The prime of astrophotography: the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC

Updated: Nov 25, 2019


My favorite fine art photo created with the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC lens.

I can say I’ve got my invitation into the world of photography by those fascinating astrophotos. Seeing our Milky Way galaxy coming alive on a long exposure landscape shot is a true bliss.

Back in a day I was still using my Nikon D5300 APS-C camera, that turned out as a very good choice as a first camera. I have bought the camera in a kit, with two Nikkor lenses: a 18-55mm and a 55-300mm one. These lenses are good starters as well, but I have realized soon, that they have their limitations. For example, the 18mm itself is a good focal length, but the f/3.5 maximum aperture is far from what you need for proper astro shots. That was the point when I decided I need a proper lens for this purpose.


 

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY


I made an extensive research on the best available lenses for astrophotography on the market, and I decided to choose the Samyang 24mm f/1.4 ED AS IF UMC lens. This lens has the best combination of the required features for an astrolens and for me as photographer. These features are: focal length, maximum aperture and price.


The 24mm is a great focal length. It is wide enough to capture an extended area (important for landscapes and Milky Way photos) but on the other hand it is not too wide to create an extremely perspective distorted image.


The f/1.4 maximum aperture does the magic. It is an extremely wide aperture, which is capable of collecting a lot of light. Lately I tried to shoot astrophotos, using f/1.8 or f/2. You still get enough light, but your image quality increases rapidly by using slightly higher f-numbers. The great thing is, that with this lens you have the opportunity to shoot at f/2 which is already one full stop above the widest setting. Take into consideration, that the most common maximum aperture for many high-end lenses is f/2.8. Okay, these are usually zoom lenses, what sets some boundary regarding the widest aperture. You basically need a prime lens to be able to achieve these extreme f-numbers. The difference between f/1.4 and f/2.8 is actually two full stops, which means a lot of light.