Night shots out of focus

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Nam Le, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Nam Le

    Nam Le TPF Noob!

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    Hi guys,

    I'm a newbie trying to picking up night photography :) I'm using a Canon 600D and 18-55mm kit lens. I wanted to take sharp, crisp photos of Singapore scenery at night. So what I did was using a tripod + smaller aperture f/21 and using a remote control, ISO 100, shooting in raw. I use manual focus and set exposure time to 1-2 mins. But the results are quite bad :( I don't know why I can't get the buildings focused and there is noise even I used ISO 100.

    Is anyone kind enough to give me some tips on how to make my photos better, as in focused, brighter, more even lit, etc.? Thank you :)[​IMG]
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  2. spiralout462

    spiralout462 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I don't see a bad focus problem. I see a pretty powerful color cast in a couple, which may or may not be desirable. Digital noise is introduced not only at high ISO but also during long exposures, even at ISO 100.
     
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  3. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I would honestly use auto focus, and if using manual focus make sure you find the correct hyper focal length for your lens.

    Two questions, What tripod are you using? and was your IS on?

    Make sure your tripod is very secure. Add weight and stableize against camera vibration. Also use the timer and second shutter when doing long exposure. Also, a remote or wireless trigger will help.

    Not sure if you did any of this, but these things come to mind when you say tripod.
     
  4. BillM

    BillM TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I'm not an expert at this type of photography, or any other type for that matter lol, but try again at f/8 or f/11. And make sure you don't under expose, having to bring exposure up in post will really bring out the noise.
     
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  5. Nam Le

    Nam Le TPF Noob!

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    Wow very helpful, thanks guys!

    @spiralout462: I can't attach here a full res photo, if you zoom in you can see blurry details. Long exposure can produce noise? Will check that out, thanks.

    @EIngerson: I use a Slik carbon fiber tripod, came with the camera sale. I think just a standard one. I tried both with and without IS but not much diff. Some said IS helps some said IS actually worsens the focusing, what's your opinion?

    @BillM: ok, will try, thanks :)
     
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  6. EIngerson

    EIngerson Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If you are on a tripod or shooting action at high shutter speed IS serves no purpose. Not necessary. Not a great tripod, but not too bad either. Like I mentioned before, add the weight to stabilize it. No need to buy expensive gimmicks for weight. Be creative and rig something up that isn't too cumbersome to travel with.

    Also, I noticed you were shooting at F21. I usually shoot night scenes between F8-11.

    Good luck and have fun.
     
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  7. Nam Le

    Nam Le TPF Noob!

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    Thanks EIngerson, will try :)
     
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  8. soufiej

    soufiej No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Your camera has a noise reduction system for long exposures. How well it works and whether it is worth using in most situations is debatable; Night shots with 600D: Canon Rebel (EOS 1200D-300D) Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    Use the mirror lock up feature to prevent camera movement.

    Also, switch off the image stabilization circuits when using a tripod. The servo network of the IS system will create blur when used on a tripod due to the motor's internal vibration. The longer the exposure, the more vibration will be recorded.
     
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  9. MRnats

    MRnats No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Was there any wind or vibrations? 1-2 min exposure is a long time for something to sit completely still, even on a tripod.
     
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  10. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    To add to the above

    If you are taking such a long exposure then when you use a remote shutter to activate the shutter you don't want to be standing next to the camera. I've found even on a concrete platform that walking here and there and not standing still introduces some shakiness. If you are on an even less stable platform then just walking around the camera while it is in an exposure is going to introduce movement.

    Then add any heavy winds, etc. which you'll have to position yourself to block direct wind.
     
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  11. dcbear78

    dcbear78 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm not 100% sure on how your camera works but my tips are:

    Use the 3 second timer if you don't have a remote. Usually also engages mirror lock up mode too.
    Use live view and magnify in on a light to confirm focus and manually adjust as necessary.
    I like f16 as a nice balance that also usually creates nice starbursts.
    Look up "exposing to the right" technique.
     
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  12. Nam Le

    Nam Le TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys, looks like it all boils down to the vibration. Yeah, Singapore is quite windy, I will try a larger aperture and shorter exposure time and see how I can secure the tripod :)
     

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