I currently have a D7000 and have been doing a lot of night sky photography over the past few months. I currently only have two lenses, the Nikon 16-85 and the Tamron 70-300. I have been using the Nikon 16-85 for my pictures of the night sky, but realize I need to upgrade at least my lens to get decent pictures of the stars and the Milky Way because the fastest aperture on the 16-85 is f/3.5. also I would like to go wider to get more of the sky and landscape in each image.
I have been thinking of buying the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 which I have seen recommended for night sky photography for DX users. I know this faster/wider lens will make a difference to my ability to capture the Milky Way and money wise it is really my only option right now.
My dilemma is that most of the really good night sky Milky Way shots that I have seen have been taken with full frame camera's because the larger sensor combined with a fast lens seems to get the best image with the least noise.
If you have used the D7000 and a full-frame camera such as the D600 for Milky Way photography I would appreciate your input as to how they compare. I am torn between getting the Tokina 11-16 now or waiting about a year and saving for the D600 with a fast FX lens. The reason I am so torn is with money being limited, I don't want to purchase the Tokina lens and still be unsatisfied with my images and regret not waiting and upgrading to full-frame.
#1. "RE: D7000 for photograping the Milky Way" In response to Reply # 0 Mon 08-Apr-13 10:01 PM by scottashley
Check out this site and all related links about night photography. It has a great deal of helpful information. He recently tested six Nikon bodies and thought the D600 delivers the best bang for the buck—but also thought the D7100 would do well, though he hasn't tested it yet.
I heard him speak at a camera club about two weeks ago, and although he prefers Rokinon manual focus fixed-length lenses for his photography, he indicated the Tokina 11-16 would probably do a good job. Read his comments about lenses for night photography here:
#3. "RE: D7000 for photograping the Milky Way" In response to Reply # 2
Thanks for your replies. Scott, I have been following David Kingham's posts on Google+ for a while and they are very informative. He, along with other professional photographers say that a full-frame camera is the best way to go for photographing the night sky.
I am hoping someone on this forum has experience using a DX camera like the D7000 for this type of photograpy and has compared that to full-frame so I can get their personal experience of the differences.
I am at the limits of my current lens and I am not getting the images I would like, so I am trying to decide whether to get a better DX lens now or wait about a year and try to upgrade to full-frame.
#5. "RE: D7000 for photograping the Milky Way" In response to Reply # 4
>You've got enough kit already to take breathtaking night sky >shots. The differences between what you are pining for and >what you currently have are minimal. > >By all means, get the new lens/body if its calling you. But >don't expect an instantaneous change in results. That's more >about technique. >
Omaha, thanks for your response. I went out with a friend a few weeks ago to take some night shots. I had my D7000, with 16-85 lens and he had his D600. I am not sure what wide angle lens he was using, but it had a max aperture of f/2.8. We set up side by side and used the same settings except for aperture because mine would only open up to f/3.5. His results were much less noisy than mine and even though the milky way was not visible to the naked eye, he was able to capture it faintly on his camera, whereas I was not.
There is definitely a difference in low light capability between FX and DX, and add to that the difference in speed of the lenses, and his equipment made a distinct difference. To get the same light into my camera as he can get with f/2.8, I have to use a higher ISO, up to 6400, and therefore get more noise in my image.
I am comfortable with the technique portion of night sky photography, but have reached the limits of my lens/camera combo and will not get better results without upgrading to a faster DX lens or moving to FX. I am just trying to decide which is the best upgrade path for me as even with a faster lens, FX will still provide better night images because of the larger sensor. I am basically concerned that even if I upgrade my DX lens, I might still see enough of a difference between the DX sensor on my camera and an FX sensor, that I might regret that upgrade path and basically lose money, by having to eventually go to FX anyway.
What would really help me in my decision making is if someone happens to have examples of night sky (stars) images taken with a DX and an FX, both using wide angle f/2.8 lenses at the same ISO.
#7. "RE: D7000 for photograping the Milky Way" In response to Reply # 6
I am unable to post pictures on the forum, but if you look in my gallery, you will see a couple of examples. The newest one is the Tumalo photograph, which was the best of about 40 shots I took that night.