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12-08-2015, 10:48 AM   #1
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Pentax Q night photos

I am new to my Pentax Q. I would like to photograph my neighbor's Christmas lights. Could someone walk me through the manual settings that would capture the lights best? Thanks much!

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12-08-2015, 10:56 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Here are the current settings you used

Exposure Time 1.6 s
Aperture F/4.0
ISO Equivalent 3200

There is a ton of motion blur and the lights are overexposed. Try increasing your shutter speed until the lights are not blown out. If you still can't handhold it without motion blur, use a tripod, or brace the camera against something. If you can use a tripod, try setting your ISO down to <400 for better image quality and adjust the other variables to keep the same exposure.
12-08-2015, 11:24 AM - 1 Like   #3
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You can rarely take nighttime photos without additional stabilization such as a tripod. Also, use the timer or a remote to reduce camera shake since it will be a fairly long exposure. And, ask enoeske pointed out, there is a huge disparity between the lights and darks, beyond what a sensor can do in a single frame. Your best option is to put it on a tripod, underexpose and then bring up the shadows in post (will add noise), if you don't want to bother processing bracketed (multiple) exposures.
12-08-2015, 12:11 PM   #4
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Check the manual or the mode dial and Info menu whether your model of camera h s Night time setting or Fireworks settings. These can make things a little easier for you.

The other thing that might make things easier in this situation is to use Tv mode and dial in a shutter speed. This way you can choose the longest possible exposure, before handshake becomes a problem. See, the camera literally exposes the image for a certain duration of time, which can be shorter or longer. If it is very short (lots of light available), then there is no motion blur on moving o objects or caused by shaking hands of the person holding the camera. If there is low light, the camera has to use a longer exposure, which means that things get blurry. The first way to combat this is to use a tripod, preferably with timer (because even pressing the shutter button can cause blur), using a wider angle lens (but you need to be much closer to the action for this). In Tv mode, you select the shutter speed and the camera will try to compensate for it with other settings (aperture and ISO sensitivity). Of course, if you will input a shutter speed that is too fast (short exposure), then the camera might not be able to compensate enough and the photo will appear darker.

In this case, some things in the photo are way too bright (completely white). This means you could use a third option to get better results - use EV +/-. This simply tells the camera "whoa, make the photo darker!". Press the EV +/- button and then dial in a negative value. This means the photo will be technically "underexposed", darker than it "should be". But a photographer knows better than the camera what the photo should look like. EV +/- is called Exposure Compensation and I think it goes from -3 (darker) to 0 ("normal") to +3 (brighter). You can find an online pdf version of the manual for your camera and search for this function, or look into the paper manual that came with camera. I don't have Q cameras on hand, so I don't know where to find all of the settings I just mentioned in this thread

I suggest you use Tv mode and EV+/- together for best results. Or a tripod with 2second timer if the object you are photographing is stating and doesn't move. You can also place the camera on some other solid surface, like a crumpled up wool hat on a table. Tripod just has the benefits of being easy to point and adjust.
Another good thing is to do some tests before going out on a photo opportunity. You can test night time photos in your back yard after dark, or even in a dimly lit room. But beware, because people often misunderstand just how dark things really are. Our eyes are really good at adjusting automatically

12-08-2015, 07:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Check the manual or the mode dial and Info menu whether your model of camera h s Night time setting or Fireworks settings. These can make things a little easier for you.

The other thing that might make things easier in this situation is to use Tv mode and dial in a shutter speed. This way you can choose the longest possible exposure, before handshake becomes a problem. See, the camera literally exposes the image for a certain duration of time, which can be shorter or longer. If it is very short (lots of light available), then there is no motion blur on moving o objects or caused by shaking hands of the person holding the camera. If there is low light, the camera has to use a longer exposure, which means that things get blurry. The first way to combat this is to use a tripod, preferably with timer (because even pressing the shutter button can cause blur), using a wider angle lens (but you need to be much closer to the action for this). In Tv mode, you select the shutter speed and the camera will try to compensate for it with other settings (aperture and ISO sensitivity). Of course, if you will input a shutter speed that is too fast (short exposure), then the camera might not be able to compensate enough and the photo will appear darker.

In this case, some things in the photo are way too bright (completely white). This means you could use a third option to get better results - use EV +/-. This simply tells the camera "whoa, make the photo darker!". Press the EV +/- button and then dial in a negative value. This means the photo will be technically "underexposed", darker than it "should be". But a photographer knows better than the camera what the photo should look like. EV +/- is called Exposure Compensation and I think it goes from -3 (darker) to 0 ("normal") to +3 (brighter). You can find an online pdf version of the manual for your camera and search for this function, or look into the paper manual that came with camera. I don't have Q cameras on hand, so I don't know where to find all of the settings I just mentioned in this thread

I suggest you use Tv mode and EV+/- together for best results. Or a tripod with 2second timer if the object you are photographing is stating and doesn't move. You can also place the camera on some other solid surface, like a crumpled up wool hat on a table. Tripod just has the benefits of being easy to point and adjust.
Another good thing is to do some tests before going out on a photo opportunity. You can test night time photos in your back yard after dark, or even in a dimly lit room. But beware, because people often misunderstand just how dark things really are. Our eyes are really good at adjusting automatically
Thanks so much for your considered response - I will take your advice, and in the process I will learn a lot about using the Pentax Q. I really appreciate your prompt response, and your taking the time.
12-09-2015, 08:50 AM - 1 Like   #6
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Hope it helps Just one more thing I should have mentioned explicitly - if you get and use a tripod, don't use Tv mode. With a tripod, the normal Auto or P mode should be fine, because the camera has control over exposure time. Use Tv when you want to take that control yourself, which is most handy with hand-held photos. Good luck, and feel free to post results or follow up with any other questions!
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