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About Photography / Professional Core Member Tommy RichardsenMale/Norway Groups :iconnikon-photographers: Nikon-Photographers
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If price does not matter and you want the absolute best from your night photography......
This is my list of the very best money can buy to shoot the night sky, I am however excluding anything Medium format, so in that sense I am restraining myself, a little. :D

Crystal brilliance by Trichardsen

Camera

When it comes to cameras there are 2 distinct directions you can go, either for extreme iso performance or extreme image quality.
If you want to bring out those details in even the darkest settings, then the Sony A7S will kick ass, the disadvantages is poor battery life (you have to bring many batteries with you for long nights), lens selection and it is just 12.2 megapixels, that aside, nothing kicks quite as much ass as the A7S for night photography.

My personal choice for camera is the Nikon D810A, the astro version.
It comes at a hefty price but the list of advantages are long, 36.3 megapixels, strong iso performance for such a resolution(iso 6400 is easily doable), great lens selection and perfect for doing deep space imagery, shooting the night sky as well as landscapes.

The Journey by Trichardsen

Lenses

I will say that while lenses such as the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8, Canon 11-24mm f/4, Canon 16-35 f/2.8 III, Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and Samyang/rokinon 14mm f/2.8 are all very good lenses for night photography, from my experience there is one that really separates from the pack, the Carl Zeiss Distagon 15mm f/2.8.
The Zeiss 15mm has some issues, strong vignetting and it even stretches the stars a little on the edges, but Zeiss tests every single lens before shipping so when you put the focus at infinity it is always spot on, which means you never have to focus the lens when shooting at night.

For ultra wide angle lens the clear choice is the Zeiss 15mm.

As soon as you approach 20mm and above there are a lot of choices, the Nikon 20mm f/1.8G, Carl Zeiss Batis 25mm f/2, Sigma 35mm f/1.4 A, Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 II, Rokinon/Samyang 24mm f/1.4, and the zooms like Tamron 15-30, Canon 16-35mm and so on.
In this range I struggle myself to land on any clear choice, I think if I only did night photography I would probably choose the Samyang/Rokinon 24mm f/1.4, perhaps not as sharp as I want, but the stars all are nice perfect dots in the fram, just as you want it, but since I already have the Tamron 15-30mm, I would use that for anything above 15mm.

Even though the Zeiss otus 28mm f/1.4 is a killer lens in many regards, I would skip it for night photography, just cause of the high coma, I do not want my stars to look like birds in the edges.

At mid range to normal I would go for the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 A, it does not have the strongest micro contrast, but the rendering is quite good and the coma is really low at f/1.4 making it highly usable at f/1.4, ontop of everything it is super sharp and having shot quite a bit of nightscapes with it, it will not let you down.

At normal range, I would go for the Carl Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, yes it does have some coma up to f/2, but so does most competitors, but the dreamy nice rendering you are getting would yield some highly interesting nightscapes.

For 85mm I would go for the Carl Zeiss Milvus 85mm f/1.4, the Otus may be better in some regards, but the coma performance on the Milvus is way better.


Above this range you are getting into close up shots of the moon and partly deep space photography, once I start to look at this range I am immediately thinking about a telescope, though perhaps something like a 600-800mm lens would be nice to have, though it is extremely expensive for top of the line quality, so not going to go here. :)


Arches by Trichardsen

Tripod, heads and other stuff.....


For tripods I think the choice are quite easy, manufactures are generally playing catch-up to RRS and Gitzo, if you really want to go for the best, get either the Really Right Stuff Series 3 or 4 Carbon fiber Tripods or the Gitzo Mountaineer series.
You can honestly do well with many off brands, but I would put my money with RRS and Gitzo.

When it comes to a tripod head, it would be hard to skip the RRS BH 55 ballhead, it has been called the mother of all ballheads for year and using it myself, I can only attest to this, adding an L-bracket for easy switching from horizontal to vertical makes life really easy, this is what I would recommend.

Now, I quite hate to recommend the brand cable releases(canon, nikon etc), cause they are only marginally better than the cheap ones and you pay several times more, but since this is a "best money can buy" list, then I would have to include them, but get 3-4 off brand instead. :D


If you are at this stage when it comes to gear, then it is high time to look at comfort, a good backpack, warm clothes, shoes and anything else you would need to make shooting during the night comfortable.
This is something I will gladly skip any recommendation on since it comes down to personal taste, but it is not a step you want to skip, make sure you have all you need to make the experience a pleasant one. :)

Happy shooting. :boogie: :woohoo:


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Trichardsen's Profile Picture
Trichardsen
Tommy Richardsen
Artist | Professional | Photography
Norway
*Lowepro Ambassador*

I am a photographer specializing in Night and landscape photography.

My true passion lies in those unforgettable moments capturing something really special, it does not happen every day but the chase for those moment is my drive in photography.

For me it is not about how many likes I get on my images, it is about the connection to nature and the images I am taking, If I don´t feel the moment when I am out photographing, I don´t take a picture.

I also draw a little, less now than I used to, but I do pick up the pencil every now and then and draw, mostly realistic drawings, some cartoon and fantasy drawings as well, but as I´ve really gotten into photography drawing has taken a backseat.

Feel free to check out my gallery and if you have any questions or just want to say hello, don´t hesitate to send me a message. :)
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:iconsidechaineveryday:
SidechainEveryday Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2017  New Deviant Hobbyist Digital Artist
Stunning shots dude. How does your licensing work? For example, if I want to use one of your shots for a album cover (am a hobbyist producer).
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:icontrichardsen:
Trichardsen Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2017  Professional Photographer
Thank you very much. :)

I never operate with any set licensing fee, it depend on who wants to license it and the scope of the usage.
Send me a note with your licensing needs and I will make an offer.
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:iconstardrifting:
stardrifting Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Hi Tommy!  You have some awesome photos.  I see that you specialize in Night Photography; any suggestions for taking pics with a Digital Camera at night?  I have only mastered taking these types of photos close up, which is not helpful when I want to take pic of the moon, etc.  I'm glad I found your page!  ~ Stacy
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:icontrichardsen:
Trichardsen Featured By Owner Feb 12, 2017  Professional Photographer
Thank you very much. :)

It does depend on what camera and lens you have, but with most camera and lens combination now you can shoot quite nice pictures at night.
I would say the first thing to look at is a Tripod so you can have your camera steady for several seconds at a time, if you do not have such or can afford it, use perhaps something like a rock, a chair or any other things that will steady your camera, also you can get a mini tripod dirt cheap.
The second thing is a wide angle lens, something that will allow you to capture the broader landscape and sky, the longer focal length, the less time you have to expose your image before the stars will start to trail, also if you have a wide angle lens, the more light it will let in, the better (f/4, f/2.8 or a really fast f/2 or faster).
If you can check those two boxes, you are well on your way to capturing the night sky, and then it comes down to practice and experience, it will take some time to learn all the small tricks and what your gear will allow you to do.

As an example: Either go out before it is dark so you can focus your lens so your images becomes sharp, or go out at night when the moon is up(or a very bright star/Venus/jupiter), set your f-stop to 4 or 2.8, Iso to 800-1600 and expose for 8 seconds, then increase until it looks bright enough, check your image to see that it is both sharp and the stars looks like small dots(not trails).

Best of luck. :)
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:iconstardrifting:
stardrifting Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you!

~ Stacy
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:icontrichardsen:
Trichardsen Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Professional Photographer
My pleasure. :)
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:iconwe--r--who--we--r:
We--R--Who--We--R Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2017
THANKS 4 WATCHING!!!  I LOVE when guys watch me! ;)  Gr8 gallery!!! :)
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:icontrichardsen:
Trichardsen Featured By Owner Edited Feb 9, 2017  Professional Photographer
Very welcome. ;)
And thank you for watching back. :wave:
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:iconwe--r--who--we--r:
We--R--Who--We--R Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2017
YW! :)
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:iconlucytherescuedcat:
lucytherescuedcat Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
  thank u by littlebluewildfire Welcome to Best-SnapShots 

We do hope that you enjoy our group, it is a pleasure to have you as a member! Looking forward to seeing your work in our galleries! Please, feel free to contact us, if you have any questions or suggestions! 

Have a great day! Heart
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