Need suggestion for nighttime city lens

Nizztos

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Just for fun I went out and tried to take some night time shots, hand held with my 18-200 DX lens on a D7100, to see if I could find something I could go back to with a tripod for "proper" shots.

To my surprise some of the pictures actually came out ok, by my poor standards, even hand held.
Now I would like to know if there is a lens that could make them better without costing a fortune. Photography is a hobby that comes and goes with me so not interested in the expensive stuff.

Including a photo to show what I would like to accomplish and if there is a lens (would not mind zoom) that will let me take the same photo but with better quality while still going hand held. Lens is at its widest and at lowest zoom so given that I'm at the limit of the range I assume that I do not get the best out of the lens.

I also do realize that practice will improve the shot a lot more than a lens, but still....

20151020-DSC_1150 by Martin Hansson, on Flickr
 

goooner

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That actually looks good. Do you only have the one lens at the moment? The best solution is actually a tripod, not a lens. It will allow you to increase your aperture to get the star like effect on the lights. If it has to be hand held, get a 'cheap' 50mm 1:8 lens.

I'm dreaming of getting the 16-35 Sigma 1:8 lens, but it is quite pricey :ambivalence:
 
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Nizztos

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I have other lenses, 60 and 105 nikkor primes and an old Tamron 70-300 that I think is of less than stellar optical quality.
Tripod is always an option and when I went out it was just to find places where I could later come back with a tripod. But if I can get slightly better with a new lens I would prefer to have that as an option as well for times when I'm just out walking.

This one was taken at 18mm so a 50mm would not work for me.

Should also add a few things:
Only did exposure adjustment on this. Nothing else in post processing.
I don't care about brand.
Would prefer lens to be FX to make it future proof. This is actually my only DX lens.
 

goooner

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I have other lenses, 60 and 105 nikkor primes and an old Tamron 70-300 that I think is of less than stellar optical quality.
Tripod is always an option and when I went out it was just to find places where I could later come back with a tripod. But if I can get slightly better with a new lens I would prefer to have that as an option as well for times when I'm just out walking.

This one was taken at 18mm so a 50mm would not work for me.

Should also add a few things:
Only did exposure adjustment on this. Nothing else in post processing.
I don't care about brand.
Would prefer lens to be FX to make it future proof. This is actually my only DX lens.
18mm FX gets expensive, fast...
 

KmH

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Actually, decreasing the size of the lens aperture is what makes diffraction spikes.
The spikes are caused where the lens aperture blades meet. The more lens aperture blade a lens has the more diffraction spikes there are around a bright and small light source in a scene.
Note: Being fractions f/16 if a way smaller number than f/2 is.

I agree the posted photo turned out OK.
Rotate it so the building corners are vertical, and crop the little bit needed to square up the edges of the frame.
 

oFUNGUSo

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I think your lens is ok for night shots, personally. I've seen an awful lot of amazing night cityscapes shot with el-cheapo 18-55 kit lenses.

A tripod should help a lot.
 
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Nizztos

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Thanks all.
Reading between the lines I guess that I will not see much of an improvement with another lens as long as I do hand held.
As I said in my first post this was an excursion to find something I could go back to with a tripod. However I got much better result then I thought was possible while hand held so wanted to explore the possibility of getting good enough shots that way with slightly better gear. Tripod means planned photo trip and going just for the purpose of that shot while hand held would have been something I could do on any given walk (I walk that area several times every week).
Now I can just save my money instead :)
 

goodguy

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Cheap and good option is Nikon 35mm 1.8G
You can put it on f1.8 and hope your hands are steady.
But for true quality in low light put camera on tripod, set ISO to 100, aperture to f5 to f8 and let camera choose shutter speed.
For night shots I like to under expose shot by 2/3 of a stop or even more.
 

dannylightning

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Dave442

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At night I put on the 35mm f/1.8 that way I can catch a quick shot in low light without the tripod. When you need the tripod there is also time to switch to the other lens if you need the wider angle. The cityscapes are usually better when taken with the lens stopped down some.
 
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Nizztos

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Worth considering I think.
Will set my current lens to 35mm to see if I'm happy with that. If I am I will need to sit down and think real hard. The DX lens was cheap enough but I would prefer a lens that can handle FX if/when I go with that sometime in the future and that lens was both hard(ish) to find here and also no longer what I consider cheap at more than double the cost of the DX lens. (is there a price for long sentences??)
 

dannylightning

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nikon 50mm 1.8D that does not cost much, no focus motor.

nikon ad fx nikkor 35mm f/2D

more expensive lenses to look at.
the sigma art 24mm f/1.4
the sigma art 30mm f/1.4
the art 24-35mm f/2

tamron has some f/1.8 DI VC lenses. i hear those are nice.
 

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