choice of lens for astrophotography. It’s also quick and accurate to focus thanks to its floating inner focusing system and Hyper Sonic Motor. This lens can capture a shallow depth of field to create a lovely soft background. All these elements combined with a lower price point than similar Canon and Nikon lenses make it a good option.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s not weather-sealed, so care needs to be taken when out and about.
  • There’s some degree of image vignetting.

3. Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art –Best standard Prime Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/1.4 aperture prime lens.
  • Versatile and high-quality.
  • Sturdy and stylish build.

50mm lenses are a favourite of many photographers. They’re so versatile and can be used for portraits, street photography, landscapes and astrophotography. The Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art is one of the best 50mm lenses for those on a moderate budget and can take some really sharp images.

Buying considerations:

  • There are some occasional Auto Focus inconsistencies.
  • Slightly bulky and heavy for a 50mm lens.

4. Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 –Super Wide Angle

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra-wide angle lens with fixed f/2.8 aperture through entire zoom range.
  • Sharp images produced in low light with little coma.
  • Vibration Compensation ensures stable image capture.

This is a superb lens for astrophotography. The wide angle and f/2.8 aperture mean it’s possible to capture some breath-taking images at night. The combination of great optics, low chromatic aberration, and image stabilization mean that you can shoot sharp and clear vistas in low-light settings. It’s also great for landscapes and architecture photography.

Buying considerations:

  • Although the build quality of the lens is fantastic, it does add a fair bit of weight.

Best Canon EF-S Lens for APS-C DSLRs


1. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art –Best Standard Prime Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/1.4 aperture prime lens, ideal for low-light photography.
  • Fantastic optics and flare reduction.
  • Low chromatic aberration and image distortion.

Prime lenses are versatile, and the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art is an example of just this. It’s a lens that is fast and quick to focus, captures sharp images time after time, and can be used in so many situations. It’s competitively priced and well-constructed.

Buying considerations:

  • The lens isn’t weather-sealed so needs to be well looked after in adverse conditions.

2. Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 -Super Wide Angle

Why it’s great:

  • Super-wide angle with f/2.8 fast maximum aperture.
  • Great design and build quality without being too expensive.
  • Excellent sharpness across apertures.

The Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 is an excellent lens.  It’s the successor to the ever popular 11-16mm f/2.8, with a longer focal range. The wide angle makes it ideal for a variety of photography styles and the size and weight mean you won’t regret taking it with you on longer trips. The multilayer film coating on the lens reduces flare, and when shooting at night it has low levels of chromatic aberration – ideal for astrophotography.

Buying considerations:

  • No manual override in autofocus mode could be annoying for some.
  • A lack of weather sealing means you’ll need to be careful when braving the elements.

3.  Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art – Fast Wide Angle

Why it’s great:

  • f/1.8 wide aperture throughout zoom range.
  • Excellent image sharpness, clarity and contrast.
  • Low chromatic aberration across apertures.

The many features of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art combine to make it a decent choice of lens for astrophotography, as well as other types of shooting. The wide aperture is great for low-light situations and the sharpness of the images it captures, as well as lack of chromatic aberration, makes it great for shooting the stars.

Buying considerations:

  • The lens has a somewhat restricted zoom range compared to others.
  • The autofocus often needs minor adjustments to get ideal sharpness.

4. Rokinon/Samyang 10mm f/2.8 –Best Budget Super Wide Angle Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Wide angle lens with fast f/2.8 aperture.
  • Superb manual focus.
  • Competitively priced without compromising on quality.

This is the second Rokinon (or Samyang) lens to appear on the list, and the pros are similar here. The 10mm f/2.8 lens is ideal for those on a budget and is definitely comparable to other more expensive lenses in the same range. It excels at close-ups as well, as wide angle shooting on a night, and the manual focus is easy to use and accurate. All of this comes with a respectable level of manufacturing.

Buying considerations:

  • There’s no hard stop for infinity focus, which makes it a little trickier for astrophotography use.
  • Barrel distortion is slightly wavy, making it harder to correct in post-production.

Best Canon EF-M Lens for APS-C Mirrorless


1. Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 –Best Super Wide Angle Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/2 with a wide angle of view equivalent to a 24mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • Excellent sharpness at maximum aperture.
  • Good value for money.

Rokinon will feature quite a lot on the list for mirrorless cameras. The combination of low price and high quality makes them a definite favourite. The 12mm f/2 is our favourite astrophotography lens for mirrorless cameras. The super-wide angle and superior sharpness make it an excellent choice for many situations, astrophotography included. The quality of the build is high, even at such a low price point.

Buying considerations:

  • There’s no autofocus on this lens, which will frustrate some users.

2. Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM –Best Budget Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Fast constant aperture of f/2.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Sharp image capture.

This is an ultra-compact lens that is affordable and lightweight. It’s offers strong performance in low-light settings and is versatile enough to use for a variety of purposes.

Buying considerations:

  • Not the best chromatic aberration control.

3.  Rokinon/Samyang 21mm f/1.4 –Best Fast Wide Angle Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Wide angle lens with fast f/1.4 aperture.
  • Excellent build quality without the expense.
  • Refined manual focus for high levels of sharpness.

Samyang continue to impress with their budget yet high-quality lenses. The 21mm f/1.4 is no exception. Although it doesn’t have an autofocus, if you’re taking your time to set up your shot (such as in astrophotography) then the manual focus will certainly please.

Buying considerations:

  • The lack of autofocus means it’s not particularly suited to those needing instant focusing.

4.  Rokinon/Samyang 35mm f/1.2 –Best Standard Prime Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Wide f/1.2 aperture prime lens.
  • Almost no chromatic aberration or barrel distortion.

Samyang make good budget lenses, and prime lenses are versatile. Combine these two factors and the Rokinon 35mm f/1.2 makes for a very respectable lens. The great performance across a range of situations and almost complete lack of chromatic aberration make this lens a strong contender for those looking to practice astrophotography.

Buying considerations:

  • This is another lens that only has manual focus, which may or may not be an issue depending on the user.
  • There’s no weather sealing.

Deciding on the Best Lens for Milky Way Photography


There are a few considerations to be made when choosing the right lens to photograph the wonder of the night sky. Below are three of the main ones you need to think about:

Focal Length

As you can see from our list, a wide angle lens will usually be the lens of choice for astrophotography. This is because it gives you more of a choice when it comes to field of view; how much of the sky you can fit in your frame. The focal length also determines how long a shutter speed you can use. On a wider angle lens, a long shutter speed may result in blurring of stars as they move. With a shorter focal length, you can use a longer shutter speed without getting this trailing effect.

Aperture

The aperture of a lens will contribute to how much light enters the sensor. With a wider aperture, you can use a shorter shutter speed and lower ISO. This means that you can capture an image with less noise. For astrophotography, a lens with a wider aperture is usually better. Of course this often comes at a price, but as you can see from our list there are lenses with a wide aperture that won’t break the bank.

Coma and Chromatic Aberration

One of the key features of the best astrophotography lenses in our list is that they have a high degree of coma and chromatic aberration control. These two terms basically refer to the slight distortion of points of light when shooting in dark conditions. It will often make stars a slightly odd shape and can be noticed towards the edge of the frame. The more supressed these phenomena are it, the clearer and better your pictures will be.

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