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View Full Version : Newbie Night/Low Light photo advice needed



Briant13
04-22-2008, 06:41 AM
Hey everyone,

I just picked up a Fuji F100Fd for use on my vacation I'm taking to Greece in a few weeks. I picked this camera because I liked the detail on the photos I'd seen and also because I've heard the Fuji Finepix series takes better than average low light/night photos compared to other point and shoot cameras.

Now I've seen photos posted on the web that were taken at night and in low light conditions using this camera. Trying my camera last night -- not even close, pics are very blurry.

So my question to you experts:

1. When a point and shoot is considered "Good" for low light/night photos, is the implication that you STILL will always need a tripod? Is that why the photos I'm seeing online look so good compared to my intial tests? Or should I have a capability with this camera and its dual image stablization settings to take decent photos without a tripod?

2. If a tripod isn't essential, what am I missing? I'm assuming I'm using incorrect settings. In my tests I was experimenting with "night mode" and also manual settings where I increased the ISO to 400 and even 800. Maybe it's all in how I'm composing my shot?

*Whew* thats a lot of questions. Hope you guys can offer some advice. I'm looking forward (hopefully!) to using this camera for good photos of the insides of churches and monestaries, as well as night time photos of the Acropolis while I'm in Greece!

TheWengler
04-22-2008, 10:50 AM
There's a difference between a low light photo and a night photo.

Low light would be situations like indoors, dusk or overcast days. In these situations raising the ISO and using image stabilization can help you hand hold shots without the need for a flash, but it depends what your shutter speed you can get and if your subject is moving or not.

For night photos you're almost always going to need a tripod. There just isn't enough light to hand hold the shot. You'll also want to lower the ISO and turn off your image stabilization.

Here's a shot I took with the S3, a camera with poor high ISO/low light performance. By keeping the ISO low and using a tripod, it can still produce good night photos.

Briant13
04-22-2008, 10:57 AM
Thanks for the input! I had a feeling the tripod was still necessary for those evening photos.

Let me ask this: Would you have any recommendations for a good travel-size tripod? Something small I could carry with me and use to quickly setup a shot?

Thanks again!

TheWengler
04-22-2008, 12:25 PM
When I was traveled through Europe I took a Gorillapod (http://www.joby.com/products/gorillapod/) with me. It doesn't offer the stability of a full size tripod but it's small, light and flexible. You'll want to use the timer when using it so you don't get camera shake from pushing the shutter release.

reppans
04-23-2008, 07:14 PM
I don't bother carrying a tripod - there's always a wall, garbage can, ledge or something you can sit the camera on for a night exposure. This photo was shot with Canon A710IS (simple point and shoot) sitting on a bridge wall.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/250/535424006_427aa891fd_b.jpg

A few other night shot tips:
- As the TheWengler mentions, fix a low ISO and turn image stabilization off.
- Use the timer to trip the shutter so you don't have to touch the camera
- If you use the camera's metering, set the exposure compensation somewhere between -1 and -2 depending upon how light/dark the scene is. For a night to look natural, the picture is supposed to be dark.

TDN169
05-22-2008, 12:56 PM
I took this picture in Bruges looking at the Belfrey from the old part of the town.
36303
That was with the Lumix FZ18 at ISO100 (I always like to keep the ISO low), and 1 second exposure on f/2.8. Luckily for me a wall was available to steady the camera on.
For good night photos-

Never go above ISO800
Keep f-number (aperture) as low as possible
Steady the camera, and wrap up warm to avoid shivering
Either hold it tight to your face or use a neck strap and push it hard away from you- this braces it and minimises shake

TheWengler
05-22-2008, 04:55 PM
For good night photos-

Never go above ISO800
Keep f-number (aperture) as low as possible
Steady the camera, and wrap up warm to avoid shivering
Either hold it tight to your face or use a neck strap and push it hard away from you- this braces it and minimises shake

I think for landscapes where you're using some sort of support you should still try to stop down to maintain a larger DOF.