Best lenses for Milky Way photography in 2023

If you don’t have the best Milky Way camera lens, it doesn’t really matter which camera you’re using.

I’ve been testing and comparing different camera lenses and, in short, these are the best lenses to photograph the Milky Way:

1. Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM
2. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G
3. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8
4. Venus Laowa 15mm f/2

5. Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
6. Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8
7. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG
8. Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD
9. Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone
10. Zeiss 18mm Batis f/2.8

Mount

System

Focal length

Aperture

Weight

Price

1. Sigma 20 mm f/1.4

Sigma 20 mm f/1.4

Most Mounts

Mirrorless

20 mm

f/1.4

1.38 lb
(630 gr)

$900

1. Sony 20 mm f/1.8

Sony 20 mm f/1.8 G

Sony

Mirrorless

20 mm

f/1.8

0.82 lb
(373 gr)

$900

3. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

Best wide angle lens for Milky Way photography

Most Mounts

DSLR
Mirrorless

14 mm

f/2.8

1.43 lb
(650 gr)

$300

4. Venus Laowa 15mm f/2

Venus Laowa 15 f2 lens for Star photography

Nikon
Sony
Canon

Mirrorless

15 mm

f/2

1.10 lb
(500 gr)

$750

5. Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Nikkor Z 20 f/1.8 S

Nikon Z

Mirrorless

20 mm

f/1.8

1 lb
(450 gr)

$1000

6. Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8

Canon RF 15-35 f/2.8 L

Canon RF

Mirrorless

15-35 mm

f/2.8

1.85 lb
(840 gr)

$2300

7. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG

Best lens for Milky Way photography

Nikon
Sony
Canon

DSLR
Mirrorless

14-24 mm

f/2.8

1.75 lb
(795 gr)

$1300

8. Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8

Good wide angle lens for Milky Way photography

Sony

Mirrorless

17-28 mm

f/2.8

0.92 lb
(420 gr)

$800

9. Irix 15mm f/2.4 Blackstone

Irix 15mm f2.4 lens for Milky Way

Nikon
Canon
Pentax

DSLR

15 mm

f/2.4

1.34 lb
(608 gr)

$550

10. Zeiss 18mm Batis f/2.8

Zeiss Batis 18 mm f/2.8

Sony E

Mirrorless

18 mm

f/2.8

0.73 lb
(330 gr)

$1500

BEST LENSES FOR MILKY WAY PHOTOGRAPHY

 

In addition to having a good lens, using the best settings to shoot the Milky Way is crucial to take the best possible images. Also, don’t forget that the camera is fundamental in night photography, so make sure you use your lens with one of the best cameras for Milky Way photography.

Best lenses to photograph the Milky Way

Having a bright and fast lens is key in Milky Way photography – Sony 20 mm f/1.8

This winning list of the best lenses for Milky Way photography only includes wide-angle lenses for the Milky Way since these are the best to capture our galaxy. Also, these lenses are specifically designed for Full-Frame cameras.

However, throughout this article, you’ll find a list of the best lenses to take pictures of the Milky Way according to your budget and preferences. I’ve included some of the best prime and zoom APS-C lenses and the best Nikon, Sony, and Canon lenses for Milky Way photography.

If you need buying advice, I’ve added a section with some key things to consider when buying a Milky Way lens.

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1. Sigma 20mm f/1.4 – The best lens for Milky Way photography

Sigma 20mm f/1.4

  • LENS MOUNT: Sigma SA, Canon EF, L-Mount, Nikon F, Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 1.38 lb (630 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/1.4-f/16
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: None

Pros

Cons

The newly released Sigma 20mm f/1.4 lens is the best lens for Milky Way photography out there. It offers everything you need for you to capture stunning night images: sharpness, fast aperture, and wide-angle field of view. It does all this while still being fairly affordable. Another great feature of the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM is that it’s compatible with most lens mounts, including Nikon, Sony, and Canon full-frame cameras

When the Sigma 20mm f/1.4 DG HSM was released, I was sure it was going to be an outstanding lens for Milky Way photography, and I’m glad that I tested it because now I’m not looking back.

2. Sony 20mm f/1.8 G – Best Sony lens for Milky Way photography

Sony 20mm f/1.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 0.82 lb (373 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/1.8-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: 67mm

Pros

Cons

Sony 20 mm f/1.8 is the best lens for shooting the Milky Way. The quality in low-light photography is stunning. It’s fast and sharp even in the corners, with no deformations, aberrations, and other issues common in other Milky Way lenses. It’s also light and compact, and the price is affordable compared to other quality prime lenses.

As soon as I tested it, it became my absolute favorite lens for shooting the Milky Way, and after two years I’m still using this lens in almost all my night shootings. You can see some examples of the images I’ve taken with this lens in my Milky Way photography guide.

3. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 – Best cheap lens for Milky way photography

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Pentax K, Fuji X
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame, APS-C, Micro 4/3
  • WEIGHT: 1.43 lb (650 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/2.8-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Manual
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: None

Pros

Cons

This is the best quality-priced lens for Milky Way photography. It’s wide, light, fast, it doesn’t have a strong coma in the corners, and the best thing is that it’s very cheap. The only con is the lack of autofocus, but it’s always better to use the manual focus when shooting the Milky Way, as I explain in the focus section of my Milky Way photography guide. Compatible with: Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fuji, Pentax.

*Note: If you prefer a longer focal length to shoot the Milky Way, the Rokinon 20 mm f/1.8 and Rokinon 24 mm f/1.4 are also quality options at a great price.

4. Venus Laowa 15mm f/2 – best third-party Milky Way lens

Venus Laowa 15mm f/2

  • LENS MOUNT: Sony E, L Mount, Canon R, Nikon Z
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 1.1 lb (500 g)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/2-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Manual focus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: 72mm

Pros

Cons

This is one of the best 3rd party lenses for Milky Way photography in mirrorless cameras. It’s designed specifically for night and low-light photography, and it’s very compact and light. It doesn’t require special filters, which is also something to consider if you plan to use it as a general landscape lens. Compatible with: Sony, Nikon, and Canon mirrorless cameras.

5. NIKKOR Z 20 MM F/1.8 – Best Nikon lens for the Milky Way

Nikkor 20mm f/1.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Nikon Z
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT:1 lb (450 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/1.8-f/16
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: 77mm

Pros

Cons

If you’re shooting with any of the Nikon Z mirrorless models, this is your lens for Milky Way photography. It’s very fast, reliable, and offers excellent performance even when shooting wide open. I’ve tested this lens on many occasions with our Capture the Atlas Photo Tour students and I think that it should be mandatory on any Nikon Shooter Astro bag.

 

6. Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L – Best Canon lens for Milky Way

Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8 L

  • LENS MOUNT: Canon RF
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 1.85 lb (840 g)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/2.8-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: Yes
  • FILTER SIZE: 82mm

Pros

Cons

This is Canon’s fastest ultra-wide-angle zoom, and it’s designed to work with their mirrorless R models. It’s wide, fast, and the most versatile lens for Milky Way if you’re a Canon shooter. Pair this lens with the Canon EOS Ra Astro camera, and you’ll see the best results.

 

7. Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8 DG – Best Wide-angle zoom lens 

Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Canon EF, L-Mount, Nikon F, Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT:1.75 lb (795 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/2.8-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: None

Pros

Cons

This is probably the best general wide-angle zoom to shoot the Milky Way. It’s robust, sharp, and built with impressive quality. Compatible with: Nikon, Sony, and Canon full-frame cameras.

 

8. Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD 

Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 0.92 lb (420 gr)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/2.8-f/22
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: 67mm

Pros

Cons