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11-24-2010, 11:20 PM   #1
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K20D night city scapes

I am trying to create a cityscape of Indianapolis at night. I have tried a few different lenses and settings. I have tried to keep the ISO at 100, however the lights on the streets and buildings look blurry. I use a tripod with the mirror up w/remote. The shutter speeds are not less than 1 second, some were up to 3 seconds. I just want to remove the lamp blurrs, any suggestions? If I crank up ISO to say 600, will it hurt the pic at 24 x 30? It costs about 35.00 per print, so I don't want to experiment much.

11-25-2010, 01:08 AM   #2
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I tried mine with a heavy tripod, nd8 filter, SR off, 2 sec delay (mirror up), f8-f11, iso100, lightmeter on the street lamps = 10-30 secs. While on tripod, I shot several brackets frames for HDR post processing, but found out that busting low light areas with Lightroom just fine. Blur occurs when I over exp the lamps.
11-25-2010, 03:58 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghillindy1 Quote
I am trying to create a cityscape of Indianapolis at night. I have tried a few different lenses and settings. I have tried to keep the ISO at 100, however the lights on the streets and buildings look blurry. I use a tripod with the mirror up w/remote. The shutter speeds are not less than 1 second, some were up to 3 seconds. I just want to remove the lamp blurrs, any suggestions? If I crank up ISO to say 600, will it hurt the pic at 24 x 30? It costs about 35.00 per print, so I don't want to experiment much.
Any pictures that would illustrate your problem?

1-3 seconds via is real danger territory for camera shake - there's no SR, and any residual movement from the mirror/shutter occupies a reasonably long proportion of your exposure. Try shooting 15-30 seconds.

Low light can also fool your AF. Try switching to manual and adjusting to infinity.
11-25-2010, 04:20 PM   #4
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Try this:

1) 2 second mirror lock up (under shooting mode, go to the stop watch)
2) Turn off shake reduction
3) Focus manually. Low light confuses AF, and so does tungsten light. Bad combo at night.
4) ISO 400. You actually produce noise by leaving the shutter open for long period of time, so the iso trade off is not as great as it is on film. Try to get your exposure under 1 second. 1/30 would be great, but possibly unrealistic. Lower the ISO if you have the latitude, but don't assume that ISO 100 at 30 seconds is less noisy than ISO 400 at 6....
5) Really study your tripod and shield it from wind.

11-25-2010, 08:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by ghillindy1 Quote
I am trying to create a cityscape of Indianapolis at night. I have tried a few different lenses and settings. I have tried to keep the ISO at 100, however the lights on the streets and buildings look blurry. I use a tripod with the mirror up w/remote. The shutter speeds are not less than 1 second, some were up to 3 seconds. I just want to remove the lamp blurrs, any suggestions? If I crank up ISO to say 600, will it hurt the pic at 24 x 30? It costs about 35.00 per print, so I don't want to experiment much.

I don't have the answer to your problem, just curious where you're trying to shoot from. I work downtown and on my drive in I often see some beautiful, pre sunrise views of the city heading north on 65 but there's never a place I can find to pull over and get shots in. I thought about trying the Hardee's parking lot on Washington St right off of the 65 exit but I don't know if it would clear the overpass or not.
11-26-2010, 11:30 PM   #6
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I know exactly what youy are talking about...Yeah, don't even try to pull over!!!! I am shooting from the new Clarian Pathology Lab. It sits right at the end of the canal.
11-26-2010, 11:31 PM   #7
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I am going to set aperature to highest and try a 30 sec shot. THANKS
11-27-2010, 01:16 AM   #8
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What lens are you using? If it's an older film lens it could be some sort of internal reflections? Sometimes the older lenses reflect light back on the the rear element of the lens which can make things hazy.

Also, don't set the aperture too high, limit yourself to around /8-/11, otherwise the whole picture will start to get soft from diffraction.

11-27-2010, 04:01 AM   #9
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I think that everyone has pretty much listed everything I was going to add. If you do not already have an external shutter release, get one - they are only about $9. Pentax and Canon have the same plug. In the past I have seen them as low as $4.There are also models that provide the timing also (beyond 30 seconds).Test prints at 20x30 from Costco for $9 and they ship.... (scroll down to posters)I usually run some test shots and then scroll in to see how sharp they are. The higher ISO is an idea that I have really not tried since I usually shoot at ISO 100. Initially, I went out to the lens reviews to see where the best aperture/resolution was across the lens (center, edge and corners). Now, depending on the light, lens and circumstances, I go with f5.6 to f8. I usually use my 12-24, 16-45 or 31. The shutter times have been anywhere from 1/2 second to about 8 seconds, depending on the scene (San Diego skyline from Coronado Island, Tempe Town Lake, Dayton, Detroit from across the river in Canada, etc.). Weather conditions play an important part. Cloud cover reflects the light back down and actually provides more lighting. A cloudless black sky takes a longer exposure - as there is less illumination across the scene. Sunset (or sunrise in the opposite direction) or right after, if in the right direction you can get the blue iridescent sky.

I also use Google Earth, to try to identify good locations for shots, also to figure out how to get there if I am visiting in an unfamiliar area. The images there also show what I can expect. I also use "The Photographer's Ephemeris" for sunrise and sunset times and directions, so as to see if there might be an interesting shot available. It runs on both your PC and some 3G phones.I usually start out in P mode and let the camera tell me what it thinks, then set the desired aperture and ISO and see what the exposure times come out to be, then adjust from there, going into M or even B - for times over 30 seconds if necessary (usually not).

I have also been using bracketing. However, I have been shooting in much darker situations and have found that using +/-2ev with 5 frames, is just too much range for the sensor in my K20 as I start to get some noise (that is just amplified when I stitch panels together). I was having great success at +/- 1ev, so I need to see where the limit is 1 or 1.5. I had shot some night scenes up in Sedona, AZ - town lights against the red bluffs at night and pushed the bracketing way too far, and was up in the 30 to 45 second range on the +/- 4ev shots. The resulting noise, when stacked and stitched together, ruined the shots - so going back today (driving up this afternoon) to experiment some more. Also, I should probably look at the new noise reduction software to see if I can clean up the frames prior to stacking and stitching.

hope that helps....
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