Gathering the Gear
What's the best camera for shooting after dark? When she plans to make large, gallery-sized prints, Saville uses a Mamiya 645 body and Phase One IQ 180 digital back for higher resolution images. Otherwise one of her favorite cameras is the Nikon D800E. "It has the uncanny ability to work at high ISOs with a minimum of noise while maintaining the look of city light. It's really kind of stunning. I try to keep to ISO 200 or 400, but if I have to, I'll go higher with the D800E. I've gone up to ISO 2500, even ISO 5000."
Also, a good tripod is essential, says Saville. "Look for a tripod that you're willing to spend a lot of time with and become good friends. Go to a reputable dealer who will let you return a tripod, no questions asked," she says. Tripod heads are just as important; you need a good fit. She prefers ballheads for the freedom of movement, but realizes that many photographers prefer pan-and-tilt heads for a more methodical style. Either way, you don't necessarily have to buy a head from the same company that made your tripod. Once you've got your camera support, become intimately familiar with it in daylight before taking it out at night.