Long Shutter versus Short Shutter for Night Time City Pics

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Cero21, Jul 14, 2007.

  1. Cero21

    Cero21 TPF Noob!

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    I was wondering what type of shutter speeds I should be using for night time city pics (skyline type stuff).

    The P setting on my Olympus E510 sets the aperture wide (like F4) and shutter relativity short 4-5 sec.

    Is it better to have longer shutter speeds (like around 30 sec) with the Aperture smaller (~F20) or a larger aperture with faster shutters? Which will provide sharper images?

    Here is an example of what I've been shooting.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. photoman720

    photoman720 TPF Noob!

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    most likely the larger aperature because it makes more things in focused.
     
  3. Cero21

    Cero21 TPF Noob!

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    Larger aperture number (smaller opening) or larger aperture?
     
  4. nist7

    nist7 TPF Noob!

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    Smaller aperture opening (ie, larger f/stop number) translates to a greater depth of field than a larger aperture opening (ie, smaller f/stop number).
     
  5. I assume you're using a tripod.

    Use a small aperture, something around or above f/11, you can even go f/16 or f/22. You'll need a longer exposure obviously. It will also give you nice stars around the light sources.

    Beware though - any light coming onto the lens at really acute angles will give you flare, so take off all filters, use the lens hood, and make do with f/11 or f/16 even though you could shoot at f/22 (all as examples.) Canon straps also have a little rubber thingy with which to shut the viewfinder, lest light creep in through there during long exposures. I have found it to be good enough ensuring that no light falls on it from behind, I don't use the rubber thingy.

    Also, bright lights can be a harsh over-exposure, you'll have to experiment to see what works best.

    If you don't have a remote release, set your camera's auto timer to a short time (2 seconds, for instance) so you can compose your shot, trigger the shutter, and then have those couple of seconds to avoid your supression motion turning into camera shake.
     
  6. jon_k

    jon_k TPF Noob!

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    Is this a problem with your type of camera or is this an issue with all SLR's? I've never heard of covering the viewfinder. I can see how a light leak is possible on certain cameras though.
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That would be all slrs. It doesn't happen often but if the photo is important to you... .

    Iron has it right, the higher f number is the way to go for night time landscapes.

    As to the question of noise, it's not a factor (over and above the norm) until you get to insanely long exposures.
     
  8. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depending on what I'm going for (blurring water often) I will pick the highest aperture without suffering from diffraction. That's about f/11 on my lenses. At f/16 is start loosing sharpness so the extra depth of field is a waste. My lens is only just acceptable at f/22.
     
  9. Cero21

    Cero21 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the comments everyone. I did notice with a higher F number the lights had a nice star affect, but also a blue hue (@ F9). I now know that is lens flare. So I'm going to go with the highest F number without getting that flare.
     
  10. Can you post that image? It doesn't have to be lens flare. If it's blue throughout it could be something like your auto white balance being tricked, which is desperately trying to balance things to a neutral gray. Are you shooting RAW or JPG? In this case RAW is really helpful, so you can adjust things like color temperature.
     
  11. Nikon Norm

    Nikon Norm TPF Noob!

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    Also try shooting while the sky looks blue, just as the sun has gone below the horizon, you will still get a night time look, but some nice detail/color in the sky.
     
  12. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    The problem isn't that light may leak to the sensor, it's that light may leak to the meter. So if the camera has a TTL meter/viewfinder (like all SLRs/DSLRs), and is in any sort of auto mode, and light enters the viewfinder, the camera may choose the wrong exposure. It's not a problem in manual exposure mode, bulb, etc....
     

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