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DrJohn

What is Your Favorite Lens for Astrophotography?

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My Laowa 15mm f/2.0 works well for me but I must admit I've only dabble in astro stuff. I can attest to it being a really great lens in almost every situation I've used it in. Very sharp, great color rendition and manageable vignetting even wide open. I also recently rented the new-ish Sigma 14-24 f/2.8  of which I was really very surprised at it's outstanding overall performance. It's as sharp as any lens I own and focuses quickly. I will admit I'm in a bit of a love/don't love relationship with it's color rendering. Some days I love it, some days it's ever so slightly clinical for me. Easy enough to warm it up in post though. I'd suspect it would also do well for astrophotography but didn't get the opportunity to test any astro. I have a friend and fellow Sony shooter that's been very vocally positive about how much he likes his Tamron 17-28 f/2.8 but have yet to try it. The Tamron is especially appealing at it's price vs performance ratio and weight and my friend claims it rivals his GMaster in IQ. 

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I have the Sony 16-35 mm f/4 lens that I use for landscape photography. The rule of thumb for astrophotography is f/2.8 or faster. I can't test the 16-35 mm from home because there is almost always clouds or a mist blocking the stars. Has anyone tried it?

I'm also considering the Sigma 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens.

I have the Sony A7RIV camera.

John

Edited by DrJohn

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Well....if speed an optics are the more singular priorities I believe several well known vendors have the Laowa 15mm f/2.0 on sale right now. It’s substantially below $1000.00. If you’re ok with a manual focus lens there’s not too much that competes at that price. There’s also a Sigma Art 14mm f/2.8 prime available. I rented it before I invested in my Laowa and like all Art series was really impressive (at least for my landscapes). The catch is it’s double the price of the Laowa and even more problematic for me was it weighs a ton. You could bite the bullet (cost-wise) and pick up the 16-35 GMaster (the most impressive lens I’ve ever had on my camera) but a fair amount of reviews are comparing the Tamron 17-24mm f/2.8 to the GMaster in a very favorable light, and of course, at a much lower cost of entry.
 

Lots and lots of folks rave about the ZEISS Batis 18mm f/2.8 but I’ve never had my hands on it. It’s also pretty darn expensive.

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The reviews on the Sigma 14-24 f/2.8 Art Lens were excellent. So, I ordered it for $1399. I will use the Sony 16-35 f/4 for travel because it is lighter in weight. 

John

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1 hour ago, DrJohn said:

The reviews on the Sigma 14-24 f/2.8 Art Lens were excellent. So, I ordered it for $1399. I will use the Sony 16-35 f/4 for travel because it is lighter in weight. 

John

I can testify from experience (albeit not for Astro) the Sigma 14-24 f/2.8 is truly a remarkable lens. You will absolutely not be disappointed!

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A follow up just because :)

 I purchased both the Tamron and the Sigma with the intent to test both side by side, then returning the loser. In the end however it just wasn’t that easy. Two outstanding lenses.  Outstanding. There is no loser. I’m not, by nature, a pixel peeper except when I’m testing stuff for purchase and I did some here but more just looking at photos in Lightroom with little or no adjustments. Kinda of just how the photos felt (if that makes sense)
 

I’ve never been too terribly concerned with weight (within reason) but I must admit the Tamron’s feather weight was more enticing than I would have thought. Especially having both out and about in the field for a real world comparative test. It’s just a treat to have that good of a lens that really feels like it’s not even on the camera. Without diving too deep into peeping, if I had to review my results comparing the two lenses between 17-24 (focal points both cameras share) I’d say the only difference I noticed was of a color profile. Despite The conclusions of a couple of comparative reviews on YouTube in which the results were, the Sigma was warmer, I disagree. I love the look of the Tamron.

The Tamron focused a touch quicker but the differences were so small as to simply not be an issue. I’m an occasional “Manual focus” guy so the Tamron lost points there against ease of a MF/AF button on the Sigma.

The Tamron scores big, big points (at least for me) for its filter threading capabilities. It lets me use my existing filters and also affords me tons of expansion filter choices. That and it’s such a light, small lens the difference between a screw on filter on a light lens against a heavier lens with an even bulkier filter kit is pretty considerable.

In the end however (at least for me) it really only comes down to focal length. Both lenses IQ are simply amazing. Amazing. The difference however between 14mm and 17mm for my style of photography was just too much to ignore. It’s kinda massive.

If you don’t need 14mm the Tamron wins and considering the price vs IQ,  pretty handily. If you need that IQ quality down to 14mm the Sigma is equally as stunning but at a much higher cost of entry and a more difficult filter scheme.

I bought the Sigma.

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On 12/25/2019 at 2:40 PM, DrJohn said:

What is Your Favorite Lens for Astrophotography?

John

 

think 24mm 1.4 GM is a worthy choice

haven't used to for astro yet but heard good things, f1.4 24mm & great glass in a compact body is a winning formula, Sigma has a 14mm 1.8 & 14mm sounds fantastic, but its 2.5times heavier & because of bulbous front glass element there is no filter thread

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