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Old July 10th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #1
gixxer1397
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Question SLR Night shots???????

Hey guys I am a serious newb to the SLR worldand yes I know I need to get some classes in as well as play with the camera ALOT more LOL. Anyways i was wondering what needs to be done or bought to take some decent night shots. I have the Sony Alpha A100 and no other acessories at the moment.
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Old July 10th, 2009, 09:49 PM   #2
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Long exposure and no camera movement (a tripod or such).
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Old July 11th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #3
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A GOOD tripod is a MUST.
Spend a lil more on this item, be sure to get one of soild construction, make sure it fits your height and has a pan/tilt head on it.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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sounds good, and what do you do for low lighting with movement such as weddings or partys where there is movement such as dancing and all that where your trying to capture that moment.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 02:21 PM   #5
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Lightbulb Get a monopod and a good flash...

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Originally Posted by gixxer1397 View Post
sounds good, and what do you do for low lighting with movement such as weddings or partys where there is movement such as dancing and all that where your trying to capture that moment.
Weddings with dancing and such deserve a monopod and flash setup. Make sure to use a diffuser and bounce the light. Takes lots of practice to produce images that don't leave harsh shadows. There are quite a few monopods, flashes, and diffuser setups to choose from. Get ones that fit your style of shooting.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 06:19 PM   #6
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A lot depends on which lenses you are shooting with and the camera's high ISO quality. The higher the ISO number, the better shutter speeds you can pull off without a flash. However, with a higher ISO number, the image quality will start to suffer with a lower end camera. The more expensive the camera the better the high ISO shots will come out (for the most part)

Also a faster lens (read, smaller f-number) will allow more light into the shot, however will also produce a small depth of field, and the background of the shot will be blurred out (which looks great in some shots, and is undesirable in others)

Play around with different ISO settings and see how shots turn out. You will need to put ur camera into manual mode to do most of this.

The best quality shots are going to result from using a flash mounted slightly higher than the camera on a bracket, or hand held with a cord controlling the flash.

You'll start to really enjoy messing with this stuff!!
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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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Is it mostly a given to have to focus manually when doing a night shots? I've found auto focus doesn't always focus on my D60 when I'm trying to get a night shot.

Like this one I took the other day, I had to stick my had infront of the camera just to give it something to focus on so it would let me snap a shot in AF mode which obviously messed up the focal point of the shot.

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Old July 11th, 2009, 09:40 PM   #8
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AF works by using light and bouncing it off a sensor in the body. If there isn't enough light then the camera has no idea what to focus on. Notice the bright light that comes on as the focus is being achieved? This is to assist the focus sensor. You'll know when the body can't focus because it will hunt around, and usually the in-focus dot will not light green. (nikon's use this, not sure about others.)

If there is enough light to see through the viewfinder, switch the lens to MF and focus that way. When you focused on your hand, the focus point was right in front of the camera, not what you wanted to shoot.
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Old July 11th, 2009, 10:33 PM   #9
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Yeah, I knew what was going on and how it was going to turn out when I put my hand in front of the camera. I was just wondering if there was a way to get it to auto focus properly at night like that. Obviously there are certain parameters that have to be met for it to auto focus, I just didn't know if it was something I could change, or if it was standard practice to manual focus a shot like that.
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Old July 28th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #10
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BigBlk is right. You need to manual focus for night sceneries. You can spin your lens to 'infinity' in many cases since the closes focal point is beyond the longest focus reach of the lens anyway.

For weddings I use a flash, even though I have very fast glass and high end camera with high ISO because, frankly, a properly used flash picture looks really nice. I went from a shoe mount (in the hot shoe on top of my camera) to a bracket with a PC cable, and now use Cactus triggers and handhold the flash. Works great.

When I do night scenery shots like the ones attached, I use a good tripod, close the aperture as far as I can (read large aperture number), turn down the ISO as low as it will go, manual focus (or set for infinity), and use a wireless shutter trigger (you can use a cable release for older cameras) so that I don't touch the camera to trigger the shutter. I also add a neutral density 4 filter and a polarizer which further reduces the amount of light coming in to the lens so I can leave the shutter open longer. This makes blinking light sources appear as solid light, and also smoothes water, clouds, and makes head and tailights on cars look like streaks. Very cool.
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