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Thread: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

  1. #1

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    focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    Hello,
    I tried to get a moonlit landscape photograph with my nikon d 5100. My problem was when I tried to use autofocus, the camera said the subject is too dark. Then I tried manually. The problem was I couldn't see my subject ( a poorly lit tree) through my viewfinder or the LCD display due to the poor light condition.Somehow I got the photo. it's exposure was fairly good but the subject was out of focus. How can I get the correct focus in a moonlight landscape photo? Please help me.

  2. #2
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pramodjayawardana View Post
    Hello,
    I tried to get a moonlit landscape photograph with my nikon d 5100. My problem was when I tried to use autofocus, the camera said the subject is too dark. Then I tried manually. The problem was I couldn't see my subject ( a poorly lit tree) through my viewfinder or the LCD display due to the poor light condition.Somehow I got the photo. it's exposure was fairly good but the subject was out of focus. How can I get the correct focus in a moonlight landscape photo? Please help me.
    Hello Pramod,

    What were your camera settings? Was there any bright objects, similar distance to the tree, that you could manually focus on?

  3. #3

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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    If your subject is close enough, use a bright flashlight to light the subject ,untill you get a focus. Then turn the auto focus off, and take your shot.(using a tripod of course)

    Sometimes setting the focus manually to infinity, will get the job done.

  4. #4

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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    Hello John,
    No I couldn't find any bright subject with similar distance. My setings were f/16, ISO 100, shutter 30 mins, WB auto.

  5. #5
    RustBeltRaw's Avatar
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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    You can use either a flashlight or a shoe flash with an autofocus assist beam, pointed at your subject, to help the autofocus system. The camera's software focuses based on contrast, so if you're looking at an extremely uniform surface (even in daylight), it will have trouble. Does your lens have a focus scale? If so, you can pace off or measure the distance to your subject and set focus based on the scale.

  6. #6
    davidedric's Avatar
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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    Plus, at an exposure of 30 minutes you need a very solid set up to avoid some blurring caused by camera shake. If you posted the image here, one of the experts might be able to suggest the source of image blur.

  7. #7
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pramodjayawardana View Post
    Hello John,
    No I couldn't find any bright subject with similar distance. My setings were f/16, ISO 100, shutter 30 mins, WB auto.
    Pramod,

    Check this thread for answers to most of your questions.

    Low-light/night focusing tips

  8. #8
    New Member jeffca's Avatar
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    Re: focusing at night. - A beginner's question.

    For a middle-distance situation in the dark, I sometimes use "rough estimation"--pacing off the distance. Often, that's not practical or I'm in that slop area near infinity then it becomes trial-and-error: I'll do a short-as-possible exposure with Manual settings that get "a shot," in your situation maybe 15 seconds @ f2.8 w/ISO 6400. Adjust and repeat till the nearest object is in focus. Then it's a matter of resetting to an acceptable ISO, and depth of field. Exposure time is last. I doubt this is the best advice you will receive, but it works for my non-commercial images. Also, getting comfortable with full Manual mode has made me a better photographer.
    (Of course, I'm assuming you are shooting digital with a decent LCD)
    Last edited by jeffca; 26th April 2013 at 05:24 PM.

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