Best low light lens for mountain sunset and sunrise

fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
edited March 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
My husband and I will be moving to the Blue Ridge Mountain area in Georgia this summer. I am in the process of buying the d7100, but confused on what the best low light lens will be best for me. My main focus is on landscape and wildlife. Most of my low light photos will be of sunsets and sunrises over the mountains. I also would like a low light lens that I could take to San Fran when we visit my family. It doesn't have to be one lens for both. Thanks ahead of time.
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    From what I am seeing, the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 is the lens for you - my friend just bought one and it is an excellent lens. I have the 17-55 f2.8 Nikkor - I like it a lot. If you're going to have mainly one lens on your camera, have a good one!
    Always learning.
  • ElvisheferElvishefer Posts: 329Member
    I really enjoyed the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 but it might be a bit wide for you for some situtations. On the other hand, you can probably find a cheap V 1.0 of the lens and pick up a longer second lens that's a bit more normal, like the Nikon 35 f/1.8 DX. You might be able to get both for (guessing) $500ish. I've also seen used Nikon 85 f/1.8s go for decent prices and that might be a reasonably priced choice for casual wildlife, especially with the D7100 crop factor.

    To be honest, if you have a tripod you shouldn't limit yourself to low light/fast lenses for sunsets and sunrises, as a long exposure should circumvent your need for a fast lens. I'm betting you could do just fine with any of the kit lenses.
    D700, 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII, 24-70mm f/2.8, 14-24mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4G, 200mm f/4 Micro, 105mm f/2.8 VRII Micro, 35mm f/1.8, 2xSB900, 1xSB910, R1C1, RRS Support...

    ... And no time to use them.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    edited March 2014
    If you are willing to use a tripod a fast aperture lens won't be required for those sunsets and sunrises.

    To really answer your questions we need to know how much you are willing to spend.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,537Member
    edited March 2014

    To really answer your questions we need to know how much you are willing to spend.
    +1 to PB_PM on cost.

    My recommendation is the same as spraynpray. I really love my Nikon 17-55mm F2.8. It's really sharp and fast.
    Post edited by Photobug on
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
    edited April 2014
    I have $2000 to spend on the lenses. After reading everyone's suggestions I've decided to go with both the 17-55 F2.8 and the 35 F1.8. Thanks everyone for your suggestions it helps a lot.
    Post edited by fawnkhess on
  • fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
    edited April 2014
    Yes for sunset and sunrise I could use a tripod, but when I visit my family in San Fran I will be strictly hand held for the reason I will be traveling alone with my 1 1/2 year old and as many know when you travel with babies you half to take half the house lol!!
    Post edited by fawnkhess on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    Due to your last comment, I wonder if your decision needs revisiting? A D7100 with 17-55 f2.8 is quite a lump to carry, you may want to consider one of the new micro four-thirds cameras as they are small, light and very capable.

    Oh, BTW - I'll bet you don't use the 35mm on the D7100 much as you already have a 35mm f2.8 within your 17-55. As you wanted wildlife capability, you should consider the 70-300VR and as it is the D7100, don't be afraid to use your ISO to get the shutter speed up.
    Always learning.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I just stepped outside our hotel last night for the sunset with my 17-55 f2.8 and at iso 200 on my d5000 the shutter speed was still sufficient to hand hold shots. So I wouldn't worry about needing an ultra fast lens. The 17-55 is great though and should work for what you want.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • NikonMickNikonMick Posts: 41Member
    edited April 2014
    Hi there,

    Good discussion so far to help with your choices, so I may as well throw in my "two-bob's" worth - archaic Aussie slang.

    1 All the advice about using a tripod for landscape photography is 100% correct, IMHO.
    2. I think the 17-55mm is simply too heavy at 750 gm, ie the same weight as the D7100 body. And as the actual maximum focal length (ie 35mm film equiv) of the 17-55mm on a DX body is 82.5mm, this may be too short for wildlife capture.
    3. For landscapes I'd consider the 12-24/f4 Nikkor (available s/hand for about $500) and the 35mm/f1.8. There is good discussion about "how to use ultra-wide angle-lenses" at:
    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/1496/how-to-use-an-ultra-wide-lens/p1
    4. For wildlife capture, I'd consider the Sigma 70-200/f2.8.
    5. Total cost of this set could be around your mark of $2000, ie 12-24 @$500 s/h, 35/1.8 at $250 (new), and 70-200 Sigma @$1000 (new).
    6. Finally, for family visits, the body plus the 35/1.8 lens is as light as you can get with a D7100 body and lens combo.

    Cheers

    Mick
    Post edited by NikonMick on
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,537Member
    Hi there,

    Good discussion so far to help with your choices, so I may as well throw in my "two-bob's" worth - archaic Aussie slang.

    2. I think the 17-55mm is simply too heavy at 750 gm, ie the same weight as the D7100 body. And as the actual maximum focal length (ie 35mm film equiv) of the 17-55mm on a DX body is 82.5mm, this may be too short for wildlife capture.

    Mick
    Just for the record....Bad math in item #2. On the D7100, the 17-55mm lens is equivalent to 25.5mm or 26mm and 55mm.

    From my perspective I don't find the 17-55mm + D7100 to be too heavy. Have had it around my neck for 10 to 12 hour days and it's not an issue. Same when it was on my D300. When it comes to weight, that is really a personal matter, it just never bothered me. I have a great neck strap that spreads the weight out so it's not too bad, even for a senior like me.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    A 55mm lens on a 1.5 crop sensor is equiv to 82.5mm, so a 17-55 gives a 25.5-82.5 equiv. or sorta equal to a 24-70
  • NSXTypeRNSXTypeR Posts: 2,042Member
    edited April 2014
    I have an 18-135mm kit lens that I used to get these sunrise shots. No tripod was used.

    I surprisingly was not always at the wide end of the lens.

    DSC_0942

    DSC_1000
    Post edited by NSXTypeR on
    Nikon D7000/ Nikon D40/ Nikon FM2/ 18-135 AF-S/ 35mm 1.8 AF-S/ 105mm Macro AF-S/ 50mm 1.2 AI-S
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    edited April 2014
    actually you may like to consider the Fuji XE2 and the 18-55 F2.8-F4 lens its much lighter and IQ is very good.

    check out some of the photos from a friend who swapped from Nikon D90 and D700 to the Fuji..
    http://gmarshall.zenfolio.com/p367494019/h703de12#h5cd72b76
    from about image 70 onwards its Fuji XE1

    The 18-140 kit lens that i have is not bad. You should consider that. As many have said, for sunrise/sunset images a tripod very useful and frees you to use lower shutter speeds, low ISO and optimal Aperture for best IQ.
    Post edited by heartyfisher on
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions especially NikonMick. As for other recommendations thank you for those, but I am stuck on getting the D7100 and the trip this summer is only my daughter and myself which my husband usually goes, but he is an injured soldier and going through some stuff right now that keeps him from flying. My grandma is 91 years old and I need to take my daughter to visit cause at that age you never know how much longer they have with you. What I mean about traveling with everything with my daughter is that I just didn't think I would have the room to travel with a tripod. When I am in the city I do everything by handheld.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited April 2014
    I have used a table to[p tripod and placed it on a post top, building wall, lamp post, etc., to stabilize for longer exposure times, i.e., sunsets, night shots, even interiors. While I have a Leica with Manfrotto head, I found this one which has good reviews, holds about 6 lbs.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/394681-REG/Novoflex_MICROSTATIV.html

    As for a 35mm lens, I would lean toward the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Lens for Nikon….. an exceptional lens.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    Yebbut 35mm is 50 on an FX so why would you want it? A 'normal' zoom (17-55 for example) covers it and is good wide open. Save yourself the fiddle of lens changing and stick with one good lens.
    Always learning.
  • Parke1953Parke1953 Posts: 455Member
    No 35mm is 35mm on FX.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,029Moderator
    I'll expand my point for clarity: The OP is definitely buying a D7100 so now you know that, you can see that I am saying 35mm on a DX is 50mm on an FX which is probably not the most useful focal length for her and is covered within the 17-55mm's range anyway.
    Always learning.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    Along with what spray is saying is one reason I don't use my 35 f1.8 much.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited April 2014
    I just didn't think I would have the room to travel with a tripod. When I am in the city I do everything by handheld

    I am a great lover of sunrise and sunset , but I rarely use a tripod unless the sun has actually set
    If you are going to hand hold, I would strongly recommend a Nikon lens with VR. I am not too sure of the advantage of a wide aperture lens for landscapes, as you will often want to stop down for a reasonable dof
    I have not used one my self but The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140 f/3.5-5.6G ED VR seems to get good reviews



    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • NikonMickNikonMick Posts: 41Member
    edited April 2014
    Thanks fawnkhess.

    SevenCrossing wrote: "I am not too sure of the advantage of a wide aperture lens for landscapes."

    May I suggest viewing and reading the article "How to use ultrawide lenses" at:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm

    As to using a tripod for landscapes, the following pic is slightly soft due to camera-shake, coz it was a grab taken when I didn't have a tripod with me.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/68039985@N08/9621548298/in/photostream

    Cheers

    Mick
    Post edited by NikonMick on
  • fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
    edited April 2014
    Thanks everyone for all your help and everything.
    Post edited by fawnkhess on
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member

    May I suggest viewing and reading the article "How to use ultrawide lenses" at:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm
    Most folks around here consider KR a less than reliable resource, to put it lightly.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • fawnkhessfawnkhess Posts: 6Member
    edited April 2014

    May I suggest viewing and reading the article "How to use ultrawide lenses" at:

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/how-to-use-ultra-wide-lenses.htm
    Most folks around here consider KR a less than reliable resource, to put it lightly.
    Okay everyone has their opinions and wouldn't it be a boring world if we all felt the same way. I don't have an issue with KR. I don't just go by one persons recommendations and that is how I ended up starting this discussion. I research anything I buy from cameras to kids toys. I end up going the the item that have the best reviews and recommendations. KRs recommendations are just that his recommendations. Being an Army wife I know a lot of people who are photographers around this base. Everyone will tell you something different from the brand of camera to what photo editing they use. If you don't like a certain photographer that is on you and that doesn't mean I have to not like them. I love how he show photo samples when he talks about different lenses. Seeing photography from different lenses helps me a lot. Everyone that has so kindly suggested an lens I took the time and looked for photos taken from that lens. I am very thankful for everyone taking time out of their day and night to help me on this journey.
    Post edited by fawnkhess on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,172Member
    The problem with KR is he purposely "trolls" his readers for fun. and unless you already know the subject you wont see his "obvious errors" (and have a chuckle with him !) for new learners its just traps that you have to unlearn..
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

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