5 Best Night Photography Lenses (2022 Unbiased Review)22 min read

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The best night photography lenses are wide-angle lenses because they capture the whole image. Even though they’re not exactly as high quality as many Prime Lenses. They do a good job of capturing the whole view of what is happening in the picture.

If you’d rather not use a prime lens, then consider using a zoom lens. This way, you can have the flexibility to change your focal length to more closely fit your desired shot without having to move tools around or get into position for anything specific.

You might want to check out our review of the best lenses for food photography.

RankTitleItem NamePrice (From)Amazon RatingAmazon Link
1Best Overall Night Photography LensSigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM$8504.6For Canon
For Nikon
For Sony
2Budget Night Photography LensSigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM$6644.6For Canon
For Nikon
For Sony
3Runner-Up Night Photography LensSamyang XP 14mm f/2.4$6954.5For Canon
For Nikon
4Honorable Mention Night Photography LensNikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED$7964.7View on Amazon
5Premium Night Photography LensTamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2$1,2994.7For Canon
For Nikon
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What is Night Photography?

Night photography is the art of taking pictures at night. If you’re going to be photographing in the dark, it’s very important that you understand how your camera’s settings work. Your ISO setting controls how sensitive your camera is to light.

So, if you’re going for something like a darker mood in the shot, try using a lower ISO such as 100 or 50.

The aperture setting controls the size of your “hole” in the image. The smaller the hole, the more light you let in and allow to come into focus. If you introduce a wide-angle lens, it can make it easier to get a shot without having to move anywhere.

There are several lenses that would be good for night photography. However, you should pay attention to the lens’s focal length and the F-stop.

Choosing the right lens for night photography

You might want to go for something like a 24mm or 28mm lens with a maximum aperture of 2.8. It is important to note that your ISO setting should be relatively low to capture clean images when shooting at night. If your aperture is too high, your images may be grainy.

The ISO setting is a number that tells the camera how sensitive it should be when it captures an image. The higher the ISO, the more light-sensitive and the more noise there will be in the picture.

Lenses that are considered “fast” are generally the ones with a large maximum aperture. The larger the aperture, the more light-sensitive your camera will be. Features like image stabilization and image quality at night should not be overlooked when purchasing a lens for night photography.

Now that we have briefly covered some of the information you should consider when choosing a lens for night photography. We will now move on to our top 5 list of lenses for night photography.

Overall Best Night Photography Lens – Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

Overall Best Night Photography Lens
Overall Best Night Photography Lens

What is the Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens?

The Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is the best all-around lens for night photography in terms of image quality. This lens has a large aperture which makes it ideal for night photography. It has a maximum aperture of 1.4, and the minimum aperture is f/22.

This makes it capable of capturing mid-light scenes well with little noise and high definition.

Features of the Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens

This lens also has a circular feature that allows you to use it up close without the need for a pancake or compact macro lens. The optical design of this lens also makes it ideal for night photography because it uses a nine-blade aperture which helps achieve soft focus and blurry backgrounds when needed.

The lens has an image stabilization feature that helps reduce the effects of camera movement caused by motion while shooting at night. This is very helpful on a tripod since the extra stabilization can avoid blurriness in your shot.

The good stuff
  • Wide angle lens with 1.4 aperture
  • Soft focus and blurry backgrounds
  • Nine-blade aperture for a blurred background
  • Image stabilization to avoid blurring from camera movement
  • Made with high-quality glass and materials
  • Desirable low-light performance for smooth images with little noise
  • Excellent build quality, autofocus function, and fast aperture (1.4)
  • The lens is versatile enough to be used as a second or third lens option in your gear bag
What we don’t like
  • The manual focus is replaced with autofocus. It’s only an issue if you’re going to be shooting in manual mode.
  • The lens is not weather resistant, so if you’re going to be shooting outside, it would be a good idea to invest in a lens hood/rain cover for the sake of keeping your lenses safe and dry.

Why do I recommend the Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM lens?

The Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM has a relatively large aperture (1.4) to let in more light. Has excellent build quality, and is durable enough to handle most outdoor situations.

This is one of the best options for night photography because it has a large aperture that lets in more light without as much noise.

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Its image stabilization feature can prevent any blurring caused by camera movement. The 9-blade aperture is excellent for achieving a blurry background in your shot.

The Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is an excellent lens for night photography that will get the job done. It’s beneficial to have image stabilization if you’re going to be shooting at night because it helps prevent any camera shake from occurring.

The overall quality of the lens is fantastic. The low-light performance makes it ideal for shooting in dark places with little to no light.

Best Budget Night Photography Lens – Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM

Best Budget Night Photography Lens
Best Budget Night Photography Lens

What is the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens?

The Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is another excellent lens that would work well for shooting at night. This lens has a large aperture that works perfectly in dark environments. It helps to achieve the desired blurry background effect in certain shots.

The Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is a basic lens with a handful of decent features. It has elements made from high-quality glass, and it has an autofocus function for quick and easy focusing.

Features of the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM lens

This lens also has image stabilization which helps reduce blurriness caused by camera movement, which is especially helpful when you’re on a tripod.

The nine-blade aperture helps to achieve the desired background effect with soft and blurry edges.

This lens would be ideal for those who are looking for a cheap night photography lens.

The good stuff
  • The large aperture (f/1.4) is necessary for night photography
  • 9-blade aperture helps create the desired effect of a blurry background
  • Image stabilization to help reduce blurriness caused by camera movement
  • Weather resistant to withstand any weather conditions
  • High-quality glass with anti-reflection coating and ultra low dispersion glass to achieve high-resolution images
  • Extremely useful for shooting indoors with low light and poor lighting conditions (using flash)
  • Lens is durable enough to withstand most outdoor shooting situations, and it’s also immune to dust and water splashes
  • Manual focus is helpful for shooting in manual mode.
What we don’t like
  • No image stabilization for video recording. If you’re going to be shooting video at night, you’ll need to invest in a separate image stabilization lens (not a macro lens).
  • The autofocus function is somewhat finicky when trying to focus on something close up.

Why do I recommend the Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens?

It has a decent aperture, and the nine-blade aperture creates the desired blurry background effect. The image stabilization feature is also very helpful for reducing camera shake caused by your hands.

This is another inexpensive night photography lens that would be ideal for shooting when it’s dark out. It has an aperture size of f/1.4. It’s capable of achieving a blurry background in certain situations without the need for a macro lens.

The Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM is lightweight and compact. The image stabilization feature helps reduce rendering blurriness caused by camera movement. It also has a weather-resistant design if you choose to shoot outdoors with this lens.

Runner Up Night Photography Lens – Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4

Runner-Up Night Photography Lens
Runner-Up Night Photography Lens

What is the Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 Lens?

The Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 is a large aperture night photography lens that is durable enough for outdoor use. The image stabilization feature will help to reduce any camera shake.

It has all of the basic features of a night photography lens, and it has a maximum aperture of f/2.4. This can help to let in more light without any blurriness in your image.

The Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 is also made from high-quality glass, which produces very sharp images.

Features of the Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 lens

The lens is reliable for shooting at night. It has a decent build quality that will last you for a long time at a good price. It has a 9-blade aperture which will help to achieve the desired blurring effect in some shots.

The Samyang lens has an image stabilization feature that will help to reduce any camera shake from occurring. The lens is also made from high-quality glass, which produces sharp images.

It has a large aperture (f/2.4) that helps create the desired blurry background when necessary, and it is weather resistant. The lens can tolerate outdoor shooting conditions without any fears of damage to its glass elements or internal parts.

This is an excellent lens to invest in if you’re shooting at night. It has a large aperture for more light, and the image stabilization feature helps to reduce camera shake.

The lens can be used as an all-in-one general night photography lens at a cheap price.

The good stuff
  • The large aperture (f/2.4) is useful for shooting at night
  • Image stabilization reduces blurriness caused by camera movement
  • 9-blade aperture produces smooth background blur with soft edges  (good for portraits)  as well as the desired effect of a blurry background in certain shots.
  • Lens is lightweight and compact
  • High-quality glass with anti-reflection coating
  • Good for shooting in low light environments with or without flash (best for shooting indoor) * Extremely useful for shooting indoors with low light and poor lighting conditions (using flash)
  • Weather-resistant to withstand any weather conditions
What we don’t like
  • No image stabilization for video recording. If you’re going to be shooting video at night, you’ll need to invest in a separate image stabilization lens (not a macro lens).
  • Autofocus is not that great, and it can be finicky when trying to focus on something close up.

Why do I the recommend Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 lens?

The Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 is a glass lens that features a fixed focal length of 14mm with a maximum aperture of 2.4.

Its narrow depth of field makes it an excellent choice for night photography because it provides more area for light that enters the lens and less area where image sharpness falls off due to an excessive depth of field (softer image).

Its lightweight design provides photographers with increased mobility and portability in their night photography gear.

The Samyang XP 14mm f/2.4 is a fast lens that’s great for low-light photography because of its ultra-fast maximum aperture of f/2.4. It’s made from high-quality glass, and the lens has a 9-blade aperture for creating a soft blurred background effect in certain situations without the need for a macro lens.

Honorable Mention Night Photography Lens – Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED

Honorable Mention Night Photography Lens
Honorable Mention Night Photography Lens

What is the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G lens?

The Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G is one of the best night photography lenses for still photos because it has an aperture as wide as f/1.8, which will let in more light than most other lenses with an aperture between f/2 and f/4, which are good for shooting at night when you need more light in the scene.

The lens has a fast maximum aperture of f/1.8, and it’s currently the fastest 20mm lens on the market.

The fast aperture and focal length of 20mm is great for shooting at night because you’ll have more light in the scene. If you’re in a low light situation and need more light, this is a good choice for a night photography lens option.

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Features of the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 24mm f/1.8G lens

The 7-blade aperture creates a soft blurry background effect when used in certain situations without the need for a macro lens. It has an image stabilization feature that will help to reduce camera shake from occurring while shooting at night if your hands are a little bit shaky.

It has a weather-resistant design, and the superior optics produce very sharp images.

The Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 is ideal for both stills and video shooting at night or other low-light environments, and it can also be used as an all-in-one general lens for day-to-day shooting.

The lens is not heavy, and it has a build quality that’s durable for a long time at a great price. It has an aluminum lens mount which provides rigidity and strength.

The lens also has VR II image stabilization, which improves the image stabilization function by up to 3 stops compared to VR I lenses. (VR stands for vibration reduction).

The good stuff
  • Fast maximum aperture for low-light shooting
  • 7-blade aperture gives soft blurring background effect
  • Weather resistant to withstand any weather conditions (not waterproof)
  • Image stabilization reduces camera shake caused by hand shake
  • Fast lens for shooting at night and using with flash (no need for a macro lens)
  • Small and lightweight design with a length of only 3.6″, which is great for portability and stealth shooting
  • Made from high-quality material and good build quality
  • Aperture as wide as f/1.8 makes it great for low-light conditions
What we don’t like
  • Not a macro lens option (this is a disadvantage for some people)
  • Autofocus can be a bit hit or miss sometimes (but it’s not bad overall)

Why do I recommend the Nikon AF-S FX Nikkor 20mm f/1.8G ED lens?

The Nikon 20mm f/1.8G lens has a fast aperture of f/1.8 and a maximum focal length of 20mm, which makes shooting at night easier with more light coming in from the lens. It also has a 7-blade aperture which is great for blurring the background in certain situations without the need for a macro lens.

Its lightweight and small design provide photographers with increased mobility and portability in their night photography gear.

It’s built using high-quality specialty glass and a metal barrel to provide plenty of rigidity and strength to capture sharp images while you’re out shooting at night.

The Nikon 20mm f/1.8G ED is lightweight, small, and compact, which makes it great for taking on locations where you need to carry around a lot of gear.

The lens has image stabilization which will help to reduce camera shake when shooting at night (when your hands are a little bit shaky).

It’s weather-resistant and designed to withstand any weather conditions, which is good if you’re out in the middle of nowhere trying to shoot at night.

It’s a high-quality lens that can be used for low-light photography (for both stills and video) as well as for general shooting such as landscapes, nature, and portraits.

Best Premium Night Photography Lens – Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Premium Night Photography Lens
Premium Night Photography Lens

What is the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens?

The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a premium super zoom (ultra-wide to standard) which is great for taking on location where you need to carry around a lot of gear. It has image stabilization which is great for shooting at night and when you’re photographing moving subjects.

It gives you the flexibility of shooting at 15, 18, or 20mm and 30mm equivalent focal lengths. This means you can go wider than most other lenses on the market for your images.

Shooting at night with wide-angle lenses allows you to capture more of the scene without having to stand too far away.

At 15mm, you will get a wider view (135 degrees) of the sky and landscape compared to 18mm-equivalent wide-angle lenses that only give you about 100 degrees of the image.

Features of the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens

The lens has an aperture as wide as f/2.8, which is great for low light photography because it will let in more light than other f/2.8 lenses.

At 15mm, the lens has a minimum focusing distance of just 1′. Making it great for shooting close-up objects or subjects that are really far away.

It has a fast maximum aperture and focal length of 15-30mm. This is great for low-light photography when you need more light in the scene.

The lens has a weather-resistant build quality and durable construction to withstand any weather conditions. It has an image stabilization feature which is great for shooting at night or when your hands are shaking.

When you’re using a tripod, of course, you’re going to have more stability than if you were hand-holding the lens.

The lens has a fast auto-focus feature for shooting fast-moving objects at night.

Having a fast lens for your night photography gear is great because many night sceneries will have flowing water, fast-flowing traffic, or even animal wildlife moving around, which all would be difficult to photograph with standard lenses.

The good stuff
  • Fast maximum aperture for low-light shooting
  • Image stabilization reduces camera shake caused by hand shake
  • 15mm of focal length, which gives you a wider view
  • Weather resistant to withstand any weather conditions (not waterproof)
  • Its lightweight and small design provides photographers with increased mobility and portability in their night photography gear.
  • Made from high-quality material and great build quality
  • Aperture as wide as f/2.8, which gives you more light than other f/2.8 lenses
What we don’t like
  • Not exactly the cheapest wide-angle lens in this review
  • No macro lens option (this is a disadvantage for some people)

Why do I recommend the Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 lens?

Tamron SP 15-30mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 has a fast aperture of f/2.8 and a maximum focal length of 15mm, which makes shooting at night easier with more light coming in from the lens.

Its lightweight and small design provide photographers with increased mobility and portability in their night photography gear.

It’s built using high-quality specialty glass and a metal barrel to provide plenty of rigidity and strength to capture sharp images while you’re out shooting at night.

The lens has image stabilization which will help to reduce camera shake when shooting at night (when your hands are a little bit shaky).

It’s weather-resistant and designed to withstand any weather conditions. This is good if you’re out in the middle of nowhere trying to shoot at night.

Frequently asked questions about the best night photography lenses

What type of lens is best for night photography?

If you’re looking to buy a new lens for night photography, then, generally speaking, the most popular lenses are wide-angle lenses (i.e., 15mm-18mm).

They allow you to capture more of the landscape with a wider angle which can be good for getting close-up shots of certain things.

Standard zoom lenses (i.e., 24-70mm) are also good for night photography as they provide a nice range from wide-angle to standard focal lengths at 24mm and 70mm, which is a really nice range of options for night photography. They’re also smaller and lighter than the longer telephoto zoom lenses (i.e., 70-200mm).

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Can you do night photography with a 50mm lens?

The question of whether 50mm lenses are good for night photography is a common one. The simple answer to this question is yes.

It is possible to use these lenses for night photography if you’re not using them for regular landscape photography as well.

You can also use 50mm lenses for shooting events with people in them. Generally, you will want to shoot with a wide-angle lens, so you capture as much of the scene as possible without having to stand too far away from your subjects.

At 50mm, you have a 135-degree field of view and, therefore, will be able to capture much more of the scene without having to stand too far away.

This is of course, if you’re going to be shooting people at night. If you’re going to be shooting landscapes at night, I would recommend using a longer lens such as the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2, which has an 18mm field of view wider than most 18mm lenses on the market.

Is a full-frame camera better for night photography?

The simple answer to this question is yes, having a full-frame camera will give you the choice of shooting with your preferred lens focal length or getting as wide an angle as possible with a lens like the Sigma 20mm F1.4 Art DG HSM, which has a 23.5mm field of view as I mentioned above.

A full-frame camera allows you to get a much more “normal” image ratio as opposed to shooting with a crop sensor camera.

When you’re shooting with a crop sensor camera, the field of view is going to be smaller than with a full-frame camera. So, if you’re looking for wider shots, you would have to get closer to your subjects which can be difficult or dangerous if someone is moving around unexpectedly.

Is F/2.8 considered fast?

F/2.8 is considered to be a fast lens aperture. F/2.8 will allow you to get more light into your camera than other lenses have. This is great for low-light photography when you need more light in the scene.

I would say that f/2.8 is still not necessarily considered fast. However, it’s definitely faster than other lenses on the market with apertures of f/4.0 to f/5.6.

It’s fast enough to capture most action at night, such as moving traffic or people moving around in a low light scene which is great for photographers who are shooting with a budget.

Anything slower than f/2.8 will also help you get more light coming into your camera.

Believe it or not, the aperture of your lens alone actually contributes to how long your shutter speed can be when taking photos at night without getting blurry images or motion blur from the movement of objects in your scene (i.e., somebody walking around or moving traffic).

For example, if you’re shooting with a lens with an aperture of f/2.8, then you’ll be able to have a shutter speed of at least 1/125th of a second before you start to get blur from the movement of objects in your scene.

What is the best shutter speed for night photography?

This is a really tricky question because it depends on the make and model of your camera, what settings you’ve chosen to be in, and the type of photo you’re trying to take.

It’s going to depend on the type of scene you’re shooting. Generally speaking, around 1/60th or 1/100th of a second will be good. Anything faster than that will start to get blurry from movements in your scene, which is not good.

With that being said, it also depends on the type of lenses you’re using. If you are using fast lenses designed for night photography, then you will need higher shutter speeds to prevent your camera from moving around and causing blurred images when there is movement in the scene.

Shutter speeds in the range of 1/160th to 1/180th of a second will work for slower lenses. However, you would need a faster shutter speed when using fast lenses in order to avoid any blurriness from camera movement (i.e., your hands shaking or the lens moving slightly).

Why do I need to use a wide-angle lens for night photography?

Wide-angle lenses capture more of the sky and landscape around where you are shooting at night compared to standard prime or normal lenses. This means you will get a better view of the scene, which gives you a wider view to shoot from.

If you’re not using a wide-angle lens, you could use a longer telephoto lens. The problem with this is that you will have to get further away from your subject to fit everything in.

If somebody is walking around or there’s a lot of movement around, it can be difficult to capture images of your subject without getting blurred images because you’re so far away.

At night, trees and buildings around you can cast large shadows on the ground, which can be unattractive to shoot. A wider angle lens can help to capture more of the landscape instead of getting stuck behind a tree or wall.

Final thoughts on the best night photography lenses

The best lenses for night photography, whether for a Nikon, Canon, or Sony, have an aperture of f/2.8 or f/1.4.

These lenses will allow you to get more light into your camera because they’re designed with that in mind. The aperture is not just fast, it’s also wide open.

This means all of the photons coming into your camera have more space to travel through.

However, if you are using any other types of lenses with lower speeds and an aperture that isn’t as wide open as these types of lenses, then you will still need to shoot at 1/60th or 1/100th of a second because these slower lenses might cause blurry images from camera movement.

If you’re using a crop sensor camera, you will need to shoot at wider angles because you will not have the same image ratio as a full-frame camera would, even if you are using lenses with the same focal length.

You can compensate for the difference by widening your field of view when shooting your photos. This means you’ll need to take more photos to capture everything.

This can be time-consuming and difficult for photographers shooting at night with limited time.

 


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James M

I've always been passionate about photography for as long as I can remember. I would take photos at any chance I got. I made up my own world and filled it with photos of friends, family, animals, natural forces, and more! This passion leads me till today where I have made myself so many happy memories and memories for others. This is why it means the world to me when I write these posts and get to make someone's day by inspiring them.

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