The best lens for astrophotography.
Learn what kinds of astrophotography lenses are best for capturing the stars, the moon, and the Northern Lights.
Photographing the stars is about much more than just pointing your camera up to the sky and hammering the shutter. Astrophotography becomes much easier when you’re using the right techniques and tools. In this article we’ll explore what kind of lenses are the best fit for immortalizing the night sky.
Your first astrophotography lens.
First of all, you should get a separate lens for astrophotography. Default camera lenses aren’t usually ideal for capturing fine details in dark environments.
For your first astrophotography lens, go for a wide-angle lens with a short focal length. These kinds of lenses have wide apertures and can help you easily get high-quality images of the entire night sky.
Moving to advanced equipment.
Once you’ve gotten used to photographing the stars with your first lens, you can buy a more specialized lens. There are many options, but here are some things to consider before making a purchase:
- Chromatic aberrations: Wide-angle lenses are good for beginners, but they often suffer from chromatic aberrations. Go for a lens with the fewest possible optical defects.
- Manual focus: Automatic focusing usually can’t keep up with astrophotography. A manual lens lets you fine-tune your focus, and will probably also be a bit cheaper.
- Large aperture: Unless you’re photographing the moon or the sun, pick a lens with a low f-stop. Lenses with f/2.8 or lower are the best for astrophotography.
You should absolutely also get an equatorial mount for your tripod. These devices compensate for the rotation of the Earth and prevent your long-exposure photos from coming out blurry. Learn more helpful photography techniques for better pictures.
A good photo editing software can help fine-tune your photos if your lens choice wasn’t exactly optimal. With Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, you can easily adjust light, colors, brightness, and much more to perfect your nocturnal photos.