Trying to find the sweet spot Tokina 11-20 2.8

Shaun Liddy

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I recently picked up a Tokina 11-20 2.8 to use on my 7d Mii. I have been trying to hone in on my night shooting technique with it and ran it through a test last night.

On a tripod, varying shutter, ISO and aperture to produce images of equal light (as much as I could) and see what happens.

Below are 5 shots taken in raw, cropped and saved as JPG's. These were in no way meant to be anything more than shots to gain a better understanding of how my equipment responds and to gain an understanding from others as to how I might be able to over come some of these short comings.

Noise definitely presents itself when increasing the ISO, 800 is very noisy in the sky and other places compared to 100. I figured this was going to be the case.

But I also notice that the lights in the distance get much more of a star effect with the smaller aperture. I did a little homework on this and found that the smaller apertures can change the incoming light post aperture / pre sensor similarly to how a maglight focuses/spreads the light from the bulb when adjusted, IE it radiates a cone vs beam. I was surprised how much additional staring showed at fstop 8 vs 2.8. It is noticeably increasing from fstop 2.8/3/5/8.

I feel shooting with the longer exposure/lower ISO creates a better result (regards to ISO related noise) and will continue to keep ISO as low as possible in these very dark shots, but I'd like to be able to have some control of DOF for different subjects with out it resulting in the star effect with the lights.

Is there a filter that can help here? Or would that not be of help due to the lens optics and the way the light expands after it passes through the aperture?

At any rate, last night was a good lesson for myself.



4K9A2104

ISO – 100

FSTOP – 5

SHUTTER – 30



4K9A2113

ISO – 100

FSTOP – 3.5

SHUTTER – 20



4K9A2120

ISO – 100

FSTOP – 2.8

SHUTTER – 10



4K9A2123

ISO – 800

FSTOP – 2.8

SHUTTER – 1.3



4K9A2128

ISO – 640

FSTOP – 8

SHUTTER – 13
 

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Shaun Liddy

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Anyone have any comments?
 

Ido

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If you have Photoshop, you may try to blend in the best of both. Shoot once with the aperture of your choice for the rendering of the light sources, and another with the aperture for the depth of field you want. Open the two images as layers in Photoshop, and use the masking function to hide/show the different parts of the image. I'd put the one with the deep depth of field on top, and mask out the light sources to reveal those from the image you captured that shows the light as you want.

As you found out, the "starburst" effect has everything to do with the aperture. While there are filters that exaggerate the effect, I don't know of anything that reduces it—your only option is to use a wider aperture. But then you lose depth of field. So it's either a balancing act, or blending and masking images in Photoshop.
 

Solarflare

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But I also notice that the lights in the distance get much more of a star effect with the smaller aperture.
Whow.

You're honestly the first person I ever met that COMPLAINED about this effect.

Many photographer intentionally produce this effect to give their night time photos additional magic.
 
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Shaun Liddy

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Hmmm... I didn't realize my observation came across as a complaint. I can see where this would be a good effect and will likely use it at some point. I would however like the ability to shoot with the opposite side of the coin...
 

Ido

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Hmmm... I didn't realize my observation came across as a complaint. I can see where this would be a good effect and will likely use it at some point. I would however like the ability to shoot with the opposite side of the coin...
Have you missed my reply?
 
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Shaun Liddy

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Hi Ido,

I did not miss it, thank you for the input. I need to work on my post processing skills for sure. Your suggestion I am sure will teach me a lot once I can find the time to try.
 

Dave442

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Another option to avoid the star effect is to keep a large aperture and low ISO and then take a number of shots and stack those together - focus stacking. That will give you greater DOF at the larger aperture. However with a wide angle lens you should have a lot of DOF even wide open, certainly enough for the sample shots given.
 
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