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Best budget astrophotography lens for nikon d5100

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#1 CC Bear

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 06:02 PM

Hi all

Just got the above camera with kit lenses 18-55 and 55-300....was hoping for advice on a prime lens solely for astrophotography use that would be a good all rounder and I could use for comet ISON later this year.

Was thinking either the 35mm 1.8g, or 50mm either 1.8d or 1.8g, but have read conflicting reports on whether the 1.8d is useable with the d5100 due to focus inability. I'd prefer the d as it costs $100 less than the others, and I'm used to manually focussing for infinity with my kit lens.

Appreciate any advice! Budget is max AUD 220. Any third party alternatives?

#2 nofxrx

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:10 PM

Easy. Nikon 50mm F/1.8 G (~$150 USED, ~$250(?) New..)
Or Nikon 105mm F/2.8 Macro (either VR or non-VR version), but a bit more $..
Or, if you like manual focus lenses, the older Ai lenses are great.. particularly the Nikon 50mm F/1.4 Ai, 105mm F/2.5 Ai, 200mm F/4 Ai..
And these can usually be had fairly cheap, and you could probably pick a couple up for ~$100-150..

Now, any lens without a BIM(built in motor) is not going to allow AF on your D5100...that is what comes with the territory on the lower end models with Nikon..which I have never understood..Canon puts motors in ALL of their lenses(EF and EF-S), why cant Nikon??
Just a way to get more $ out of us! lol

The 50/1.8G is awesome. I love it. Though I prefer my Sigma 50/1.4 for actual daytime, the MUCH larger Sigma will not allow me to attach my 48mm filters for imaging like the Nikon F/1.8 will. the Nikon /1.4 version SHOULD allow this as well..though I do not have firsthand experience with this model(either D or G)..
the 35mm F/1.8 G I have heard really great things about. And if you do not have a prime lens in your collection, I would STRONGLY advise getting this one. It would probably become your most used lens..
Though, I do not know if 35mm will be very fun/useful for AP...it is a quite large FOV(equivilant to ~52mm on Full Frame). That is a bit too wide for me. 85mm to 105mm(35mm equivilant) is kinda my sweet spot/favorite for wide field..

Good luck!

#3 CC Bear

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 08:43 PM

Thanks nofxrx...

I'll keep my eye out for a good 2nd hand version of the 50 g, if no luck I can get new for around $220...

Cheers

#4 Traveler

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 01:54 AM

+1 nikkor 50mm F1.8. You can also consider a used (manual) AIS version of it. I bought it for just 80 euro. They are mechanical better (imo) than the newer ones.

Also you can consider a Nikkor 180mm F2.8.A very good and sharp lens but you have to pay the price, it is not a budget lens but a lens you own your whole life. Here on CN you can find very fine results with it.

#5 CC Bear

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 06:00 AM

Thanks Traveler. A friend just offered me a series E 50 F 1.8 AI-S in v.good condition for under $100... Maybe I'll grab that and save up next year for a 180 F2.8. The same friend coincidentally said a 50 & a good 180 should be my requirements...

#6 fishonkevin

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:36 AM

Make sure you get the ED versio of the 180.

#7 lakeorion

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:52 PM

The 35mm 1.8 DX AF-S lens suffers from barrel distortion. It's fixable but adds a step to processing. For daytime photography though, it rocks.

#8 nofxrx

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:55 PM

Yea, the 180ED is phenomenal! I didnt think about it with your budget, but it should be on anyone's shortlist if widefield imaging is their interest!
I am getting the newer AF-D version(~$400-500 MINT used) as I own Nikon DSLRs and would like the AF for daytime! ;)
I have seen the older Ai/AiS versions go for less than $200..crazy since optically they are all the same=brilliant!

Cheers!

#9 Traveler

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 03:57 AM

There is a rumor about the Nikkor 180 mm lens without the ED marking, already uses a low dispersion lens in the lenssystem...(Peterson's Nikon system handbook).

#10 Markovich

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 01:29 PM

I'd stick with the 35mm 1.8 D. With the DX crop factor you'll have the ful frame equivalent of a 53mm lens anyways.

#11 Kim Miau

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 10:47 AM

There is a rumor about the Nikkor 180 mm lens without the ED marking, already uses a low dispersion lens in the lenssystem...(Peterson's Nikon system handbook).


Do you have a screen capture of the material? It will be great if someone can prove this.

#12 elbert

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 12:26 PM

The Samyang 35mm f 1.4 is great for astrophotography, especially on a DX camera. It is manual focus though. Be wary of the pre ED 180 mm (the one without the gold ring) it is fine for terrestial Imaging, but does suffer from chromatic abberation, a killer for astrophotography, I suppose you could solve this in post processing, but it is a pain.

Cheers, Elbert

#13 nofxrx

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Posted 19 August 2013 - 11:08 PM

There is a rumor about the Nikkor 180 mm lens without the ED marking, already uses a low dispersion lens in the lenssystem...(Peterson's Nikon system handbook).


Do you have a screen capture of the material? It will be great if someone can prove this.


According to Ken Rockwell, ***HERE*** the first Nikkor 180 to get the true ED element was the pre-AI version ....AFAIK anything else is speculation...though I could be wrong...
Of course youwould probably not have to spend much more$ to get the"real" ED version..


For anything DX, the absolute best lens I have ever bought was the Sigma 30mm F/1.4, which at ~$200-250 used it is a real bargain and I guarantee it will become your favorite daytime lens....
And unlike the rokinon,it DOES have AF and everything else..
And for LESS $ than the Rokinon, though the Roki could be used on FX unlike the Sigma.

For longer F/L, look at the Nikon 105mm F/2.5 AIs..for <~$100-200 ,trust me, you will not find a better lens for the$, or even in the same focal range.

My absolute best a d favorite lenses are,in no particular order;
Sigma 30/1,4
Sigma 50/1,4
Sigma 85/1,4 (see a trend? ;)
Nikon 35/1,8 G
Nikon 105/2,5 AIs or 102/2,8 macro D(non-VR version)
Sigma 70-200/2,8 BE
Nikon 180ED AF(only bought the AF version because I also us it for daytime...if I'm gonna buy a lens of that cost, it may as well be useful for more than just one use/type of imaging, otherwise get the AIs version)
Finally, Nikon 300/4 AF-D

Other than the 300 and sigma 85, I currently own everything above....though in all honesty the sigma 30/1,4 & 50/1,4 are glued to my cameras..those and the 70-200/2,8 Sigma..


For AP, wide would be easily done with the Nikon 35G (on the VERY cheap side, but again, I would go for the sign due to its better optical and build quality, AND having a half stop more aperture..
The Sigma 50 would be perfect also
As would the Nikon 105/2,5 (my favorite so far for the mid-Tele range, even though it does not have AF..)

Or there is the ever popular 180ED which ha been mentioned quite a few times...it really is that good...and for ~$200(AIs) to ~$350(AD) to 450(AF-D newest version)

Good luck...
Btw this is all IMHO, AFAIK, and YMMV ;)






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