nikon d7100 night photography

The Best Nikon D7100 Night Photography Settings for Excellent Photography

The Nikon D7100 is an excellent camera and even though it is on the older side when you compare it with all the modern offerings in the market, it does not mean that the camera is not good enough or does not deliver the results that one would want. It is one of the best cameras in the market for a lot of reasons.

Whether you are a hobbyist or someone who is a semi-professional, you are going to get excellent results from this camera through and through and you will not be let down in terms of the performance, at all. However, when it comes to night photography and the settings that are used, things can be a bit confusing. This is not because the camera fails to deliver as that is not the case. But users are generally confused when you are talking about nighttime settings.

That is why we are going to help everyone get their camera up and ready for night photography. The best part is that this guide is not just going to cater to night photography. This means that if you do want to go ahead and set the camera and have it ready, then this is the way to go.

Nikon D7100 Night Photography Settings

Is the Nikon D7100 Good in Low Light?

Now, I will be honest with you. When I got my hands on the Nikon D7100, I was a bit concerned as to how the camera might perform in low light. For the simplest reason, it was because the camera had a crop sensor, and crop sensors tend to not perform as well in low-life photography. So, of course, I was concerned as to how this camera might perform.

The right camera settings are very, very important. If your camera settings are off even by just a small measure, the experience that you are going to get is not going to be good and the image quality will also suffer a lot.

Testing the Camera’s Performance

After spending a good amount of time setting this camera up and testing various lenses and photography scenarios, I realized that the camera, when paired with a good pair of lenses for the Nikon d7100, is actually amazing, to say the least. You can easily get some stunning Nikon d7100 low light performance as long as you have a lens for Nikon d7100 good enough.

Sure, there are a few limitations such as not being able to crank up the ISO all the way up, but it never really is something that causes issues for me. So, it is safe to say that the Nikon D7100 is an excellent camera for low-light photography, provided you are fully aware of the limitations that apply here because that would keep you in check.

nikon d7100 sample

For now, let’s just go onto some tips and best settings for the Nikon d7100 for night photography.

Nikon D7100 Tips and Best Settings for Night Photography

Assuming that you genuinely are serious about night photography, we are going to spend some time looking at some tips as well as settings that will help you with night photography on the Nikon D7100. I do understand that this might not be for everyone but if you genuinely want a good experience, this is the way to go and you will not have any issues along the way, either.

I am saying again that your camera settings will have a good impact on your image quality and does not matter if you are using a wide-angle lens or a telephoto lens, if the camera settings are not properly adjusted, then the images are going to come out looking average at best.

One thing that I would mention here is that although you have done with the Nikon d7100 best settings, they are not tailor-made. This means that should you wish to make any changes, you can more than easily go ahead and do so with a great experience overall. You can even use these on other cameras if you wish to go for it, after all, the flexibility is what we are after.

1- Start with Manual Mode

I am going to make it clear right away. If you are going for automatic mode when you are shooting at night, you are going to get a mess in the name of pictures. The simplest thing that you should be doing is turning the camera to manual mode before you go ahead and take pictures. After all, without a proper understanding of manual mode and how things work, you might not be able to go further, but it would be better if you are looking into that, as well.

Thankfully, over the past couple of years, the manual mode has become a lot easier and almost everything about the mode is self-explanatory. However, if you fail to understand a few key concepts, feel free to get in touch with us and we will help you out.

2- Setting the Aperture

The next step is to set the aperture; now, when you are talking about photography in ideal conditions, you can go ahead and experiment with the aperture as much as you want because it never really is a huge concern for people, to begin with. However, with night photography, things are a bit different.

Now, this is going to surprise a lot of people, then you need to be certain that you are setting the aperture anywhere from f/8 to f/16. Why? Well, this is being done to create a long depth of field to create an image that is sharp from the foreground to the background.

I know this is a closed shutter, but don’t worry, we are going to compensate for this by changing the shutter speed.

nikon d7100 night sample image

3- Keeping the ISO Low

Another thing that I would suggest to everyone who is going forward and getting the right night shot is that you should keep your ISO as low as possible. For those wondering, I would always suggest that you keep the ISO anywhere from 100 to 200.

Going above that is not going to be a solid experience and I do understand that most people might be confused because ISO this low means that you do not have enough light in the photo. Well, that is where the longer shutter speed comes into play as it would compensate for the lack of ISO.

4- Adjusting the Shutter Speed

 Now comes an important part, to be honest. A lot of the time, people prefer a faster shutter speed and that is the right thing to do, to be honest. However, this does end up limiting you in one way or the other because when you are talking about night photography, you need the shutter to be open for as long as you can think of and it would be better if you are just keeping track of it.

So, we would suggest that you keep the shutter speed anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds and the reason behind that is rather simple, you just have to be sure that you are allowing as much light as possible in the sensor so the picture can look good. Talking about shutter speed reminded me that I also wrote an article about shutter count.

5- Automatic White Balance

You must know that night photography uses various light sources with a lot of different colors. In such situations, using an auto white balance is going to give you a better middle ground which can be adjusted properly in post-processing. I know this might be complicated but this is what I would suggest to most people.

6- Always Use Manual Focus

I know this one is a bit tricky but I would always suggest that you use manual focus. Why? Well, it is going to be dark and your camera will have a hard time finding something to focus on. The best way to tackle this situation is by focusing on something bright in a distance, and then switching the lens to manual focus, and then adjusting the focus point.

For first-timers, it is going to take some time but you will be fine once you get the perfect focus.

7- RAW is the Way to Go

Although I do not really have to state the obvious for those who are not sure, it would be better if you are taking pictures in RAW. Why? It would make it infinitely easier for you to edit the image in post-processing and you will not really have any problems going forward. So, if you do want to be sure that you are getting the experience you want, always follow this route.

nikon d7100 night photography

What Equipment Do You Need for Night Photography?

Now, the next logical step is to look at some of the equipment that you are going to need for night photography. The good news is that there is a chance you already have access to some of this equipment so you are good to go. Still, let’s have a look.

1- A Tripod

Night photography means that you will have to keep your camera as stable as possible and you cannot really do much without a tripod. Therefore, investing in a good, solid tripod is a must.

2- Remote Trigger and Cable Release

You will also need to be sure that you have a good remote trigger and cable release, for the simplest reason that you should not be touching the camera to take a picture as that would shake the camera and you might get into some blurry mess.

3- Wide Angle Lens

I don’t think this needs to come as a surprise but hey, I would always suggest that you use a wide-angle lens on your camera. You can check our round-up of the best lenses for Nikon D7100 and you will find some excellent offerings in there.

nikon d7100 forest sample image

Frequently Asked Questions

You can follow the settings that we have mentioned in this guide as it will help you get the most out of your Nikon D7100.

Despite being a crop sensor camera, the Nikon D7100 is surprisingly good in low light and delivers great performance, as well.

If you are looking to get some good night shots, I would always suggest that you are keeping the ISO as low as possible.


I do understand that for most people, getting the right shot might be difficult at night. But the best part is that you are not going to run into any issues with this guide. We have made sure that we covered all the basics and Nikon d7100 recommended settings that you would want to go ahead with and if you are looking forward to taking some amazing night shots, this guide is going to help you see that through.

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