When you are selecting a particular camera and lens for low light photography there are a few special issues to keep in mind and we will summarise some of the important considerations here.
In using high ISO settings bear in mind that if you use a tripod or monopod you can possibly use lower ISO settings and consequently get better image quality. High ISO is not necessarily always the best solution.
With the camera the main issue to be aware of is the ISO capability of the camera.
- D3000 – ISO1600,
- D3100 – ISO3200,
- D5100 – ISO6400,
- D7000 – ISO6400,
- D300s – ISO3200.
- D700 – ISO6400,
- D3s – ISO6400
- D3X -ISO1600.
Many of the cameras indicated above do have ISO settings above those indicated, but the figures indicated above are the cameras maximum specified ISO, if an ISO setting above those indicated is selected, the image quality in respect to noise may not meet your needs. The above figures give a general comparison between cameras.
In general the best cameras for low light working in my opinion are the Nikon D700 and the D3s, these are both FX cameras with the larger sensor. The best DX camera for high ISO is the Nikon D7000.
Full details of the range of Nikon cameras are given in our Nikon Camera Review Section.
With lenses there are several factors affecting the low light capability of the lenses. Firstly the prime factor with lenses is the maximum aperture and also a secondary consideration is whether the lens has the vibration reduction (VR) functionality.
The maximum aperture with lenses can vary generally between f.1.4 and f/5.6. Here, there is an aperture variation of four f stops and this variation can be a major issue when photographing in low light levels. Some lenses have variable apertures and the aperture may vary from f/3.5 to f/5.6 as the lens zooms in and out from minimum to maximum focal length.
Many prime lenses have apertures varying from f/1.4 to f/2.8, an example of some of these lenses is as follows:
Nikon DX Lenses
- 10.5mm f/2.8G ED AF DX Fisheye
- 17-55mm f/2.8G IF ED AF-S DX
- 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX
Nikon FX Lenses (Full frame)
- 16mm f/2.8D AF Fisheye
- 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
- 20mm f/2.8D AF
- 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S
- 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S
- 35mm 1.4G AF-S
- 50mm f/1.8G AF-S
- 50mm f/1.4G AF-S
- 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Micro
- 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
- 85mm f/1.4G AF-S
- 85mm f/1.8D AF
- 105mm f/2.8G IF ED VR AF-S Micro
- 200mm 2.0G ED AF-S VR II
- 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S
- 400mm f/2.8G ED VR
All of the above lenses are excellent lenses for low light photography, just select the lens based on the focal length you require.
Some of the best lenses for low light photography are the f/1.4 primes.
In using any of the above lenses with the VR functionality you will find that the VR facility will also be a great advantage when photographing stationary subjects. However VR is of no advantage when photographing moving subjects.
Full details of the range of Nikon lenses are given in our Nikon Lens Review Section.
Comments are very welcome. All comments are held for moderation. No advertising comments or links are accepted. To advertise please contact us.
Photography Categories And Nikon Equipment Data
- Accessories Microphones GPS Housings
- Android Tablet / Phone Camera Uses
- Camera Reviews, Recommendations, Sample Images, Articles and Software Processing Reviews
- Camera Settings For Better Images
- Capturing Aerial Images
- Capturing The Action Of Sports
- Capturing The Best Cityscapes And Architecture
- Capturing Transport
- Choosing And Selecting Camera Equipment
- Choosing And Selecting Nikon Lenses
- Coolpix Cameras
- Creating Different Image Styles
- Creating Dynamic Fireworks
- Creating The Panorama
- Creative People & Portraits
- Digital SLR System Camera Reviews
- DX Lens Reviews
- DX System Cameras
- DX System Prime Lenses
- DX System Zoom Lenses
- Electronic Flash And High Speed Flash Synchronization
- Exposure, Aperture, Shutter Speed, ISO
- Exposure, Histogram, ISO, White Balance, Color Temperature
- Fine Tuning Your Imaging Workflow
- Focus Stacking
- FX Lens Reviews
- FX System Cameras
- FX System Standard Prime Lenses
- FX System Standard Zoom Lenses
- FX System Super Telephoto Lenses
- FX System Teleconverters
- FX System Telephoto Prime Lenses
- FX System Telephoto Zoom Lenses
- FX System Wide Angle Prime Lenses
- FX System Wide Angle Zoom Lenses
- Handbooks Nikon View and Nikon Capture NX-2 Software
- History Of Photographic Imaging
- If You Are Into Action These are the Cameras
- Imaging Composition
- Keeping Your Camera Alive At Night
- Lens Reviews, Recommendations, Sample Images and Articles
- Lenses, Focal Length, Aperture
- Making Food Look Delicious
- Nature Photography Is Beautiful
- Nikon 1 Mirrorless System Reviews
- Nikon 1 System CX Cameras
- Nikon 1 System CX Lenses
- Nikon GPS Systems
- Nikon Remote Camera Control Reviews
- Nikon Software
- Nikon Software Reviews
- Nikon Speedlights, Electronic Flash Reviews and Recommendations
- Photographic Capture Techniques
- Photographing Festivals
- Photoshop Tutorials, High Dynamic Range (HDR), Double Exposure, Focus Stacking, Adobe Camera Raw Post Processing
- Recording Air, Army and Military Shows
- Recording Your Travels
- Review Of Nikon AF Nikkor 200 f/4D IF ED Micro Lens
- Review Of The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm ED Ultra Wide Angle Lens
- Review Of The Nikon AF-S NIkkor 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR Telephoto Lens
- Still Life Compositions
- Tips for Better Results From Your Camera
- Tips on using Teleconverters
- Tripods Monopods, Remote Camera Control and Your Accessories