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03-04-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
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Best setting for fireworks

What is the best setting for taking photos of Fireworks with the Pentax K-r?

03-04-2011, 06:44 PM - 1 Like   #2
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With any camera, not just the K-r, there are some reasonable formulas for this. You can do some internet searches on the subject for one, and you should turn up something similar to this.

Depending on the height of the fireworks (I'm assuming typical commercial fireworks), a aperture setting between f8 and f11 should work, keep your ISO at its lowest setting 100 or so. Lens choice, this depends on the height of the bursts and the size of the burst, something between 50 - 80mm would work best. Personally I use my DA 17-70 for these. You have to shoot these on a tripod and if you have a remote release (cable is the best but wireless would work too), that will be really good. (I don't know if the K-r will accept a cable release.) What you do is set the lens pointed in the area where the firework will burst. Figure on a 2-5 second exposure that you start after you hear the thing launched. Keep the shutter open through the assent and burst, then it can close. Set your white balance on daylight.

You will need to refine by trial and error these settings and formula. You may also want to turn off noise reduction in you camera, turn off the auto display of the LCD. Plan on tossing a bunch of shots and particularly the first few trial and error shots.

The hard thing to understand (trust me I didn't) is that fireworks are really bright, you can't meter them, you have to do it the old way of guessing. On my k20, I start at these settings and as then night gets darker I may stop down a bit or if the images are too blown out I'll stop down. Once you get the formula, you should be able to really nail some fun shots. Although when a lot of them go off at once, you will blow out your images.

Give it a go.
03-05-2011, 12:44 PM   #3
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I have a few fireworks photos posted here. A quick look at the EXIF data it's in the range of f4-6 and 1-2 seconds. I would definitely shoot with manual settings and manual focus.

Experimentation is really key. The trickiest part is framing, but you have to do a bit of hit and miss with that.

Last edited by ilt; 03-05-2011 at 02:58 PM.
06-26-2011, 10:35 PM   #4
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I have some examples taken with K-7 and 18-135 WR lens. I had the camera on a tripod in bulb mode and used remote controller to fire.

Luzerner Fest - Zentralschweiz

It is I think more difficult framing/timing than anything else. Definitely trial and error!


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