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Author Topic: Lens for Canon t3i for astrophotgraphy  (Read 4630 times)

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« on: April 23, 2014, 08:50 »
I'm looking for a decent Canon camera lens to use for astrophotography. It can't be too heavy and doesn't need to exceed 200mm or so. Not looking to spend a fortune on a top-line professional lens, but wondering if you have any insight or suggestions on what might be a good lens? It should be a fast, light-sensitive lens, but shouldn't have excess chromatic aberration or other imaging imperfections.

I own several Canon lenses, but I'm not happy with any of them - they are midline consumer grade lenses and I'm looking for something better before I take my trip in June. Any suggestions are appreciated.


« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2014, 10:08 »
If you are limited to Canon only, I can't help you.

If you want ultra wide:

Samyang/Rokinon 14mm 2.8

If 24mm is wide enough

Samyang/Rokinon 24mm 1.4

Personally, I'm looking at one of these for astro work (and landscapes too). Not entirely sure which. The FOV of the 14 would be awesome for aurora/night sky shots but having f1.4 for night work would be very nice too.

Both of them seem to rate very well for image quality (little coma distortion which is actually pretty important for astro work).

Of course, they are full manual (focus and aperture) but that shouldn't be a big issue for astro work IMHO.

« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2014, 14:25 »
If you are looking to shoot the Milky Way with a crop sensor you'll want to go as fast & wide as possible.  The wider the lens, the longer the exposure can be without generating star trails. The longer exposure in conjunction the fast 2.8 goes a long way in keeping ISO levels down.  Dave Morrow's Blog has some excellent information on this including a handy reference chart:


Based on what you've said above, I'd recommend the Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 as a lens worthy of serious consideration for pairing with your T3i. My experience with the Tokina is this:

Clarity and sharpness are excellent.
Chromatic Aberration - Never had any significant issues
Produces gorgeous sunstars.
Excellent build quality
Less expensive than name brand alternatives
Can be use on a FF camera at 16mm with very respectable results.

Generates harsh and ugly lens flare when the sun or other extremely bright light is in the frame (a pity, since the sunstars are so nice)
Creates horrid hot spots when used for near infrared photography, even at widest apertures.

I replaced my Tokina 11-16mm with the Nikon 10-24mm F4 because the hot spots were a deal breaker for me, as I shoot infrared extensively.  Other than that and the flare (which is always worse in infrared), the Tokina is a better lens in every other aspect.  It's significantly less expensive too.  I realize you shoot Canon, I mention this comparison only to highlight that the Tokina holds up (and in many ways outclasses) more expensive name brand glass. 

If you are looking to shoot astral bodies, I'd recommend investing in good telescope and tracker with a Canon camera adapter mount instead of a lens.   

« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2014, 00:54 »
I use Canon L series lenses on my 5D2 and I've never had any issues using them for astrophotography. I've specifically used these:
16-35 f/2.8L
24-105 f/4L
70-200 f/4L Non-IS Version

As important as the lens is, you also need a good stable tripod, particularly one that won't sway in the breeze. And don't forget to turn IS off. You can also manually focus to infinity and turn off your autofocus.

@ Muskoka Imagery: I live in Barrie. You might want to check out Torrance Barrens for star photography. I like to go up there several times a year.


« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2014, 21:34 »
Thank you all for these good answers


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