If you’re thinking of picking up a great ultra-wide astrophotography lens, chances are good you’ve looked at the three 14mm primes featured in this video. The old Samyang 14mm F2.8 is a classic and affordable choice; the updated Samyang 14mm F2.4 is faster, higher quality, and not prohibitively expensive; and the Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is a lens astrophotographers have been drooling over ever since it was announced in February.
So which do you pick, and why?
NatureTTL’s Matthew Saville took all three lenses into the middle of the desert to shoot some nightscapes and compare the performance of these extremely popular choices.
You’ll definitely want to check out the full video if you’re deeply uncertain about which to choose—there are some great side-by-side sharpness comparisons that should satisfy the pixel peepers out there—but Saville manages to break the trio down into a very neat categories:
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is your choice if you absolutely need the extra light over the F2.4 and don’t mind spending a bunch more money to get it. It’s extremely sharp, and will deliver exceptional results… even wide open… even in the corners.
The Samyang 14mm F2.4 is hard to beat as an overall choice when you look at performance-to-price ratio. To his eye, it’s a tiny bit sharper in the corners wide open than the Sigma—even when you stop the Sigma down to F2.4—and it’ll cost you half as much. You are, of course, sacrificing AutoFocus over the Sigma, but many nightscape and night sky photographers shoot in manual focus all the time anyway.
The Samyang 14mm F2.8 is by far the most affordable of the bunch. This classic lens will cost you as little as $250 on sale, making it less than half as much as the Samyang 14mm F2.4, which was already half the price of the Sigma 14mm. But that drop in price comes with a significant drop in performance. Saville labels it a great choice for those just getting into nightscape photography, as a time-lapse lens if you’ll be displaying your footage in 1080p, or as a solid backup that is so cheap it would be silly not to own one.