Gear — Urban Night Photography

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Read our urban night photography how-to guide


If the sun is down, it’s more than likely that I’ll be using a Sony a7S II full-frame mirrorless camera. While the sensor measures in at 12 megapixels, the pixels are very large and can pull in a ton of light. Its high-speed ISO performance is virtually unparalleled, though the Nikon D5 and Canon EOS-1D X Mark II come close. With that said, the a7S II, with its 12-megapixel sensor, won’t allow you much in terms of cropping down, so be sure you’re filling your frame effectively.

Sony a7S II


More likely than not, I veer toward the wider end of the focal-length spectrum. If I were shooting stars out in nature, I’d also be focusing very heavily on how large the lens aperture is, but with city shooting I’m usually stopping down anyway, so it isn’t a factor. You’ll usually find me with my Zeiss Batis 2.8/18 prime lens because it’s a ridiculously sharp lens. I’m also quite partial to the Zeiss Loxia 2/35 and the Sony Sonnar T* FE 55mm F1.8 ZA. Sigma now makes the MC-11 adapter to mount Sigma lenses on the Sony E-mount, and several companies make adapters to allow Canon and Leica lenses to work with the a7-series.

Zeiss Batis 2.8/18


I only use Really Right Stuff tripods and ballheads. Many photographers use sticks from Induro, Benro, Manfrotto, Gitzo and many other high-quality brands. When I’m traveling, I usually take the super-small and light Really Right Stuff TQC-14 with the BH-30 LR ballhead. If I’m shooting locally or I know that I’ll need my tripod to extend very high, I’ll take my TVC-34L with the BH-55 LR ballhead.

Really Right Stuff TQC-14

Camera Bag

When I’m shooting in a city, I want my bag to have a particular visual design and not stand out as a camera bag. Personally, I use either the Everyday Messenger or Everyday Backpack, both from Peak Design. I’ve also used similar-style bags from Tenba, Think Tank, Manfrotto, Billingham, Tamrac, Lowepro and others.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

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