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Thread: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

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    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Hello all, I am wondering if anyone knows of any problems with night photography using Nikon DSLR's. I was recently in a camera class and we went on a night shoot. The majority of the people were shoot Canon DSLR's. There was about 6 of us using Nikon. Nikon users where all getting really dark images, while the canon users were getting wonderful images. Does anyone know if Nikon has difficulty with Night time/low light photography. We all were using the same parameters between Nikon and canon users. Unfortunately, the instructor was only really comfortable with Canon. Any help would be greatly appreciated

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Hi Linz31,

    The metering on most DSLRs will try to protect the highlights (to a greater or lesser degree) and with night shooting often that just doesn't work because the contrast is so extreme (dark as the night contrasted against the light of street lights etc makes for a huge dynamic range). (You want the majority of the scene to be properly exposed, not the lightbulbs). So by and large you need to expose for the midtones, and let the highlights blow ... and often that involves using manual exposure.

    What I normally suggest to people is to simply pick a shutterspeed & aperture (and ISO) take a shot - see how it looks on the review screen - and change the exposure up or down from there. Sometimes it'll be a few seconds, sometimes it'll be many minutes, but if the image basically looks OK on the review screen then you exposure is probably pretty close.

    1 Second ...

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    6 Seconds ...

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    16 MINUTES

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

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    RockNGoalStar's Avatar
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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Colin, your final pic (16 secs exposure time) looks beautiful!

    How dark was it when you took this?

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Colin, your final pic (16 secs exposure time) looks beautiful!
    Tommy
    Did you notice it says 16 minutes, not seconds. Yes, we know - the man's mad, but we put up with him!!

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    Colin, your final pic (16 secs exposure time) looks beautiful!

    How dark was it when you took this?
    Well, it was shot my moonlight if that gives you a clue

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Tommy
    Did you notice it says 16 minutes, not seconds. Yes, we know - the man's mad, but we put up with him!!
    I've done longer

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I've done longer
    Bragger!

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Ryan View Post
    Bragger!
    I would say that by the sound of things my exposures are longer than yours, but somehow that just doesn't sound right!

    In all seriousness, after that they start getting into the law of diminishing returns (where sunsets are involved anyway, different for star trails) -- and usually by then the family are calling "when are you coming home" + I'm getting bored

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Linz31 View Post
    Hello all, I am wondering if anyone knows of any problems with night photography using Nikon DSLR's. I was recently in a camera class and we went on a night shoot. The majority of the people were shoot Canon DSLR's. There was about 6 of us using Nikon. Nikon users where all getting really dark images, while the canon users were getting wonderful images. Does anyone know if Nikon has difficulty with Night time/low light photography. We all were using the same parameters between Nikon and canon users. Unfortunately, the instructor was only really comfortable with Canon. Any help would be greatly appreciated
    If the Nikon user's photos were dark then they used a short shutter speed. Was there any details discernible in any of the photos taken with the Nikon camera and what lens were the members using? I have a 50mm f/1.8 lens that takes great night time photographs. Any lens with an aperture of f/4.5 or above will attempt to use flash if in auto mode and will give dark images unless you use a longer shutter speed, but will be out of focus unless used with a tripod. Additionally, could you upload some examples or let us know what the subject matter was and what available light was present?

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Hi,
    ISO 1600(or on auto mode from 200 to 1600).Exposure manual mode.Lens 1.2 to 1.8(but that is not a necessity).VR lens is OK.A tripod or something like that.
    Success
    Radu Dinu

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Tommy
    Did you notice it says 16 minutes, not seconds. Yes, we know - the man's mad, but we put up with him!!
    I did realise it said 16 minutes and not 16 seconds, I simply mis-typed it - musta got distracted! :P

    I'd love to attempt something like that but just know that after waiting for several minutes I'll finally hear the click and go to look in my viewfinder and find it is all white! And I'll wonder how the hell he managed it!

    Got any tips / secrets?

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    I did realise it said 16 minutes and not 16 seconds, I simply mis-typed it - musta got distracted! :P

    I'd love to attempt something like that but just know that after waiting for several minutes I'll finally hear the click and go to look in my viewfinder and find it is all white! And I'll wonder how the hell he managed it!

    Got any tips / secrets?
    Well just send me your credit card details, and for just 5 easy payments of ...

    ... nah, just kidding.

    The trick? Hmmm - well - the "trick" is to aim for a long exposure in the first place ... so start out at F32 or F22 (whatever your minimum aperture is) and whatever your base ISO is (100 for Canon, 200 for Nikon). If you have an ND filter then so much the better (the very best is a Singh-Ray Vari-ND, but even a CP will cut the light by two stops) - and then you wait ... and wait ... and wait some more. I've had many people walking by say to me "you've missed the best light", but nothing could be further from the truth ... the more the sun sinks below the horizon the more the light spreads out and the lower the light levels get ... so the longer the shutterspeeds get.

    You'll need to use bulb mode for anything over 30 seconds (and a remote release, preferably with a timer) - a sturdy tripod (this is when the men tripods get sorted from the boy tripods!) - and finally you just have to work out the ideal exposure which isn't too hard since you just need to look at the histogram of the one before and make the appropriate adjustments. The beauty of it is is that if you're exposing for 20 minutes, if you instead expose for 10 minutes or 40 minutes it's only 1 stop either way, and doesn't make a lot of difference! Also, it'll look too dark to photograph to the human eye, but you can't judge it by that (I think the human eye has a much higher "minimum shutter speed!).

    Best trick of all ... just go try it ... if it doesn't work then change something and try again. Repeat as necessary.

    Looking forward to seeing those first multi-minute shots

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Well thanks for that Colin... I am going to Devon next week and will look for some nice water scenery to photograph at a multi-minbute exposure time.

    My only problem is that I have a very simple IR shutter release remote. I'm worried my thumb will go numb when I am holding it down for so long!

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Quote Originally Posted by RockNGoalStar View Post
    My only problem is that I have a very simple IR shutter release remote. I'm worried my thumb will go numb when I am holding it down for so long!
    Hi Tommy,

    I think you'll find that in Bulb mode, it's one press to start, and a second one to end, the exposure. No aching thumbs (or flat IR Remote batteries) necessary. BTW, don't forget to fully charge the camera battery.

    Have a practice with Bulb mode indoors first, afterall, the film is cheap

    Cheers,

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    Re: Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Hi Linz31,

    Welcome to the forum, from another Nikon User. Well Nikon is not to be blamed
    Here are a few of my night shots I took in first few days after getting my camera.

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

    Trouble with night photography using Nikon DSLR's

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