Best lenses/camera for astrophotography?


Jun 25, 2013
Howdy people of tom'sHardware,

I recently began to start shooting the nightsky with my Nikon D5000 using a 18mm-55mm VR f3.4 DX Lense and a Nikkor 55mm-200mm with a SD Ultra 16GB memory. I've gotten some decent shots of the moon, stars and most recently a shot of the milky way in which I managed to capture a portion of it (or so I think).

One thing I want to do is take more close up pictures of the moon, perhaps 600mm-800mm lenses, and take better, wide pictures of the milky way (14mm f1.4 maybe?) and photos of the moon in daylight in which the field compression makes it look really big behind something.

Should I consider buying a better camera? perhaps a full frame or a Nikon D7000?

Thank you so much in advance!


Dec 27, 2012

So I know this is a a bit older post, but I found it in a google search and thought I'd give you some info.
I do quite a bit of landscape astrophotography and have had some lens issues myself. As far as close up of the moon, you'll need a fast zoom lens 600 will be fine on an APS-C camera like the D5000 and D7000. You might find that you'll want something a little more if you go with a full frame due to the Crop factor. (unless you decide to use a APS-C based lenns, like DX, since the sensor will drop back to a APS-C mode and implement the crop factor)

For the milky way. I started with a D3000 and Nikon DX VR 18-55mm lens. The camera was my first problem. It was just too noisy at the high ISO's to get a good photo, so I upgraded to the D7000. Great camera and excellent for Astrophotography. The next issue though I ran into was with the lens. Once I had a camera that took good quality photos I began to notice the aberrations. The 18-55 was giving me Spherical Aberrations, Coma, and Astigmatism (Tangential). I know the 18-104 and 18-108 are supposed to be better quality lens but I have not tried them. I decided to move to Samyang lenses (also branded as Vivitar, Falcon, Rokinon, Walimex, Bower, Opteka, Polar, and Pro-optic)

The top rated astrophotography lens (as rated by mathematical formula) is the Rokinon 24mm f1.4 ED AS UMC. ($500) This is lens is heavily corrected for Aberrations! These lenses only come in manual focus.

I highly recommend you check out this read on lonelyspeck