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Old Aug 9, 2002, 9:57 AM   #1
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Default Night/Dusk picture taking with digital

Last night I was at a company softball game. Most of it was in daylight, but towards the end it was dusk/night. I was using a Canon A40.

I managed to get a few good photos with flash, but then I decided to experiment a bit and I turned the camera to manual mode. I use a 400 speed ISO, and I changed the shutter speed to a much slower one, and I found that my pictures were relatively bright and clear, despite it being dark out and using no flash.

Now, I know that you can also change the aperture as well as "white balance". Aperture doesn't seem to be a big option on this camera as there were only two choices, and the "larger" number is a "smaller" aperture which would seem to be a bad choice for night shots.

What is a good shutter speed for night shots to get lots of light but avoid blurring?
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Old Aug 9, 2002, 10:38 AM   #2
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If you're trying to freeze action in night shots your options become limited. Slowest shutter speed depends mostly on focal length as far as camera shake blur goes. Subject motion blur is another matter. The rule of thumb in the 35mm world was a shutter speed that corresponds to the focal length. For the A40 use the 35mm equivalent rather than true focal length. At wide angle, 35mm equivalent, you can get by with 1/30 in most cases, at telephoto, 105mm, you may need to go to 1/125. Experiment a bit and see what works best.

Aside from that use the largest aperture - smallest number as you already know - and highest ISO rating needed to get an acceptable shutter speed. The drawbacks are less depth of field though this is rarely an issue in small scale digicams and more grain and noise from the high ISO.

Sometimes you can't get an acceptable shutter speed with the amount of light available. Time to switch to a tripod. You may get subject motion blur but it can be used to your advantage. Have you tried the slow sync flash mode? I use it on my A10 which has no manual mode and it works very well. It's a fill flash mode that sets shutter speed appropriate to the background while the flash exposes the foreground. Experiment with it as you can get some dramatic shots.
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Old Aug 9, 2002, 10:45 AM   #3
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Unfortunately a tripod is not an option as I am an amateur looking to take good pictures only...I can't lug a tripod around, adn I'm looking for spur of the moment shots.

I was using 1/2 and 1/4 second shutter speeds, clearly too slow for my hands.
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Old Aug 9, 2002, 10:52 AM   #4
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You can set your camera down and use the timer instead of a tripod. You can also get pocketable tripod @ Ritz that folds below the camera, and barely noticeable... (about 3-4")

[Edited on 8-9-2002 by NHL]
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Old Aug 9, 2002, 1:27 PM   #5
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You might also try a monopod. If you want a good tabletop tripod look at the Bogen 3008
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