Best 50mm Lens For Astrophotography

Best 50mm Lens For Astrophotography

Welcome to our guide on the best 50mm lenses for astrophotography. If you're passionate about capturing the beauty of the night sky, having the right lens can make all the difference. In this post, we'll explore two outstanding 50mm lenses that are well-regarded among astrophotography enthusiasts for their exceptional performance and features. Let's dive in!

1. Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

Sigma 50mm Art Lens

The Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens is a masterpiece designed to deliver impeccable image quality in astrophotography. With a wide maximum aperture of f/1.4, this lens excels in capturing the faintest of stars with stunning clarity. The Art series from Sigma is renowned for its top-notch optics and craftsmanship, and this 50mm lens is no exception. Its advanced optical design minimizes aberrations and distortion, ensuring that your astrophotography shots are sharp and vibrant from corner to corner. Whether you're shooting constellations or the Milky Way, the Sigma 50mm Art Lens is a reliable companion.

2. Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens

Sony FE 50mm Lens

The Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens is a favorite among astrophotographers who demand the utmost precision. This lens is part of Sony's esteemed G Master series, known for its uncompromising quality. With a bright f/1.4 aperture, this lens lets you gather ample light to capture celestial objects in stunning detail. The lens's advanced optics and precision autofocus system ensure that your astrophotography images are consistently sharp and free from distortions. The Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens is built to withstand the rigors of astrophotography adventures, making it a trustworthy choice for capturing the mysteries of the universe.

3. Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens

Nikon Z 50mm Lens

Moving forward in our quest for the best 50mm lens for astrophotography, we encounter the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens. Designed for Nikon's Z-series mirrorless cameras, this lens offers impressive optical performance that's perfect for capturing the night sky. With a wide f/1.8 aperture, you can capture celestial wonders with exceptional clarity, even in low-light conditions. The lens's advanced optics ensure minimal aberrations and maximum sharpness, while its quiet autofocus system is essential for shooting in tranquil night environments. If you're a Nikon user looking to elevate your astrophotography game, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S Lens is worth considering.

4. Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens

Nikon AF-S 50mm Lens

Another noteworthy option from Nikon is the Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens. This lens is a classic choice for photographers who seek a combination of affordability and quality. With its wide f/1.8 aperture, you can capture the magic of the night sky with impressive clarity and detail. The lens's compact design makes it easy to carry during your astrophotography adventures. It's known for producing sharp images with beautiful bokeh, making your starscape shots truly mesmerizing. The Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G Lens is a versatile choice for photographers who want to explore the wonders of astrophotography without breaking the bank.

5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens

Canon EF 50mm Lens

Our journey through the realm of astrophotography lenses brings us to the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens. This lens is a true gem in Canon's L-series lineup, known for its superior optical performance and build quality. With a wide f/1.2 aperture, this lens is a powerhouse for low-light conditions, allowing you to capture intricate details of celestial objects with breathtaking clarity. Its advanced lens elements and coatings minimize aberrations and ensure exceptional sharpness across the frame. The robust build of the lens is ideal for enduring the demands of astrophotography expeditions. If you're seeking premium image quality and the ability to capture the cosmos in all its glory, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens is a stellar choice.

6. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens

canon ef 50mm

Next on our list is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens, a versatile option for astrophotography enthusiasts. With its f/1.4 aperture, this lens excels in capturing celestial wonders while maintaining a compact and portable design. The USM (Ultrasonic Motor) autofocus system ensures quick and accurate focusing, which is essential for capturing fast-moving objects in the night sky. The lens's optics deliver impressive sharpness and vibrant colors, making your astrophotography images truly captivating. If you're a Canon user looking for a well-rounded 50mm lens for your cosmic endeavors, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens is a reliable choice.

7. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon EF 50mm Lens

Continuing our exploration of the best 50mm lenses for astrophotography, we come across the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens. This lens is celebrated for its affordability and performance, making it a popular choice for both beginners and experienced photographers. With a wide f/1.8 aperture, you can capture the brilliance of stars and galaxies with impressive clarity. The STM (Stepping Motor) autofocus technology ensures smooth and quiet focusing, which is beneficial when shooting in quiet night settings. Despite its budget-friendly nature, this lens delivers sharp images with a pleasing bokeh, enhancing the visual appeal of your astrophotography shots. If you're looking to step into the world of astrophotography without breaking the bank, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is a fantastic starting point.

8. Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary

Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Lens for Sony

Our final addition to this guide is the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary lens. While this lens offers a versatile focal length range, its f/2.8 aperture stands out for its ability to capture the night sky in all its splendor. While not a fixed 50mm lens, this Sigma offering is designed for photographers who value flexibility and want to explore different focal lengths for their astrophotography adventures. The wide maximum aperture allows for excellent light gathering, making it suitable for capturing celestial objects with intricate details. If you're looking for a lens that offers versatility while still being able to capture stunning nightscapes, the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary is worth considering.

astrophotography 50mm lens

Can You Use a 50mm Lens For Astrophotography?

Absolutely, a 50mm lens can be an excellent choice for astrophotography, especially for capturing wide-field views of the night sky. While many might associate longer focal lengths with astrophotography, a 50mm lens offers its own advantages and can produce stunning results in certain scenarios.

Here's why a 50mm lens can be a great option for astrophotography:

  1. Wide-Field Views: A 50mm lens on a full-frame camera or a crop sensor camera will capture a relatively wide portion of the night sky. This is perfect for capturing constellations, the Milky Way, and other wide celestial scenes.
  2. Larger Aperture Options: Many 50mm lenses offer wide maximum apertures, such as f/1.8, f/1.4, or even f/1.2. These wide apertures allow more light to enter the lens, making it easier to capture faint stars and celestial objects.
  3. Portability: 50mm lenses are often compact and lightweight, making them convenient to carry during nighttime photography sessions. This is especially beneficial if you're hiking to a remote location for your astrophotography.
  4. Versatility: While a longer focal length can be great for focusing on specific celestial objects, a 50mm lens offers versatility. It can capture both wide-field views and smaller details, giving you the flexibility to experiment with different compositions.
  5. Affordability: In comparison to longer focal length lenses, 50mm lenses are often more budget-friendly. This makes them a great option for photographers who are just starting with astrophotography or are looking for an economical choice.

While a 50mm lens can excel in capturing wide-field astrophotography, keep in mind that it might not be the best choice for capturing distant planets or very small deep-sky objects. For those, you might consider pairing a 50mm lens with a telescope or using a longer focal length lens.

50mm lens for astrophotography

Best Astrophotography Targets with 50mm Lens

Using a 50mm lens for astrophotography opens up a variety of exciting celestial targets to capture. Here are some examples of astrophotography subjects you can successfully capture with a 50mm lens:

  1. Milky Way: The Milky Way is a prime target for wide-field astrophotography with a 50mm lens. Capture its intricate structure, dust lanes, and star clusters sprawling across the night sky.
  2. Constellations: Use your 50mm lens to frame and capture prominent constellations like Orion, Ursa Major, Cassiopeia, and Scorpius. The lens's wide field of view is perfect for showcasing the arrangement of stars that form these patterns.
  3. Star Trails: With a long exposure, you can create mesmerizing star trail images. Set up your camera on a tripod, point it at the celestial pole, and let the Earth's rotation paint the sky with beautiful trails of stars.
  4. Meteor Showers: During meteor showers, like the Perseids or Geminids, a 50mm lens is ideal for capturing the entire sky. This way, you're more likely to capture meteors streaking across the frame.
  5. Auroras: If you're fortunate enough to be in a location where auroras are visible, a 50mm lens can capture the vibrant curtains of light dancing across the night sky.
  6. Landscape Astrophotography: Use your 50mm lens to incorporate terrestrial features into your astrophotography. Combine the starry sky with elements like trees, mountains, or buildings to create captivating compositions.
  7. Conjunctions and Planetary Alignments: Capture unique celestial events like planetary conjunctions or alignments using your 50mm lens. These events offer opportunities to juxtapose planets or the Moon with other elements in the frame.
  8. Nightscapes: Create compelling nightscapes by including elements of the Earth's landscape under the starry sky. Urban cityscapes, rural scenes, or bodies of water can add depth to your astrophotography.

Here's a more detailed list of astrophotography targets with specific examples of Milky Way regions, star clusters, and nebulae and emission regions, along with their catalog numbers:

Milky Way Regions:

Sagittarius Region:

  • Capture the rich star fields and nebulae in the Sagittarius constellation.
  • Objects: Messier 8 (Lagoon Nebula) - M8, Messier 20 (Trifid Nebula) - M20, Messier 24 (Sagittarius Star Cloud) - M24
Scutum Star Cloud:
  • Frame the Scutum Star Cloud, a dense region of stars, in your 50mm lens.
  • Object: Messier 11 (Wild Duck Cluster) - M11

    Star Clusters:

    Pleiades (Seven Sisters):

    • Capture the iconic Pleiades star cluster.
    • Object: Messier 45 - M45

    Beehive Cluster:

    • Frame the Beehive Cluster, also known as Praesepe.
    • Object: Messier 44 - M44

    Double Cluster in Perseus:

    • Capture the beautiful pair of star clusters in Perseus.
    • Objects: NGC 869 & NGC 884

    Nebulae and Emission Regions:

    North America Nebula:
    • Capture the intricate details of the North America Nebula.
    • Object: NGC 7000

    Orion Nebula:

    • Frame the stunning Orion Nebula, a stellar nursery.
    • Object: Messier 42 - M42

    California Nebula:


    • Capture the California Nebula's distinct shape and features.
    • Object: NGC 1499

    Veil Nebula:


    • Frame segments of the Veil Nebula, a supernova remnant.
    • Objects: Eastern Veil Nebula - NGC 6992, Western Veil Nebula - NGC 6960

    Eta Carinae Nebula:


    • Capture the massive and complex Eta Carinae Nebula.
    • Object: NGC 3372

    Best Astrophotography Targets with 50mm Lens

    In Conclusion

    Choosing the right 50mm lens for your astrophotography endeavors is a crucial step in capturing the mesmerizing beauty of the night sky. Each lens we've explored in this guide brings its unique strengths and qualities to the table, catering to different preferences and photography styles.

    From the exquisite optical performance of the Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens to the precision and craftsmanship of the Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens, there are options for those who seek the pinnacle of image quality. The Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens, with its ultra fast lens and exceptional build, offers a premium experience for photographers who demand nothing but the best.

    If versatility is what you're after, lenses like the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary provide options for exploring different focal lengths while still delivering impressive astrophotography results. And for those stepping into the world of astrophotography or working within a budget, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens offers an affordable and reliable entry point.

    Here's a table comparing the mentioned camera lenses:

    Lens Model Key Feature
    Sigma 50mm F/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens Exquisite Optical Performance
    Sony FE 50mm f/1.4 GM Lens Precision and Craftsmanship
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens Ultra Fast Lens (f/1.2) for Low-Light
    Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 DC DN Contemporary Versatile Zoom Range (18-50mm)
    Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Affordable and Reliable Entry Point

    No matter which lens resonates with you, remember that astrophotography is not only about capturing light from distant stars; it's about telling the story of the universe through your images. Whichever lens you choose, take the time to learn its strengths and characteristics, experiment with different settings, and let your creativity shine through the night sky.

    We hope this guide has provided you with valuable insights into the world of 50mm lenses for astrophotography. Armed with this knowledge, you're now equipped to make an informed decision and embark on a journey to capture the cosmos in all its glory. Happy shooting!

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