With the best lenses for astrophotography you can start to master on of the most challenging and rewarding genres of photography. Capturing images of the night sky, and the stars and planets therein, requires patience, technical precision and a bit of luck with the weather. More crucially, it also requires the right kit. Having a suitable astro lens is essential when it comes to making images of the stars. We’ve put together this guide to help you find yours so you can start to improve your night photography

When choosing a lens, the circumstances of your camera system, as well as its sensor size will determine your choices to some extent. (See our guide to the best cameras for astrophotography if you don’t yet have yours.) Different lenses fit different lens mounts, and some lenses only work with certain sensor sizes. We’ve based this list on our experience testing all sorts of different lenses – these are the top ones our team recommends.

If you need a primer on astrophotography, we have some help on how to choose a lens at the bottom of this page. For now though, let’s get to the lenses…

The best lenses for astrophotography: our quick list

If you want to get right to it, here is a quick reference list of our picks for the best astrophotography lenses, along with links for where to get the best deals.

Best full-frame lenses for astrophotography:

  • Best Nikon F-mount: Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED – Buy now
  • Best Nikon Z-mount: Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S – Buy now
  • Best Canon EF-mount: Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM – Buy now
  • Best Canon RF-mount: Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM – Buy now
  • Best Sony FE-mount: Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM – Buy now
  • Best Pentax K-mount: Pentax-D FA HD 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR – Buy now
  • Best L-mount: Panasonic Lumix 20-60mm S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 – Buy now
  • Best third party DSLR lens: Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art – Buy now
  • Best lens under £500: Rokinon / Samyang 14m8-m f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC – Buy now

Best APS-C lenses for astrophotography:

  • Best Fujifilm X-mount: Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR – Buy now
  • Best third-party Fujifilm X-mount: Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C – Buy now
  • Best Sony E-Mount: Sony E 11mm f/1.8 – Buy now
  • Best APS-C DSLR lens: Tokina atx-i 11-20mm F2.8 CF Plus – Buy now

Best Micro Four Thirds lenses for astrophotography:

  • Best Olympus lens: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro – Buy now
  • Best third party MFT lens: Laowa 7.5mm f/2 – Buy now

So without further ado, here’s our guide to the best lenses for astrophotography…

Best full-frame lenses for astrophotography

Here, we’ve picked out all the best astrophotography lenses for mirrorless systems. This means we’ve got options for Canon and Nikon (both DSLR and mirrorless), as well as Sony FE-mount and the Leica L-mount, which covers Panasonic’s Lumix S series of full-frame mirrorless cameras. We’ve included a mix of manufacturers’ own options as well as some third-party alternatives.

Best Nikon F-mount lens for astrophotography: Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

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

Amateur Photographer verdict

Nikon’s gorgeous pro wide zoom for its DSLRs, the 14-24mm is a sublime choice for astro work. It’s weather-sealed for outdoor work, and has the potential to produce dazzling imagery.
  • Lovely wide field of view
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Tough, weather-sealed build
  • Sharpness drop-off at edges and corners
  • Can’t attach filters

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 1,000g weight
  • 14 elements in 11 groups
  • Built-in lens hood
  • Price: $2,195 / £2,169

The most suitable full-frame Nikon DSLR lens has to be its long-standing workhorse wide-angle lens, the AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. Regarding fixed focal length lenses, Nikon’s widest offering is the 20mm f/1.8G ED, which is an excellent landscape photography lens and could be a curveball alternative for night skies.

Part of the f/2.8 trio of lenses so popular with professional photographers, the weighty 14-24mm is a super tough metal lens that boasts rubber sealing to protect against dust and moisture. It also has a built-in lens hood, but with no filter thread. When pushed to its limit – which is what astrophotographers will do – there is the expected fall-off in corner detail and brightness, but overall this professional lens comprising 14 elements in 11 groups delivers optically.

Best Nikon Z-mount lens for astrophotography: Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S with Z7
Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S with Z7, Photo: Michael Topham / AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

Lighter than its DSLR equivalent, with better optics at wide apertures, the Z-mount 14-24mm lens is a no-brainer for any astro shooter using Nikon mirrorless.
  • Edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Customisable control ring
  • Weather sealed
  • Lighter than DSLR version
  • Very pricey
  • Control ring can be over-sensitive

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 16 elements in 11 groups
  • Specialised lens hood with 112mm filter thread
  • Only 650g
  • Price: $2,296 / £2,187

As things stand, it’s a copy/paste job from Nikon’s DSLRs for its Z-mount mirrorless cameras that makes our pick of astrophotography lenses. But the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 benefits from the larger Z-mount design, whereby Nikon has been able to create a lens that performs better optically than its DSLR equivalent, in the corners and when using wide apertures. Bingo for astrophotography, and less work in post.

It’s also a much smaller and lighter lens at only 650g, plus extensive weather-sealing and fluorine coating on the front lens element stands the lens in good stead for nighttime adventures. Again, if you know 20mm is wide enough for night sky pictures, then the Z 20mm f/1.8 S lens is a more cost effective alternative with 1.3EV brighter maximum aperture. We’d more happily use the maximum aperture in a Z-mount lens too, and so the Z 14-30mm f/4 S is not out of the question for astrophotography, either.

Read our Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S review.

Best Canon EF-mount lens for astrophotography: Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
The Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM bears the L designation, meaning it’s one of the highest-quality Canon lenses.

Amateur Photographer verdict

A specialised wide prime, this Canon DSLR lens hits a sweet spot for astrophotography. With a sophisticated rectilinear design, it delivers top-notch sharpness with a wide field of view.
  • Rectilinear design prevents chromatic aberrations
  • Solid build
  • Excellent centre sharpness
  • Good value if bought used
  • Loses sharpness at edges

At a glance

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/16
  • Rectilinear design
  • 645g
  • Dust and moisture sealing
  • Price: approx $600 – $800 / £460 – £595

This prime is something of a specialist lens – a 14mm prime is best used for specific applications, and astrophotography is definitely one of them. This lens has an ‘L’ designation, and if you’re not familiar with Canon’s various acronyms, that means it’s constructed with a robust build quality that makes it well-suited for shooting in inclement environments. It also means the lens is optically excellent.

With a construction consisting of 14 elements in 11 groups, the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM features a rectilinear design, which means it produces much less distortion than wide-angle lenses that use a fisheye design. In layman’s terms, this means excellent sharpness in images from edge to edge, with no chromatic aberrations to speak of. Which is just what you want to hear when you’re planning on filling the frame with pin-point stars.

If you want a bit more compositional flexibility, you could try Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM, though it’s quite a bit more expensive and doesn’t go quite as wide. The EF 11-24mm f/4L USM does, though it’s also a pretty pricey proposition. For an alternative that won’t rinse your bank account, the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is available for Canon EF mount; you’ll meet it below as one of our picks of the best third-party lenses.

Best Canon RF-mount lens for astrophotography: Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM
The Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM accepts 82mm filters.

Amateur Photographer verdict

An outstanding pro-grade wide zoom, the Canon 15-35mm F2.8L wide-angle zoom benefits from a weatherproof construction, a 5-stop stabiliser and pin-sharp optics for great results.
  • Rugged design
  • Can take 82mm filters
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Astonishing sharpness
  • Compatible filters quite pricey
  • Some may want a wider FOV

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 82mm filter thread
  • 840g
  • 5EV image stabilisation
  • Price: $1,899 / £2,599

The Canon 15-35mm F2.8L wide-angle zoom lens is wide enough and a fine choice for astrophotography, with a larger maximum aperture than the recent RF 10-24mm f/4.

It boasts L-Series ruggedness for night-time adventures, a 5-stop image stabiliser, silent Nano USM autofocus motor, plus you even get an 82mm filter thread so it’s a lens that can easily double up for landscape photography and the like where filters are necessary. And with a complex optical design featuring 16 elements in 12 groups, this is sure to prove a workhorse lens for wide-angle lovers.

Best Sony FE-mount lens for astrophotography: Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM

Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 lens mounted on camera
Sony FE 12-24mm F2.8 GM lens. Photo credit: Sony

Amateur Photographer verdict

It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else out there like it – Sony’s 12-24mm G Master is nothing short of spectacular, with stellar sharpness out to the edges.
  • Gorgeous optical quality
  • Widest-ever zoom with constant f/2.8
  • Lightweight, considering
  • Double the price of f/4 version

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 847g
  • 17 elements in 14 groups
  • Sony FE mount
  • Price: $2,898 / £2,129

Of all lens mounts, full-frame Sony mirrorless cameras are afforded the greatest choice of wide-angle, wide-aperture lenses. We could’ve picked any Sony FE lens from the 12-24mm f/2.8, 14mm f/1.8, 16-35mm f/2.8, or the 12-24mm f/4 – all of which are great lenses.

However, we landed on the 12-24mm F2.8 GM lens as the most versatile, albeit the most expensive option. It may be twice the price of the F4 version, but serious astrophotographers for whom low light performance is everything will surely be tempted by the widest angle lens of its kind with constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range.

It’s no surprise that there is no filter thread given the widest 12mm focal length, but this is a relatively lightweight full-frame lens at 847g that pairs well with a camera like the Sony A7 IV that features in our best cameras for astrophotography guide. Being a G Master lens (GM), the 12-24mm f/2.8 is extremely well-built and it is optically very sharp even wide open and from centre to edges. Sony-showmanship at its finest! If 14mm is your focal length, then the Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 is an all-round better option.

Best Pentax K-mount lens for astrophotography: Pentax-D FA HD 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR

Pentax-D FA HD 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR
Pentax-D FA HD 15-30mm F2.8 ED SDM WR

Amateur Photographer verdict

Pentax DSLRs are an excellent choice for astrophotography, and this wide zoom makes for a great pairing. A few handling quirks aside, it’s sharp, fast and weatherproof.
  • Excellent weatherproofing
  • Great sharpness throughout frame
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Manually focuses in opposite direction to other Pentax lenses
  • On the bulky side

At a glance

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 1040g
  • Weather-resistant
  • 23-45mm in APS-C crop mode
  • Price: $1,346 / £995 +

We’re not exactly spoilt for choice with Pentax wide-angle lenses, which is a shame because the cameras do night photography so well. However, you only need one lens that does the job and the Pentax 15-30mm F2.8 is a fine choice.

Launched around the same time as the Pentax K-1 in 2016, it’s a reassuringly bulky lens at just over 1kg. There is no filter thread (not that you will use screw-in filters for astrophotography), but it is weather resistant and therefore a solid pairing with a tough camera like the Pentax K-1 and its replacement the K-1 II.

Benefitting from a lens construction of 18 elements in 13 groups, users report a high and even sharpness from centre to edges even at the maximum f/2.8 aperture, and this aperture is available throughout the entire zoom range, too. What might initially cause confusion to Pentax shooters fumbling around in the dark to manually focus the 15-30mm lens, is that it focuses in the opposite direction to every other Pentax lens. Go figure.

Best L-mount lens for astrophotography: Panasonic Lumix 20-60mm S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6

Panasonic Lumix S5II Specifications
The Panasonic Lumix S5 II fitted with the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 kit zoom. Image credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

This lightweight lens allows you to kit your L-mount camera out for astrophotography without breaking the bank – and it delivers great image quality, too.
  • Weighs next to nothing
  • Impressive sharpness
  • Resistant to dust and moisture
  • Nice and affordable
  • f/3.5 may be limiting for some

At a glance:

  • Maximum f/3.5 aperture at 20mm
  • 350g
  • 11 elements in 9 groups
  • 67mm filter thread
  • Price: $497 / £619

In what feels like a curveball entry, the Panasonic Lumix S 20-60mm f/3.5-5.6 is the only ‘kit’ lens in this roundup (available with the Panasonic S5 that features in our best astrophotography cameras guide). There is a lack of alternatives for full-frame Panasonic cameras, with the 16-35mm f/4 lens being another option. However, we’ve primarily included the 20-60mm because it is a wider-than-normal kit lens, with its widest focal length particularly ideal for astrophotography.

Given most astrophotographers will use the widest 20mm focal length, the maximum f/3.5 aperture is reasonable enough. (The same principle goes for other kit lenses, though they are unlikely to be as wide as this one). And as far as kit lenses go, the 20-60mm is surprisingly well built with dust and moisture resistance and it weighs only 350g – that’s nothing for a full-frame lens. It’s also impressively sharp, even with its relatively straightforward lens construction of 11 elements in 9 groups.

Best third party DSLR lens for astrophotography: Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens
The Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art lens in hand. Photo credit: AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

It’s a big lad, but Sigma’s 14mm f/1.8 is a brilliant option across multiple mirrorless and DSLR mounts. Its wide focal length and fast aperture earn it big points for astro – and boy, is it sharp!
  • Very good sharpness out to edges
  • Relatively rare focal length
  • Extra latitude from f/1.8
  • Not officially weather sealed
  • It’s a big boy

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/1.8 to f/16
  • 1170g
  • 1.3EV brighter than f/2.8
  • Available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony FE/ E, and L-mount
  • Price: $1,599 / £1,399

A toss up between the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 and the Sigma 14-24mm f/2.8, we’ve gone for the 14mm f/1.8 lens because there are equivalent 14-24mm f/2.8 Canon and Nikon DSLR lenses available, whereas you wont find a proprietary 14mm f/1.8 lens apart from Sony’s excellent offering. Available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, and L-mount, this gargantuan lens boasts an ultra-bright maximum aperture and ultra-wide fixed focal length.

We find a lot of astrophotographers like the wider 14mm focal length, and in this lens you gain an extra 1.3EV of light with that f/1.8 aperture compared to f/2.8 – making it completely possible to shoot night skies at ISO 200! Being dedicated for purpose, this ultra-wide lens is impressively sharp from centre to edges. Sigma Art lenses are extremely well built, too, though none officially feature weather-resistance.

Best lens under £500 for astrophotography: Rokinon / Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC
Rokinon / Samyang 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC

Amateur Photographer verdict

While an autofocus version of this lens has since arrived, save yourself some cash and stick with the original. Compatible with lots of mounts, this is a good choice for budget shooters.
  • Terrific value for money
  • Good sharpness
  • Broad mount compatibility
  • No weather sealing
  • No hyperfocal distance scale or hard infinity stop

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • Manual focus
  • 530-575g
  • Available in Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Pentax K, Fujifilm X, MFT, Canon M, Sony A mounts
  • Price: around $259 / £419

A supremely popular lens among astrophotographers, the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 is an excellent value wide-angle, wide-aperture manual focus lens. It is available for a number of lens mounts, and where available we recommend the ‘AE’ version with electronic contacts that provide auto exposure and exposure information (metadata). Handling-wise, the lens lacks weather-sealing, nor does it feature a hyperfocal distance scale or hard infinity stop. Otherwise, for image quality alone you get unparalleled bang for buck.

Samyang ushered in a new dawn by making an autofocus version of this lens for Canon, Nikon and Sony shooters, available for around twice the price. However, for astrophotography, autofocus is largely redundant so we’d stick with this one unless you’ll use it for many other purposes. Building on its popularity, there is also a premium ‘XP’ version for Canon and Nikon DSLR users, although this (still-good-value) version is a tasty £900.

Best APS-C lenses for astrophotography:

Using an APS-C system? We’ve picked out a selection of fantastic astrophotography lenses that are specifically optimised for crop-sensor cameras. Remember the 1.5x crop factor, meaning that a lens designated (for example) 24mm will actually behave like a 35mm when mounted to your APS-C camera.

Best Fujifilm X-Mount lens for astrophotography: Fujinon XF 8-16mm f/2.8 R LM WR

Fujinon XF 8-16mm lens mounted to an X-H1.
Fujinon XF 8-16mm lens mounted to an X-H1.

Amateur Photographer verdict

An ultra-wide lens for Fujifilm X, this hardy, professional zoom is ideally suited to astrophotography. It’s undeniably pricey, but justifies its expense.
  • Very sharp, even wide open
  • Weather-resistant
  • Constant f/2.8 aperture
  • On the heavier side for Fuji X
  • Still relatively expensive

At a glance:

  • Equivalent 12-24mm focal length
  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 805g
  • No filter thread
  • Price: £1,499 / $1,499

Not only is the Fujifilm XF 8-16mm f/2.8 lens one of the widest X-mount lenses available, it is a zoom lens with f/2.8 constant maximum aperture to boot. This is even wider than the more recent ultra-wide prime lens from the Fujifilm camp, the Fujifilm XF 8mm F3.5 R WR. This zoom’s equivalent 12-24mm focal length is ideal for astrophotographers, as is the weather-resistant construction, denoted by the ‘WR’ in the lens nomenclature.

For an XF lens, 805g is on the weightier side. Perhaps it’s the complex lens construction of 20 elements in 13 groups. We’ve read reports of excellent optical sharpness even at f/2.8, albeit with a slight fall-off in the edges of the frame. The lack of filter thread might be a headache for landscape photographers, but astrophotographers can generally get by without filters. Launched in 2019, the 8-16mm lens is now available under £1,500.

Best third-party astrophotography lens for Fuji X: Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C

Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C front
Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN for X-mount. Photo credit: Richard Sibley.

Amateur Photographer verdict

A highly affordable lens, not just for Fuji but for a host of other APS-C mounts. This Sigma prime impresses with its complex optical construction that delivers sharp images with minimal coma.
  • Excellent suppression of aberrations/coma flare
  • Superb value for money
  • Nice big aperture
  • No aperture ring
  • Fixed 24mm quite narrow for astro

At a glance:

  • Equivalent to 24mm focal length
  • Available for: Fujifilm X, Sony E, Canon EF-M, Micro Four Thirds (equiv. 32mm)
  • Constructed from 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Weighs 405g
  • Price: $449 / £359

Sigma has expanded its line of fast-aperture, crop-sensor prime lenses to the Fujifilm X mount, which is great news for Fuji users looking for an affordable alternative. It’s a pretty sophisticated lens, sporting a complex optical construction that features three FLD (Fluorite Low Dispersion) glass elements and two SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass elements, all of which are there to suppress chromatic aberrations. Also included are moulded glass aspherical elements that suppress curvilinear distortion and sagittal coma flare, the latter of which is particularly good news for astrophotographers.

With its equivalent focal length of 24mm, this is on the narrow side for an astrophotography lens, but is still perfectly useable. It delivers great sharpness throughout its aperture range; as we found in our review, you have to zoom in 100% to really see the difference at the extreme ends. There’s also basically no vignetting, and what little there is should be ably corrected by Fujifilm’s in-camera software. It’s highly affordable, especially compared to native X-mount lenses, giving you a good cheap way to get started shooting astro images on your Fuji camera.

Read our full Sigma 16mm F1.4 DC DN C review.

Best Sony E-Mount lens for astrophotography: Sony E 11mm f/1.8

Sony E 11mm F1.8 lens, photo: Amy Davies
Sony E 11mm F1.8 lens, photo: Amy Davies

Amateur Photographer verdict

While this is designed to be a vlogging lens, its wide angle of view also makes it handy for astro work. Images look great – just bear in mind that the lens isn’t weather-sealed.
  • One of the widest Sony E primes
  • Feather-light
  • Solid value for money
  • No optical stabilisation

At a glance:

  • Equivalent 16.5mm focal length
  • Aperture range f/1.8 to f/16
  • Only 181g
  • Available in Sony E mount only
  • Price: $498 / £465

A relatively new kid on the block from 2022, the Sony E 11mm f/1.8 is a wide-aperture APS-C lens with equivalent 16.5mm focal length primarily marketed for vlogging, but incidentally is plenty wide enough for astrophotography. It is designed for Sony E mount cameras like the 6000-series, and being a miniscule 66mm in length and feather-light 181g, it represents a compelling option for those that don’t want to be bogged down with heavy kit.

You won’t get the same level of weather-sealing in this dust and moisture-resistant autofocus lens when paired with a Sony 6000-series camera, but it’ll cope just fine with your regular night adventures. It packs 12 lens elements in 11 groups and despite its wide focal length will accept threaded filters, while its price tag of £500 represents decent value. You could also take a look at the Sony E 15mm F1.4 G if you don’t need something as wide.

Read our Sony E 11mm F1.8 review.

Best APS-C DSLR lens for astrophotography: Tokina atx-i 11-20mm F2.8 CF Plus

Tokina atx-i 11-20mm F2.8 CF Plus
Tokina atx-i 11-20mm F2.8 CF Plus

Amateur Photographer verdict

An outstandingly good-value choice for APS-C DSLRs, Tokina’s lens offers a compelling alternative to anything made by Canon or Nikon. It’s weather sealed, which comes in handy.
  • Balances well on APS-C DSLRs
  • Weather-sealed mounting ring
  • Better value than Canon/Nikon’s own lenses
  • No stabilisation (though this doesn’t matter so much for astro)

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 82mm filter thread
  • 550-570g (Nikon/Canon)
  • Available in Canon EF and Nikon F mounts
  • Price: $409 / £799

The Tokina atx-i 11-20mm F2.8 CF Plus is a rare wide-angle, wide aperture zoom lens for APS-C DSLR cameras. This autofocus lens has an equivalent focal length of approximately 16.5-30mm for Nikon F and 17.6-32mm for Canon EF mounts. Optically complex, the lens construction features 14 elements in 12 groups. At 550-570g (Nikon/Canon), the 11-20mm balances well on mid-range DSLRs, plus it features a weather-sealed ring on its mounting plate and an 82mm filter thread for those that want a lens to double up for other endeavours such as landscape photography. Image stabilisation is lacking, but that feature is largely irrelevant for tripod-mounted astrophotography anyway.

All in all, a stellar lens that is overall a more compelling choice for capturing the night skies than DSLR lenses like the Nikkor AF-P DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, and Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM.

If you want to save money, keep an eye out for the previous version, the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 PRO DX, which can be found for around £300 second-hand.

Best Micro Four Thirds lenses for astrophotography:

While you might think the smaller MFT sensor is a deal-breaker for astrophotography, many of the more recent cameras have clever computational features that make them really quite useful for the discipline. For instance, recent Olympus and OM SYSTEM cameras like the OM SYSTEM OM-1 benefit from ‘Starry Sky AF’, which helps you lock onto celestial objects. Here are the best lenses to get great astro results with Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Best Olympus lens for astrophotography: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO 
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO. Photo credit: AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

One of the widest zooms available for Micro Four Thirds, the compact, sharp Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro should be a strong consideration for astro.
  • Great focal range for astro
  • Constant f/2.8
  • Solid build
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Lacks corner sharpness when wide open

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2.8 to f/22
  • 534g
  • Weather-resistant
  • No filter thread
  • Price: $1,200 / £1,250

It’s been around for a while now, but the Olympus M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro lens stands the test of time for a multitude of photography disciplines. And with a 14-28mm equivalent focal length and constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, it is the most versatile Micro Four Thirds lens for astrophotography.

Not only is the lens a workhorse regarding its robust build quality, but its complex optical design of 14 elements in 11 groups comprises exotic aspheric and ED elements that combine to deliver excellent quality images. The only downside is reduced corner sharpness when the lens aperture is wide open, which is a common pitfall of wide-angle Micro Four Thirds lenses.

Best third party MFT-mount lens for astrophotography: Laowa 7.5mm f/2

Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT (AW)
Laowa 7.5mm f/2 MFT (AW)

Amateur Photographer verdict

Providing a unique proposition for Micro Four Thirds, the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 is not perfect – with vignetting and corner softness – but makes for a highly tempting budget option.
  • Excellent central sharpness
  • Weighs just 170g
  • Nicely affordable
  • No electronic communication (no metadata etc.)
  • Soft in corners
  • Significant vignetting

At a glance:

  • Aperture range f/2 to f/22
  • Manual focus
  • 170g
  • Equivalent 15mm focal length
  • Price: $359 / £429

Laowa traditionally creates manual focus lenses that do not exist elsewhere, and ensures they are optically sharp to boot. Here in the Laowa 7.5mm f/2, we have the widest-angle Micro Four Thirds lens with rectilinear perspective, of particular interest to architecture photographers. However, this tiny 170g lens for Olympus and Panasonic MFT cameras is a highly compelling choice for astrophotography, too.

Sadly, there is no official note of weather-resistance in this metal lens with 46mm filter thread, nor is there electronic contacts to communicate info to the camera, including metadata. However, in our review of the lens, we found the 7.5mm f/2 lens to be extremely sharp in the centre of the frame, albeit astrophotographers using the widest aperture of the lens might notice softer detail in the corners. If 18mm is wide enough for you, then the similarly priced Panasonic Leica DG Vario Summilux 9mm f/1.7 G ASPH lens is well worth looking into instead.

How to find a great lens for astrophotography

Many lenses in this roundup are designed for full-frame because this is the optimum sensor size for astrophotography – and the most popular focal length is around 14-24mm. For APS-C lenses, the equivalent focal length is roughly 9-16mm, while for Micro Four Thirds you’re looking at something between 7-12mm. Even complex vertical-multi-shot panoramas capturing the Milky Way work well with a wide-angle lens in this (Britain) region.

The size of the aperture is important too – the wider the maximum aperture, the more light is let in, which is crucial for the best possible image quality when working in low light. Anything around f/1.4 to f/4 is appropriate. A common downside to wide-angle lenses is the image quality fall-off in the corners, so you’ll want to pick one that holds detail well. Mirrorless lenses tend to perform better for corner detail than equivalent DSLR lenses when set to their widest aperture.

There is a choice between zoom and fixed focal length lenses, too. Quality-wise, zoom lenses have come a long way. We feel that the main differentiators concern handling rather than image quality. For example, a fixed focal length lens is likely to be cheaper, smaller, and offer a wider maximum aperture, whereas a zoom lens is usually bulkier but affords focal length flexibility.

Our list includes options for all the major lens mounts, including Nikon F, Nikon Z, Canon EF, Canon RF, Sony E, Pentax K, Leica L, Fujifilm X and Micro Four Thirds. While we can’t sensibly include every suitable astro lens in this list, we’ve made an effort to regularly note alternatives to our top picks, especially when the alternatives are more affordable. We’ve ordered the roundup by sensor size, starting with full-frame, then moving to APS-C, then finally Micro Four Thirds.

Featured image: The Lily Windmill, Credit: Robbie Goodall, Getty Images.

Text by Tim Coleman, with contributions from Jon Stapley.

Once you had a look at the different lens and camera options, you’ll find some great tips on astrophotography in our guide to how to photograph the night sky, as well as more articles on astrophotography.

Have a look at the best cameras for astrophotography, as well as our latest lens reviews and buying guides!

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.