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Best Canon Lenses for Astrophotography

To create fantastic astrophotography you need a high-quality, dedicated lens. With all the different Canon lens mounts, focal distances, and variations, we know that finding the best Canon lenses for astrophotography can be tricky. To save you the hassle, and so that you can get started with astrophotography, we have hand-picked six fantastic lenses that are perfect for the job at hand!

If you have a Canon camera and are unsure which lens would be suitable for astrophotography, here are some top options. This includes EF, EF-S, RF, and even EF-M lens mounts. Remember that there is also a range of adapters available so you can use non-native lens mounts on your camera like the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS M. This adapter allows you to use EF lenses on EOS M cameras.

1. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Best overall choice

If you want ultimate quality, the EF 24mm f/1.4L is the best choice for astrophotography.

Ultimate quality for astrophotography
Superb maximum aperture
Durable build quality
Relatively expensive
  • Aperture Range – f/1.4 – f/22
  • Weight – 650g
  • Dimensions – 83.5×86.9mm

Let’s start with the ultimate Canon lens for astrophotography – the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM. This L-series lens is an absolute beast! It offers unrivaled quality and is amazing for low-light photography even when using your camera handheld. This is due to the advanced lens construction, which includes a range of elements to improve optical performance.

We also love the maximum aperture of f/1.4 – this is ideal for astrophotography and gives you greater control over your settings for long exposure photography. It should also allow you to still use a relatively low ISO setting.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens - Fixed - 2750B002 , Black
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

For outdoor usage at night time, this lens is also exceptionally durable. It feels solid and has a range of exterior coatings for additional protection. Compared to some other L-series lenses, it is not too heavy or bulky either. You should easily be able to carry this lens on adventures out in the dark to get your night sky shots. The only downside is the price tag – this is an expensive lens. However, for serious astrophotography, this is the ultimate option.

2. Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Best EF Budget Option

The EF 24mm f/2.8 is a superb lens and a great budget option.

A top budget option
Excellent maximum aperture of f/2.8
Not the sharpest lens out there
  • Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22
  • Weight – 280g
  • Dimensions – 68.4×55.7mm

If you can’t quite afford the EF 24mm f/1.4L, there is an excellent alternative – the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM. This lens has been around for ages but it still remains a great option due to its build quality, reliable performance, and end results it produces. It is also a steal for less than $600 – great for those who are just starting out in the world of astrophotography.

This is one of the best Canon lenses for astrophotography for various reasons. The 24mm focal distance allows you to capture sweeping shots of the sky. It also still has a decent maximum aperture of f/2.8 which will improve your long exposure techniques and ISO control.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide Angle Lens - Fixed
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Although this lens does not offer the same quality as the f/1.4L, the difference is minimal and it still produces fantastic shots with great clarity, detail, and sharpness.

3. Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM

For EOS R Cameras

For EOS R cameras, this versatile zoom lens provides superb image quality and flexibility.

Incredible image quality
Durable L-series build quality
Expensive price tag
  • Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22
  • Weight – 840g
  • Dimensions – 88.5×126.8mm

The range of lenses for the Canon RF lens mount is still expanding. However, there are already some fantastic choices like the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM. This is another exceptional product and one of the best Canon lenses for astrophotography. Compared to the EF lenses, it offers a wider angle shot at 15mm without sacrificing quality.

More Astrophotography

Now when it comes to quality, all we can say is wow! The images are sharp and have minimal softening throughout the focal distance range. The f/2.8 aperture is constant throughout the focal distances which gives you far greater control of your astrophotography setup.

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM

The only downside is the price tag – it is expensive, but for serious photographers and EOS R camera owners, this is a top choice.

4. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

This is currently the best prime option for EOS R cameras and has a fantastic maximum aperture.

Impressive maximum aperture of f/1.8
Fantastic build quality
Reasonable pricing for an RF lens
Focal length can be limiting for astrophotography
  • Aperture Range – f/1.8 – f/22
  • Weight – 305g
  • Dimensions – 74.4×62.8mm

Presently, the range of RF prime lenses is limited – particularly in the wide-angle category. However, one of the few models available is the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM. This is a great budget option and a versatile lens for EOS R cameras.

For astrophotography, it benefits from a great maximum aperture of f/1.8 which will help when using long exposure settings. The 35mm focal distance is OK and is still considered wide-angle. Admittedly, it is not as wide as some of the other options on this list, but you should still be able to get good detail in your photos.

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM Lens, Black - 2973C002
Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM

Like other RF lenses, the build quality is excellent and this lens also looks fantastic.

Excellent maximum aperture of f/1.8
Fantastic build quality
Reasonably priced for an RF lens
35mm is at the limits for astrophotography

5. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

The EF-S 24mm offers great quality and a small build for APS-C cameras.

Lightweight and compact
A great budget option
Easy to use
Only compatible with APS-C cameras
  • Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22
  • Weight –125g
  • Dimensions – 68.2×22.8mm

If you have an APS-C sensor Canon camera like the Canon EOS 90D then you have a great budget option in the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens. This is a decent native lens for the APS-C sensor cameras and like the EF-M 22mm, is a good starter lens for those just wanting to get into astrophotography.

It has a good maximum aperture of f/2.8 which gives you greater control over your settings and long exposure capabilities. Also, the 24mm focal distance allows you to take wide-angle shots with amazing detail – you will be able to easily capture the entirety of the Milky Way Galaxy!

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

We also like the compact design of this lens. It weighs only 125g and is perfect for that quick, spur-of-the-moment nighttime adventure where you want to pack light and get out quickly. Just remember that this lens is only compatible with APS-C sensor Canon cameras and cannot be used with any adapters.

6. Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM

For EOS-M Cameras

This compact and lightweight lens is a great option for EOS-M cameras.

Lightweight and compact
Sharp images with good contrast
Good budget choice
Lacking in quality compared to EF lenses
  • Aperture Range – f/2 – f/22
  • Weight – 105g
  • Dimensions – 60.9×23.7mm

If you have an EOS M camera like the Canon EOS M50, you have a great option in the Canon EF-M 22mm f2 STM. This is a versatile lens that can be used for a range of purposes. It is also decent for astrophotography due to its excellent focal distance, and a maximum aperture of f/2. The 22mm focal distance is erring on ultra-wide-angle and you will be able to capture excellent detail in your night skies.

If you look at the size of this pancake lens, you will not think it is capable of much. However, it performs really well and the photos it produces are sharp with minimal distortion.

Canon EF-M 22mm f2 STM Compact System Lens
Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM

This lens may not be able to produce the same end results as the EF and RF lenses, but it is a great budget option for those who just want to get their first taste of astrophotography with their EOS M camera.  

Which Canon Astrophotography Lens Is Right for You?

You should now have an idea of the best Canon lenses for astrophotography. However, you may still be unsure of which is the best option for you. To choose, you should consider the following:

  • Budget
  • Camera capabilities
  • Lens mount
  • Availability of adapters

Firstly, and most importantly, look at your budget. Admittedly, some lenses like the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM are incredibly expensive. You may simply not want to spend that much on a lens. Alternatively, if you intend to turn your astrophotography into a profession, you may want to make the investment.

Consider the capabilities of your camera. How does it perform in low-light situations? For example, the Canon EOS R6 will perform much better in low-light situations than the Canon EOS M50.

Look at the native lens mount the camera has, and if you can use any adapters to fit non-native lenses. This can widen your available options. But remember that lens adapters can be expensive too, and a native lens will generally perform better than a non-native lens fixed via an adapter.

Regardless, it is important to have fun and enjoy your astrophotography experience. This type of photography is incredibly fun to undertake. You can have some real adventures, and you will also learn much about your camera, lens, and different photography techniques!

Canon Astrophotography Lens FAQs

Which Canon camera type is the best for astrophotography?

Generally, Canon full-frame cameras and the EOS R range are better for astrophotography as they usually have better low-light performance.

What is the difference between EF, EF-S, and EF-M lenses?

EF lenses are for Canon’s full-frame cameras, EF-S are for Canon’s APS-C cropped sensor cameras, and EF-M are for Canons EOS M mirrorless cameras.

What other equipment do you need for Astrophotography?

A tripod is essential to provide stability and so you can take long exposure shots. Also, a remote shutter is advisable so you don’t have to touch the shutter to take photos.

What are the best spots for astrophotography?

Ideally, a spot where there is minimal light pollution – i.e. in the countryside and away from cities. Also, weather conditions are important – you want clear skies with minimal cloud cover.

Author

  • Paul loves traveling and photography. He is also a Lightroom and Photoshop expert and likes to test new photo software, apps, and gear. Paul frequently shares his travel photography tips on his travel blog and writes for known photography publications.


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