Night photo question

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by battlelance, Nov 14, 2003.

  1. battlelance

    battlelance Guest

    Hi folks,

    I have a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I love. Even though it's a few years
    old, it's still taking pictures better than most newer cameras in it's
    category.

    Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night photography
    with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.

    Perhaps it's my somewhat grey understanding of how to take a proper
    picture, but I tried upping the ISO to it's highest setting, and even
    then, the amount of light it lets in compared to a SLR (or even just a
    lower ISO setting) isn't all that much.

    Can someone point me in the right direction, or maybe even a web site
    that can help me out?
     
    battlelance, Nov 14, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. battlelance

    MikeWhy Guest

    "battlelance" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night photography
    > with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    > tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.
    >
    > Perhaps it's my somewhat grey understanding of how to take a proper
    > picture, but I tried upping the ISO to it's highest setting, and even
    > then, the amount of light it lets in compared to a SLR (or even just a
    > lower ISO setting) isn't all that much.


    All but the most basic P&S should be able to take reasonable streetlight lit
    night shots. The problem is likely to be how your camera meters the
    exposure. Street lights can fool the meter into underexposure.

    Night scenes are easiest in manual mode, but exposure compensation might
    work if the 990 doesn't have full manual. Many cameras will let you vary the
    exposure by +/- 2 EV. It might also be that your longest exposure isn't long
    enough in the darkness, but that seems unlikely with the ISO cranked high.
    Spot metering the darkness between pools of light might help, if that's an
    option. For typical streetlight scenes, 20" to 30", f/8 to f/11 at ISO 100
    works pretty well for me. That translates to about 4", f/4 for ISO 800.
    Almost any camera should be able to do it. Try looking for the EV
    adjustment, or at the very least, a backlit scene setting.
     
    MikeWhy, Nov 15, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. battlelance

    Jim Townsend Guest

    battlelance wrote:

    > Hi folks,
    >
    > I have a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I love. Even though it's a few years
    > old, it's still taking pictures better than most newer cameras in it's
    > category.
    >
    > Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night photography
    > with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    > tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.
    >
    > Perhaps it's my somewhat grey understanding of how to take a proper
    > picture, but I tried upping the ISO to it's highest setting, and even
    > then, the amount of light it lets in compared to a SLR (or even just a
    > lower ISO setting) isn't all that much.
    >
    > Can someone point me in the right direction, or maybe even a web site
    > that can help me out?


    There's not a lot too it.. I looked up the specs for your 990.. It can do
    bulb.. and it's a good camera, so there's no reason you can't get reasonable
    night shots.

    Before you put the camera in manual mode, take a shot in auto mode and note
    what the exposure settings were. (Aperture & Shutter speed). Then use those as
    a starting point in manual mode. Vary both and see what happens.

    Take a picture.. If it's too dark, lengthen the time the shutter stays open...
    So instead of 4 seconds, go for 8. If it's too light, shorten the time the
    shutter stays open.

    It's OK to use a low ISO.. It will keep the noise down. You'll just have to
    keep the shutter open longer.

    You don't say what the results of you taking night shots in auto mode were..
    You should should have had some sort of result since the camera can hold the
    shutter open for to 8 seconds.

    Since it's a digital camera.. It doesn't cost anything to take test shots..
    Take lots and lots of em :)

    You can also search the web for 'night photography' using a search engine like
    google.. Here's one site I found:

    http://www.gorillasites.com/nightphotos/
     
    Jim Townsend, Nov 15, 2003
    #3
  4. battlelance

    Ed Ruf Guest

    On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 23:19:11 GMT, in rec.photo.digital battlelance
    <> wrote:

    >Hi folks,
    >
    >I have a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I love. Even though it's a few years
    >old, it's still taking pictures better than most newer cameras in it's
    >category.
    >
    >Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night photography
    >with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    >tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.
    >
    >Perhaps it's my somewhat grey understanding of how to take a proper
    >picture, but I tried upping the ISO to it's highest setting, and even
    >then, the amount of light it lets in compared to a SLR (or even just a
    >lower ISO setting) isn't all that much.
    >
    >Can someone point me in the right direction, or maybe even a web site
    >that can help me out?


    Start using shutter priority mode. Hand held use BSS. If using a tripod,
    then no need, you can use the self timer to minimize shake. The 990 is more
    than capable of such shots.
    ________________________________________________________
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    http://members.cox.net/egruf
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    http://members.cox.net/egruf-digicam
     
    Ed Ruf, Nov 15, 2003
    #4
  5. battlelance <> writes:

    > Hi folks,
    >
    > I have a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I love. Even though it's a few years
    > old, it's still taking pictures better than most newer cameras in it's
    > category.


    Hi, Lance, I have one, too.

    >
    > Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night photography
    > with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    > tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.


    I've tried that, too, and I agree with you that it doesn't work.

    >SNIP<
    > Can someone point me in the right direction, or maybe even a web site
    > that can help me out?


    My suggestion is to read the manual on, uh, manual operation and go manual
    with it at night. I can never get it to focus automatically at night, so
    I've switched to manual. You can set up three different sets of settings
    (sorry) in manual mode, so I have one for daylight video, one for night
    video, and one for night still. You can set the flash to off for dim light
    or ambient so that the exposure is long enough to get something outside the
    range of flash plus the flash. You can set the ISO and actually have an
    effect. You can set the focus manually, although I can't do that in dim
    light on the LCD. I set the focus to the mountain icon which disables flash
    or to INF which doesn't disable flash for distant subjects.

    I'm sorry to say you need to read the manual carefully and try stuff as you
    read it to get a handle on what it's saying and how that works for you in
    the field. Like you, I'm very happy with the camera, and I've learned that
    it will do a _lot_ more if you know how to use it, but you have to get out
    of automatic mode.

    Have fun.

    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Nov 15, 2003
    #5
  6. battlelance

    GLC1173 Guest

    Battlelance wrote:
    >Anyway, I never have been able to master >the art of night photography
    >with this puppy. The best I've been able to >do is mount it on the
    >tripod, set it to automatic and hit the >shutter release.


    What I do is prop the digicam - on ISO 400 and auto exposure - on the car
    windowsill <I>with the flash on.</i> This gives good fill lighting for photos
    of Christmas-decorated homes, etc.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    <B>Dissident news - plus immigration, gun rights, nationwide weather
    <I><A HREF="http://www.alamanceind.com">ALAMANCE INDEPENDENT:
    official newspaper of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy</A></b></i>
     
    GLC1173, Nov 15, 2003
    #6
  7. battlelance

    battlelance Guest

    On 14 Nov 2003 17:35:51 -0800, Phil Stripling
    <> wrote:

    >I'm sorry to say you need to read the manual carefully and try stuff as you
    >read it to get a handle on what it's saying and how that works for you in
    >the field. Like you, I'm very happy with the camera, and I've learned that
    >it will do a _lot_ more if you know how to use it, but you have to get out
    >of automatic mode.


    First, thanks to everyone who replied. A big help!

    I really like this camera too, it takes really great pictures. I
    suppose I just need to learn a lot more about the manual settings -
    they seem to have more profound impact on digital pictures than they
    do on my SLR, which seems to be a tad more forgiving.

    In any case, I've ordered a new manual off ebay since all I can find
    is the german manual... In the mean time, since you have the same
    camera, would you know if it's capable of TIFF (perhaps compressed
    TIFF) or even RAW file formats, and if so, where would I set it? I've
    looked through the menu and can't seem to find anything.

    Thanks again!
     
    battlelance, Nov 15, 2003
    #7
  8. battlelance

    battlelance Guest

    On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 03:43:20 GMT, battlelance
    <> wrote:

    >... In the mean time, since you have the same
    >camera, would you know if it's capable of TIFF (perhaps compressed
    >TIFF) or even RAW file formats, and if so, where would I set it? I've
    >looked through the menu and can't seem to find anything.


    I should elaborate a little.. In manual mode, I can set the image
    quality to HI which produces a TIFF, however it seems that under auto,
    it only lets me pick FINE which produces a jpeg.

    The fella who works at the local camera shop said that I'd get better
    results (once I actually figure out how to take proper night shots!)
    using a lossless file format for those star/moon shots as it would
    produce less artifacts and help with overexposure. I'm not sure if
    what he said was true or not, but I'm sure I'll find out :)
     
    battlelance, Nov 15, 2003
    #8
  9. battlelance

    jam Guest

    To all the other excellent replies, I'll add only this: Bracket like
    crazy, and don't underestimate the value of negative exposure
    compensation or manual underexposure (relative to the camera's meter)
    when there are lights in the field of view, even small ones.

    The meter tends to overexpose lights for the same reason it invariably
    overexposes the moon--even in aggregate, these highlights are very
    small compared the meter's field of view, even with spot metering. The
    ±2 stops of EC adjustment that most cameras provide are often not
    enough. Try EC first, but don't hesitate to go to manual mode.

    When there are a lot of lights, as in holiday scenes, you'll often
    face a potentially ugly trade-off between blowing out the lights and
    capturing shadow detail. The variation that yields the best balance
    isn't all that easy to predict, and it isn't always apparent in the
    LCD, either. Back to bracketing again!
    --
    Jeremy McCreary
    Denver, CO
    www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/
    -------------------------------------------

    "battlelance" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | Hi folks,
    |
    | I have a Nikon Coolpix 990, which I love. Even though it's a few
    years
    | old, it's still taking pictures better than most newer cameras in
    it's
    | category.
    |
    | Anyway, I never have been able to master the art of night
    photography
    | with this puppy. The best I've been able to do is mount it on the
    | tripod, set it to automatic and hit the shutter release.
    |
    | Perhaps it's my somewhat grey understanding of how to take a proper
    | picture, but I tried upping the ISO to it's highest setting, and
    even
    | then, the amount of light it lets in compared to a SLR (or even just
    a
    | lower ISO setting) isn't all that much.
    |
    | Can someone point me in the right direction, or maybe even a web
    site
    | that can help me out?
    |
    |
     
    jam, Nov 15, 2003
    #9
  10. battlelance <> writes:

    > In any case, I've ordered a new manual off ebay since all I can find
    > is the german manual... In the mean time, since you have the same


    Please visit
    http://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID72/531.html
    and follow the link to the 990 manual in .pdf format while yu
    wait. English, French, Spanish, Italian, and Dutch as well as German.

    > camera, would you know if it's capable of TIFF (perhaps compressed
    > TIFF) or even RAW file formats, and if so, where would I set it? I've
    > looked through the menu and can't seem to find anything.


    It does JPGs only, although with varying compressions.

    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Nov 15, 2003
    #10
  11. battlelance <> writes:

    > I should elaborate a little.. In manual mode, I can set the image
    > quality to HI which produces a TIFF, however it seems that under auto,
    > it only lets me pick FINE which produces a jpeg.


    Yes, I said in the other post that it's JPG only, and I was wrong. Manual
    mode allows a TIFF file, which I never use and just plain forgot.

    >
    > The fella who works at the local camera shop said that I'd get better
    > results (once I actually figure out how to take proper night shots!)
    > using a lossless file format for those star/moon shots as it would
    > produce less artifacts and help with overexposure. I'm not sure if
    > what he said was true or not, but I'm sure I'll find out :)


    I never use TIFF, so I can't provide any experience on whether he is
    correct or not. Using TIFF would not 'help with overexposure' if he means
    make the camera expose correctly; assuming he meant that you could fine
    tune the resulting TIFF in Graphic Converter or whatever and make it look
    better than a JPEG, I can't say.

    If you want a correctly exposed full moon, shoot with the aperture at f/16
    and the shutter speed set at 1/[your ISO setting]; for example, f/16 and if
    the ISO is 100, 1/100 of a second (or as close as the camera gets to that
    -- 1/120 or whatever). Louise was out last weekend with her Digital Rebel
    and took photos of the full moon rising. With the "sunny f/16" setting, the
    moon was correctly exposed, although quite small with her lens and not
    nearly as dramatic as when overexposed with long trails of moonshine on the
    San Francisco Bay, plus a jet or two across a 20-second exposure. :)

    --
    Philip Stripling | email to the replyto address is presumed
    Legal Assistance on the Web | spam and read later. email to philip@
    http://www.PhilipStripling.com/ | my domain is read daily.
     
    Phil Stripling, Nov 15, 2003
    #11
  12. battlelance

    Ed Ruf Guest

    On Sat, 15 Nov 2003 03:43:20 GMT, in rec.photo.digital battlelance
    <> wrote:

    >In any case, I've ordered a new manual off ebay since all I can find
    >is the german manual...


    An electronic version of the manual in PDF can be dl'd from the Nikon site.
    http://support.nikontech.com/cgi-bi...php?p_prod_lvl1=1&p_prod_lvl2=8&p_cat_lvl1=24

    watch the above url for wrapping.

    >In the mean time, since you have the same
    >camera, would you know if it's capable of TIFF (perhaps compressed
    >TIFF) or even RAW file formats, and if so, where would I set it? I've
    >looked through the menu and can't seem to find anything.


    Uncompressed tiff output is available only when taking photos in M-Rec, not
    A-rec on the On/Off dial switch. In M-rec you then have the choice od
    Program, Aperture, Shutter and manual modes (P, A, S, M) by holding down
    the mode button while turning the thumb wheel. P-mode use the same exposure
    program as A-rec, but opens up the ability to set many other options in the
    camera.setup. Go into set up in both A and M-rec and you'll see the
    additional set up menus available in M-rec. Also in A-rec you are stuck
    with continuous focus, where the camera is continually adjusting focus
    itself while on. Most folks set the auto focus to single, like you SLR
    which then requires a half press of the shutter release to focus prior to
    taking a picture. The continuous focus also consumes much battery power, so
    doing away with it can greatly extend battery life depending upon your use.

    You will not find much advantage to tiff output as compared to that of the
    fine jpeg quality setting. The 990 does not output as Nikon raw NEF format.
    ________________________________________________________
    Ed Ruf Lifetime AMA# 344007 ()
    http://members.cox.net/egruf
    See images taken with my CP-990 and 5700 at
    http://members.cox.net/egruf-digicam
     
    Ed Ruf, Nov 15, 2003
    #12
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. monique

    olympus C-700 do not take good photo at night

    monique, Oct 22, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    357
    Kevin McMurtrie
    Oct 23, 2003
  2. Nunnsby

    Canon Powershot S50 Night/Underwater Photo Help

    Nunnsby, Jul 12, 2004, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    2
    Views:
    555
    Dan Birchall
    Jul 12, 2004
  3. Geoff Udy

    Night Photo Settings ?

    Geoff Udy, Sep 6, 2004, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    363
    Geoff Udy
    Sep 6, 2004
  4. 223rem

    Question about a night photo

    223rem, Feb 2, 2006, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    4
    Views:
    255
    Ray Fischer
    Feb 3, 2006
  5. Vance

    The non-night night shot

    Vance, Oct 12, 2010, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    3
    Views:
    436
    Robert Coe
    Oct 13, 2010
Loading...

Share This Page