Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jul 12, 2009, 1:44 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 6
Default DSLR for Nightphotography

Hi,

I've been always intrigued by photography but, financially and time wouldn't let this happen. Now that I've got my opportunity, I'm currently shopping around for a dslr to pursue my interest with high potential of becoming something more than a hobby.

Ever since I got my hands on Brassai's book Paris by Night, I'm very fascinated by the night photography. So, I'm very much looking forward to the day I become a proud owner of a dslr and create my own night pictures. Ultimately, I'm looking for a camera that can deliver what I'm looking for, such as night shots of nature, city, buildings, and more.

I've read numerous reviews and comments, but it seems that most review don't put too much emphasis on the night photography. So, I'm leaving this thread, hoping to get some advices of the people that may share my interest.

Since I'm just starting out all around camera would be nice too but the one offers good performance for night photography. Any comments, suggestions, and advices is appreciated. Thanks
themovement is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jul 12, 2009, 3:42 AM   #2
Super Moderator
 
peripatetic's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 3,599
Default

You don't give us an idea of your budget. Almost all recommendations are made for a particular price point.


If you use a tripod, as Brassai did, then just about any DSLR is fine. This would be my recommendation. Get a good tripod, and a good flashgun (essential for some types of shots), and possibly a really high-powered lantern (the million candlewatt jobs) I have seen some really fantastic work on long exposures and light painted with the big torch. Don't worry too much about the camera body. Choose your lenses first.


If on the other hand you are thinking of trying to get some handheld shots too then there are 4 cameras that should be at the top of your list:

Nikon D3, D3x, D700 and Canon 5DMkII. The D3, D700 have a slight edge on the other two in high-ISO shooting, but the D3x and 5D2 have 24Mp v 12Mp, so if you want to print large then those extra pixels can come in handy. Night cityscapes often look good printed large...

If that's all a bit pricier than you were looking for then you could try the next level down: Canon 50D, Nikon D90, Sony A700, Pentax K7. But you will lose 2-3 stops in quality on high-ISO shots. At this point you need to start thinking about Image Stabilization and lenses. Choose your lenses first, then choose your camera body.


If it came down to a single recommendation I would say the Canon 5DMkII with 24-105L kit lens and a good tripod:
1. Great low-light performance.
2. Excellent resolution and features.
3. Handy live view for tripod work.
4. Fantastic range of lenses.
5. Very reasonable price for the featureset.

If you google "night photography canon 5d mark 2" you will find a lot: e.g.

http://www.gdanmitchell.com/?s=mare+...&submit=Search
http://www.on-sight.com/2009/05/29/5...photography-2/
peripatetic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 6:44 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
TCav's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Washington, DC, Metro Area, Maryland
Posts: 13,572
Default

To Peripatetic's excellent recommendations, I'd add the Sony A900. It too is a full frame 24MP dSLR, and while it doesn't quiet measure up to some of the others in some ways, it does benifit from having sensor shift image stabilization in the camera body, plus a selection of excellent Carl Zeiss large aperture autofocus lenses. The same lenses, btw, that you could choose from if your budget only allows the Sony A700.
__________________
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
  • "One good test is worth a thousand expert opinions." - Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot.
TCav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 10:40 AM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

As Peripathetic noted, knowing your budget is essential to making a camera recommendation. Thus far, we have seen recommendations at the upper end of the budget spectrum, and they are good recommendations.

However, keep in mind that if you use a tripod most any DSLR or for that matter even some digicams can take creditable night photos.

Sarah Joyce
Attached Images
 
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 11:33 AM   #5
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 6
Default

Thank you for all your responses. Yeah I think I did left out the most essential information.

My budget is around 1000 (+/- 200 or so), so far I've looked at D90 and XSi. It seems that being the top two brand in photography, no matter where I go these two are recommended the most. Some tells me that with that budget I will be better off getting XSi and good lens with it. But, others tell me D90 is a better featured camera and offers greater range of ISO. But does having a high ISO level make a difference in the end result? I also read it on the web that high ISO = more noise and degraded quality.
themovement is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 12:10 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
dwig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 133
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by themovement View Post
...But does having a high ISO level make a difference in the end result? I also read it on the web that high ISO = more noise at degraded quality.
With any one camera, the higher the ISO the higher the noise. Where some cameras are "better" than others, with respect to noise, is that some have less noise and any one given ISO than others.

Currently, the newer CMOS chips are out performing CCD chips with respect to ISO vs noise. Nikon's newest CMOS based bodies are leaders in this respect. EVen Nikon's new relatively inexpensive D5000 out performs most other DSLRs on the market whe it comes to high ISO noise; it uses the same chip and image processing logic as the D90

With all this said, it should be noted that lens speed (read: maximum aperture) and performance wide open have as much or more to do with getting good results in low light when you are shooting moving object and/or hand held. Also, the presence of some form of vibration reduction, either lens or body based, is a big advantage. Body based systems work with all lenses, which can be a big plus when using fast prime lenses which rarely (I know of none) have their own vibration reduction.

Also, many good low light shots are done at modest apertures with very low ISOs to get the best image quality. This, of course, mandates a stationary subject and the use of a tripod.

If you want the real skinny on ISO vs Noise in various cameras, check out:

http://dxomark.com/
dwig is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 12:12 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

themovement-

Yes, when the ISO setting is raised, the rule of thumb is that the image quality is reduced. The Nikon D-90 and the D-5000 are two of the best high ISO cameras in terms of image quality, as the both use the same imager.

How are you with regard to using a tripod? Or are you planning hand held shots?

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 12:37 PM   #8
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 6
Default

Thank you so much for that link, It was a bit too much information for me to understand but I think I have a general idea as to the ISO vs noise.

As for the tripod, I will definitely have to invest in one since I don't particularly have a steady hands to begin with. But, I would like to have an option to take handheld pictures as well (since tripod = more things to carry around).

Also, one thing that I noticed with XSi was that when there's low light or dark, the camera can't auto focus. I was told that it's not XSi is flawed, instead all of the cameras require an object that is somewhat contrastive to be able to auto focus.

It seems like there's a lot to learn and I'm very looking forward to that. To me, it's like solving a problem, picking out a strategy, apply, then evaluate^^

These are some of the shots that I would like to recreate myself.
http://weburbanist.com/2008/07/30/10...s-photography/
Thanks

Last edited by themovement; Jul 12, 2009 at 12:45 PM.
themovement is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 2:04 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

themovement-

Based on this thread's info thus far. IMO a Nikon D-5000 or D-90 might be a good choice for you. I would suggest purchasing the body only and adding the lenses that you need as you become accustomed to the camera. The Nikkor 18-105mm lens is a good walk around lens, providing that is a focal length that fits with your shooting habits.

Thanks as well for the link to weburbanist. The D-5000 could easily handle most of the photos displayed.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jul 12, 2009, 5:21 PM   #10
Super Moderator
 
Mark1616's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 7,452
Default

AF is going to be a problem for any camera in very low light situation as it needs to be able to see what it is focusing on. If you are doing low light tripod shots then you are likely to be able to MF as you will have a narrow aperture (that will make things a long way away and close in focus) so it doesn't matter if you are not quite spot on.

The performance of the entry level Nikon bodies are slightly better regarding dynamic range and also noise over the same level Canon models, but moving forward there are limitations on some of the lens options which could make it more expensive.

Either way you will be fine. Also you will be fine with Sony and Pentax which have the added benefit of image stabilisation in the body..... they might not perform as well at high ISO and but if you are trying to shoot in slightly lower than normal but not night conditions they can help. Canon and Nikon have image stabilisation but it is always in the lens. There is an advantage in the latter in that you can see the stabilisation working through the lens.
Mark1616 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:02 PM.