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 Post subject: Night photos
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:06 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 42
Hi...I have two cameras....a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZR1 and a Canon Power Shot SX30 IS.

Night photography with the Lumix is simple and I love the results. I can blur motion or take perfectly in focus cityscapes just by letting the camera decide pretty much what to do...all I do is set the shutter speed to 15, 30 or 60 seconds.

Here's a shot from the Lumix that I really like:

Image

It's pretty basic...but the focus and contrast is to my eye really nice.

Now...I have only had the Canon for a short time...a couple of weeks and I am trying to perfect a way to take night photos that is simple. I know I should use my own eye to make an assessment and let that dictate the settings I use...anyway...I've tried a few ways. Here's some results:

Image

Image

It seems that the focus is not as sharp.

I took photos with the Canon to test at shutter speeds ranging from 15, down to about 3 seconds. I let the camera set the aperture. I had the ISO at 80.

For that scene (in the above 2 pics) I think the best results were with the shutter speed about 4-6 seconds...and whatever aperture was set.

Is there a way to use the Canon PS SX30 IS so that it can take kind of 'fool-proof' night shots? Does it have a good/ effective auto setting like say my Lumix has?

When I use my Lumix at night I can basically be assured of great focus. All I have to deal with is the amount of light...15sec, 30 or a minute....the camera does the rest.

But with the Canon it seems that to get great focus I have to really trawl through the shutter speeds/ apertures until I get the right combo for the conditions.

I'm not saying I want a dummy auto camera...I am just wondering if the Canon has some kind of dummy night time feature. It didn't say much of anything about night shooting in the manual...and I am pretty new to photography really.

I love the first picture I posted....taken on my Lumix...but so far I haven't really been able to get great results with the Canon.

Any further tips? A lot of the guides I've seen on the net so far just say...well...get that shutter speed open for a while...keep the camera still...my camera is on a tripod of course...with timer used.

For the latter 2 pics I posted, I was using the Tv setting...where you can adjust the shutter speed....I have tried other settings such as Manual...and Av...with kind of similar out of focus results. What I am after is that really sharp focus like in the first pic I posted.

So....sorry for the long winded post...I'm really enjoying learning...that's why I joined the forum...ok...thanks for any help

:)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 08, 2009 11:24 am
Posts: 1815
Sorry - I can't give any advice on the Canon questions you've posted. However:


Sharpness is OK in the first shot, but it kind of makes you see the benefits in shooting RAW or adjusting White Balance manually in even the most basic DSLR.

Those foreground lights in the 1st shot are distracting, with the amount they've been blown. A definite case for merging photos at different exposures.

Try shooting at the shutter speed set for the the first shot, and then quickly take others at 1/2 the shutter speed, 1/4 the shutter speed, 1/8 the shutter speed and double the shutter speed. Then try downloading a trial version of Photomatix and play around with merging the shots in HDR of Exposure fusion modes. You'll see what I mean when you get a better blended shot...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 42
Thanks...I guess my main problem with using my new Canon for night shots at this stage is that I am struggling with focus.

My shots are lit well enough...I am happy enough with the level of lighting and am able to take a range of shots of the same scene and experiment with exposure/ light levels...but the problem seems to be that the shots are looking slightly smeared/ blurry...not sharp.

It could be that the lens cap dangling in the breeze is causing some movement during the long exposure times...I thought it could have been the IS...but I disabled that. I don't think it's the wind...but it could be...I'll keep experimenting.

A couple of other things if anyone gets back to this thread...

1. How can I effectively manually focus a shot through my LCD viewfinder, when the night scene appears so grainy? Even in M mode with aperture and shutter speed and ISO set effectively, the LCD displays the raw/ basic image of night....and it appears grainy.

2. The latter 2 photos were taken in HK (so was the first one)...during a particularly polluted day. The air was pretty thick with smog. The fisrt photo was on a clear night.



Maybe I should use full M mode...and use a smaller aperture/ smaller hole...and longer exposure.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 3:02 am
Posts: 444
Location: Chennai
Hi

May be you can go through this tutorial here by Gordan.

Probably that might help you to understand how to take night photos better.

Cheers
Mano

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Canon EOS 5D mk III|Canon EOS 7D | 70-200 F2.8 L IS II USM | 400 F5.6 L USM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 42
Thanks...I did/ have done all that.

The camera is in the Canon repair shop now because it is faulty.

Even the viewfinder was blurry to look through.

Hope to get it back in a little over a week


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 1:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
Posts: 2173
Location: The Netherlands
Im not 100% sure the camera's not working as it has to be, I think youre using the camera on a wrong way.

Are you sure the AF did its work? Contrast-based AF systems (as in P&Ss) just dont do the job in low light as well as DSLR AF systems.
Make sure you use MF, the camera on a tripod and magnify the view on the screen to check the critical focus.

The Panasonic is better when it comes to low light shooting. It has less noise, so its images will be sharper than the Canon's.

Are you sure ''long exposure noise reduction'' is enabled?

The viewfinder could be blurry because you have to ajust the diopter to get a sharp view.

Cheers

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:16 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2011 4:09 pm
Posts: 42
You might be right on all counts there. We'll see what the Canon Service center says.

Quote:
Are you sure the AF did its work? Contrast-based AF systems (as in P&Ss) just dont do the job in low light as well as DSLR AF systems.
Make sure you use MF, the camera on a tripod and magnify the view on the screen to check the critical focus.


The AF didn't do its work...probably because it was too dark as you say.

Magnifying the view area is not practical because in those light conditions the image is grainy even when not magnified. Blowing it up/ magnifying just makes it worse and it seems there's no way to confirm focus...even when in manual focus mode. It's just too dark.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:52 pm
Posts: 2173
Location: The Netherlands
Then you have to AF on a bright light, such as a trafficlight. After this lock the camera in MF mode so the AF cant change.

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Ruben

Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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