Astrophotography Nightscape Lens Rating
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LensFocal Length (mm)Relative Aperture (f/number)Clear Aperture Diameter (mm)Aperture Area (mm^2)Angular Area (radians^2)FF Suggested Exposure Time (seconds) = 500/Focal LengthAPS-C Suggested Exposure Time (seconds) = 360/Focal LengthAstro Lens ScoreMirrorless and RangefinderThird Party DSLRCanonNikonFujiMicro 4/3SonyLenses Ian Norman Uses Currently (Canon EOS 6D)Lenses Ian Norman Uses (Fuji X)
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16mm/1.4161.411.41031.1931233,826Fujinon XF 16mm/1.4
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12mm/1.6121.67.5441.8542303,400Hyperprime 12mm/1.6
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50mm/0.95500.9552.62,1760.151073,252Leica 50mm/0.95 Noctilux MMitakon 50mm f/0.95
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21mm/1.4211.415.01770.7624173,180Leica 21mm/1.4 Summilux M
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23mm/1.4231.416.42120.6422162,967Fujinon XF 23mm/1.4Fujinon XF 23mm/1.4
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24mm/1.4241.417.12310.6021152,869Rokinon 24mm/1.4*Rokinon 24mm/1.4
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35mm/1.2351.229.26680.3014102,834Voigtlander 35mm f/1.2 II
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17mm f/1.8171.89.4701.0829212,228Olympus 17mm/1.8
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12mm/2.01226.0281.8542302,176Rokinon 12mm/2.0*Olympus 12mm/2.0
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18mm/1.8181.810.0790.9828202,146Sigma 18-35mm/1.8*
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35mm/1.4351.425.04910.3014102,082Sigma 35mm/1.4 Art*Fujinon XF 35mm/1.4Fujinon XF 35mm/1.4
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50mm/1.2501.241.71,3640.151072,038Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L
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20mm/1.8201.811.1970.8225181,994
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21mm/1.8211.811.71070.7624171,924Voigtlander 21mm f/1.8 Ultron
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16mm/2.01628.0501.1931231,875Rokinon 16mm/2.0*
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40mm/1.4401.428.66410.231391,844Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton
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56mm/1.2561.246.71,7100.12961,830Fujinon XF 56mm/1.2
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18mm/2.01829.0640.9828201,738Fujinon XF 18mm/2.0*
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24mm/1.8241.813.31400.6021151,736Sony 24mm/1.8 - E Mount
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28mm/1.8281.815.61900.4518131,530
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22mm/2.022211.0950.7023161,505Canon EF-M 22mm f/2.0Canon EF-M 22mm f/2.0
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50mm/1.4501.435.71,0020.151071,497Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art*Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G/DSigma 50mm f/1.4
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23mm/2.023211.51040.6422161,454
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24mm/2.024212.01130.6021151,406Fuji X100s 23mm/2.0Sony 24mm/2.0 - A Mount
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55mm/1.4551.439.31,2120.12971,368Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4*
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35mm/1.8351.819.42970.3014101,259Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
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40mm/1.7401.723.54350.231391,251
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7mm/2.872.82.553.5571511,246Zuiko 7-14mm/2.8
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8mm/2.882.82.963.0963451,237Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 II
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85mm/1.2851.270.83,9410.05641,220Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L
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10mm/2.8102.83.6102.3650361,184Rokinon 10mm/2.8
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11mm/2.8112.83.9122.0845331,149Tokina 11-16mm/2.8*
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12mm/2.8122.84.3141.8542301,110Zeiss Touit 12mm/2.8
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14mm/2.8142.85.0201.4736261,032Rokinon 14mm/2.8*Nikkor 14-24mm/2.8GFujinon XF 14mm/2.8*Rokinon 14mm/2.8Fujinon XF 14mm/2.8
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35mm/2.035217.52410.3014101,020Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 IS
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15mm/2.8152.85.4231.323324994Zeiss 15mm/2.8 ZMZeiss 15mm/2.8 ZE/ZF.2Canon EF 15mm/2.8
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16mm/2.8162.85.7261.193123956Sony 16mm/2.8 - E Mount
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17mm/2.8172.86.1291.082921921Canon EF-S 17-55mm/2.8
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50mm/1.8501.827.86060.15107906Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 IINikkor 50mm 1.8G
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85mm/1.4851.460.72,8950.0564897Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
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18mm/2.8182.86.4320.982820887
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19mm/2.8192.86.8360.902619855Sigma 19mm/2.8
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20mm/2.8202.87.1400.822518824Sony 20mm/2.8 - E Mount
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7.5mm/3.57.53.52.143.316748796
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8mm/3.583.52.343.096345792Rokinon 8mm/3.5 Fisheye
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10mm/3.5103.52.962.365036758
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50mm/2.050225.04910.15107734
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24mm/2.8242.88.6580.602115717
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27mm/2.8272.89.6730.481913652
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15mm/3.5153.54.3141.323324636
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28mm/2.8282.810.0790.451813632
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16mm/3.5163.54.6161.193123612
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18mm/3.5183.55.1210.982820568
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85mm/1.8851.847.21,7510.0564542
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35mm/2.8352.812.51230.301410520
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40mm/2.8402.814.31600.23139461
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17mm/4.01744.3141.082921451
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12mm/4.5124.52.761.854230430
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100mm/2.0100250.01,9630.0454374
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135mm/2.0135267.53,5780.0243278
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70mm/2.8702.825.04910.0875271
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200mm/2.02002100.07,8540.0132188
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200mm/2.82002.871.44,0070.013296
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300mm/2.83002.8107.19,0160.002164
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Use this link to SHARE THIS DOC:goo.gl/iU13yNRecommended Lenses
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*Highly Recommended!
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Cameras and Lenses in my current kit
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Canon 6DFuji X-T1Canon EOS MSony a7S
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Rokinon 14mm/2.8Fujinon XF 14mm/2.8Canon EF-M 22mm f/2.0Rokinon 14mm/2.8
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Rokinon 24mm/1.4Fujinon XF 23mm/1.4Rokinon 12mm/2.0Rokinon 24mm/1.4
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Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ArtFujinon XF 35mm/1.4Rokinon 35mm/1.4
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Rokinon 12mm/2.0Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4 Nokton
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Rokinon 8mm f/2.8 Fisheye II
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Click here for an interactive exposure calculator that will also output the astro lens score.
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The "Astro Lens Score" is a number derived by multiplying the values of various lens/camera traits such as angle of view, clear aperture size and maximum exposure time without star trails. It's an arbitrary number and is only useful for comparing lenses to each other for the purposes of taking untracked astrophotos. Calculations use the sensor area of an APS-C sensor but the shutter time suggestions of a full frame lens. Lenses with higher ratings will be able to make higher signal to noise ratio photographs directly proportional to their rating numbers. In other words, a lens that scores 2000 would be capable of making a photograph with twice as much signal versus a lens with a score of 1000. This chart is purposed merely as a way to more easily compare one lens to another without having to swirl your brain around with f-stops and angles of view.
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For example: A 24mm/1.4 scores about 2800 while a 24mm/2.0 scores about 1400. Based on these numbers, the f/1.4 lens should be able to collect approximately 2x more light (1 stop) than the f/2.0 lens which is what we would expect just by comparing f/numbers.
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Theses scores do not account for noise and thus are NOT directly comparable across differing sensor sizes or different cameras. Differing cameras have differences in sensor quantum efficiency and these calculations only assume a single sensor size and exposure length. Keep in mind that these scores also do not take into account the other aspects of a lens's performance such as resolution, astigmatism, chromatic, coma, spherical aberration, distortion, build quality etc.
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If you wish to compare lenses across different sensor sizes and account for aberration performance check out the other sheet tabs for each sensor size.
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Suggested exposure times are the maximum recommeded exposure duration without star trails. The number may vary from what's shown here depending on your sensor resolution or where in the sky you are pointing your camera. This number is a good starting point, but check for star trails and adjust. You want to use the longest exposure you can with out star trails to maximize your light gathering.
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Rokinon, Samyang and Bower lenses are all identical lenses made by the same Korean manufacturer: Samyang
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About the product links in this doc: I use affiliate links to the respective products that I mention on this page. If you decide to buy one of these products, consider using the links in this article to support Lonely Speck. It won't cost you anything extra but Lonely Speck gets a small commission to support the website.
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By Ian Norman, Creative Commons, Attribution, Sharealike, International 4.0
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Astro Lens Score
SpeckMark Full Frame
SpeckMark APS-C
SpeckMark 4/3
Aberration Test Results