How to take a city night shot?

Discussion in 'Photography & Video' started by [AOB]TommO, Oct 10, 2004.

  1. [AOB]TommO

    [AOB]TommO Member

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    Hi guys,

    I did a search and didn't come across much info on this, maybe it's due to the new forum software, not sure....

    I just purchased a Canon A85, and have the oppertunity to go up to the top of Chifley Tower tonight (44 floors up). I went up there last night as well, but none of my photos turned out that well... either too blurry (my fault totally), or too dark. Compared to a mates Digital SLR (which he took up), my shots are dissmal to say the least. I'm VERY new to photography, and would like some advice as to what settings I should use.

    An example of last nights shots are:

    MY CAMERA:

    [​IMG]

    HIS CAMERA:

    [​IMG]

    I took my photos on the Canon preset "Night Scene", but disabled the flash. Compared to the SLR, my photos seem too dark, and on the high res shot, it seems a little grainy.

    I'm thinking of setting my camera up like the following to get a good night shot:
    - ISO speed: 400 (to get the most light in)
    - Shutter speed set to 2 seconds to let lots of light in
    - Aperature value: let the camera auto detect it
    - Compression levels to "normal".. not sure on this one, will the lower compression level mean that the photos turn out less grainy? I'll take the photos at 1600*1200.

    Could anyone please advice me what they think of the above settings, or suggest a better combination?
     
  2. Mred32

    Mred32 Old and Decrepit

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    Several tips from a relative newbie.
    1) For night shots, use a tripod.
    2) Set ISO100 (or ISO50) for a clearer shot (less noise).
    3) Use a longer exposure. Try 10secs at f/8 or 30sec at f/16.
    4) Practise.

    I'm sure others will have some other tips.
    This shot was 15sec at f/11. A tripod is a must for anything longer than 1/40sec.
    [​IMG]

    Mred32
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  3. Gibbon

    Gibbon grumpy old man

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    Yep, Mred's advice is good. There are a few threads here somewhere that would help you, but as you mentioned, the search function doesn't seem to be finding them at the moment. I know there's one thread called "Brisbane at Night" (cause I started it :) ) and I think there is also a "Perth at Night" thread as well as possibly threads for Sydney and Melbourne? (I can't exactly remember).

    If you're feeling particularly motivated you could browse back through this forum and find them. Download the photos, and have a look at the EXIF data (or most of them probably have some discussion about what settings were used anyway).
     
  4. armers

    armers Member

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    [AOB]TommO, I am not the best DigPhotographer in the world but maybe i can help you out a bit, i have a canon A80 which is pretty much the same as your (some sensor differences and lense differences)... This is one of my melbourne shots, i like it, but its proof that these cameras can do night shots:

    [​IMG]


    EXIF Data:
    Canon PS A80
    Exposure: 15/sec
    FStop: F/8
    ISO: 100


    Hopefuly that is a little help for you
     
  5. SpOoNFisH

    SpOoNFisH Member

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    Nice pic armers, love the colours hehe :)
    I like yours too mred32, i notice with both these pics the light is in a star kind of look, can't remember what its called. Was this done in photoshop? my old fujifilm mx2700 used to have a function to do that before it died.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  6. Dinuc

    Dinuc Member

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    Probably not, I think its a symptom of the sensor microlenses...

    [​IMG]

    exif
    Shutter speed: 30 sec
    Aperture: f/16
    Exposure compensation: +1/2
    ISO: 100
    Focal length: 24.0mm

    Dna
     
  7. |bLuEqUt|

    |bLuEqUt| Member

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    Seing that my cam has only a 2 second expose will this make much of a difference? It's a Fuji S5000?
     
  8. armers

    armers Member

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    Dinuc,

    How do you get it so that the lights aren't as bright, IE see mine flinder street is very bright looks over exposed, the same as ACU and the ANZ building. It could be a limitation with my camera, as i see you went to f/16 and 30sec... where as i can't do that high. Dunno.

    Armers
     
  9. Dinuc

    Dinuc Member

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    Ok, first is that the DSLRs have a greater dynamic range than P&Ss, this translates into being able to capture more detail when there are extremes of contrast.

    Second, is that I used 30 sec becasue I wanted the water to blur. This is the same as 8 sec at f/8, so according to me you are 1 stop overexposed. I take a range of exposures and check after each one on the histogram, which I don't think you can do. :(

    Dna
     
  10. armers

    armers Member

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    Dinuc,

    Nope can't do that... BUT i am still happy with the result.. I don't know enough or do enough to warrent a DSLR. SO i am happy with my A80 at the moemnt :D

    THanks for the info though.

    Armers
     
  11. Quadbox

    Quadbox Member

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    Actually, that's not the cause. You'll get the same effect on a film camera.

    It's the effect you get for out of focus highlights, when you have the apeture stopped right down. How many points the star has, and indeed what the stars look like in general, is detirmined by the design of the apeture diaphram. Particularly, how many blades it has.

    For example, check the bokeh comparison here. Doesn't happen at large apetures, but it's blatantly obvious at F22.

    Sorry to take the thread off topic, but I figure some people might be interested by that.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  12. |bLuEqUt|

    |bLuEqUt| Member

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    Ok some questions for you folks, Whats the best way for myslef to use my s5000 for night shots?

    Thanks
     
  13. Tyrael

    Tyrael Member

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    F22 is actually a smallter appeture than F1.8. it is actually F=1/22 or F=1/1.8, so at F22 the apeture hole is much smaller.
    The more bledes a lens has generally the better it is. But what I didn't realise was that having more blades actually makes the Lights have less star points....interesting....
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  14. Quadbox

    Quadbox Member

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    Yep, aware of that. Was a typo.

    As to the ratio of star-points to blades, I seem to remember reading that it's the same number as blades for an EVEN number of blades, but twice the number of points than blades for an ODD number. Hence the 8-bladed diaphram of the f1.4 giving an 8-pointed star, whilst the 5-bladed diaphram of the f1.8 gives a 10-pointed star.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  15. Chuck99

    Chuck99 Member

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    Found a few of the other threads (look under the photography snapshot sticky - esp Amfib's internet resources) so I thought I'd link to them:
    Bris-Vegas by night
    Perth at night
    Taking night shots

    Nice shot Dinuc! Do you also muck around with mirror lock-up to reduce vibration? Just curious if it makes much difference? - Maybe someone can post.

    I can't believe Armers got that guy in the foreground perfectly still for 15s - the pic is a triumph for that alone.
     
  16. Dinuc

    Dinuc Member

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    Thanks. Mirror lock up makes the most difference with a long lens, above 150 mm and between 1/40 to 5 sec. (These are rough figures.)

    Nah, if it's a mate, just tell him to stay perfectly still until you say. If he know photography, then he understands why... ;)

    Dna
     
  17. OP
    OP
    [AOB]TommO

    [AOB]TommO Member

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    Thanks VERY much guys - all of your comments has given me general idea of the settings I want, and the combinations to try.

    My camera only has a max Aperature value of F8.0... will that be an issue? I often see it coming up as "red" on long shutter shots (red = warning that something ain't right...)

    Going up to the roof has been pushed back until tomorrow night, but i'll post the photos when done. I bought a tripod in today as well, so yeah, should be MUCH better ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2004
  18. armers

    armers Member

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    LoL, No the fool wouldn't move, i asked him twice to move out of the shot, he just said, "why should i?" People are so annoying when it comes to taking photos.. Its like your taking an esposed shot you ask them to wait for two secs and then just walk infront of the frame.. and kinda go Oh Sorry... S'pose thats what i get for taking photos on a busy night. Oh well...

    Been meaning to do a morning shot... go out at like 4 am and take photos untill the sun comes up. Melbourne in the morning. Will do that sometime, well as soon as my mate gets a new camera. I hate photographing alone.

    :(

    Armers
     
  19. Dinuc

    Dinuc Member

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    So organise a Melbourne shoot. I would do a dawn shoot.
    There's a place I've been meaning to try for ages. Out on Newlands rd, near the Kodak place. Good view of the city from the north east.

    Dna
     
  20. FranchiseJuan

    FranchiseJuan Member

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    Mate you might, but there would only be the two of you. I ain't getting up at that hour. Especially not if it is on a weekend.

    If I was still up from the night before on the other hand.....
     

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