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Which lens for night photography?

Goner
Contributor

really enjoy taking photos at night and I just love the way pictures at night look, I'm extremely new at photography in general and I have a Canon 600D T3i with a 18-55mm Lens.

 

I want to get another lens but I'm not exactly sure which would be the best lens for night photography. Any recommendations or tips?

 

Thank you

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION


@Goner wrote:

With everything you have said etc, Do you think I should buy the Magnus or the Silk Sprint pro II ? Some people are saying to get a ball head Tripod and I'm not sure if that's different than what you recommended.


Ball heads are the easiest tripod head to use, because they are the fastest to re-adjust.  It usually involves adjusting just one knob, instead of two, or more. 

 

Not every manufacturer that makes decent tripods also makes decent heads.  As i noted earlier, I purchase tripods when they are on sale, usually at clearance discount pricing.  I do not think there are any "decent" tripod kits out there that sell for a list price of less than $100.

 

The "Silk Sprint pro II " that you mentioned has a load rating of less than 5 pounds.  Be aware that load ratings are usually measured with the center column fully retracted.  Extending the center column only adds to the instability to the tripod.  Also, take note of how tall a tripod can be both with and without the center column extended.  Not every manufacturer releases data about how tall their tripods are with the center column fully retracted.  The head lacks a friction control, and I am uncertain if you can remove the head and replace with a better one.  Not good.

 

Typically, you want a tripod that is rated at least 3-4 times the maximum load that you expect to mount on the tripod.  I would advise a tripod rated at least 15-20 pounds.  Weak tripods can vibrate in a gentle breeze like tuning fork.  A good tripod will be lifetime investment.

 

A quick check at my favorite online store, B&H, shows a The FVY28AIH1 Velocity Series 2 Aluminum Tripod and IH1 Ball Head from Benro is on sale at close to 40% off list price.  It is rated at 17 pounds, and includes a case.  One of the best things I like about the Benro brand is that most tripods include a case, and Benro makes very good cases.

 

Please, do not consider that mention of a particular model as a product endorsement.  It is just an example of what I consider to be a "decent" tripod.

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"The right mouse button is your friend."

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22 REPLIES 22


@Goner wrote:

With everything you have said etc, Do you think I should buy the Magnus or the Silk Sprint pro II ? Some people are saying to get a ball head Tripod and I'm not sure if that's different than what you recommended.


Ball heads are the easiest tripod head to use, because they are the fastest to re-adjust.  It usually involves adjusting just one knob, instead of two, or more. 

 

Not every manufacturer that makes decent tripods also makes decent heads.  As i noted earlier, I purchase tripods when they are on sale, usually at clearance discount pricing.  I do not think there are any "decent" tripod kits out there that sell for a list price of less than $100.

 

The "Silk Sprint pro II " that you mentioned has a load rating of less than 5 pounds.  Be aware that load ratings are usually measured with the center column fully retracted.  Extending the center column only adds to the instability to the tripod.  Also, take note of how tall a tripod can be both with and without the center column extended.  Not every manufacturer releases data about how tall their tripods are with the center column fully retracted.  The head lacks a friction control, and I am uncertain if you can remove the head and replace with a better one.  Not good.

 

Typically, you want a tripod that is rated at least 3-4 times the maximum load that you expect to mount on the tripod.  I would advise a tripod rated at least 15-20 pounds.  Weak tripods can vibrate in a gentle breeze like tuning fork.  A good tripod will be lifetime investment.

 

A quick check at my favorite online store, B&H, shows a The FVY28AIH1 Velocity Series 2 Aluminum Tripod and IH1 Ball Head from Benro is on sale at close to 40% off list price.  It is rated at 17 pounds, and includes a case.  One of the best things I like about the Benro brand is that most tripods include a case, and Benro makes very good cases.

 

Please, do not consider that mention of a particular model as a product endorsement.  It is just an example of what I consider to be a "decent" tripod.

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

" Do you think I should buy the Magnus or the Silk Sprint pro II ?

No, unless you find them useful to your requirements.  They are just examples.  There is more in this same class.

These two just happened to be tripods that a couple friends of mine bought recently.  They are pretty nice. I think they got them from Amazon.  A retailer I normally don't recommend.

 

"Some people are saying to get a ball head Tripod and I'm not sure if that's different than what you recommended."

Now you have come to your needs and requirement.  You wanted to do nighttime photography.  Is that your main most thing?  If, yes, than either of the mentioned tripods will work well and they will last you a lifetime.

 

Now do you want it for shooting birds or wildlife, also?  A ball head is not the way to go.  A gimbal head is.  In this case you will need to buy a tripod that has a removable head.

 

Are you going to turn 'pro'?  Do you see how you must decide what you want and need first?  Make a mistake in truly considering your requirements and you will be buying another tripod in the future.  Believe me.

 

My personal opinion is I like a fluid head.  Way better than ball heads.  Even though they are designed for video.  They work extremely well for stills.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

I agree with the idea of a tripod, BUT only if you are photographing something that isn't alive and isn't moving. 

 

Tripods let you take liberties with the variable of TIME, by eliminating hand-held camera shake.  If light is in short supply, the tripod lets you take a picture of a rock or building using a long slow shutter opening.  Over a long enough time, enough light can get into the camera to give a proper exposure.  Without the tripod, holding the camera, your hands shaking would blur the picture because no one can hold a camera that still. 

 

There is another kind of blur, however, that tripods can't help with. That is subject motion blur. Your shutter still needs to be fast enough to freeze the motion of a moving subject. Even a person sitting still is moving a little.  

 

If your night shots include moving things, people, animals, or even plants that are moving in a breeze, you need a larger aperture lens, not a tripod.  A lens with an f/2.8 or f/1.8 aperture lets 4x and 8x, respectively, more light into the camera than a kit lens with a little f/5.6 aperture like an 18-55 kit lens.  You can use this to get a 4x or 8x faster shutter speed, avoiding subject motion blur. 

 

 

As a as a cool side effect of a large aperture, you get a shallow depth of field in focus. This gives an appealing effect of blurring out the background so your subject pops out nicely. 

 

Bright lenses need not be expensive. There are bargain options available. What is your budget?

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?

Thank you!

Thank you! I'm definitely going to check out some tripods that people have mentioned right now 🙂

ebiggs1
Legend

Besides getting a good tripod, you can't go wrong with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens. It is almost a requirement for a Rebel owner.  It has IQ that rivals some of the most expensive lenses.  It is a constant aperture which is its greatest advantage over your kit lens.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

kvbarkley
VIP

"Night photography" means a lot of things, but the most affordable relatively fast lens is the EF 50 mm F/1.8.

Goner
Contributor
Truly appreciate your help with this all. I'll definitely check out that tripod tomorrow after work 🙂

Goner
Contributor
I appreciate your help so much, my budget is around $200 but id spend more if NEEDED

If you are shooting buildings or night landscapes, any lens will basically do.  If you are shooting anything alive or anything that moves at night or in poor light, you want something with a large aperture.  Aperture is measured in f/numbers, and somewhat confusingly, the smaller the f/number, the bigger the aperture opening in the lens.

 

A large aperture is generally considered to be f/2.8 or larger.  Lenses you can find for Canon run from f/2.8 to as large as f/1.2.   The lenses near your stated budget will lie between f/2.8 and f/1.8.

 

 

Scott

Canon 5d mk 4, Canon 6D, EF 70-200mm L f/2.8 IS mk2; EF 16-35 f/2.8 L mk. III; Sigma 35mm f/1.4 "Art" EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro; EF 85mm f/1.8; EF 1.4x extender mk. 3; EF 24-105 f/4 L; EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS; 3x Phottix Mitros+ speedlites

Why do so many people say "FER-tographer"? Do they take "fertographs"?
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