Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 30

Gear Guide
ULTRA-WIDE ENSEMBLE Lenses in the 14-mm to 15-mm range are great for nightscapes.
Seen from left to right are the Sigma 14-mm f/1.8 Art, the Rokinon 14-mm f/2.4 SP, the Laowa
Venus Optics 15-mm f/2, and the Irix 15-mm f/2.4 Firefly, which has a handy click stop at infinity.
All but the Sigma are manual lenses.
AFFORDABLE ULTRA-WIDE The most
popular nightscape lens has long been
the no-frills Samyang or Rokinon 14-mm
f/2.8 ED, available for many lens mounts,
including mirrorless. It costs about $300.
More advanced manual lenses (sometimes called " chipped "
models) have electronics to communicate with the camera,
so it automatically records the information in the image
file metadata. This information about the lens model and
aperture setting makes it much easier to correct distortions
and vignetting during post-processing. Programs including
Adobe Lightroom can automatically read this information and
apply corrections to a large series of images - particularly
handy when processing hundreds of frames to assemble into
a time-lapse video.
Fully automatic lenses will autofocus when switched
to AF mode and also permit the camera to automatically
CHOOSE YOUR FIELD Left to right: A 14-mm lens on a fullframe
camera is great for imaging wide swaths of the Milky Way.
Many photographers favor a 20-mm lens for its balance of wide field
and low distortion. A 35-mm lens frames the photogenic Milky Way
core. An 85-mm is suitable for tracked " deepscapes " that isolate
choice deep-sky fields above a foreground.
set the aperture. If you expect to use the lens for normal
daytime photos, then autofocus and autoexposure become
important features.
While all autofocus lenses also include the ability to
manually focus, it's now often performed via what's called
" focus by wire. " Turning the focus ring doesn't directly move
the lens elements but instead sends a signal to the lens's
internal motors, which perform the adjustments. Many such
lenses lack a focus scale, which we've relied upon in the past
to preset focus to infinity. Precise focusing is possible but has
to be done for each shoot, which is the best practice anyway.
While low-cost manual lenses can be great values, I advise
purchasing from a dealer who allows for easy returns for
exchanges or refunds. Lenses can suffer from de-centered elements,
creating asymmetric and exaggerated aberrations that
often cannot be identified until you shoot the night sky. And
it can be days or even weeks before the weather cooperates to
test out the lens.
14-mm lens
20-mm lens
30 JANUARY 2022 * SKY & TELESCOPE

Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Sky & Telescope - January 2022

Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Contents
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - 4
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Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - Cover4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA1
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA2
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA3
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA4
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA5
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA6
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA7
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA8
Sky & Telescope - January 2022 - SA9
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