Night photography--How to get very sharp shots?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by catweh00, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. catweh00

    catweh00 TPF Noob!

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    Hello,
    I tried my hand at night photography last night, and I could not get very sharp, crisp images. Even with NR on, I always had soft images. I iused shutter priority mode and took pcitures ranging from 1 second to 30 second exposures. Any suggestions? Oh yes, and I used a tripod.
    craig
     
  2. Andrea K

    Andrea K TPF Noob!

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    Hmm, I don't have much experience with night photography myself but from what I've read, I think that even the pressing of the shutter can produce some shake in the image and with 30 second exposures it is noticeable. So I would suggest using the self-timer settings to eliminate this if this is the problem.

    Just my $0.02
     
  3. Dweller

    Dweller Inconspicuous Supporter

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    a remote cable release may help as well.
     
  4. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait TPF Noob!

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    If you don't have a remote cable release, you can use the camera's timer. Also, you might try hanging some heavy weights from the underside of the tripod to help stabilize it.

    If you're taking photos of stars, part of the problem might be that as you get up to longer exposures, the movement of the earth becomes noticeable and you get star-streaks.
     
  5. rmphoto

    rmphoto TPF Noob!

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    if your using a tripod with a shutter release cord (electronic not cable if you camera supports that) then there shouldnt be any problems unless your focusing is off... whats aperature you using by the way?
     
  6. Geronimo

    Geronimo TPF Noob!

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    As the others suggested, try a cable release or a remote. A good try tripod really helps also. I usually bring a high powered light to get a good focus is possible or use something else to check your focus, distance cars and such. As far as star trails there is a general rule.
    http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/d60-night.shtml
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TPF Noob!

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    This is a pure opinion post, but it works for me with 35mm film Nikon, so it should work with digital:

    Wait for it to be a black sky, not dark blue or grey - absolutely black is necessary if I have guessed what you're trying to create.
    Put your camera in AP mode, not SP. Depending on the lens and camera control features, turn off all the electronics and set the aperture manually. Try and use a prime MF lens if possible.
    Set your camera between f8 and f22 and don't have any bright lights in the foreground.
    Only use your Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens or your Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lenses - forget the others.
    Turn off all the electronic nonsense - image stabilisation, mega-high ISO etc. If you can select ISO, choose 400.
    Set your camera to Manual Focus.
    Focus correctly :)
    Have another look at the scene.
    Get the composition exactly correct.
    Have another look at the scene.
    Get the focus exactly correct.
    If your tripod is not made of substantial material and very heavy it may flex in the breeze - buy something older and heavier and more metal. Also bear in mind passing trains / lorries / pedestrians may wobble the ground.

    Shoot! You should get something like this (BTW - no Photoshopping was required!)

    [​IMG]



    I personally don't bother with a cable-release or the self-timer or mirror lock-up, but if you have them they should theoretically help!
     
  8. Digital Matt

    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    If you are shooting digital, I would use the lowest ISO you can, for less noise.
     

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