She took a few aurora borealis photos with her 7D2. Any thoughts/pointers/tips to share?

Started 4 months ago | Discussions thread
OP winterwonderland Forum Member • Posts: 64
Re: She took a few aurora borealis photos with her 7D2. Any thoughts/pointers/tips to share?

Andy01 wrote:

winterwonderland wrote:

. , My better half went for hunting the aurora borealis y'day, and came up with these 2 photos attached with this post.

I have never been lucky enough to see it (I live in Australia), but these look like a good start to me.

Since you lot have a lot of experiences with this, we're wondering if you have any thoughts/pointers/tips on what she can do to further improve the quality of her aurora borealis shots? That'd be much appreciated, since she really wants to learn even more!

My first questions might be why the short shutter speeds ? I think I have seen shots in the astro forum (check there) that were taken at the "maximum" (as per Rule of 200 for APS-C cameras) shutter speed, which in this case at 10mm would be 200 / 10 = 20 seconds.

The other question is why f8 for the first image ? Generally for night skies, people tend to shoot at the widest aperture that the lens is capable of producing sharp images without coma.

She used Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 EX DC HSM for these shots.

Unfortunately, we don't have the budget to go for a lens such as Sigma 14mm F/1.8,

It is a beast of a lens - big, heavy and quite costly, but nice.

but we're currently wondering if we should go for the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for her 7d mark ii... any thoughts about that?

Yes, don't do it unless you find a seller with a great zero cost (to you) returns policy so that you can return it and keep returning it until you get a good one. Many seem to report trying 4-5 lenses before getting an acceptable one.

A few years ago I tried 3 different Irix 15mm f2.4 lenses - all were defective. Then a Samyang 14mm f2.8 MF, which was worse, then the AF version of the Samyang - almost as bad.

Then I tried a Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP lens and the Sigma you mention. Both lenses were significantly better and anything else (like - miles better). I bought the Samyang 14mm f2.4 XP because it was smaller, lighter and far cheaper than the Sigma - though still more costly than the others I tried.

The Samyang XP (or Rokinon SP) lenses are very different to the cheap and cheerful 14mm f2.8 lenses.

She also owns the nifty-fifty, but she cannot get good enough shots with that, despite trying a couple of times.

What is wrong with them - other than the much narrower FoV and shorter shutter speed (200 / 50 = 4 seconds)

She is also using a good enough tripod (K&F) for her photography tasks.

Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 EX DC HSM. Taken in Karasjok, Norway.

Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 EX DC HSM. Taken in Karasjok, Norway

Thank you for a very informative post, Andy! Thanks for the nice comments too!

Noted down that going for lowest possible f/ on photos is the way to go. She'll try doing that to see what happens.

Yeah, that Samyang-lens is quite costly, that's for sure. However, in terms of price and quality, another (costly) lens would be the Samyang 14mm f/2.4, reviewed by Dustin @

What is the difference between that Samyang SP and the Samyang XP lens you have? Also, are you saying that the cheap Samyang 14mm f/2.8 we found is not worthy a try, or? If the lens is nothing for her, she can easily sell it anyways. But, is it worth risking it? Unfortunately, we're not in position of testing out the lens before buying it, but the seller is a reliable store that sells used lens (they test it and such), so it'll most likely not be a defect one if we'd go for the lens. The point is still this: We're trying to find a lens that is better than the one she is currently using, which is the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, but the lens suggestions we've gotten, are the ones costing a lot more than the mentioned Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Yes, i understand that if we want a quality lens, we must pay €€€ for it, but isn't there something in between? The only solution we seem to have, is that Samyang 14mm f/2.8. Oh, and as im writing this, i can now get the lens for $130, so i reckon it's worth a go, or? That Samyang 14mm 2.8 is still better (for aurora) than the one she's using now, right? She have other lenses for other purposes.

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