The Best Nikon Cameras and Lenses For Night Photography

Capturing successful images of the night sky requires powerful camera equipment. Standard camera settings for night photography range from 10-25 seconds of exposure, an aperture of f/4.0 – 2.8, and a high ISO ranging from 1600-12800. These types of camera settings create ‘noise’ in the photographs, primarily due to the long exposure and high ISO. Therefore, it is important to select a camera body capable of shooting at high ISO levels to produce clean images. Below you will find links to all of the Nikon camera bodies and lenses I recommend for night photography. All links navigate to the official manufacturer’s product webpage, followed by purchasing pages to B&H and/or Amazon.

Nikon Cameras

This is a screenshot from DPReview using their free comparison tool. Please note, images shown were taken in a studio using the following settings: 1/20 second, f/5.6 aperture, & 6400 ISO. You can compare different camera bodies, ISO settings, focus on different portions of the image above, and download the original RAW images by visiting HERE.

My Top 3 Nikon Camera Recommendations:

Lenses for Nikon Cameras

Minor Lens Aberration

I have found the lenses listed below to have manageable amounts of chromatic & monochromatic aberration.

Strong Lens Aberration

In this example, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4 displays strong amounts of chromatic, spherical, and astigmatic aberration. These types of aberration(s) are not preferred for night photography due to the detriment of brighter stars in the frame.

My Top 3 Nikon Lens Recommendations:

  • Brad Goldpaint“Two great passions of mine are wilderness travel and experiencing the drama of a night sky. I combine my passions with photography by teaching night sky workshops to people just like you. Come explore the magic of the Milky Way with me as it travels each night over unique landscapes within the Western US.”