In my quest to improve as a photographer, one of the more challenging areas has been shooting in low light and night photography. This is where faster lenses and the ability to manually operate a camera makes a difference. Programmed settings and auto-focus quickly become unusable due to the amount of available light. And a slower lens can often leave one disappointed with blurry pictures because of longer exposure times.
While I don’t think you need the best equipment on the market. A good camera body and a lens that shoots at an aperture of 2.8 or higher is needed to prevent blur from the longer exposure times of a slower lens. Most of my low light photography is done with a Sigma 17-50 mm lens. I find that a lens with optical stabilization and large optics work well for me. And the ability to operate your equipment without having to see the controls all of the time is needed to achieve sharp pictures. The long exposure times warrant having a rock solid tripod. Being a budget minded photographer that still looks for quality, I have found that the Pantan Q6-Plus is very good. I have used this tripod for outdoor photography in 30 mph winds and it didn’t move. It is heavier than a carbon fiber tripod, but I have found that if you are not carrying it very far it works great and is easy to use. And I can hang other equipment off of it without it affecting the performance of the tripod.
There is also a plethora of other equipment that I have found to be useful at different times in low light photography. Some of my favorite accessory equipment is a good remote shutter release to ensure that I don’t shake the camera and change the focus. I have tried several different releases and the ones that I use are the Pixel Pro shutter release and a Neewer cabled shutter release. I find that a mini-level and a small flashlight are also very helpful in setting up for shots and ensuring that I am level with the horizon. And this list of other accessories and equipment for different situations is only limited by one’s creativity and budget. With this equipment I find that I can get solid results without breaking the bank. So, come play in the dark and always remember to “shoot the world with light.”