Night Scenes : what f value and iso are usually required

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by n, Nov 17, 2003.

  1. n

    n Guest

    Hello

    I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.

    This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    is actually 240-320.

    I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    shots.

    So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)

    f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    shooting at night.

    To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.

    I look forward to hearing your ideas.
    n, Nov 17, 2003
    #1
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  2. n

    Andy Guest

    "n" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Hello
    >
    > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    >
    > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > is actually 240-320.
    >
    > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > shots.
    >
    > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    >
    > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > shooting at night.
    >
    > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    >
    > I look forward to hearing your ideas.


    Shooting at night involves using a tripod because of long exposures.
    Andy, Nov 17, 2003
    #2
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  3. n

    Ken Alverson Guest

    "n" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)


    There is an option you have to set to unlock it. Just scan the options menu,
    I think it's called ISO Expansion or something.

    They don't want people accidentally setting it and then complaining that it's
    noisy.

    Ken
    Ken Alverson, Nov 17, 2003
    #3
  4. (n) writes:

    > > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > > shots.


    Hi, n,

    That _is_ a rule of thumb. I've heard it that way, but I've also heard that
    you use the inverse of _twice_ the focal length, which for your lens would
    be 1/600. You need to experiment to find out if the rule of thumb fits your
    thumb. :-> (Part of the problem is how far away the subject is; I have
    more trouble hand holding for a close subject than a distant one.)

    > >
    > > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online

    >SNIP<


    See the next paragraph I've left ...

    > > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.


    The issue is the correct exposure, not the rule of thumb for handholding a
    long exposure. At your ISO rating, the camera is not getting enough light
    on the sensor at f/2.8 and 1/300 second. You needed a thirtieth,
    apparently, so that's the answer. Things in motion may blur at that shutter
    speed, and it's likely many people can't handhold a camera at that shutter
    speed without some shake. You have your choice: you may choose badly
    underexposed images (which you are getting) or you may choose correctly
    exposed images. The tradeoff is that you may not be able to hand hold
    "correct" shutter speeds and that "incorrect" handheld exposures are too
    dark.

    > I look forward to hearing your ideas.


    A tripod, as another poster suggested, is the answer to long night time
    exposures especially at 300mm or so. Any movement in the frame during
    exposure likely will show up as blurred. Such is life.
    --
    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 17, 2003
    #4
  5. n

    Wdflannery Guest

    I take sunset shots from my window using a G2 ..... I set the camera so the
    flash will not fire ... put the camera on a tripod.... and go ... using the
    auto exposure ..... pics usually come out great ....
    Wdflannery, Nov 17, 2003
    #5
  6. n

    BoodieMan Guest

    In article <>,
    says...
    > Hello
    >
    > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    >
    > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > is actually 240-320.
    >
    > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > shots.
    >
    > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    >
    > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > shooting at night.
    >
    > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    >
    > I look forward to hearing your ideas.
    >


    Get a tripod!
    BoodieMan, Nov 17, 2003
    #6
  7. BoodieMan <> writes:

    > In article <>,
    > says...
    > > Hello
    > >
    > > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    > >
    > > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > > is actually 240-320.
    > >
    > > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > > shots.
    > >
    > > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    > >
    > > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > > shooting at night.


    Depends what kind of night shots.

    These fireworks shots
    (<http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/ddb-gallery.cgi/Guy%20Fawkes%20Day%202002>)
    were shot around f5.6 best I can recall. On ASA 100 film, I believe.
    Exposures of 5-10 seconds.

    There are two ways to approach "night" shots -- getting mostly the
    light sources themselves in the picture (as with the fireworks
    pictures), and trying for a more normal rendition. Definitely for the
    first approach, and sometimes for the second approach, the best
    technique is usually to use a tripod, fairly slow ISO, modest aperture
    -- and long exposure time.

    F2.8 is the *slowest* lens I have in my normal inventory (okay, I have
    a 500mm f8 mirror lens that I get out for real emergencies).
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <>, <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <noguns-nomoney.com> <www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Photos: <dd-b.lighthunters.net> Snapshots: <www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <dragaera.info/>
    David Dyer-Bennet, Nov 18, 2003
    #7
  8. n

    jam Guest

    Once you get your tripod, bring the ISO down. Exposure times will go
    up accordingly: Halve the ISO, double exposure the time. Long
    exposures promote certain kinds of noise in an of themselves, so you
    may find that your least-noise setup occurs at an ISO somewhere above
    the camera's minimum. Nevertheless, I'd start at the minimum ISO again
    and bring it up slowly as needed, bracking like crazy with shutter
    speed as you go.

    If you're unwilling to use a tripod, consider a monopod or bracing the
    camera as solidly as you can against any immovable object available (a
    wall, a post, a railing, a car). I've had a good bit of luck with a
    monopod + bracing at relatively low ISOs at night.

    BTW, that handholding rule of thumb is just a starting point. You'll
    need to experiment to determine your own particular base handholding
    limit, which may well improve with practice or changes in grip. Then
    you'll need to adjust depending on how many cups of coffee you've had,
    how cold you are, how heavy the camera+lens du jour is, etc.
    --
    Jeremy McCreary
    Denver, CO
    www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/
    -------------------------------------------


    "n" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    | Hello
    |
    | I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    |
    | This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    | I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of
    around
    | 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    | is actually 240-320.
    |
    | I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed
    should
    | be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    | shots.
    |
    | So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the
    time.
    | I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    | iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    | canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to
    set
    | this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    |
    | f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    | really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you
    are
    | shooting at night.
    |
    | To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    | iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i
    set
    | the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    | subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    |
    | I look forward to hearing your ideas.
    jam, Nov 18, 2003
    #8
  9. n

    Alan Browne Guest

    http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm

    and look at table 1 for shooting condition, and table 2 for possible
    combos of ISO, f/ and speed.

    Cheers,
    Alan

    n wrote:

    > Hello
    >
    > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    >
    > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > is actually 240-320.
    >
    > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > shots.
    >
    > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    >
    > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > shooting at night.
    >
    > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    >
    > I look forward to hearing your ideas.


    --
    e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Nov 18, 2003
    #9
  10. n

    n Guest

    Alan Browne <> wrote in message news:<gMtub.111071$>...
    > http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
    >
    > and look at table 1 for shooting condition, and table 2 for possible
    > combos of ISO, f/ and speed.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Alan
    >
    > n wrote:
    >
    > > Hello
    > >
    > > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    > >
    > > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > > is actually 240-320.
    > >
    > > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > > shots.
    > >
    > > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    > >
    > > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > > shooting at night.
    > >
    > > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    > >
    > > I look forward to hearing your ideas.


    Thank you everybody. Very helpful info and links.
    btw, I don't know how anybody could have alens collection and the
    slowest being f2.8. I looked at the canon line up and there are only
    2 or 3 lenses faster than this!
    And after reading some of the links i will have toget a tripod.
    Something convenient for lugging round.
    n, Nov 20, 2003
    #10
  11. "n" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Alan Browne <> wrote in message

    news:<gMtub.111071$>...
    > > http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
    >> > > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > > > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > > > shooting at night.
    > > >
    > > > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > > > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > > > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > > > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    > > >
    > > > I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    >
    > Thank you everybody. Very helpful info and links.
    > btw, I don't know how anybody could have alens collection and the
    > slowest being f2.8. I looked at the canon line up and there are only
    > 2 or 3 lenses faster than this!
    > And after reading some of the links i will have toget a tripod.
    > Something convenient for lugging round.


    Do yourself a favor and when you get the tripod use a smaller aperture too.
    Night shots wide open are softer in focus, and generally don't look as nice
    as a closed down lens. f2.8 is there for handholding in low light and DOF
    work, its not the best quality option, especially at night when optical
    high/low quality is accentuated. Most lenses look best in the f5.6-13
    range.
    George Preddy, Nov 20, 2003
    #11
  12. n

    Andy Guest

    "n" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > Alan Browne <> wrote in message

    news:<gMtub.111071$>...
    > > http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm
    > >
    > > and look at table 1 for shooting condition, and table 2 for possible
    > > combos of ISO, f/ and speed.
    > >
    > > Cheers,
    > > Alan
    > >
    > > n wrote:
    > >
    > > > Hello
    > > >
    > > > I am using a canon eos 10d and canon f2.8 70-200.
    > > >
    > > > This is a great set of equipment and an amazing lens.
    > > > I have found that I do most of my shots with a focal length of around
    > > > 150 -200. This camera has a built in zoom of 1.6 so the focal length
    > > > is actually 240-320.
    > > >
    > > > I heard a great rule of thumb on this group: the shutter speed should
    > > > be the same as the focal length to prevent blurring on hand held
    > > > shots.
    > > >
    > > > So if I set the shutter speed at 300 i should be ok most of the time.
    > > > I tried this, but many of the shots were too dark. I cranked up the
    > > > iso to 1600 to see if this would improve things. (btw, in the online
    > > > canon manual it says the iso can go to 3200, but i cant see how to set
    > > > this on my camera. The dial goes up to 1600. Any ideas?)
    > > >
    > > > f2.8 is the fastest lens i have ever had. I am wondering whether it
    > > > really makes a big difference getting an even faster lens when you are
    > > > shooting at night.
    > > >
    > > > To give you an idea, I was at an adjusted focal length of 320, f2.8
    > > > iso 1600 and I was getting not enough light meter readings until i set
    > > > the shutter speed at 30, which is about 10 times too slow, iiuc. The
    > > > subjects are in motion and appeared blurred in the picture.
    > > >
    > > > I look forward to hearing your ideas.

    >
    > Thank you everybody. Very helpful info and links.
    > btw, I don't know how anybody could have alens collection and the
    > slowest being f2.8. I looked at the canon line up and there are only
    > 2 or 3 lenses faster than this!
    > And after reading some of the links i will have toget a tripod.
    > Something convenient for lugging round.

    Canon has only 2 or 3 lenses faster than f2.8 ????? did you checked all
    lenses ???? Just all Canons 50 mm lenses are faster than f 2.8 it is f 1.0
    the fastest in the world, f1.4 and f1.8 .How about other lenses ? Check them
    to find out you are so wrong.
    Andy, Nov 20, 2003
    #12
  13. n

    jam Guest

    | Most lenses look best in the f5.6-13 range.

    I agree that wide open aperture doesn't usually give maximum resolving
    power, but f/13????

    Most digital cameras with dedicated lenses suffer from significant
    diffraction blurring at or above f/8. That's why many don't even offer
    such apertures. It may be less problematic with digital SLRs using 35
    mm lenses, but their sensors are still smaller than the 35 mm frame,
    so I suspect there's still some diffraction penalty at the smallest
    apertures.

    A good rule of thumb that seems to apply to digital and film lenses
    alike is to begin the search for the maximum resolving power aperture
    about 2 full stops down from wide open, then test to find it. On my
    old Oly C-2020Z, f/4 - f/5.6 is the answer, depending on the zoom.
    That's a long way from f/13.
    --
    Jeremy McCreary
    Denver, CO
    www.cliffshade.com/dpfwiw/
    -------------------------------------------
    jam, Nov 20, 2003
    #13
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