Whether you do astrophotography as a profession or an adventurous hobby, you’ll need to invest heavily in a good-quality lens. As a beginner, you’ll need to own a good Nikon camera, a prime or zoom astrophotography lens, and a few other photography accessories. You might also need a couple of heavy warm jackets if you plan to shoot night stars during winter.
Read on for a rundown of the best Nikon lenses to look for when investing in a good-quality astrophotography lens.
As a photographer, a restoration, and a designer, Emily isn't just a jack-of-all-trades, she's a certified expert. She's a tech junkie, and the most screen-addicted member of the IRC team. When it comes to product reviews, her insights and recommendations are second-to-none.
Mount: Z mount
Focal length: 15-22mm
Aperture range: f/2.6-f/24
Filter size: 112mm
Nikon bills this sealed lens as one of the few short camera lenses. This full-frame f/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom joins Nikon’s premier mirrorless telephoto zoom trinity. Despite its wide aperture and ultra-large viewing spectrum at the shortest rear end of the lens, the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S is small and light, weighing only 1.7 oz.
The model quality is outstanding, and the front part is considerably less bulgy than other companies’ comparable lenses. This enables you to use the lens hood to connect 110mm filters to the lens. However, this has limited its applications, and the 110mm filters are expensive. The addition of its customized lens button allows you to adjust settings instantly without necessarily navigating through other options in the menu.
The quality of Nikkor’s images is excellent, with minor aberration and vignetting. This lens will eliminate coma and other distortions from your picture frame’s front and rear corners. It has a configurable control focus ring, which, though not very beneficial in astrophotography, is handy during your daylight photography. The lens’s convenient LCD is more appealing to astrophotographers, which allows you to quickly view and make adjustments under ultra-low light without turning on a headlight.
✅ Constant and fast f/2.8 aperture
✅ Little to no aberration and vignetting
✅ It supports both front and rear filters
❌ Premium Price
❌ Uses large, expensive filters (112m)
Focal length: 22mm
Aperture range: f/1.6-f/1.8
Lens coverage: Full-Frame
With its lustrous design, the Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S offers you an extra-wide field view making it a versatile prime lens well-suited to your various astrophotography needs. The lens enables you to generate crisp and well-corrected pictures with excellent clarity and color accuracy.
Its innovative optical design comprises aspherical and ED elements for quicker light transmission and faster focusing time. Its multi-focus system with two-stepping motors also complements the optical design.
Its embedded Nanocrystal and super integrated coatings will give you minimum to zero flares and ghosting for enhanced color fidelity and higher contrast results.
It offers you a speedy, accurate, and silent focus functionality and a full-range manual focus override to meet your stills and video demands. It has a customizable control ring to adjust several lens and exposure parameters quickly.
Its premier wide-angle lens is built for FX-format mirrorless cameras with Z-mount mounts, although you may also use it with DX versions to produce a 30mm approximate focal distance.
Its brilliant f/1.8 max aperture is ideal for operating in low-light situations and gives you more flexibility over depth of focus. You can use its three aspherical components to eliminate spherical aberrations and deformation to provide a clear picture with the correct rendering.
✅ Excellent optics performance
✅ Supports 70+mm filters
✅ Minimal vignetting
✅ Fast manual focus override
❌ It is bulky
❌ It is expensive
Focal length: 70-200mm
Aperture range: f/20-f/2.9
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR is a favorite lens for zoomed astrophotography. It is an incredibly flexible telephoto lens highlighted by its brilliant f/2.8 design. Its big fast aperture is ideal for operating in minimal light situations and gives you more command over depth of focus when selectively focusing on different subjects.
A series of ED, fluorite, and SR elements are used in its optical design to eliminate color fringing and chromatic aberrations across the zoom range. This results in greater clarity and color accuracy. Flare, ghosting, and surface aberrations are reduced using ARNEO and Nanocrystal coats and a super integrated coating for better contrast and color accuracy.
It has a multi-focus system with two-stepping motors that complements the optical design, allowing for swift, accurate, and silent focus execution. It also has a permanent manual focus override to meet your stills and video demands. When handheld during shooting, its vibration reduction feature adds to the sharpness of the image by eliminating the effects caused by camera shakes.
The lens also features a distinctive physical design with a top OLED information screen for rapidly confirming aperture and autofocus settings. It has a bindable L.Fn button for making hdr and configuration adjustments. Its customizable control ring is also used to make simple adjustments to several lens and exposure settings.
✅ Perfect optics
✅ Fast, silent autofocus
✅ Less breathing focus
✅ Anti-smudge and splash protection
✅ Compatible teleconverter
❌ Area incompatible tripod stand
❌ It is expensive
❌ It is bulky
Focal length: 24mm
Mount: Nikon Z
Filter size: 70mm
Dimensions: 77x 96mm
This Nikon Z 24mm-70mm has a wide f/2.8 aperture, providing constant image exposure throughout its zoom range.
The lens’s Multi-Focusing system combines two AF motor units to provide faster, precise autofocusing. Its stepping motor ensures seamless, fast, and silent autofocusing, whether you’re recording videos or stills.
The Nikkor 24mm prime lens contains an auto/manual focusing option, and the big manual focus ring is electrically attached to the step motor that operates the autofocus. With this lens, you may customize the focus ring’s movement during autofocus to discreetly alter the aperture settings or apply variable levels of exposure correction.
The optical design has aspherical and ED elements, which increase sharpness and contrast while minimizing chromatic distortions. Its Nanocrystal layer diminishes flare and ghosting and maintains high contrast even while shooting in low light.
It is sealed to keep dirt and water out, particularly around the moving components of the lens body.
✅ Silent swift autofocus
✅ Adjustable focus ring
✅ Great picture quality
❌ Limited focus scale distance
❌ It is expensive
A zoom lens is used for astrophotography because it offers more artistic freedom than a prime lens with a set focal distance.
One of the most outstanding Nikon lenses for astrophotography is this Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 22-74mm f/2.8E ED VR. At 22mm, it still has the wide-angle capability, but at 74mm, you can focus substantially on some sky images.
This lens offers you many features that make it easy to use. For instance, it incorporates vibration reduction, which helps you create a steady and clear night sky image.
It comes with various lens protective coatings and insulating layers, suitable for outdoor activities.
Because this lens is bigger and bulkier than the others in this collection, it may be more challenging for light travelers. However, you can be sure that it will enable you to capture breathtaking images of the constellations, the Milky Way, and galaxies. This is due to its different components and its HRI lens feature, which has better optical quality.
✅ Versatile zoom ranges
✅ Better optical performance
✅ Stable aperture across the variable focal lengths
Focal length: 20 mm
Mount: Nikon Dx
Max Aperture: f1/8
View Angle: 93
Dimension: 3.2 x 3.1 inches
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm, combines a coveted high spatial resolution with a svelte slim design and a brilliant aesthetic complex optical arrangement. Its fast f/1.8 aperture thrives in minimal-light settings. It has an aspheric lens to reduce color aberration and give your pictures perfect clarity and resolution.
Its super layered nanocrystal coatings will eliminate flare and buffering for increased color intensity and calibration. In addition to optical characteristics, the lens is distinguished by a silent wave motor to give you quick, seamless, and discreet autofocus.
If you are looking for a lens that allows you to reset focus at any time directly, then this Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Lens is your perfect fit.
✅ Exceptional visual sharpness
✅ Fantastic sunstars
✅ Super compact and lightweight
✅ Supports 77mm filter size
❌ Average quality sharpness
❌ Hard to get a clear infinity focus
Focal length: 35mm
Diaphragm blades: 7 rounded
Max Aperture: F/1.6
Min. Aperture: F/18
Filter size: 55mm
Dimensions: 2.82 x 2.8 in
The Nikon 35mm f1/8G is a wide-angle lens with excellent visuals and functionality and is relatively compact.
Its embedded aspherical lens element reduces coma and other forms of lens distortions, further increasing image quality. This Nikon has an integrated coating that improves light propagation efficiency while also improving color constancy and glare reduction. Its unique silent wave motor delivers quick, accurate, and silent autofocus.
This 35mm f/1.8 DX primary prime lens is also considerably sharper in the corners at big apertures and much quicker, so you won’t need to use as high an ISO in ultra-low lighting. It is also perfect if you are a lightweight astrophotographer and do not want to carry around a wider lens.
✅ Silent wave autofocus inbuilt system
✅ Ultra-low dispersion to reduce aberration
✅ Autofocus is swift and quiet
✅ Lightweight with excellent ergonomics
✅ Excellent image sharpness
✅ Best deal for the money
❌ Lacks image stability
❌ Wearable plastic filter thread
Focal length: 70-300mm
Aperture range: f/32-f/4.5
Mount: Nikon F
Blades: 9 (rounded)
Silent Motor Wave: Yes
Filter size: 56mm
Dimensions: 3x 5.4 inches
The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G is a flexible telephotographic lens that offers you excellent image optics and vibration depletion technology at a fair price. The lens is compatible with DZ and Nikon FX cameras and DX sensors. It has a field of view of around 105-450mm, making it ideal for capturing distant scenes.
Because there are fewer air pockets and glass malformations within the glass elements, the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 lens has two ED glass features, used in all Nikon prime lenses to provide a relatively high contrast hue aberration and better resolution. The lens also has Nikon’s VR II automation, which provides a four-stop edge at moderate shutter rates.
This Nikon 70-300mm VR is mainly a plastic lens covered with a steel mount that is light enough to pack and travel around with. Despite having 17 optical parts, the lens is merely 26 ounces, making it a more lightweight Nikon telephotography zoom lens.
Because of its big zoom ring, it is easy to zoom in and out with your right hand while clasping the camera with your left. However, the focus ring is smaller than the center and is nearer to the lens’s rear side, making manual focusing difficult.
✅ It is affordable
✅ It has a smooth and quiet autofocus
✅ Great picture quality
✅ Long telephoto range
✅ Lightweight and compact
❌ Poor manual focus
❌ Moderate vignette
❌ Poor resolutions at long distances
❌ Image distortions when zooming
Focal length: 23mm
Aperture range: f/16-f/1.2
Filter size: 76mm
Weight: 21.8 oz
Dimension: 82 x86.4mm
This 24mm f/1.4G Nikon lens has a captivating wide-angle view paired with a super-fast f/1.4 aperture for minimal light settings. It has a small depth of focus to separate elements from the surroundings. The lens is built for DX and FX camera sensors, resulting in incredible clarity and contrast in even dim lighting conditions.
The Nikon 24mm f/1.4G is prominent for its high quality and crisp optics in wide and narrow aperture sizes. It works admirably at most angles and has outstanding sharpness from the middle to the far corners. Its rear focus gives you smooth and quick auto-focus while reducing front barrel motion and lens length variation.
Its superior clarity and shade correction is provided by successfully suppressing refraction, even at the maximum aperture ranges. Even when photographing at the widest attainable aperture, its aspheric lens components minimize coma and other kinds of distortion.
Nikon has used cutting-edge new tech and electro-optic concepts in this lens, such as the Nano coating and SWF- silent-wave focus motor. Its Nano crystal coating eliminates ghosting and inner flare over a spectrum of wavelengths, resulting in better picture clarity.
The Nikkor 24mm body is coated in black plastic with gold trim, a rubbery prime lens ring, and a push-button that turns the autofocus function on or off. There’s also a retractable lens hood provided. When combined with a sealed frame like the D5, the metallic mount is protected by a silicone covering, allowing you to use the lens in adverse weather. This means the lens is also resistant to smudge and other harsh weather.
Like other Nikon pro lenses, the lens contains a 76mm filter thread, which is terrific news for astrophotography enthusiasts.
✅ Wide aperture
✅ Full-frame feature
✅ Captures clear, crisp pictures
❌ Lacks Image stability
❌ It is expensive
❌ Dull picture corners
Focal length: 16mm
Aperture range: f15-f/0.95
Focus type: Manual
Filter size: 88mm
Rounded blades: 11
Focus distance: 0.5m minimum
Weight: 4.3 lbs
The 58mm Noct lens is a unique 58mm manual focus lens with the biggest f/0.95 aperture of any NIKKOR lens. Thanks to the Z mount advancements, it delivers a new performance level depth-of-field control and has a detailed bokeh for portraits and video shots.
It provides an excellent point-image rendition and low light shooting efficiency, perfect for night panoramas. Its high resolving power is ideal for various astrophotography applications. It’s a well-crafted lens with a precise feel and superb operability.
Nikon stated at the product launch that the lens would provide the utmost clarity and would be the premier lens designed to showcase the potential of its new Noct design. This Nikon Nikkor Noct is an astrophotography niche lens, existing primarily as a proof of concept for a super-heavy, manual-focus only lens.
Noct achieves exceptional image resolution from the broadest aperture by carefully adjusting for the many aberrations often seen with fast lenses. It gives you more control of the depth of field, and it illuminates well through the dim light.
This model has one of the sharpest manual focusing systems ever integrated into a NIKKOR lens which allows you to shoot with precise accuracy and take advantage of the sharpness of the focus peak of the Z camera series.
Capturing visible light like stars and night skylines at wide apertures frequently needs post-production adjustment for existing commas or aberrations, which make points of light seem deformed. To fix this, the front-of-lens of this Nikkor has Nanocrystal and ARNEO coatings aimed to reduce ghosting, flaring, and light aberrations. It also has a fluorine coating that repels dust, filth, and moisture, perfect for outdoor shoots.
✅ Amazing f/0.95 aperture
✅ Excellent image rendition
✅ Sharp manual focus
✅ Thrives in low light shooting conditions
❌ Its sophisticated large design needs a custom-made case.
❌ It is bulky
❌ Premium Pricing
You can start your astrophotography journey with a mirrorless camera or a simple DSLR and primary kit lens; make sure it’s a wide zoom lens. Below are five key things you should consider when shopping for the best Nikon lens for astrophotography:
A zoom lens is the most suitable for astrophotography to maximize your shooting experience. Unlike fixed focal length lenses, a zoom lens offers you variable focal lengths indicating the particular range for each lens.
Invest in lenses of lengths ranging from 16-24 mm to allow you to capture as much as possible.
Invest in apertures ranging from f2.8 or more to allow as much light as possible to penetrate your sensor into the camera.
Invest in a lens with a constant/stable refraction color correction to ensure even light dispersion to the edges of your photos. Ensure your Nikon lens has an ED low dispersion glass feature.
You should also think about pricing and determine how much you are willing to spend on a lens. If you simply want to experiment with astrophotography occasionally, a low-cost alternative like the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm G may be preferable. On the other hand, if you want to explore astrophotography as a full-time career, you need to invest in a high-end lens such as the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct.
There is an Astro lens to suit your budgetary needs, whether you want to invest in a prime or a zoom lens for as low as 200$ to as high as $7000. It is essential to stick to your budget and invest in a quality, affordable lens.