My D700 after a long fridgid night of shooting Aurora timelapse
It’s been nearly a year since I first created these pages, in that time I have done gear reviews, taught many workshops and have learned so much in the process.
I know most photographers do not have huge budgets to blow on the most expensive gear (myself included), so I’m always on the lookout for the best quality/price ratio. I could make a lot more money by recommending a Canon 1Dx or Nikon D4 along with pro Canon/Nikon glass for everyone, but that’s not how I roll. I want night photography to be accesible by anyone with a modest budget and still create stunning images.
So what has changed? For camera bodies I have been blown away by the quality of the Canon 6D, I don’t have one and I haven’t tested it (yet), but plenty of my students have been using it. I’ll be honest, I’m considering switching teams for this camera. Almost no noise at ISO 12,800 and super clean at 6400, just unreal for the price. I recently upgraded to a Nikon D600 which is a phenomenal camera as well, it’s almost as good as the much more expensive D4. The D800 and 5D MKIII are good cameras for night photography, but not what I would recommend anymore if you’re really serious about this. For price to quality ratio the Canon 6D and Nikon D600/D610 cannot be beat.
There are also a couple decent APS-C sensors in the lineup now. The Nikon D7100 is surprisingly good and the Canon 70d appears to be a great option as well. No, they still don’t stack up to full frame, but they’re actually good enough that I would recommend them for those starting out.
As for lenses I still recommend Rokinon. Especially the 24mm f/1.4 and the14mm f/2.8, I’m only recommending the 35mm f/1.4 if budget is a major concern, otherwise the new Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is blowing my mind, I absolutely love this lens (look for a blog post about this very soon). I’m no longer recommending the 85mm f/1.4 because it has terrible chromatic abberation (bright blue halos around the bright stars), plus it’s a very specialized lens that I rarely use. I’m loving the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye, it’s just such a fun lens to use to capture insanely wide views.
I’ve also added a bunch of options for APS-C lenses now that there are viable bodies to use with them.
That’s it for now, I’m sure these pages will continue to evolve as technology changes, but for the time being I feel these lists are very good guides to get you started. Please feel free to ask me questions!
Note: All links on this page are affiliate links. What does this mean? If you buy/rent using these links you’re helping support me and it costs you nothing extra. Thank you for your support.
David is a professional landscape and nature photographer originally from Loveland, Colorado who is now traveling the American West full-time in an RV with his photography and life partner Jennifer Renwick, and their two cats.
David has published an eBook called Nightscape and has in-depth videos on post processing. David and his partner Jennifer Renwick find joy in teaching others photography in their photography workshops, and through their blog.