Best Lenses For Night Photography – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

The best scenes are caught on camera at night or after the sunsets. However, your average camera lens will not be able to catch even half the beauty.

To photograph at night, a special camera lens is needed. In a saturated market, where many brands claim to have the best lens for night photography, how do you choose the best one?

Here’s a complete review of the best night photography camera lenses that will take your passion to the next level.

Comparison of the Best Lenses For Night Photography

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

  • Best overall
  • With a shooting range of f/2.8 and 14mm, it will give you brilliant shots of the night sky
  • 14/11 lens with 2 ED glass elements, 3 aspherical lenses as well as 1 Nano Crystal Coat
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Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

  • Runner-up
  • Compatible with full-frame cameras as well as APS-C sensors
  • Produces outstanding image with advanced optics and improved lens power distribution
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Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 Wide-Angle Lens

  • Best for the money
  • Provides accuracy along with silent focusing when recording videos
  • Wide f/1.8 aperture brings the subject of the image into sharp focus, while smartly blurring everything else
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Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

  • Best Canon lens for night photography
  • Captures fleeting moments with the aid of near-silent STM (Stepping Motor) technology
  • Wide f/1.8 aperture brings the subject of the image into sharp focus, while smartly blurring everything else
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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G

  • Best lens for night sky photography
  • No internal lens reflections, anti-reflective coating as well as no ghost effects or red flare
  • Ultra-sharp, wide and fast lens that accommodates both Nikon FX as well as DX-format image sensors
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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED

  • The Best Lens for Night Photography Nikon
  • Provides steady, superlative performance, even when tested in extreme shooting situations
  • Build with Aspherical (AS) as well as extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements that fight flare at wide aperture
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Rokinon 24mm F1.4 ED

  • Best lens for night city photography
  • Fitted with 4 extra low-dispersion glass as well as 2 aspherical elements
  • Designed with metal base and mount as well as plastic focus as well as filter area
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Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L

  • Best lens for night sports photography
  • Fast f/2.8 widest aperture is great for working in low-light settings
  • Super UD, as well as fluorite elements, reduce color fringing along with chromatic aberrations for clarity and color accuracy
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Perks of Getting a New Lens for Night Photography

With less light at night, it’s hard to capture the actual scene that we see from our naked eye, especially if you are trying to capture a specific star, the Milky Way, or even the Northern Lights. Here are a few perks of adding a night photography lens to your photography weaponry.

Large Aperture

A larger or wide aperture lets in more light to the camera sensor. This way, you get better shots. Since at night, you are struggling with every photo, you will need a larger aperture to get ample light to your sensor.

Wide Focal Length

A night lens also gives you a wide focal length. With the earth spinning, the stars move on your camera, as well. Even if the move isn’t as prominent, it tends to blur the image. Another benefit of having a night photography lens is the wide focal length that gives you longer shutter speeds, as well as transfers more light to the camera sensor.

High Sharpness and Less Coma

A night lens also gives you sharper edges. Most wide apertures images go distorted at the corners. With a night photography lens, you can eliminate this error. It also provides less coma to keep your stars or Milky Way from smearing or becoming bright pinpoints. 

How to Choose a Night Photography Lens

Being a photographer requires more than passion. You need the perfect equipment to capture the wonders of the day as well as at night. Here are the features a good night lens should have.

Go For a Fast Lens

Opt for a lens that opens up to f/2.8 or wider. A model with an all-out aperture of f/4.0 is satisfactory, anything lower than that probably will not work for nighttime photography. Go for a kit lens, as it might serve you perfectly. On average, kit lenses open up to f/3.5, which is their widest focal length. Compared to your typical f/4.0 lens, it’s 1/3 stop brighter. To adjust the focus, set it on infinity and you will be able to obtain the perfect picture. All this may seem hard to understand, but once you have gone through the whole review, you will able to decide which one to go for with ease.

Wide-Angle Lens

If you want the perfect picture of the night sky, follow the reciprocal rule. According to the rule, there is a direct correlation between the longest shutter speed and focal length. The wider the lens, the longer you will be able to open up the shutter. This will keep your images from going blurry.

Quick Take - Best Lenses for Night Photography

Before we dive into our review, here are the best lenses for night photography:

  1. Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
  2. Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM
  3. ​Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 Wide-Angle Lens

Review of the Best Lenses For Night Photography

Once you have decided to add a night lens to your photography weaponry, you will need to know which one will suit your needs best. Here are a few detailed reviews to help you make the best buy.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

PROS

  • Sharper image with focal length range of 14 -24mm
  • Gives you the perfect focus of 10.8 inches at the 24mm setting
  • Supreme intersection of ISO performance as well as depth of field
  • Comes with contrast and color that results in outstanding image integrity
  • With exceptional accuracy and powerful super-quiet operation, it’s one of the best

CONS

  • Quite heavy
  • Price is pretty high, as well
  • Extraordinary levels of flare, especially with the moon in the picture

What Recent Buyers Report

All in all, there have been a majority of positive reviews with high praise regarding high-quality and sharp pictures in low light. Users have clearly deemed it as the best for capturing the night sky, star trails, light painting, and photographing the Milky Way. People have recommended it for astrophotography, as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The versatility of the lens stands out the most among its many other great features. You can use the lens for both night and daytime photography. It will give you a high resolution, high quality, and sharp picture at night and also catches perfect landscapes in daylight.

Who Will Use This Most

Star grazers, wildlife photographers, as well as any photographer with a passion for capturing anything and everything that comes alive at night will find it to be the perfect pick. It is also perfect for photographers who love to photograph stars and the Milky Way, as well as who wants to capture the true essence of our galaxy.

Bottom Line

The reviews and exceptional features, as well as the pros of the product, make it clear that this is a great investment. With this, you get coma-free, sharp pictures with high-quality resolution. Every photographer should have a night lens like this to cover his nocturnal adventures. The color and contrast it promises are also unbeatable.

Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Nikon

PROS

  • Has the best ISO score
  • Depth of field is 4.72 meters to infinity
  • Perfect if you are looking for depth of field
  • Ideal for landscapes in both videography and photography
  • Versatile enough to cover low-light and indoor photography events

CONS

  • Heavier than most lenses
  • Need bigger filters to accommodate the bulky front

What Recent Buyers Report

With nothing but praise for this innovative lens, many positive reviews have reported their shots have no noticeable coma, even when the lens was wide open. Others have commented on it being one of the best lenses for nighttime photography as it gives out images that are super crisp resolution even at the edges.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Sigma is one name that photographers can trust. The most prominent feature on this lens is the wide aperture with the depth of field of 4.72 meters. Other than that, its sharpness, as well as the no coma features, also stands out to us. With this state-of-the-art wide lens, nothing but perfection will be captured.

Who Will Use This Most

It’s a great low-light lens, making it perfect for a number of people. It is ideal for nocturnal photographers who have a passion for wide astro-work like capturing the galaxy and the Milky Way. Moreover, students studying astrophotography ,as well as wedding photographers covering indoor events can highly benefit from it. It’s a very versatile innovation.

Bottom Line

A great lens with a wide range of uses, for most people, this is sure to become their best night photography lens, but has a solid potential to be an all-rounder. You can take moving pictures like dancing shots at a wedding, as well as shoot daytime landscapes. The sky's the limit with this innovative product.

Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 Wide-Angle Lens for E-Mount

PROS

  • Accommodates Sony's full-frame E-mount cameras
  • Four aspherical elements for reducing astigmatism and coma
  • Works well with APS-C format cameras providing a 42mm focal length
  • Comes with extra-low dispersion glass elements for improved quality
  • F/2 maximum aperture for shallow depth of field and low-light exposures

CONS

  • Lacks built-in picture stabilization
  • Expensive compared to other options
  • With faulty autofocus mechanics, it’s known to get stuck

What Recent Buyers Report

This lens comes with high recommendations from buyers from different professions. Night photographers, as well as real estate agents, have praised the quality of this product. They highly praised the quality images with sharp edges and coma-free resolution it provided. Many have also complimented the extreme wide-angle with zero distortion.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The innovation and high-quality material used for this lens make it stand out the most. It is made with seven special glass elements that make it a great investment for nighttime photography. It also comes with high recommendations from satisfied consumers. It has an anti-reflective coating and DOF linear autofocus. It also has a moisture-resistant structure.

Who Will Use This Most

Although the target market emphasizes nighttime photographers, as well as stargazers and astro-students studying the Milky Way and minute stars, it’s also great for wedding/event photographers who take indoor and low-light shorts. The versatility of the lens makes it perfect for architectures, as well as for real estate agents.

Bottom Line

All in all, this particular lens tops all. It is lightweight with a sharp focus, even at the edges. No distortion, even at the widest angle, makes it next to perfect for all occasions. With four aspherical elements, this lens is also great with bokeh and portraits, which maximizes its potential considerably.

Best Canon Lens for Night Photography:
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

PROS

  • Will also work seamlessly with APS-C models
  • Perfectly accommodates the full-frame Canon EF-mount DSLRs
  • Designed with a seven-blade diaphragm and selective focus techniques
  • Minimal ghosting, as well as flare for superior contrast and color neutrality
  • Allows exceptional control over depth of field with bright f/1.8 maximum aperture

CONS

  • Plastic construction feels uncomfortable
  • Takes considerable time to focus on the intended object
  • Shots may have a slight veil of color from spherochromatism

What Recent Buyers Report

Most praises from buyers revolve around the fact that it’s perfect for indoor and nighttime photography, as well as live event shooting. The lack of image stabilization was one of the few reported complaints. Other than that, the lens comes with major recommendations for its great focal length and fast aperture.

What Recent Buyers Report

There are many features that stand out to us and make this an excellent product. One of those things is the 8x light technology that gives you high-resolution pictures even in extremely low light. Moreover, we love that you can achieve color neutrality in harsh and bright light conditions with minimum flare and ghosting.

Who Will Use This Most

Due to its extended features, as well as versatility, a number of users will benefit from it. Whether you do nighttime photography for passion or it’s your bread and butter, whether you are an event photographer or do product photography, you will have a great time using this particular lens.

Bottom Line

Even with minor flaws, this is the brand’s finest, as well as the most inexpensive lens of all. The value for the money and extended features make it a grand investment. For any nighttime photographer, this should be at the top of the list. Its focal length and sharpness are unbeatable.

Best Lens for Night Sky Photography:
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

PROS

  • No lag time between auto and manual focus change
  • Extra-sharp resolution with unnoticeable color fringing
  • Made with expert-grade dust, as well as moisture resistance
  • Minimum flare and ghosting for exceptional image clarity
  • Well-managed color and contrast distribution, perfect for landscape photographers

CONS

  • Gives a poor magnification of 0.15x
  • Does not accommodate screw-in filters
  • Pretty heavy and bulky, especially for hikers and trekkers

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have left more positive than negative remarks. Recurring complaints were about the magnification, as well as the weight and bulkiness of the lens. Apart from that, many have reported that it’s a great ultra-wide-angle lens perfect for low-light photography including the night sky, astrophotography, star trails, as well as indoor photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are many features that make this model stand out. The first is the sharpness of the lens and it’s said to be the sharpest in Nikon's arsenal. The second most prominent feature is the picture quality that has high-resolution with well-managed color and contrast. It also balances well on a tripod despite its weight.

Who Will Use This Most

It is great for wedding photographers who love to take portraits, as well as landscapes. The lens will also help them take ultra-wide scenic shots and uncanny dancing photos. It’s also the best low-light lens that will enable nocturnal photographers to take high-resolution shots of the night sky.

Bottom Line

All in all, it’s the best night lens from the most known brand, Nikon. You can’t argue with the fact that the resolution, sharpness and color are great, even if the image is captured in a low-light setting. The weight might be more than the average lens, but it balances quite well in hand or on a tripod.

Best Lens for Night Photography Nikon:
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED Fixed Zoom Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras

PROS

  • Compact, lightweight design that does it all
  • Ultrasonic waves for silent and accurate focusing
  • Uses high technology to provide high-definition image
  • Captures most vibrant, as well as natural-looking photos
  • Provides HD videos with tender and soft backgrounds in low light

CONS

  • Low build quality
  • Susceptible to breaking
  • Lacks optical stabilization

What Recent Buyers Report

Users are all praise about the lens’ fast focus, even in dim light. Most photographers have praised the almost zero aberrations and nice bokeh, as well as exceptional focus. There have been some complaints about stabilization, but all in all, its versatility is suitable for group shots, street photography, and landscapes.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The best part about this lens is its weight. The low weight makes it perfect for long shoots, as well as long commutes. It gives you consistently high resolution and maximum definition. The fact that it’s the best for night photography, which gives you all you want from your shot in drastically dim light, is commendable.

Who Will Use This Most

The lightweight body is a great plus for photographers who work all day and long into the night for their one perfect click. Whether you are a nature-chaser or a wedding photographer, this is the perfect match for your passion. You can gather all the stars without blurring any with this perfect piece of innovation.

Bottom Line

Other than the fact that it’s not zoomable, the lens is just perfect. The image quality, high color contrast, 52.5-millimeter equivalent focal length, ultrasonic manual focusing, as well as F/1.8 maximum aperture make this the best night photography lens. Don’t shy away from the purchase of a lifetime.

Best Lens for Night City Photography: 
Rokinon 24mm F1.4 ED

Rokinon 24mm F1.4 ED AS IF UMC Wide Angle Lens for Sony E-Mount (NEX) Cameras (RK24M-E)

PROS

  • Gives a sharp and exceptionally clear picture 
  • Damped long throw of the focus ring gives precise focus control
  • Manual focusing is a breeze with the buttery-smooth focus ring
  • Also has a super-multi-layer coating to eliminate ghost images and flare
  • Versatile usage, best for capturing landscapes, low-light images, and nighttime images

CONS

  • Lacking contrast at all apertures
  • Noticeable light fall-off when the lens is wide open
  • Manual lens, so no communication with the camera

What Recent Buyers Report

While some have complained about minute coma at the corners, others have praised the lens for being exceptionally clear and high resolution. The picture quality and color give you the value for money alone. This f/1.4 provides you with very sharp, no coma images in very dim light.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are many reasons why this lens stands out. For one, with a fast F/1.4 aperture, the 24mm lens will consistently provide you with vivid images, even in low light. This is perfect for astrophotography and nighttime photography. Compared to all other lenses out there, this one gives you value for money.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens versatility works great for students studying astrophotography and the Milky Way, as well as for photographers with a passion for nighttime photography. That’s not all, it’s also perfect for wedding and event photographers who have a number of interior images to photograph in low-light conditions.

Bottom Line

With fast and close focusing, this 24mm F/1.4 lens will give a great hand at exploring your creative side. It lets you take perfect portraits, fashion and journalistic photography, along with nighttime photography. With brilliant optical construction, this can be the perfect addition to your photography arsenal.

Best Lens for Night Sports Photography:
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens

PROS

  • Good image stabilization
  • Attuned with optional EF 1.4X/EF 2X teleconverters
  • Gives you the softest background blur at full aperture
  • Focus preset function evokes a programmed focusing position
  • Comes with a fluorine coating on the front, as well as rear elements

CONS

  • Pretty bulky design
  • Minor vignetting at full aperture
  • Very expensive but not unreasonable

What Recent Buyers Report

The reviews have been great for this product. With very few cons, the product is as good as it gets. Users have been singing praises about this lightweight 400mm f/2.8 lens. It gives you zero flare and zero ghosting the with Super Spectra Coating (SSC) as well as Air Sphere (ASC).

Why it Stands Out to Us

What stands out is the size of the lens. This is the biggest one in the world at 400mm f/2.8 lens. Despite that, it’s very lightweight. With heat protection, you can shoot for as long as you want. Plus, the Fluorine coating keeps the lens from gathering dust and moisture.

Who Will Use This Most

The lens comes with a heat protection feature, so outdoor wedding photographers or wildlife photographers can use it for a longer period without worrying about hot temperatures. The high-resolution pictures it takes in low light is great for stargazing, as well as capturing the Milky Way. You can really explore your creativity with this lens.

Bottom Line

The lens is exceptionally beautiful with its design as well as has excellent image results. Even the size is as impressive as its various features. With this lens, you get a highly resilient design for outstanding performance, even in extreme weather conditions. It doesn’t get better than this.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?

Before you go ahead and invest in the first model you come across, make sure to keep these in mind:

Purpose and Versatility

Before buying a lens, as they do not come cheap, make sure you know the purpose of it. If you are an all-rounder, go for a model that not only takes great nighttime pictures but also gives you consistent, exceptional shots of daytime landscapes. Know the purpose of your lens before taking the big leap.

Aperture

Understanding the aperture of the lens is very important. Once you understand how it all works, you will be able to get your perfect model. The aperture controls how much or how little light gets into the camera. The wider the aperture, the more light you get, providing you with clear shots, even in low-light conditions like at night or in interior photography. For instance, at f/1.4, you get the clearest, high-resolution picture even in low-light settings.

Ultra-Low Dispersion as Well as Super-UD

Make sure your lens has both ultra-low dispersion super-UD, along with several aspherical elements. These features keep your lens from getting damaged due to distortions and aberrations. All nighttime photography lenses must have a wide or large aperture along with these two features.  

How to Shoot Night Photography

Once you have acquired the best nighttime photography lens, here are some great tips to help you get started.

Mode Settings

Most wide aperture lenses come with manual focus and this is exactly what you need for nighttime photography. So first, you will need to flip your camera from automatic to manual mode.

Support

These nighttime lenses can be bulky and heavy and you can’t stay up all night with these in your hand. So, make sure you have a tripod or stand for support.

Setting the Aperture

There are many DIY videos that will help you set the aperture. For nighttime photography, you will need to go as low as possible.

Setting Shutter Speed

For nighttime photography, your shutter speed should be 10″. This will give you a decent start.

Setting the ISO

You will need to adjust your ISO to 1600, but with image brightening, you will also get increased noise. However, this is a compromise you will have to make if you want to photograph at night. Some of the lenses come with very little or no noise.

​Start Shooting

The last step is to take the picture and then analyze it. This will help you understand what to change and what to adjust in your settings. The more you practice, the better you will be able to understand the relation between your camera and lens.

Conclusion

The market is full of many lenses for nighttime photography and a couple of these options are very expensive as well. Keep all the points about focal length and wide aperture in mind before selecting your preferred lens. All of these are made to accommodate the low-light setting of nocturnal photography.

People Also Ask

To be absolutely sure of your purchase, go through the following frequent questions. By knowing the answers to these, you can find the perfect model.

What is the Best Aperture for Night Photography?

The wider the aperture, the faster the lens is. With night photography, you will need the fastest. F/1.4 is the best aperture for night photography.

How Do You Take Good Night Pictures?

You can take the best night pictures by getting the widest aperture lens.

What ISO Should I Use at Night?

1600 ISO is determined to be the perfect ISO for night photography.

What Settings Do I Use for Night Photography?

You should adjust your lens to lowest aperture; 10” shutter speed, as well as an ISO setting of 1600. Also, keep your focus manual.

How Can I Shoot at Night Without Flash?

With your ISO adjusted to the highest, you will not need a flash to take high-resolution images.