Equipment For Night Photography

Night Photography: Recommended Equipment

Here is a list of recommended equipment you should have when doing night photography.

Camera: Any DSLR will do. That said, a camera that can handle ISO up to 6400 without grain is recommended. The Nikon D810 is designed for night photography, but I have done well with my D610 and D7100. On the Canon side, the EOS 7D is highly recommended, but any of the full frame cameras they make do a very good job.

Lens: By far, most people like the Tokina 11-16mm (Nikon) Tokina 11-16mm (Canon) or the Tokina 16-28mm wide-angle f/2.8 lenses. I use these myself often. Using a wide-angle lens with an aperture of 2.8 or wider is needed. The Sigma 14mm and 20mm Art series lens has an aperture of f/1.4 & high very highly rated for night photography, but cost more.

Tripod: There is a huge difference between cheap $25 tripods and a quality ball-head tripod. At night it is difficult to set up using one of those poorly designed nightmare tripods. I highly recommend a mid range or higher ball-head. I use a $250 Induro tripod & am very satisfied with it.

Bag: Yes, it is important. You need an organized way to keep your equipment from getting lost. In the dark, it is easy to leave something behind if you neglect to place it back in your bag.

Intervalometer: Almost all cameras have built-in long exposures up to 30 seconds, which is all you need. However, an intervalometer prevents camera shake when you take an exposure and can allow you to take longer exposures than 30 seconds for star trails etc.

Lighting: At least one flashlight that does not have a center beam, and preferably one that does not produce a really cold white light. Further, if you wish to light the inside of a building or vehicle, you can buy cheap fake candle lights or glow-sticks from most hardware stores. I would also use a headlamp if you are exploring at night so you can see what you are doing, like changing settings on your camera (remember to turn it off during the exposure).


  • An extra battery is always nice as shooting in cold and with live view on can drain batteries faster than normal.
  • Hat, gloves & warm clothing as nights in Canada are cool and can be windy.
  • I bring water and snacks
  • A friend is always nice to bring.
  • A secure pocket to keep your cell phone on you without risk of losing it.
  • Shoes can get wet from dew, so wear waterproof ones and maybe an extra pair of socks.

By Chris Attrell

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