Aperture for skylines

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Dikkie, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. Dikkie

    Dikkie No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi !
    I just have a technical question.
    If you want to make panorama pictures at night, like skylines, what aperture settings do you choose?

    How larger your aperture (like f1.8), how less depth of field, how less you get sharp.
    How smaller your aperture (like f22), how more depth of field, how more things you get sharp.

    So I thought to choose f22 ? (i always did before)
    (also with small aperture, your streetlights transform into nice stars)

    BUT, now I read on the website of Ken Rockwell that you have to put it on like f5.6 or so.
    He tested with a 50mm lens. But maybe it's different with a 28mm lens?
    He says you don't have to put to small apertures [​IMG]
    Anyone an idea what's best?

    http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/50-comparison/f-stops.htm
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/diffraction.htm
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/focus.htm

    Thnx,
    Dikkie
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Smaller aperture (such as f/22): more depth of field.
    Bigger apperture (such as f/1.8): less depth of field.
    That bieng said a lens does not peform the same at all apertures. There is what photographers call a 'sweet spot' where the lens is at its best in terms of sharpness. It is usually around f/8 but depends on the lens. You need to find out for your lens.
    For a skyline, I guess you do not need a lot of depth of field as the subject is more or less at infinity (unless there is something in the foreground). The aperture at the sweet spot would probably give you the best results. If it is f/8 on your 28mm, you already have a fair amount of depth of field to play with (maybe read about hyperfocal focussing).
     
  3. Dikkie

    Dikkie No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thnx
    Most people say F22 will do, stars rule ;-)
    http://thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=35052&highlight=skyline
    But this guy also said something interesting:
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Stop reading Ken Rockwell and you will start getting smarter and better at photography. Half of the stuff on his site is talking crap for talking's sake.

    When photographing as mentioned above not all apertures will be as sharp as each other. This is especially true for f/22 where lenses become downright blurry due to diffraction. This is a physics issue and has nothing to do with lens quality. Lenses are sharpest as open as they can be without problems from the edge of the glass. In practical terms if you have a $3000 lens it is probably sharpest at f/1.8, where as if you have a $500 lens that is largest at f/1.8 it is probably sharpest at f/4 (2 stops from wide open as a general rule)

    For photographing stars you won't see any at f/22. They will move in the sky before they are exposed. Depending on the amount of light pollution you may have a serious problem.

    As for general night time photograph especially for skylines as said above anything that is beyond a certain distance is classed as infinity. So something 20m away will but just as sharp as something 100m away even when the lens is at it's largest aperture. At night time you just need to watch noise getting in your pictures.

    When I shoot night images I go for f/8 normally (Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6). If I am photographing over water and I want to blur the surface I drop to f/11 or f/16, never had a practical reason to go higher than that. If I am photographing stars I am often forced to go to f/5.6 or larger because light pollution makes them invisible otherwise.

    If you want to read more I highly suggest reading the articles on http://www.luminous-landscape.com/. For instance their articles on diffraction actually explains what happens using physics and not just saying the "D200 has a resolving power of x lpmm" loads of links to external references too. That site would get you lost in the internet :)
     
  5. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Always nice to see how we all love Ken :mrgreen:

    I agree.
     
  6. Dikkie

    Dikkie No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Brilliant Mr. Garbs ! :thumbup: :heart:
     

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