Full Frame Prime Lens Options
★ Sigma 14mm f/1.8 Watch my video review - $1599.00 (autofocus)
- Widest aperture lens at this focal length (allows for shorter exposures and or exposures with low ISO shooting the stars, Milky Way and Aurora Borealis
- Sharp, minimal distortion
- Autofocus (versatile during the daytime)
- Some Coma on brighter stars, wide open
- Heavy with bulbous front end
Despite some Coma wide open, this is the BEST lens you can buy for shooting the stars - nothing else is this sharp, this fast. Watch my video review for more information and sample images.
★ Irix Firefly 15mm f/2.4Watch my video review - $400 (manual focus)
- Sharp, minimal distortion
- Locking focus ring
- Glowing Lens markings for night time shooting
- Focus click at infinity
- Customizable focus
- Uses 95mm filters
I struggle to come up with anything bad to say about this lens. Sure it uses 95mm Filters and all but the thinnest filters will add some vignetting but it is one of the only lenses on this list that even takes screw on filters. It is very easy to work with in the dark, the locking focus ring and the click stop at infinity focus are helpful when shooting the stars. It is as sharp as the Sigma too! All of this for just $400!
- Faster Aperture
- Full Frame compatible
- Takes Filters
- Lovely walk around focal length for general photography
- On crop 24 = 36mm, less exciting for wide starry skies
- Manual focus only
On a full frame, 24mm is often plenty wide enough for a nice starry sky or milky way shot. At f/1.4 this is a fast lens, is useful for daytime landscape shots with a normal filter size of 77mm but manual focus only does limit the versatility of this lens and it isn't the sharpest option here.
- 16mm on Crop - nice and wide
- Crop Only
- No filter threads - Costly filter system for daytime use
The widest & best option for crop users on the list (I don't love the fisheye look for stars or milky way photos) This small, light and affordable lens is hard to beat but the slightly faster IRIX firefly is sharper and offer some nice features that make it worth the sacrifice of a few mm.
- This lens is VERY wide with the typical fisheye look
- Very affordable.
- Crop Only
- No filters
- Fisheye even more limited in use.
I don't love the look from a fisheye lens for the stars or milky way shots but if you do this would be the lens to grab. The good news, it is super affordable!
- Very portable
- Takes filters
- Fast f/2.0
This tiny lens is great for mirrorless crop sensor photographers shooting Sony, Fuji, Panasonic or Olympus. It takes filters, is very affordable and lightweight, not quite as sharp and offers a little more distortion than the IRIX or Sigma but excellent still.
Ultra Wide Angle Zooms
(see linked video below)
- Versatile lens
- Excellent Value
- Accepts 77mm Filters
- Some distortion and Chromatic abberation
- Not as sharp as the primes listed
The Tokina 11-16 for Canon and Nikon is one of the best value lenses on this list. It's not the sharpest and certainly has more distortion than the primes but it is a versatile lens with a good range and offer autofocus along with filter use making it possible to tackle a variety of situations.
Additional Lenses to Consider -
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens - Sharp, fast and relatively little distortion for an ultra-wide zoom lens and accepts regular filters AND is travel-friendly. - B&H Photo for $1,999.00Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD - One of the few ultra wide full frame lenses that offer stabilization. If you are careful you can handhold this at almost a second exposure. Not really helpful for stars/Milkyway but still useful. More distortion and not as sharp as the Canon listed above or the Nikon listed below but still a versatile lens . though be aware it's HEAVY - B&H Photo for $1,099.00Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens - The gold standard for ultra wide angle zooms.Incredibly sharp and useful though it is big and heavy - B&H Photo for $1,896.95