How to take photos at night?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sarath, May 9, 2007.

  1. Sarath

    Sarath Guest

    I've a Canon S3 IS. While taking photos are night, it's getting
    blurred. Is it possible without using Tripod?
    Also the ISO amount getting higher in the Auto mode. So the photos
    taken at automode are not good enough in the day light. I used to set
    ISO 80 as default.
    Sarath, May 9, 2007
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  2. Sarath

    editor Guest

    Try this if subject is reasonably nearby; it works for me with a
    semipro Sony digicam. Set ISO on top speed - and use flash to get
    some background details. This is great for photographing "Christmas
    light homes," etc.

    No $4 to park! No $6 admission!
    editor, May 9, 2007
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  3. Sarath

    Fred Lotte Guest

    I came across this just yesterday.

    Samples of his work, accessed from the links at the top of the
    page, attest to the validity of his technique.

    He gives a links to other night photography sites at the bottom
    of the page.
    Fred Lotte, May 9, 2007
  4. Sarath

    Garry Knight Guest

    I only got my S3 ten days ago and, so far, the few night shots I've
    attempted (without a tripod) have been blurred, despite the IS. I've had
    better luck with my Casio EX-Z700 compact. There's a hand-held night shot
    taken with the Casio on my website for comparison: 1st column, 6th row, but
    it was more late twilight than night.

    You haven't said what you've tried: Program, Av, Manual, Night Scene, or
    what. If you've tried Night Scene and it hasn't worked, you could try going
    to the SCN setting and select Night Snapshot or Indoor - in fact, I would
    try both. But if you're going for long-exposure effects, you'll no doubt
    want to get it working using Tv or M.

    I carry an extendable table-top tripod (about 6-7 inches high) with me at
    all times, which can help stability. A bean bag can also be useful when you
    can't find a level surface. And a Gorilla Pod can be useful for gripping
    onto all kinds of objects. (How many pockets have you got? :)

    But for tack-sharp night shots, you really need a solid tripod.
    Not quite sure what you're saying here. If you set Auto ISO, it's bound to
    select a higher ISO if it thinks it can't get a "correct" exposure with the
    best aperture/time combination it has at its disposal in whichever mode
    you're in.

    I use 80 during the day, but you might want to switch to Auto, High Auto, or
    manually set 400 or 800, depending on which mode you're shooting in, at
    night. Then set it back to 80 for day shots. Yes, you have to remember to
    do this, but this is what we get when we choose a camera that gives us this
    amount of control.

    You could try switching to Manual mode and setting F2.7 at about 1/10 sec
    then half-press the shutter and if you get a red number, up the time until
    you get a 0 in the top-left corner of the EVF, but if the light's too low,
    you're going to end up with exposure times of 1-3 seconds or more and then
    the blur's almost inevitable. As an experiment, in my room with a 100W
    light bulb, on F2.7 I get red numbers from 1/30 up to 1/10, and I don't get
    a 0 until I go to 0.4 seconds. So you'll probably need to go higher than .4
    even if you're directly under a street light.

    Of course, if you're doing landscape shots and want maximum depth of focus,
    then you'll want F8, so your exposure times are going to go to over a
    second, and you're in Shaky City right from the start.

    I'm a relative beginner, but I think you're asking specifically about the
    S3, so you might also like to ask in a Canon-S3-devoted forum, for example
    the Night Photography forum at, or
    the Discovery S3 site when it's back up. You could also ask in the Canon S3
    forum at Flickr; there's at least one thread on this subject there.
    Garry Knight, May 9, 2007
  5. Sarath

    Sarath Guest

    Dear Garry,
    Thanks for your detailed reply. I tried with Both Night Scene and
    Program mode for the shots. But none of this could help me out :)
    Seems I should try with some manual configuration. I am a very
    beiginner in the matter of Photography. My knowledge is not good
    enough on these matter

    Sarath, May 10, 2007
  6. : Dear Garry,
    : Thanks for your detailed reply. I tried with Both Night Scene and
    : Program mode for the shots. But none of this could help me out :)
    : Seems I should try with some manual configuration. I am a very
    : beiginner in the matter of Photography. My knowledge is not good
    : enough on these matter

    Unfortunately in any challenging photo situation you will have to do some
    trading off to get your image. In low light situations you have a choice
    of options that can be mixed or traded. You can add light (such as a
    flash). You can increase the time the shutter is open (but this increases
    the odds of blur when hand held). You can increase the ISO (but this
    increases the "graininess" of the final image). You can increase the
    f-stop (but the lens limits how far you can go). You can use a stable
    platform to hold the camera steady, such as a tripod (which will allow you
    to slow the shutter speed for non-moving subjects).

    Everything is interrelated. If you double the ISO you can decrease the
    shutter speed by half (reducing blur) while keeping the same f-stop. Or
    you can increase the aperture by one full stop (halving the f-stop
    number) to reduce the shutter speed by half, while keeping the same ISO.
    So ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture are all interlinked. a change in one
    will affect one or both of the others.

    So you will have to do something to give the camera enough light exposure
    to work. It can be a combination of things. So for example you could
    increase the ISO one or two steps (not "too much" additional grain) and
    add some additional light (a 100w light bulb off to the side lighting the
    area) and find a stable prop to steady the camera allowing slighty longer
    shutter speeds (such as leaning on a streetlight pole to steady your
    hands). Even something like practicing squeezing the shutter gently
    instead of stabbing at it and reduce camera shake to an amazing level.

    Of course how much you have to adjust will depend on just how low the
    light is. A "night shot" taken in a small room lit with one or two medium
    wattage bulbs will be easier to adjust to than trying to take shots of a
    bat flitting in you back yard using only star light. ;)

    Even IS can not make up for all motions. It only helps to stabilize the
    small motions of the camera when hand held. It can't make up for a subject
    in motion. Even if you have a perfectly stable camera, and all the
    lighting is perfect, if the subject moves durring the time that the
    shutter is open the image of that subject will be blurred. The further it
    has moved the more blurred it will be. In fact if the moving object moves
    far enough the object may blur into total invisibility. This can be a
    handy thing to do on purpose as you can use this technique to get rid of
    distracting moving objects when they may detract from your unmoving
    primary subject. :)


    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
    Randy Berbaum, May 10, 2007
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