DSLR Photography Forum

Full Version: What went wrong?
You're currently viewing a stripped down version of our content. View the full version with proper formatting.
This is as full size sample of the Brisbane at Night picture I posted in Showcase, before sharpening (which didn't do all that much really).

[Image: blah.jpg]

As you can see the quality leaves much to be desired. I have no idea why this happened, though. Is my camera just crap, or is there something i can do to avoid this?

As for shooting conditions, it was quite windy, although i tried to use my body as a windbreak, there may have been a slight camera movement, but it doesn't look like a camera shake issue to me.

I was shooting at 18mm, f3.5 (lowest I can go), 8" and ISO100.

I've read that faster shutter speeds are sharper while slower ones are blurrier, so is it simply a result of the long exposure?

Anyway, is there something I can do to get sharper images in the future, or is this unavoidable?
Hmm interesting... are all your shots like that? Or just one or two?

The wind would probably do it, especially for a 8" exposure. The scene itself looks pretty brightly lit - is 8" required? I would think even 1-2" would be sufficient...

Failing that - could be a focus issue?
Tripod? This looks quite a lot like the night shots I did in Melbourne without a tripod - mine were actually quite a bit worse. If the wind was strong, even minute movements due to gusts could look like this. It looks like really subtle camera movement to me.
No, i did use a tripod. And i find that a lot of my shots are like this, even in the daytime. Seems mainly to happen when i'm shooting anything at a distance. It happened to pictures i took from the observation deck in the Columbia Tower in Seattle too, and that was indoors so no wind.

A couple of things i remembered:

I sampled that from one of the HDRs, which was merged from shots of 1.6", 4", and 8", but they all had the same problem, even the 1.6" ones.

Also, I still had my camera set on spot focus instead of wide area focus. Could that combined with a large apeture have caused it?
The wind can indeed move your tripod and make your picture look soft. When I was in Hamburg last weekend it was very windy too and I tried not to use the extender of the tripod and took them the lowest I could. I stood up where the wind was comming and I sheltered my camera from the wind with my body. Also to hold the strip of the camera helps, if you have it hitting he tripod will affect your picture too.

Also I think it is best to take your night picture with a closer apperture. I think F3.5 is not good for this kind of night shots. I took all my recient series of night pictures with f11 around. I also tried to focus half way of the scene not the closes place to me.

I had a problem however... In my case I blown out all my lights... Sad and some signs are just bars with light... But now I know now what was the mistake I won't do it next time... I took it with EV to the plus Rolleyes

Hope this helps, you can try even with the light pole you have in the street and take your picture with different appertures, so you will see how this (apperture) affects your picture.
I have found with any shot, where there is a large contrast in the light levels, there are problems.
My nightshots are all trial and error ( as I don't do many ..too cold) but I found that I burn the lights out.
So I use a smaller aperture, not too long exposure, and I use - 2/3rds EV (or more) .
The resulting photo comes out dark but that you can correct in editing programs.
Now I am sure there is a professional way to do it, but thats my way. Smile

This is one example, which contradicts all I have just said Tongue (Just a grab shot in the street) Unprocessed. 1/60th @ f2 Av priority -1 EV........ But I could, with a tripod, close the aperture and lengthen the shutterspeed.
[Image: IMG_7871.jpg]

Same pic lightened with gamma in Irfanview. Quick and dirty. But there still is a lot of hidden detail.
[Image: IMG_7871a.jpg]

To do it better, then use a good editing prog and selective processing. Curves/levels/noise removal etc.
Just to throw my 2 cents in...

First, I personally doubt that HDR is helping a lot with night shots. I've seen night shot HDRs that look like badly processed day shots. IMO a night shot doesn't have to have a lot of detail in the dark areas, you don't see them with your eye either. Also, combining the different exposures might add some softness or even multiply the softness.

Then, I found that focusing is very difficult with night shots. Especially when you open to f3.5, where do you focus and how? Often you take a night shot from a city scape where you have a mix of close and far objects. Autofocus doesn't work well when it's dark and you have a lot of contrast. In the Hamburg shooting, I ended up with f8 to f16 and manual focus on somewhere close, hoping the small aperture would make everything sharp. It worked, somehow.

Finally, some tripods are weaker than others. I have a wooden tripod for outdoors that is amazingly sturdy for its weight, but still it is not as stable as my heavy studio tripod. Pity it's too heavy to carry arround.
Are you shooting with your IS on or off when you're using the tripod? I find a noticeable drop in sharpness when I leave the IS ON when using a tripod with my sensor-shifting E-510, even in daylight or low-light shots. (Hand-holding the camera, even when well braced, is fine with the IS enabled.)

If that's not it, it might be focus-test-chart time.
Actually, the IS was on. Hm...
Shooting with this lens at 18mm (widest focal length) and f/3.5 (widest aperture) are both going to show your lens' sharpness at its absolute worst, particularly in the corners and edges of the frame (you didn't mention if this crop was from the centre or edge of the frame).
Also as Matthew said, shooting on a tripod with IS switched on will also cause problems unless the IS is smart enough to "detect" it is mounted on a tripod and disable itself (most systems can't).
Also, are you using mirror lockup when shooting these shots on a tripod? I doubt it would cause this particular type of softness, but it does help.

That softness in your shot doesn't look like motion blur to me, it looks like either a bit of mis-focus or softness from the lens, or more likely a bit of both. Motion blur tends to have a quite obvious direction of movement to it.
If your tripod is sturdy and the wind isn't too bad, a 30sec exposure shouldn't really have more motion blur in it than an 8 sec one.

I'd suggest going for a 30 sec exposure (gaining 2 stops of light), perhaps bumping the ISO up to 200 (gaining another stop), and then closing up the aperture 3 stops to f/10 to get the exposure back where it started. Then try to be precise with your focus.
See how you go.
Thanks for all the advice everyone.

What's mirror lockup?
Rabid Penguin Wrote:What's mirror lockup?

Oh yeah RB, also I'm hoping you are using a remote shutter release or self-timer to take the shots so that you don't cause small movements in the photo by actuating the shutter button. Most DSLRs these days seem to offer a 2-second option on the self-timer specifically to allow a little time to remove your finger from the shutter button and let the camera settle.
Yeah, I am using a remote shutter. I'm going to go have another try tonight.
Must be nice to have warm nights.
It has been pelting down with rain for a few weeks now in the UK, and temperatures are in single figures -6 to +8 C.
Awaiting your second attempt.Tongue
I ended up not going.
hi there!!
my asnshuman sinha from mumbai
i think this imag was taken in a low shutter speed
and ...am an amature too...do not know much about but here i would suggest that when using a low shutter speed one should always use a tripod.....
if you try taking such images with same settings on a tripod it might turn better
to sharpen the image use photoshop tools
you can use the curve funtion under images
make that curve like a mild s shape increase the contrast i can try somthing and post it to you by copying this image if you allow me to do so!!
anshuman sinha
mumbai maharashtra
here is a bit of edit
[Image: blah_bla.gif]