I have gotten a few questions on how to set the camera up for good night shots and there is really nothing to it this is what I normally do is very simple things. If you check your camera manual you should be able to follow the same settings.
Here is an example of a night shot that I have taken with my old Nikon D70s:
I am already down that upgrade road where my lightweight video cam tripod is not really that good any more for several reasons including getting closer to the ground.
Ken Rockwell has a very different opinion on tripods but I find that they are necessary for a number of reasons. It’s not only the low light conditions they are useful, I use them in any type of light.
The reason for this is that cameras are heavy and to work wth your composition in a nice way you need to move around try angles and zoom and various framing options and a nice tripod is a help here making it easier for you to walk about, find the right spot, mount the camera there and then adjust it properly and take a great picture.
If you can’t afford a top of the line tripod and a really good head, then by all means get something cheaper. You will most likely upgrade eventually so it might be a waste of money but at least you have something. I think lots of photographers will nod in recognition to this.
Other useful items to stabilize the camera could also include monopods (although I personally dislike them) bean bags (great for macro photos since you can place anything on them) and clips and clamps that you can use to attach your camera to a handrail or similar on a bridge. Lovely stuff all of it.