Best cameras for Northern Lights

Best Lenses for Northern Lights Photography in 2023

Without the best Northern Lights camera lens, it doesn’t really matter how good your camera is.

Photographing the Northern Lights is my passion and I’ve spent years shooting the Aurora using different camera lenses. Today, I can sum up the best lenses to photograph the Northern Lights:

1. Sony 14 mm f/1.8 GM
2. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM
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. Sony 14 mm f/1.8

Sony 14 mm f/1.8 GM

Sony

Mirrorless

14 mm

f/1.8

1 lb
(460 gr)

$1600

2. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG

Best lens for Milky Way photography

Nikon
Sony
Canon

DSLR
Mirrorless

14 mm

f/1.8

2.58 lb
(1170 gr)

$1500

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 NORTHERN LIGHTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Apart from having a good lens, using the best settings to shoot the Northern Lights is fundamental in capturing the best possible images. Also, don’t forget that cameras are essential in night photography, so make sure you pair your lens with one of the best cameras for Northern Lights photography.

Best lenses to photograph the Northern Lights

Having a fast lens is key in Northern Lights photography – Sony 20mm f/1.8

This winning list of the best lenses for the Northern Lights only includes wide-angle lenses since these offer the best field of view to capture the Aurora. Also, all these lenses are concretely designed for Full-Frame cameras.

Nevertheless, in this guide, you’ll find a comprehensive list of the best lenses to take pictures of the Northern Lights according to your budget and preferences. I’ve included some of the best zoom and prime APS-C lenses, and the best Nikon, Sony, and Canon lenses for Northern Lights photography.

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

Let’s get started with the best lenses for shooting the Northern Lights!

GET YOUR FREE EBOOK!
- PHOTOGRAPHING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS - 

BEST SETTINGS, GEAR, PLANNING, TIPS, AND MORE!

1. Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM – The best lens for Northern Lights photography

Sony 14mm f/1.8 GM

  • LENS MOUNT: Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT: 1 lb (460 g)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/1.8-f/16
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: None

Pros

Cons

The Sony 14 mm f/1.8 is the best lens for photographing the Northern Lights. The quality in low-light photography is stunning. It’s fast and sharp even in the corners, with no deformations, aberrations, and other issues commonly found in other Aurora lenses. It’s also light and compact, and the only downside is its price, but it’s worth every last penny.

As soon as I tested it, it became my absolute favorite night photography lens. The field of view and aperture are also perfect for filming the Aurora and shooting Northern Lights time-lapses.

 

*If you are looking for something more affordable and don’t mind compromising field of view, the Sony 20mm f/1.8 is also an excellent option for Northern Lights.

2. Sigma 14mm f/1.8 – best wide-angle lens for Northern Lights

Sigma 14mm f/1.8

  • LENS MOUNT: Sigma SA, Canon EF, L-Mount, Nikon F, Sony E
  • LENS FORMAT: Full-Frame
  • WEIGHT:2.57 lb (1170 g)
  • MAX-MIN APERTURE: f/1.8-f/16
  • FOCUS TYPE: Autofocus
  • IMAGE STABILIZATION: No
  • FILTER SIZE: None

Pros

Cons

This is by far the best general wide-angle lens to photograph the Northern Lights. It offers the two most important features in any lens for Aurora photography: a wide-angle field of view and luminosity. The only cons are its price and weight. Compatible with: Nikon, Sony, and Canon full-frame cameras.

 

*If you are a Sony shooter, I’d recommend the Sony 14 mm f/1.8 GM instead for the reasons explained below.

3. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 – Best cheap lens for Northern Lights 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 affordable lens for Northern Lights photography. It’s wide, light, fast, it doesn’t have a strong comma in the corners, and the best thing; it’s fairly cheap. The only disadvantage of this lens is the lack of autofocus, but it’s always better to use the manual focus when shooting the Aurora as I explain in the focus section of my Northern Lights photography guide. Compatible with: Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fuji, Pentax.

 

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

4. Venus Laowa 15mm f/2 – best third-party Northern Lights 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 Northern Lights 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 something to consider if you plan to use it as a lens for landscape photography. Compatible with: Sony, Nikon and Canon mirrorless cameras.

 

A wider version of Laowa for Northern Lights photography is the Laowa 12 mm f/2.8.

5. NIKKOR Z 20 MM F/1.8 – Best Nikon lens for Northern Lights

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 a Nikon Z mirrorless shooter, this is your lens for Northern Lights photography. It’s very fast, reliable, and offers excellent performance in low-light. I’ve tested this lens on many Aurora trips with our Capture the Atlas Photo Tour students and I think that it should be mandatory on any Northern Lights adventure

 

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

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 for their mirrorless R models. It’s fast, wide, and the most versatile lens for Northern Lights if you’re a Canon mirrorless shooter. Use this lens with the Canon EOS Ra Astro camera, and you’ll see otherworldly 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 Canon’s fastest ultra-wide-angle zoom, and it’s designed for their mirrorless R models. It’s fast, wide, and the most versatile lens for Northern Lights if you’re a Canon mirrorless shooter. Use this lens with the Canon EOS Ra Astro camera, and you’ll see otherworldly results.

This is probably the best general wide-angle zoom to shoot the Northern Lights. It’s sturdy, sharp, and the glass is 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