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09-14-2010, 04:16 AM   #1
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Bulb mode and Lightning Photography

I had a small storm pass through not long ago and took a few shots with my *ist Ds and the results were...very disappointing, I used bulb mode and the pictures had a lot of noise and I'm bitterly dissappointed, I brought this camera for the main reason that it had a bulb mode and now I figure out that I'm just doing it wrong, and do all cameras do the in camera processing after a long exposure ?
I mean what ever exposure time, is the same time the camera uses before it'll write it to the memory card, is that improved with the Kx ?

And how about noise, I find I get noise in any situation if the light isn't perfect.

I love this camera but I have so many questions, I just don't know them yet to ask.

I'm so worried that I've made a mistake, should have I saved some more and gotten something with a little more power ?

09-14-2010, 04:22 AM   #2
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is it for about high iso?
09-14-2010, 04:23 AM   #3
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No, I always use the lowest ISO I can, with this camera it's at 200.
09-14-2010, 03:41 PM   #4
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ISO 200, f 5.6, 13 seconds. lens set to 18 mm and infinity. Practice infinity in daylight so you can set it in manual mode in the dark.
Start with that, then add a bucket full of good luck.
Oh, BTW. forget bulb.

Cheers. Mike.

09-14-2010, 04:02 PM   #5
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you cant predict lightning 100% so most will either have a great deal of patience or deliberately go to places where lightining is like a dime a dozen.

maybe can post a picture of your best and what you consider your best but due to this and that becomes unuseable?
09-15-2010, 11:35 AM   #6
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Here is one I took a few weeks ago. Using a K200D with kit lens.

f/5
23.3 second exposure
ISO 100

I was using bulb mode with a remote, and it was an intense lightning storm. I would open the shutter then close it everytime I saw lightning strike. Worked quite well.
Attached Images
 
09-15-2010, 12:58 PM   #7
Ash
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QuoteOriginally posted by TeamPentax Quote
I had a small storm pass through not long ago and took a few shots with my *ist Ds and the results were...very disappointing, I used bulb mode and the pictures had a lot of noise and I'm bitterly dissappointed, I brought this camera for the main reason that it had a bulb mode and now I figure out that I'm just doing it wrong, and do all cameras do the in camera processing after a long exposure ?
I mean what ever exposure time, is the same time the camera uses before it'll write it to the memory card, is that improved with the Kx ?

And how about noise, I find I get noise in any situation if the light isn't perfect.

I love this camera but I have so many questions, I just don't know them yet to ask.

I'm so worried that I've made a mistake, should have I saved some more and gotten something with a little more power ?
The *ist Ds has a very good sensor well suited to long exposures. The K-x may be OK as well, but I've seen nothing that beats the old CCD sensors when it comes to long exposures.

So now it comes to technique. The suggestion of settings above is a good start, and you should be weary of over or underexposing the scene using Bulb mode - hence it being easier to switch to M mode and making the settings yourself. If you can't get the lightning captured in 30 secs., you may as well try again in another exposure.
09-15-2010, 02:12 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
If you can't get the lightning captured in 30 secs., you may as well try again in another exposure.
Exactly, shorter exposures also mean no DFS.

And yes, it is hard to beat a 6Mpixel Sony sensor.

What also works pretty good ( if you want a hands free operation) is connecting a wired remote, selecting continuous drive mode
and locking the shutter switch on.
Camera will shoot frames till the card is full or the batteries die.

Cheers, Mike.


Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-11-2014 at 05:50 PM.
09-15-2010, 09:31 PM   #9
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Thank you very much for everyone that has chimed in, it's coming to storm season (I HOPE) in NSW Australia, it's been very quite over the last year so I'm hoping to have the opportunity to get plenty more shots, I just don't want them stuffed up, with the tips I got off all of you i can work out what works best without missing to much lightning.

I really appreciate your help other wise I'd just have an expensive paper weight !

Thank you.
09-15-2010, 11:27 PM   #10
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Nice thread - have to try out to capture the electricity beam myself as well!!!
- Do take these in the rain? Inside through the window? Or from below an "open" roof?
09-16-2010, 03:03 AM   #11
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Below a roof works for me (open garage door). Shooting through window degrades quality too much.
Lighter the rain the better.
09-16-2010, 06:44 AM   #12
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I was out on a covered deck with a friend shooting mine. Some rain was getting in from the wind, but nothing I was concerned about. My friend who has an older Nikon dSLR though, started freaking out when a drop of water hit his camera body and quit shooting. He missed some great pictures from then on. Love the weather resistance.
09-24-2010, 08:13 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JoepLX3 Quote
Nice thread - have to try out to capture the electricity beam myself as well!!!
- Do take these in the rain? Inside through the window? Or from below an "open" roof?
My back door porch is covered , nothing fancy but enough to protect me and most important of all my camera from the rain and usually we get very light rain if any at all so I'm lucky there.
I've been shooting lightning for years now so it shouldn't be to much of a problem but I'm still learning the camera, it's so much more sensitive than my almost DSLR Fuji S9500 but I love it.

Last edited by TeamPentax; 10-04-2010 at 07:40 PM.
09-25-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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I am in the process of building a lightning trigger using a photo diode and a transistor to activate the cable release. There are also commercial units available. I first started by trying a flash slave unit but it lacked the sensitivity to capture lightning although it would trigger a camera just fine with a camera flash. I suppose I could easily modify the flash trigger and change the gain of the sensor
09-25-2010, 02:54 PM   #15
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Post your results when you get done with the build. I am curious about the delay times of the shutter activation and your home brew circuit.
You are hard-core, taking the route of transistors and not an op-amp..

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 09-25-2010 at 03:02 PM.
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