The best lenses for night photography will be discussed in this article. For most photographers, shooting at night poses a particular challenge.
A camera’s ability to capture light is often determined by the quality of the sensor it uses and the lens it uses. There is a lot of natural light.
If you had to pick just one, go with a high-quality lens because the cost difference between the two is substantial.
In low-light situations where flash isn’t an option, you’ll need a fast lens with plenty of f/stops to compensate.
An f/2.8 or wider aperture is recommended when using a fast lens. In addition, you’d likely require two lenses: a telephoto and a wide-angle. Image stabilization is required with the longer lens.
A fast wide aperture lens with image stabilization is required if you’re going to be taking portraits at night.
A medium telelens is also required for portraits. An 85mm lens would be appropriate (if you are on a full-frame camera).
If you’re using a crop camera, you’ll need a lens that’s at least 50mm wide and preferably between 24 and 70mm wide when shooting at around 60mm.
Image stabilization isn’t necessary when shooting the night sky at night. You’d have a tripod in your hands. In order to get a better view of the night sky, you’ll have to zoom out. As a result, a wide-angle lens is required.
A Better Camera
In 2008, I experimented with shooting weddings with a Canon 40D. It was a difficult decision to push the ISO past 400 at the time. It was impossible to go any further than 1600 rpm.
Even ISO 6400 feels “safe” these days with cameras like the 5D Mark III and the D5. In this case, the lens wins out over the camera because, well, it’s obvious. A more expensive and better camera would be ISO-invariant, which would eliminate the need for a specific lens, but such cameras are out of reach for the majority of photographers.
A wide-aperture lens, on the other hand, is easier to come by. There are also other practical reasons to go with an improved lens rather than an improved camera.
As a result, choosing a lens with a wide open aperture is the best option. Even so, you’ll want to use a tripod to keep your lens and camera from shakin’ around while you’re taking pictures.
If you’re shooting with a tripod, you’ll want to use a slower shutter speed. Long exposure noise reduction can be used to eliminate ‘hot-pixels’ and other noise-related issues in some situations.
Best Options – Primes
Because prime lenses have large apertures, they’re ideal for photography. Because these cameras don’t have zoom capabilities, the focus is on the lens’ optical quality.
Lenses like the 50mm, 35mm, and 24mm are excellent choices for low-light shooting because of their wide apertures.
However, there are a few things to bear in mind when making this decision. Most lenses exhibit chromatic aberrations and coma when used at wide apertures.
Coma is a nighttime photography effect caused by small, pointy light sources. Light sources will appear distorted as a result of the distortion. This is commonly seen in nighttime photography of the Milky Way, constellations, or cityscapes.
Chromatic Aberrations and Coma
When a lens has chromatic aberration, different waves of light are focused at different distances, resulting in a phenomenon called “color fringing. ” Purple fringing would appear around the image’s edges.
We’ll look at the best lenses for night photography in this article. To be expected, the majority of these lenses have a fixed maximum aperture and are either prime or high-end zooms.
As a result, when looking for the best lenses for night photography, it’s critical to check their specifications and user reviews to see if there are any major drawbacks. Look for issues such as chromatic aberrations or comas.
Best Nighttime Photography Lenses (Top 8 Picks)
1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
50mm prime (also known as a standard prime) for full-frame Canon systems, the Canon EF f/1.8 STM is a Canon lens.
The lens’s maximum aperture is f/1.8, and it’s equipped with Canon’s STM technology for image stabilization (Stepping Motor Technology). The use of stepping motor technology is geared toward movie shooting where smoother auto-focus locks are required, but it is slower than usual auto-focusing mechanism.
However, the most important feature is the large aperture, which is exactly what we require. The f/1.8 aperture on the 50mm lens lets in a lot of light. Compared to traditional kit lenses, it’s a full stop faster, while cheaper zoom lenses are only a stop slower.
When the aperture is doubled, the amount of light collected is also doubled. The shutter speed doesn’t have to be slowed down past a certain point to avoid image blur in low light conditions.
Glare and flare are reduced thanks to the lens’ various coatings.
2. Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Nikonians adore the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D F-mount Lens. The lens has an f/1.8 maximum aperture and is a 50mm prime. A D lens is what you’re looking at here. An aperture ring and focus distance indicator are included in the lens’s manual focus ring assembly.
Flares and ghosting are eliminated thanks to the lens’ Super Integrated Coating. There are two physical rings on the 50mm lens: one controls the aperture and the other the manual focusing.
Even though you have to use a lens reversal adapter ring to mount this lens backwards, you can still adjust the aperture. As a result, you can also use it for close-up macro photography.
However, its large f/1.8 aperture will come in handy if you plan on doing any night photography with it.
3. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
A great lens for general photography is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. This lens would make an excellent portrait lens if used with an APS-C camera. With the fast f/2.8 aperture and superb build quality, this has the edge over the competition.
This lens’ f/2.8 maximum aperture is one stop slower than the f/1.4 lenses we discussed at the beginning of the article. With a range of features, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II is an excellent lens for low-light photography.
Ultra-low dispersion (UD), super-low dispersion (UD), and aspherical elements are all used in the lens. These ensure that distortions and chromatic aberrations are kept to a minimum. For lenses with a wide open aperture, this is critical information.
The lens has anti-ghosting lens coatings as well. Regardless of the lighting, this lens is great for outdoor work because it can capture portraits, street photography, and landscapes in a variety of settings.
The fluorine coating keeps fingerprints off the lens, and the lens’s overall construction means it won’t be damaged by the elements.
4. Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
For example, Rokinon and Tamron are excellent third-party lens manufacturers that produce excellent results. The manual focusing lenses made by Rokinon, for example, are among the best on the market.
What’s the point of using manual focusing? Because your camera’s autofocus sensor technology is completely dependent on your lens in low light conditions. Additionally, a lens’ AF motor isn’t sufficient on its own.
This means that whether you use manual focusing lenses or your camera’s manual focus highlighter, they both produce excellent results.
One such lens is the Sigma 35mm f/1.4. With an f/1.4 maximum aperture, it captures stunning images.
As a result of the lens’ floating mechanism, close-up focusing and overall focusing performance will both be improved.
Super-Low Dispersion (SLD) elements are used in the lens, as well as a “F” Low Dispersion Element (FLD element). This substance has nearly the same properties as fluorite. There are also two spherical components in the mix as well.
These components work in concert to minimize chromatic aberrations and distortions in the lens. The lens also has a Super-Multi-Layer coating on top of that. Flares and ghosting are reduced, and the image is sharper and more saturated as a result.
5. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II USM is a fantastic wide-open aperture 35mm standard prime lens. A single Ultra-Low Dispersion element is sandwiched between two aspherical elements to create the desired effect. Wide open aperture lenses are prone to chromatic aberrations, which are minimized by using one of these filters.
Sub-wavelength and fluorine coatings on the lens help reduce ghosting and flares.
The color saturation and contrast of the image are enhanced as a result.
There’s no denying the power of this optical device. The lens’ excellent weather sealing makes it suitable for use in a wide range of conditions.
The lens has a focusing distance indicator and full-time manual focusing override. f/1.4’s maximum wide aperture is what sets this camera apart as a low-light shooter’s dream.
The Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics is a unique feature of this lens. Infrared and ultraviolet light will be refracted by the new optics.
As a result, the overall impact of chromatic aberrations will be reduced. There will be a noticeable reduction in color fringing. In addition, the overall image contrast is improved as a result of this.
6. Sigma 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens
Unlike the Sports and Contemporary lenses, which are geared toward amateurs, Sigma’s Art series is exclusively for professionals. It’s widely agreed that the 85mm focal length is the best for taking portraits. This lens performs admirably in both bright and dim light.
When shooting in low light, the wide open aperture of the lens allows you to get sharp images without having to crank up the ISO or slam the shutter.
This full-frame camera lens was developed specifically for it. This Sigma lens’s maximum aperture is f/1.4. This is what makes sure that even in low-light situations, the lens captures enough light to produce a well-exposed picture.
Two Super-Low Dispersion elements are used in the lens’ construction, along with an aspherical element. This eliminates spherical aberrations as well as a host of other issues with geometry.
Super Multi-Layer Coating covers the rest of the lens’s features. This aids in the reduction of apparitions and flares. Image contrast and color saturation are improved as a result.
7. A Stabilized Option – Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR
This lens has an f/2.8 maximum aperture. The camera’s main selling point is image stabilization, which provides a correction of up to four stops. In order to take advantage of the slower shutter speed when holding the camera by your side, you can use this setting. Additionally, you have access to full-time manual focusing override.
Aspherical low dispersion elements are used in the lens’ construction along with two extra-low dispersion aspherical elements. To make matters more complicated, the material has a high refractive index. All of these things work together to reduce distortions like chromatic aberrations.
Other causes of poor contrast and color richness in your images include flare and ghosting from your lens. In order to counteract this, the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 E-ED VR has Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coating. Additionally, fluorine coating prevents dust and dirt from adhering to the lens’s front element.
In terms of performance, the 24-70mm f/2.8 constant maximum aperture is the best feature yet. That’s a huge advantage in low-light shooting situations.
When using a standard zoom lens, the maximum aperture will rise or fall as you move the zoom ring back and forth. That’s not the case. As a result, consistency can be maintained throughout all of your images.
You also have the added advantage of being able to shoot at the widest aperture possible in low light, resulting in more light being captured.
8. Choice for Nighttime sky photography – Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM
The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM wide angle lens with a focal length range of 11-24mm and an angle of view of 126 ˚ 5’ – 84 ˚ is designed for full-frame systems. Maximum aperture of the lens is f/4, but it more than makes it up with its build quality and sheer performance.
There’s no denying the high level of craftsmanship put into this lens. A weather-resistant design makes it easy to transport and use almost anywhere.
Because the maximum aperture stays at f/4 throughout the entire focal length range, it’s possible to maintain a consistent point of view. Additionally, full-time manual focusing lets you take hold of the focus ring at any time and make manual adjustments if the camera is having trouble, especially in low-light or low-contrast situations.
This is a versatile lens that can be used for a variety of subjects, including nighttime landscapes and architecture. Install it on a full-frame DSLR and a tripod, and you’ll have a blast taking stunning photos of the cosmos.
With this lens, you get two ultra-low dispersion elements: one for super-low dispersion and the other for ultra-high dispersion. There are also four spherical components in total. Together, these components reduce distortions like chromatic aberrations to almost nothing.
Air Sphere coatings and sub-wavelength coatings have both been used. As a wide angle lens with a wide open aperture, ghosting and lens flare are almost certain to occur.
An anti-fog fluorine coating helps keep lenses free of dust and grime when shooting in the outdoors.