Zoom in to the image on the LCD to check sharpness. Both Pete and his assistant held Nikon Speedlights with colored gels over the flash heads. Sure, other lenses have a wider aperture, but this one can render a sharp image from 1.16 meters (3.8 feet) to the stars in a single photo. “If a scene has a lot going on in the foreground, stars represented as pinpoints may complement the scene, rather than overwhelm it.”. [Check your camera's manual to see if your model has this feature —editor] The interval timer controls the span of time between exposures and the total number of exposures made by the camera for an orderly recording of images over the timespan you want the time-lapse to cover. The Sigma, though, doesn’t just hold its own – it’s actually a bit sharper than the Nikon version. "Its important to shoot during a new moon—when the moon is not visible in the night sky—to keep light to a minimum," Pete explained. I don’t do this for every photo, though; it’s all a balancing act. Which do you think would give a better astro photo? From the moon and planets to distant nebulae and galaxies, a variety of astronomical subjects in the night sky are yours to be captured. The 18-35mm zoom range is not particularly large, but it’s certainly welcome if you plan to do daytime photography as well. At this point, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 has acquired a reputation as one of the best 35mm lenses available today. Everything I said about the 14-24mm f/2.8 rings true here – it’s one of the best compromises between depth of field and necessary ISO that you can buy. Specific nikon d5600 settings that will help you to improve the use of your d5600 and photography. “I would always recommend using the manual exposure mode to avoid the exposure changing from one frame to the next which can cause an annoying flicker in the final time-lapse movie,” suggests Steve. These lenses aren’t ideal for nighttime photography, but, if this is your widest f/2.8 lens, don’t shy away from using it at night; it is still a solid choice that can result in some fantastic photos. The camera’s optics cover up to 2000 mm* equivalent focal length, which easily matches that of an astronomical telescope and allows you to take your first steps in planetary photography. Your suggestions / advice would be very useful. The problem with these lenses is simply a lack of light. Because of the Nikon D500 ability to photograph in the dark, I will need to experiment more in regards to the best camera settings to utilize for night sky photography. It’s an inexpensive lens as lenses go, but I wish Nikon had charged a bit more and designed it better. I exposed the sky for about 35 seconds because I wanted to see the beginnings of some star movement to add interest in the sky. Like the Nikon, this Samyang has noticeable levels of flare, although it also has noticeably more coma. Any more time than that and the stars will begin to blur. Is the Sigma sharper in addition to being faster or have you tested it? Next up, your ISO. Note: The Nikon D600 has been superseded by the D610. For the price the Canon 6D and the Nikon D600 are the best cameras for night photography hands down, you can’t go wrong with either. He uses Speedlights to paint with light, pressing the Flash button multiple times while the shutter is open during a long exposure, to "pop" light into the scene. Something like f/2.0 allows in twice as much light, letting you use an ISO that is significantly lower. I am deciding on the Tokinas as I can also add a filter to the front thread for landscapes. The main issues with the Sigma are its weight and lack of a filter thread. You’ll be pushing your ISO very high (in the ISO 8000 to 10,000 range), equivalent in noise performance to roughly ISO 18,000 on a full-frame camera. These lenses are described assuming that you want sharp stars, without any star trails. Which ever lens I buy, I’ll probably keep for later night sky photography. On top of that, the 16mm f/2.0 is a solid value at $420. Unless all of your subjects are far away, this lens won’t let you take particularly sharp nighttime photos. Finally, if you have a DX camera, lenses like the Samyang 16mm f/2.0 or Tokina 14-20mm f/2.0 also can help lead to some spectacular images at night. That’s not much. To photograph the stars in the sky as pinpoints of light, start with as wide an f/stop as your lens allows, and shutter speed of about 20 seconds. The downside, as with all Samyang lenses, is that you’ll have to focus manually. The main negative of the Tamron is its weight. The price fluctuates because the brand Samyang goes by several different names: Samyang, Rokinon, Bower, and so on. If you know you need an f/1.8 aperture at a lens this wide, go for it. Exposing for the foreground might cause the moon to be overexposed, and exposing for the moon might cause the foreground to be too dark. It doesn’t hurt that Nikon’s 14-24mm f/2.8 is also good for normal landscapes. Having used a few of these lenses, I found myself agreeing with all those that I’m familiar with. Sign in or create an account to access your information. D4, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 25 sec., f/4, ISO 4000, Matrix metering, manual exposure. Other times she’ll use multiple exposure to expose for the moon and stars separately. At times, she will bracket the exposure and composite two frames together, so the final image will have both the moon and the stars properly exposed. Zig. However, this is true of every lens in this article at f/1.8. Compared to the Samyang 14mm f/2.8, it picks up noticeably more stars, particularly in the corners of images, where it is quite sharp. However, you’ll be left wanting more. D4, 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, 20 sec., f/2.8, ISO 4000, Matrix metering, manual exposure. There are enough 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses that I won’t go into detail on all of them here. Hey Spencer, Thanks for the article!! Our recommendation for this is the Nikon COOLPIX P900 compact digital camera. Again, for more information, read the earlier article on nighttime photography. Now, there are two others: the Sigma 24mm f/1.4 and the manual-focus Samyang 24mm f/1.4. The Nikon 24mm f/1.4 lens is one of Nikon’s sharpest wide-angles, as our review covers. If what you want is star trails then you … I have a 10-24 dx lens. This is a relatively new lens, as well as the one with the best ISO score on this list (which, as mentioned in our earlier article, is a measure of the noise you’ll get in a nighttime photo without blurry stars). This is a great lens, but, like the 35mm f/1.4, it’s not really intended for nighttime photography. If you want to capture a landscape’s foreground at night, this is one of the best options available. I’ve used the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 for nighttime photography for about a year, and I’ve found it to be an excellent performer. Astrophotography: tips for making great images of the stars, moon and night sky time-lapse. As the widest-aperture zoom lens available for DX cameras, it’s no surprise that the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 made this list. One has a wider aperture but the other has shorter focal length so I can hold the shutter open longer with out getting unwanted star trails. Don’t forget that the Samyang lens is manual focus. However, it could be a problem if you want to use this lens for general-purpose landscape photography during the day. Want to know how the Nikon D7100 stands up to the challenge of night photography? My photos have been displayed in galleries worldwide, including the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and exhibitions in London, Malta, Siena, and Beijing. The focus lock function is also very useful at night and I don’t need to worry about accidentally touching the focus ring and messing up my shot. For many people, the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 will be a more practical choice. At 1100 grams, it’s even heavier than the Nikon, making it one of the heaviest ultra-wide lens for Nikon cameras on the market. If you have a medium-range budget, the 20mm f/1.8 should be near the top of your list. ThePhotoForum: Film & Digital Photography Forum. This will warrant having your aperture set as wide as possible. The Nikon 20 1.8 is sharp and leaves plenty room to stop down. It will work somewhat (take a look at the photo under that section for a guide to how its images will look). With the D5600 camera, Nikon proves once again that you don’t have to give an arm and a leg — or strain your back and neck — to enjoy advanced dSLR photography. It works very well for photographers who don’t mind a lack of zoom or autofocus capabilities and need a good, inexpensive option. The Milky Way is faintly visible near the top left/middle of the sky, among the clouds. Hi. It’s fun to take pictures of stars, and you’ll come back understanding which options fit your personal needs the best. Taking pictures of galaxies requires a tracking telescope because the earth moves during the long exposure time. Other nighttime lenses either have a greater depth of field (as is true for the ultra-wide f/2.8 zooms) or a brighter aperture (true for most of the prime lenses covered next). Instead, the problem is depth of field. It is well-known for its optical quality, even at f/1.8, which makes it one of the better nighttime options for a crop-sensor Nikon body. I can possibly invest in a new inexpensive lens, if needed. I wonder if this is a good lens for Night Sky photography? In other words, you may be shooting at ISO 1600 with your DX camera, but the noise levels will be roughly equivalent to ISO 3600 on an FX sensor. However, some DX-specific lenses have the potential to work just as well, or potentially better. On the one hand, everyone seems to recommend using a fast and wide lens when photographing auroras. I was light painting the dwarf cypress trees near Rock Reef pass when I started driving west and noticed how the trees looked by the side of the road. Colored gels over the Speedlights add a uniqueness to these photographs, each of which are created from a single long exposure, with the camera recording NEF (RAW) files. Because their specifications are nearly the same, the Tamron and the Nikon require essentially identical ISO values for a proper exposure at night. The wide angle and bright aperture mean that this lens will give you excellent depth of field at night. As a brand, Samyang does a good job creating nighttime photography lenses, both for full-frame and crop-sensor cameras. We’ll guide you through them so that you can pick a model most appropriate for the subject’s characteristics, to produce images of the cosmos like you’ve never seen. David Kingham is a landscape photographer who focuses on the night sky. A lot of manufacturers make 17-55mm f/2.8 lenses for Nikon (or 16-50mm, 17-50mm, 18-50mm, and so on). Yes, you can shoot the night sky. It isn’t a budget lens, but, at $800, it is a better price than many others on this list, and it outperforms almost all of them. Use the Nikon D5600 like a pro. Even if you don’t have one of these lenses yourself, you should still go out and experiment. There is no one “best” lens for nighttime photography. Of course, in exchange, you’ll get the additional range from 25mm to 30mm, which the Nikon does not offer. For some photographers, in fact, it’s a necessity. Or, if you want to save weight and use filters, Nikon’s 20mm f/1.8 is another good option. Post-production composite: Another technique is to photograph the moon and the landscape as separate images and combine them together using an image-editing program. Note: Before reading this article, in order to understand the “ISO score” and “full-frame equivalent ISO score” rankings, you’ll want to read my earlier article, which provides an explanation of what makes a good night photography lens. For starters, it has the same ISO score and depth of field as the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, since it’s also 14mm at f/2.8. The clouds can add an interesting aspect to night photography when they’re sparsely dotting the sky, allowing the stars to peek through. That article explains exactly how I find the ISO values listed in the sections below, and it’s also useful if you aren’t familiar with topics like coma or crop-sensor ISO performance. If you’re trying to capture a distant mountain, this won’t be a problem – both the mountain and the stars can be sharp in a single image. It has minimal vignetting and practically no coma, along with a slightly wider f/2.4 aperture that gives about an extra 1/3 stop of light in critical circumstances. Nevertheless, you still can capture nighttime photos successfully with a DX camera. However, it’s not perfect. With the 11-20mm, you’ll get a longer zoom range at exactly the same price, and both lenses perform well optically. Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens - this is my favorite lens in the Nikon line-up and my go-to I light painted the dwarf cypress trees and the road for about 15 seconds. Why is the Nikon 14 f2.8 not included in this report. I’m going aurora hunting later this year so I’m looking for a lens for my D5600. Not a competitor to the top of the list lenses Nikon 14-24 and Tamron 15-30, but still very good performance, and a hell of a lot nicer to take on a long hike. By most accounts (including our own review) the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 lens is on par with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 in optical quality, if not slightly better. FX Cameras. I tried using the DX 35mm 1.8 wide open for a bit, and was never able to completely eliminate the color fringing. Have you looked into renting a lens for your trip? As our review shows, the Tokina 16-28mm is a hidden gem. At $580, this lens is a wonderful value. Last but not least, it is a 2.4 rather than a 2.8 lens. Pete set the white balance on his D4 to daylight, and used an ISO range of 4,000 to 12,800 over the course of shooting at Joshua Tree National Park in California. However, if you own an 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, you can still get star photos – they’ll just be grainier than you may want. If you’re using a wide-angle lens and the moon is a small element, it likely won’t cause the overall image to suffer if the moon is blown out with no visible details. Find the best lens that’s sharp, with low vignetting, without false color (CA) and distortion. I have a Nikon 50mm f1/4 that purple fringes badly with bright lights against a dark background. And, since it requires an ISO of 3701, it’s one of the lower-ranked prime lenses in this article. Of course, some photographers will find the 12mm focal length to be invaluable. However, if you want to take pictures during the day or with autofocus, the Sigma should be your choice instead (and, other than the coma issue, is a better lens optically). Speedlights with blue gels manually "popped" to paint light onto foreground. Still, with DX cameras, you have to relax your standards somewhat. It is not the sharpest of wide angle lenses on the market for photographing the Milky Way, although it’s certainly passable. Regardless, set your aperture as wide as your lens allows. 1. For time-lapse photography of the stars in the night sky, use an aperture of about f/5.6 if the moon is full, f/2.8 if the moon is not full. reduced vignetting). “This image, because it was shot in clear atmospheric conditions, allows the Milky Way to be seen.”. There are worse lenses for astrophotography, but there are far better ones as well. Pete explained that while the Speedlights aren't constant light sources, you still need to be aware of where you're pointing the flash so you don't end up with hot spots in the image (overexposing a portion of the photo.). It focuses manually, but it’s a sharp lens that only costs $330, making it perhaps the best value in this entire article. Although it doesn’t let in as much light as one of the 24mm f/1.4 lenses, it still lets you use very low ISOs at night. Testing is important before you begin the interval shooting so you don’t end up disappointed when you get back to the computer. But the Zeiss Batis 18 beats it hands down wide open at 2.8. Exposure starting point: Nikon’s Steve Heiner does quite a bit of time-lapse moviemaking—of varied subjects—including the stars traversing across the night sky. The clouds can add an interesting aspect to night photography when theyre sparsely dotting the sky allowing the stars to peek through. (One such program is Quicktime Pro, however there are also free software programs available that you can use too.) That means that wide-angle lenses (which let you use longer shutter speeds without visible star movement) have priority. However, the differences aren’t as favorable to the Samyang as you might think; in fact, the Nikon and Sigma lenses are clearly sharper than the Samyang if you aren’t photographing stars (even at f/1.4). The Irix is having better performance in that aspect, in addition, you can add your filter in front of or at back of the lens making it more useful in different situation. Not bad. I doubt I’ll every move from a DX to a FX. Diana says she’ll often let the foreground be lit by moon light on nights when the moon is bright enough because there is enough detail and light to add to the image. This image, because it was shot in clear atmospheric conditions, allows the Milky Way to be seen. However, more than almost any other genre, night photography also challenges your camera equipment to its most extreme. It’s sharp and has very low levels of flare, making for clean images at night, even when the moon is in your frame. Here are our reviews for the original Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the newer Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8. Also note the direction it will travel in the sky to plan your composition. Optically, the Laowa just is not very good. The faster aperture also potentially allows me to drop down a stop and increase picture quality. Thanks! It’s also not quite as wide as the Nikon; 14mm gives you noticeably more coverage than 15mm. Adjust ISO, aperture and shutter duration for a good overall exposure without letting the shutter speed go any slower than 20 seconds or so, otherwise you’ll end up with the stars beginning to streak into star trails due to the Earth’s movement. Despite that, it’s a very good lens. Use a sturdy tripod and cable release; set up your composition, lock down the focus, and make a test shot. Note: The “full-frame equivalent ISO score” does not represent the actual ISO you should set while taking pictures. Speedlights with blue and yellow gels "popped" to illuminate the foreground and mid-ground areas. We asked him for suggested exposures to start off with. Nikon’s FX cameras – and the full-frame cameras of other brands – are arguably the best tools on the market for nighttime landscape photography. Combined with an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3400, this is one of the most affordable ways to get good nighttime photos. For one, this lens has noticeable coma – more than the Nikon 14mm-24mm f/2.8 or the Samyang 14mm f/2.8. That’s a steal if you have a Nikon DX camera and want a great nighttime lens, assuming that you don’t mind manual focus. I cover more than 20 lenses in this article, so it’s pretty extensive – hopefully, you’ll learn something new about the equipment you need in order to capture good star and nighttime landscape photos. “I like to shoot my intervals closer than most photographers who shoot time-lapse for the first time. At 24mm and f/2.8, it’s two stops darker than other lenses that cost far less money (such as the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 or the Sigma 20mm f/1.4). Shoot NEF (RAW) so you can more easily make adjustments in post-production if needed. Although the Nikon D5600 price is reasonable, the D5600 doesn’t skimp on power or performance, offering a great set of features to help you take your photography to the next level. What makes the 14-20mm f/2.0 so odd is its limited zoom range. Constant light source: while the shutter is open, use a constant light source to illuminate the foreground. However, if nighttime photography is your main focus, the Sigma’s large f/1.4 aperture still holds a clear advantage. While not as sharp as the 14-24mm f/2.8 or 15-30mm f/2.8 at their widest apertures, this lens is a good choice if you want a nighttime photography zoom lens on a budget. (regardless of price or depth of field). It’s also light enough to carry along without a problem, which is not something you can say of the f/2.8 zooms. Since it was late at night and no one else had driven past me on this road for hours, I set up my tripod low in the middle of the road. Although the Nikon has a bit more depth of field, the two are so close that you’ll barely notice a difference. In terms of price, though, things are more interesting. Sure you can use the Nikon D5600 for astrophotography (obviously if you really get into it… you can pay more for more specialized gear setups), night photography and normal photography. The differences aren’t massive, but they are visible. Although it’s not horrible, a depth of field from 5.4 meters (17.7 feet) to infinity is noticeably worse than other lenses in this article. Photographing the Night Sky using Time Lapse, Nikon Authorized Dealers - Sport Optics (PDF). Below we assess and recommend the best cameras for astrophotography based on analysis of what cameras are being used to produce the most successful astronomy images today, as well as the recommendations from some of the world’s … I found the depth of field values by looking at the Photo Pills calculator for each of these lenses, using a circle of confusion value of 0.03 mm. Their sensors perform very well at high ISO values, and, more importantly, they offer a huge lineup of lenses that work well at night. This test is intended to compare the high ISO capabilities of these cameras specifically for dark sky night photography. Or, if you’re on a tighter budget, the Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 should be high on your radar. Again, more information is available in our other nighttime photography lens article. In this article, I will cover everything you need to know about menu settings for the Nikon D5600, including a specific recommendation for every important setting. Nikon D3, 16mm lens, 30 sec., f/2.8. It’s the least expensive lens on this list, as well as the one with the lowest coma. The 24-megapixel Nikon D5600 is our favorite DSLR camera under $1,000, thanks to its excellent image quality and … D3S, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 30 seconds, f/5.6, ISO 400, Matrix metering, auto white balance. However, a lot of people already own a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, opening it up as a potential option. Is purple and/or green fringing going to be a problem in astrophotography using the f/1.4 lenses? Increase the ISO as needed for a good exposure. D2X, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens, ISO 100, manual exposure, Matrix metering. The Irix 15mm f/2.4 Firefly is a well-built lens and very enjoyable to use. Nikon’s digital cameras are available in three categories. If you’re willing to spring for it, though, this is one of the most balanced nighttime photography lenses you can buy. By clicking Sign Up, you are opting to receive educational and promotional emails from Nikon Inc. You can update your preferences or unsubscribe any time. Compared to most other options available, this lens actually works quite well for nighttime photography on a crop-sensor camera. Here’s the good news: with a 24-70mm f/2.8, you can take some very good nighttime photos as-is. Pete Saloutos creates unique, almost unworldly images of the night sky by incorporating the painting with light technique to illuminate the foreground. I think that most photographers will see the price of this lens and pick one of the 14mm lenses below. Pete manually focused the camera on the closest trees in the foreground. Nikon’s FX cameras – and the full-frame cameras of other brands – are arguably the best tools on the market for nighttime landscape photography. The ISO score for each lens takes into account both its maximum aperture and the longest shutter speed you can use without getting significant star trails. I used to have a dx camera. Again, though, if you already own this lens, you certainly can use it for nighttime photography. Cheers!! And, because digital cameras let you see what you just captured, you can double check the exposures and make quick adjustments on the fly. Something like the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 or Sigma 20mm f/1.4 remains a very good choice. Hello Spencer I was reading your article, you stated for DX cameras “2.6. D3S, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, 40 seconds, f/5.0, ISO 400, Matrix metering, auto white balance. That’s why some of the values below are so high. I certainly would. The D5600’s vari-angle monitor ensures comfortable live view photography, whatever position you hold the camera in — up high, down low, or turning the monitor toward yourself for a self-portrait. From the moon and planets to distant nebulae and galaxies, a variety of astronomical subjects in the night sky are yours to be captured. However, the Samyang is less expensive and wider, so it’s a close contest. Learn how-to operate Nikon D5600, all its capabilities, technical specification, why and what to control for aesthetic photography and professional cinematography, and their basic to advanced genres. Nikon D4S, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, f/4, ISO 800, 28 seconds, auto white balance. We’ll guide you through them so that you can pick a model most appropriate for the subject’s characteristics, to produce images of the cosmos like you’ve never seen. These days I'm active on Instagram and YouTube. Shooting time-lapse sequences is similar to shooting a single image in that exposure is based on the shooting conditions. The Milky Way can be seen in this image. But, quite often, you will be stopping down to smaller apertures anyway (even 1/3 or 2/3 of a stop) in order to get a bit more depth of field and minimize coma. You won’t get full-frame image quality, but you’ll be able to capture the stars and Milky Way better than with most other DX equipment on the market. And, if you want to use filters, you’ll have to purchase a large and expensive holder, as well as bigger filters than normal, since the front element of this lens is pretty large. Digital photography allows photographers the ability to use a lot of really cool techniques for capturing imagery—even the passing of time—by using time-lapse photography. Although it doesn’t quite match the noise performance of a full-frame camera, you’ll be able to capture fairly clean images of the night sky, which is all that really matters. This lens has one of the best ISO scores on the market, and, as we found in our review, it is very well controlled for photographing the night sky. Many of today’s Nikon digital cameras (DSLRs, Z series, Nikon 1 and COOLPIX models) feature an interval timer built-in. It makes the final movie much smoother,” he adds. They’re about a stop noisier than Nikon’s FX cameras, and they don’t have the same extensive lens lineup for star photography. However, if you try to include anything in your foreground, it will simply be out of focus. I owned the Irix 15 and can tell you it is an exceptional lens. It’s easy to underexpose the stars or overexpose a foreground. Of the three, the Samyang has the least coma, which means that you will get the sharpest stars in the corner of your frame. Turn ON the Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature to keep noise to a minimum. You choose the number of images to take, at specified intervals and the total period of time that you want the camera to shoot these images in. This lens is very new to the market, but, at least on paper, it has the right specifications for nighttime photography. The only issue is that $800 is still quite a bit of money to spend on a manual focus prime lens, so it is reasonable that not every photographer will find it worthwhile. Since it is the widest f/1.4 lens available for Nikon cameras, this was likely a huge challenge for Sigma to design (which normally would suggest a lower optical quality). Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park. It is one of the single exposures that also ended up being stacked into a star trail image. A telescope mount moves the camera/telescope as the earth rotates. The Nikon D5600 lets you dial in shutter speeds of up to 30 seconds and has a Bulb mode as well for exposure times of practically any length, which is very good news if you are seriously interested in night photography. It doesn’t have as long of a zoom range as the Tamron, but it makes up for that by costing less than half the price. Follow these steps to photograph the night sky with a Nikon D3500. What good are sharp stars if they are stretched out. Right now I’m trying to decide between the Samyang 10/2.8, 14/2.8 and 16/2 and the Irix 15/2.4. With that in mind, let’s begin: This lens is well-known for its nighttime performance. Last time I checked (January 26, 2018), the best value was the Rokinon version at just $353. I'm Spencer Cox, a landscape photographer better known for my macro photography! Image Overlay technique was used to create this image in-camera: the moon was shot first (f/11, 1/50 sec. However, if stars are the only thing you want to photograph, you might consider simply getting the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 instead. This list doesn’t cover every lens made, and there certainly are some gaps in the lineup below.