What lenses do you use for astrophotography with your Fuji camera?


#1

I read a few articles on the internets about lenses for astrophotography. Some of them were Fuji specific (like the one on lonelyspeck.com). However I’m interested what real people are using on a daily basis and what hints/tips do they have for a specific lens, for example a typical shutter speed, iso etc.

Let me start first, so far I was successful in using the following for astrophotography:

  1. Samyang 12mm f2 - praised by many as the best astrolens for mirrorless systems, by 2.8 has no comatic abberation, I usually use 20 sec exposure / f2 - f2.8 at ISO 800

  2. Fuji XF 18-55 f2.8 - very sharp and no coma when wide open, it might be difficult to manually focus at the start, I usually use 13-15 sec exposure / f2.8 ISO 800

  3. Fuji XF 55 1.2 - super sharp, no coma by 1.8, also difficult to focus at the start, good for panoramas, however a few times it lost focus for unknown reason when shooting multiple images, I usually use 4-6 sec exposure / f1.8 / ISO 6400

Some sample images:

XF 56 1.2 panorama:


#2

In the past I have used the XF14. Now I use the XF10-24. Looking forward to what the recently announced 8-16 will bring.
I don’t currently have a lens for moonshots but I will be giving the 100-400 a try sometime later this year.


#3

How was XF14 doing in terms of coma, sharpness and light gathering, do you have any sample pics? Isn’t 10-24 too slow because of F4?


#4

XF14:

Milky Way over the desert in western Texas

Nope, 10-24 is not too slow because you can up the ISO and use long exposure times.

Milky Way over the Atlantic in OBX


#5

Hm, I have a stupid question. What’s coma? Is it a shortie for cromatic abberation? :slight_smile:


#6

No, it’s short of COMAtic aberration :slight_smile: - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coma_(optics)


#7

@takesuspete what exposure times you use for both? The 10-24 on your insta looks actually quite darker.


#8

The 14 mm one was taken @ f2.8/15 secs, the 10-24 one @ f4/30 secs. In LR the 10-24 actually looks to be the lighter, brighter one but YMMV.


#9

I’ve been around the block with the 10-24, the 18-55, the 35 1.4, the 23 1.4, and after all of that I almost never reach for anything other than my Rokinon (Samyang) 12mm F2. It is practically made for Astro, with all manual everything and the combo of a super wide FOV and fast aperture. I don’t have many samples of my other lenses, because the only shots I end up editing and publishing are from the Rokinon 12. It’s that much better than the others. Here are a few shots I’ve taken with it in the past year, some of which were picked up by BBC Travel and Korean Air (so you know it shoots at a high enough quality for major publications).

I’ve pushed it as far as 30s with minimal star movement in the corners (depending on how close the MW center I’m shooting) but it’s sweet spot appears to be 25s. ISO ranges from 1600 to 3200, but I think 2000-2500 yields the best results. For my particular lens it seems that a stop point about 1cm right of the infinity bracket is the best focal point for stars.

I love being able to set all of this up inside my tent/car before I even get outside. That is something none of these other lenses can accomplish, even the 23mm 1.4 was too finicky to set up ahead of time.

The Milky Way on a cloudy night in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Peru.

The Milky Way over our camp along the Great Inca Trail east of the Cordillera Blanca, Ancash, Peru.

The Milky Way as viewed from a Maasai village in rural Tanzania.

The Milky Way Center provides the backdrop for a massive Inca ceremonial platform at Tambo de Soledad in the Callejon de Conchucos, Peru.

The Milky Way battles the haze of California’s Central Valley, seen from the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

Hope that’s helpful to those who are curious!


#10

Superb photos all of you!! :open_mouth:
Congrats.
May I ask why do you need to push iso so high?
(Sorry if it’s a dumb question)… :smiley:


#11

ISO ranges from 1600-3200 are often necessary to capture the Milky Way with any detail. The galaxy center, while brighter than the rest of the band, is still very faint (it is almost 25,000 light years away after all). Essentially capturing the Milky Way is all about gathering as much light as possible, thus you use the widest aperture a lens has, the longest exposure time you can manage without star movement, and the highest ISO you can get away with.

Hope that’s helpful!


#12

Great pics Kevin, I like them a lot, especially the one with the tent. Do you use median stacking for noise reduction?

Also, in terms of ISO, because Fuji cameras are ISO-invariant, I usually shot at ISO 800 when I use the Rokinon 12mm and then adjust the exposure in post (although for xf56 I go 6400) . In my opinion, it gives more flexibility and better colours overall.


#13

OK thanks a lot both of you for the details about exposure needs.
I now understand that longer exposure would bring star movement then higher iso is needed.
Should try that kind of photos once :wink:


#14

Great pictures and work!


#15

I have used a bunch of lenses for night photography and all of them were pretty good, with some issues here and there, but nothing you can’t work around.

Rokinon 12mm f2: one of the most well-known astro lenses, it’s pretty good even at f2. I usually shoot at f2, 30s, ISO 1600-3200. Samples:



Fujifilm 16mm f1.4: this one has a lot of coma from f1.4 until f2. That was a disappointment and I ended up selling it and getting the Rokinon, but the lens is stellar for other applications. I used to shoot it at f2, 20s, ISO 1600-3200.




Recently I got a tracking mount, so that opened up more possibilities. The 56mm f1.2 was surprisingly good. Below it’s a picture made with that lens, stitched from 4 tracked shots at f2, 2 minutes, ISO 800.



For this shot of part of the Orion constellation, I didn’t have the time to get all the shots needed for a really nice image (usually you need to get hours of total exposure), but I was happy with what I could get with only 5 shots of 2 minutes, ISO 400, also at f2:



I also shot tracked with the Fujifilm 55-200 and it behaved nicely. I got closer shots of the Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy at 200mm, with tracked exposures of 1-2 minutes. Obviously, a faster lens would be much better, but I was positively surprised. (haven’t processed these though)

If you have any questions, fire away!


#16

Great shots man! The star trailing one and the first one with the trees are my favourites.

Btw. I’m quite interested in a tracking mount myself, which one do you have ?


#17

Thanks!

I got the iOptron Skyguider Pro. It works great, no complaints.

My first option was the Sky-Watcher Star Adventurer, simply because it’s been on the market for more time, so it’s easier to find opinions on it, but it was out of stock everywhere. The Skyguider Pro is basically a copy of that one.


#18

I also do some astrophotography. I use my Samyang 12mm f2 wide open and i love the result. As i live in mid atlantic, milkyway core is visible at summer, so i will try to climb to Azores highest point with 2351mt and try something environmental with few moonlight too.
Oh, by the way, i also use my trusty X100S for some astro!

Some of my pictures on links below:
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Take care!


#19

Wow love the 2nd one… Stunning !


#20

I have done very little as to astrophotography, but any Milky way even if is bad it is a awesome subject to spend the time taken pictures of it.