Best Sigma/Tamron Lenses For AstroPhotosgraphy

The lens is the most important factor in the image quality of a landscape astrophoto.

There are a number of lens traits that will determine the quality and usability of a camera lens for astro-photography. Let me explain what sort of thinking should go into choosing and using a lens for making astro-photography and Milky Way nights-capes.
–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

There are two basic traits of a lens that will affect how to take your landscape astrophotos: focal length and clear aperture size.

Astro

Light is arguably the most important raw material for photography, so things get a bit tricky when there’s not much to play with. Naturally, shooting outdoors in the middle of the night is particularly challenging, even when the subject in question is the Milky Way on a clear, star-studded evening. The night sky is not only very dimly lit, but it’s also very large and constantly moving. You’ll have to choose the best lens for astrophotography for you wisely.

To take in a generous portion of the Milky Way and avoid the further difficulty of stitching multiple images together, you’ll need a wide-angle prime or zoom lens. A focal length of around 7-10mm is ideal for Micro Four Thirds cameras; or 10-14mm on an APS-C format camera; or around 14-20mm on a full-frame body.

You’ll also need a wide aperture for sucking in as much light as possible. This avoids the need to send your camera’s ISO setting into the stratosphere while you try to keep exposures short enough to avoid the stars blurring

Light is arguably the most important raw material for photography, so things get a bit tricky when there’s not much to play with. Naturally, shooting outdoors in the middle of the night is particularly challenging, even when the subject in question is the Milky Way on a clear, star-studded evening. The night sky is not only very dimly lit, but it’s also very large and constantly moving. You’ll have to choose the best lens for astrophotography for you wisely.

To take in a generous portion of the Milky Way and avoid the further difficulty of stitching multiple images together, you’ll need a wide-angle prime or zoom lens. A focal length of around 7-10mm is ideal for Micro Four Thirds cameras; or 10-14mm on an APS-C format camera; or around 14-20mm on a full-frame body.

You’ll also need a wide aperture for sucking in as much light as possible. This avoids the need to send your camera’s ISO setting into the stratosphere while you try to keep exposures short enough to avoid the stars blurring

From Korean manufacturer Samyang’s XP stable of premium manual-focus prime lenses for Canon and Nikon full-frame cameras, this 14mm f/2.4 is the most ideal for astrophotography. The lens is sold as the Rokinon SP 14mm f/2.4 in North America. The high-quality glass is neatly wrapped in a really solid casing. The rubberized manual focus ring gives a very assured grip and has a long rotational travel with a fluid feel. There’s no weather-seal ring on the mounting plate to guard against the ingress of dust and moisture. To be fair, though, if you’re photographing the Milky Way, you’ll need clear, dry and dust-free conditions.

Image quality for astrophotography at the widest aperture is markedly better than from the Irix's rival 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone lens or a Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art. Sharpness is both very good and extremely consistent across the image frame. Chromatic aberrations are negligible, while coma and astigmatism are very minimal. Barrel distortion can be visible at close focus distances, but that's not an issue for astrophotography.

Maintaining excellent image quality a lens' widest aperture for astrophotography is a real challenge in an ultra-wide-angle optic, but this Samyang does exactly that - an admirable achievement.

2. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG HSM | A

The best zoom lens for astrophotography with a DSLR

Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma | Full-frame compatible: Yes | Autofocus: Ring-type ultrasonic AF | Stabiliser: No | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Max angle of view (diagonal): 114 degrees (Full-frame) | Dimensions (WxL): 95x126mm | Weight: 1,150g

Sigma1424mm

Image Credit:Future

Available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts, this Sigma lens is up against own-brand legends like the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM III and the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. It beats both of them for image quality and price. Build quality and handling are excellent, with a full set of weather-seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. The lens is also compatible with Sigma’s optional USB Dock for customisation and firmware updates.

Even at the shortest focal length with the widest aperture, sharpness is excellent across the entire frame, and the lens does very well to retain excellent corner sharpness at wide apertures. Vignetting is remarkably minimal and though barrel distortion is prominent at close range, it's negligible for astrophotography. Lateral and spherical aberrations are also very well controlled.

For full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs, this is simply the best ultra-wide, fast-aperture zoom lens on the market, and not just for astrophotography.

Tamron Sp1530mm

Image Credit:Future

3. Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

It's the best stabilized lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F | Full-frame compatible: Yes | Autofocus: Ring-type ultrasonic AF | Stabiliser: Yes | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Max angle of view (diagonal): 110.5 degrees (Full-frame) | Dimensions (WxL): 96x135mm | Weight: 1,100g

Unusually for a wide-angle zoom lens designed for Canon or Nikon DSLRs, this Tamron includes an optical stabiliser, with 4.5-stop effectiveness. That’s useful at dusk or indoors, but of zero benefit for long exposures in astrophotography, where it’s best switched off. Though there’s little change in the optical line-up, this updated G2 lens revision gains an additional anti-glare coating and a more durable fluorine coating on the front element. Unlike some similar zoom lenses, this Tamron has a large zoom ring at the front and a relatively small focus ring at the rear.
Advertisement

The lens delivers impressively little barrel distortion and vignetting at its shortest focal length. At 15mm from f/2.8 to f/4, sharpness is lacklustre outside the central region, but otherwise excellent. There's also a little more coma and astigmatism towards the corners of frame, while barrel distortion is average at close range and minimal for astro shooting.

Overall this Tamron G2 lens is a solid performer and an improvement over the original. Its image stabilisation system works well for general use, though it isn’t of any benefit for astrophotography.

4. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM | A

It's big and heavy, but a very classy ultra-wide with an extra-large max aperture

Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE, Sigma | Full-frame compatible: Yes | Autofocus: Ring-type ultrasonic AF | Stabiliser: No | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Max angle of view (diagonal): 114 degrees (Full-frame) | Dimensions (WxL): 95x109mm | Weight: 1,170g

Sigma14

Image Credit:Future

This recently launched full-frame compatible prime lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, as well as Sony E-mount cameras is a full f/stop faster than most other lenses on this list, and it includes super-speedy ring-type ultrasonic autofocus. The wide aperture comes at a price, however: the large-diameter elements required are not only more expensive to make, they also result in a comparatively big and heavy build.

At least this lens is also big on performance. Image quality is fabulous, as sharpness is exceptional for such a fast-aperture lens with an ultra-wide viewing angle. Equally impressive are contrast, colour rendition, and the absence of spherical and lateral chromatic aberrations. There is very noticeable coma and astigmatism towards the corners of the image frame, but go down one stop and these virtually disappear, making overall image quality for astrophotography altogether excellent.

No comments yet.

Leave a comment!

Have an account? Log in

Your Email address will not be published.