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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 2:21 pm 
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WoutK89 wrote:
If they lack sharpness all I can think of is that the lens is the limiting factor.

All the advices in this thread are more or less based on guesses. It would help a lot if "FunkyStuff" could give us some example images. Due to previous statements of the original poster it seems that buying better gear won't really help much. The D60 is a great camera, but without sufficient understanding of simple photographic variables such as ISO, aperture and exposure night shots will not turn out "sharp" on a D90 either. Therefore I highly recommend reading a beginner's book on photography or at least getting an idea of what it is about by reading following Wikipedia articles:Night shots not turning out sharp could have one simple reason - a D60 set to Auto-mode will quite likely chose a low exposure time and therefore movement will be blurry. When used with a flash the D60 cannot shoot faster than 1/200 of a second, which may not be fast enough in a nightclub. So I would recommend setting the the camera to rear-sync (press the popup-flash button and simultanously turn the thumb dial). Additionally I would say that the D60 is not a great ISO-performer above ISO 200.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:25 pm 
Having used the D60 heavily for the past year, I would say that ISO performance is good up to 800. However, at 800, it is advisable that you get the most correct exposure possible; that is to say, you need to nail the correct aperture and shutter speed to get the right amount of light.

Upgrading to a D5000 would give you better ISO performance, but the money invested can be put towards better lenses too.

As mentioned, the Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX lens would be a great stepping point. It allows about four to eight times as much light in than the kit lens, depending on the focal length of the 18-55 VR. The only 'gotcha!' is the lack of VR. The Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.4G (as mentioned earlier) would be another alternative, but it might be a little too long for the Nightclubs (75mm equivalent!) Both would be an effective lens in the Portrait photography and Product photography. The 35 ought to perform pretty decent in the Nightclub too; or at least probably as well if not better than the 18-55.

Alternatively, if you can stretch your budget, the Micro-Nikkor AF-S 105mm f/2.8G VR might be worth considering. Having a telephoto lens + large aperture work great (IMO) for portraits with its ability to throw the background out of focus. It's a macro lens, and so can be useful for product shoots too. Probably not that great for Nightclubs though due to its long focal length.

I understand you're set out on picking up lenses, but have you also considered a flash? Perhaps Nikon's SB-600 or SB-900 might be the ticket to your solution. Not sure how useful it might be in the nightclubs (might piss off clubbers by constantly blinding them), but it ought to help with the portrait and product photography. It is however, a somewhat hefty learning process.

Could you provide budget figures (and as mentioned, sample images)? As Ernie suggested, you might want to put some of that money into photography books/learning aids as well.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:50 pm 
Thanks again for all the replies I've had.

Indeed, I am working on a budget so unfortunately buying a more expensive camera is not really an option. I would love to, and it probably would save in the long run, but that's assuming that you keep the lesser camera rather than selling it for credit towards the new one I suppose.

As for a sample of what I'm referring to about noise, you might be able to tell from this:

http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak ... 1591_n.jpg

Unfortunately I don't have the full resolution photo, but you can see (even with the photo editing that's been done) that it's still grainy/noisy.

Ernie I appreciate your comments, very useful thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:54 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Dojobear wrote:
As mentioned, the Nikkor AF-S 35mm f/1.8G DX lens would be a great stepping point. It allows about four to eight times as much light in than the kit lens, depending on the focal length of the 18-55 VR. The only 'gotcha!' is the lack of VR.
...

I understand you're set out on picking up lenses, but have you also considered a flash? Perhaps Nikon's SB-600 or SB-900 might be the ticket to your solution. Not sure how useful it might be in the nightclubs (might piss off clubbers by constantly blinding them), but it ought to help with the portrait and product photography. It is however, a somewhat hefty learning process.


Why do you need VR when the shutter speeds used in night clubs for freezing movement or for portrait photography are generally high enough to just handhold.

Also, if you had read a few posts back, she already has an SB-900, so a flash is already part of her kit.

_________________
- Wout -
Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 8:57 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
the noise/grain, is mostly in the underexposed areas, which in my experience is normal at ISO 200 already with my D80 (same sensor).

_________________
- Wout -
Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:08 pm 
WoutK89 wrote:
Why do you need VR when the shutter speeds used in night clubs for freezing movement or for portrait photography are generally high enough to just handhold.

True for portrait photography. Night clubs... well that depends on how well lit they are now wouldn't it? I admit that I've never shot at a night club, but I have for dimly lit churches and banquet halls, and I only just scraped by with ISO 800 @ f/1.8 on shutter speeds. Certainly not as fast as I would like. Having VR in those instances would've helped.

WoutK89 wrote:
Also, if you had read a few posts back, she already has an SB-900, so a flash is already part of her kit.

My bad on the flash. Was fixated on the original post and had missed the post. Having said that, having an additional flash could be beneficial for portrait/product photography.

With regards to the sample photo: Any chance you can get the EXIF (shooting) data? Shutter speed, ISO, Aperture, etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2009 10:41 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Dojobear wrote:
True for portrait photography. Night clubs... well that depends on how well lit they are now wouldn't it? I admit that I've never shot at a night club, but I have for dimly lit churches and banquet halls, and I only just scraped by with ISO 800 @ f/1.8 on shutter speeds. Certainly not as fast as I would like. Having VR in those instances would've helped.


Still VR doesn't freeze movement of the subject. That's why for some uses VR stays pretty useless unless you are a multi disciplinary photographer.

_________________
- Wout -
Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:09 am 
Again, interesting replies and thank you. Still trying to get my own head around it all.

So for VR, that eliminates camera shake right? But of course in a nightclub you'd generally be wanting a quick shutter speed anyway so having a VR lens wouldn't be of much benefit?

I've spoken to her and she says she's been taught to use a shutter speed in nightclubs of 1/4 to slightly blur the lights (lasers etc.). But she can't have it both ways, in terms of having sharp pictures and blurred lights, right? So she'd need to make that faster if she wanted sharper pictures?

I've also got the settings she used for that grainy picture I posted earlier:

Code:
ExposureTime: 1/125"
Aperture: F/5.3
MaxAperture: F/5.1
ExposureProgram: Manual
ExposureBiasValue: 0
Flash: No flash
ISO: 1600
NoiseReduction: Off
ShutterCount: 5849


I haven't listed all of them, obviously, and this is taken from a program called "KUSO Exif File Viewer 3.0". From the looks of things her ISO setting is very high, but could this feasibly be reduced whilst keeping the lighting levels intact? Or would this just be something that a better camera would be needed for?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 12:22 am 
Correct; VR elminates camera shake.
In general, for shooting anything that requires you to freeze action, then a faster shutter speed is necessary. Judging by how fast (slow?) your girlfriend is shooting at, I personally think VR and an increase in shutter speed would both work well. But, thats me.

As for the blurring. I would say she needs a lens with a larger aperture, to blur anything out of focus; chances are those lights/lasers are going to be off in the distance compared to her subjects. Look for lenses with small f-numbers, like the 35mm f/1.8G DX mentioned by several posters. Having a larger aperture will also allow her to shoot faster, meaning there is less motion blur, and thus sharper pictures.

As for the photo:
I would recommend opening up the aperture to f/4, and cutting the shutter speed in half (provided she isn't using a telephoto lens) to about 1/60. That ought to give you about two stops, which would allow the ISO to be dropped from 1600 to 400 and thus reducing a lot of the grain.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:42 pm
Posts: 1388
Location: The Netherlands
FunkyStuff wrote:
I've also got the settings she used for that grainy picture I posted earlier:

Code:
ExposureTime: 1/125"
Aperture: F/5.3
MaxAperture: F/5.1
ExposureProgram: Manual
ExposureBiasValue: 0
Flash: No flash
ISO: 1600
NoiseReduction: Off
ShutterCount: 5849

Dojobear wrote:
As for the photo:
I would recommend opening up the aperture to f/4, and cutting the shutter speed in half (provided she isn't using a telephoto lens) to about 1/60. That ought to give you about two stops, which would allow the ISO to be dropped from 1600 to 400 and thus reducing a lot of the grain.

So opening up to F/4 is no possibility here, since max aperture in the specs is F/5.1 ;-)

So given F/5.1 as max aperture on the 18-55 I would say that is a shot around 35-45mm which would get you in the range of the 35/1.8 indeed. And then indeed you can open up the aperture a bit more to reduce the ISO.

And another thing, I see she shoots in Manual, maybe another tip is to try shooting in Aperture priority if she wants faster shutter speeds and control over the background blur, or Shutter speed priority if she wants to keep a certain shutter speed but the aperture is not that important

_________________
- Wout -
Lowepro Nova 200 AW filled with Nikon D90 + MB-D80
18-70 DX, 70-300 VR, 35 1.8 DX, SB-700


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2009 6:35 am 
I am not reading/interpreting properly today. :(


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:02 am 
Thanks for all the advice guys. I've relayed plenty of the information onto her and it sounds like it's helped.

I think my route (for now) is to buy the D5000, and then eventually me or her can invest in a couple of lenses, probably as suggested in this thread.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:17 pm 
FunkyStuff wrote:
Thanks for all the advice guys. I've relayed plenty of the information onto her and it sounds like it's helped.

I think my route (for now) is to buy the D5000, and then eventually me or her can invest in a couple of lenses, probably as suggested in this thread.


Before you dive in and buy the D5000 I must warn you about the fact that thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands worldwide have been recalled (in many cases twice) because of a fault and a potential fault. This had been known for quite some time but I was still sold one by a UK major retailer even after it had been known. I have posted in the D5000 and Nikon threads about it and has become a nightmare for me.

However, the D5000 with a 18-105mm VR lens gives a really sharp picture even in low light. I bought mine on the strength of Gordon's video review on this site. I am happy with the D5000 even though I am currently still without it and I wouldn't swap it for any similar priced other brand.

I would suggest that if you buy one, make sure it does not have a serial number that matches the recall ones. If it does then I'd say send it back for a refund or if buying from a shop, get them to check the number online first before buying.

The Nikon UK site has a page where you can enter the serial number and it will tell you instantly whether the news is good or bad.

Pleas don't let it put you off buying, just make sure you are careful when and where buying it


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:39 pm 
Going to vote for getting a 35mm 1.8 here. It will autofocus on the D60, and give a much faster shutter speed.
I recently got one for my D90, and it still surprises me how big a difference that large aperture makes. At ISO 1600 the shutter speeds are just plain silly.

Even if it turns out not to give enough low-light, you can then go on to get a D5000, and the two together will give you great results. While if it does get you good results, you just saved yourself some $$ that you can put towards a D90 or D300.


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 Post subject: TillLate
PostPosted: Mon May 30, 2011 5:11 am 
is TillLate a legitimate company?


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