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Northern Light Photography

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:44 pm
by tracym
Hi Everyone
I'm new to this and have tried looking for related posts before posting so dont eat me alive. :D
I am off to Tromso in December for a week of hopefully Northern Light watching. I really need a new camera and have been told maybe a Cannon or Nikon. Told maybe a camera I can set on manual and a wide lens (14mm) with low aperture f/2.8 ...
I read the reviews and if I am honest its like reading another language.
Having only ever had a point and shoot its way over my head.
However seeing the northern lights has always been so high on my must do list that I want a camera that does it justice should I be so lucky.
The budget is wide, can anyone please help :?:

Re: Northern Light Photography

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:13 am
by Maestro
Well, there are -- or will be, by December -- several new point-and-shoots with large-ish sensors and bright wide-angle lenses: Sony RX100, Panasonic LX100, Canon G7 X, etc. So if you want to stick with a point-and-shoot, you could look into one of those.

However, I also think a good (sturdy, but light weight) tripod with a ball head (for quick adjustments), a couple of extra batteries, and a remote shutter release would be more useful when shooting aurora than a new camera.

Having said all of that, if I were to shoot the Northern Lights, I would use my Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 because it bright, wide, and sharp wide open. FYI Sigma makes versions for both Canon and Nikon APS-C (crop sensor) cameras. (I use the Canon version with my 70D.)

HTH - Mark

Re: Northern Light Photography

PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:46 pm
by tracym
Thanks Mark,
Someone has suggested I dont get involved with a DSLR and interchangeable lens and to look at the canon powershotg1?
It seems everyone has different opinions :?
I will go look at the ones you suggest and then start comparing.
I wish they did a service where you tell people what you want it for and they deliver it :D
Is that lazy :?:

Re: Northern Light Photography

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:26 am
by Maestro
The Canon G1 X Mark II is another camera in the "new point-and-shoots with large-ish sensors and bright wide-angle lenses" category that I mentioned. But I left it off the list because it's larger physically than any of the other cameras I mentioned. And personally, at that size (and price point), I think most folks would do better to consider a Micro Four Thirds (m4/3) camera like the Olympus E-PL7 or E-M10 (because these cameras aren't much bigger, but they have the advantage of using interchangeable lenses). And for shooting the Northern Lights, perhaps an Olympus 17mm f1.8 lens to go with it.

So it seems to me like you have three categories:

1) large sensor point-and-shoot (around $600-700)
2) m4/3 (or other MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) like the Sony NEX line) (maybe $1,200-1,400 with bright prime lens)
3) (prosumer) Canon/Nikon APS-C DSLR (e.g. 70D or D7100) with Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens (perhaps $1,800-2,000)

Just pick the camera size and price you're comfortable with. But don't forget to budget for a tripod and batteries, too.


Re: Northern Light Photography

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:29 am
by tracym
Thank you Mark, you have been really helpful.
Hopefully by December I will have played with the camera enough to know how it works.