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Old Feb 17, 2006, 10:34 AM   #1
Lin Evans's Avatar
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I decided to give the Sony R1 a field test in Rocky Mountain National Park. About four days ago I took the first frame
then decided to try a moonlight frame of the same general shot. Since we've had a full moon the last couple days
I tried Sunday but there was too much cloud cover and insufficient light. Monday night was pretty much cloud free.
It was cold - about 28 degrees with a sustained 30 mph wind gusting to 50 mph. At 9:00 - 10:00 pm in the park it was
just me and a pack of very loud and very close coyotes helping me concentrate with their serenade. For an hour there
was not another soul in the park - not a camper, auto, or hiker came by so I had the danged place all to my self. For
those familiar with the park, this frame was made from just off the west end of the parking lot at Sheep Lakes.

The R1 is a very nice camera. I've been having lots of fun with it shooting stills, landscapes, etc. It has great resolution
and very good images up to ISO 400. You can get very usable ISO 800 and ISO 1600 images and for smaller prints with lots
of noise reduction in post process even ISO 3200 is useable. It has a large sensor, actually a slightly smaller version of
the identical sensor used in the Nikon D2X. The camera produces 10.3 megapixel files suitable for large prints and has,
in my opinion, superior color.

The down side of trying to do a moonlight frame is that you have to jump through hoops to see what you are framing. The EVF
and LCD are essentially blind in ambient moonlight unless you open up the aperture fully. By setting the flash to "external"
you can force the camera to open the aperture fully while in the auto or program mode, so you can switch to program mode,
barely see the frame and get the focal length you want then switch to manual, set the focus to infinity via the EVF readout,
and take the frame. The camera has timing to 30 seconds. From 30 seconds on you can use the "bulb" mode which has a
visual clock in the viewfinder which counts to 180 seconds (three minutes). You press the shutter once to begin then again to
end the capture. If you wait until three minutes rolls around the camera will automatically close the shutter. Three
minutes is the maximum possible exposure. The camera then performs a dark frame subtraction which takes an additional
three minutes (or whatever time equal to the exposure) and you can review your capture with a manual switch.

Noise is quite good up to about 1 minute. It's fair from 1 minute to two minutes and pretty noisy even with the dark frame
subtraction at three minutes. I spent about 1 hour cleaning up the sky in the moonlight shot via selective gaussian blur
and the clone tool to remove hotspots and "clumps".

It's the best of the fixed frame digicams by far for this type photography, but falls considerably short of what can be done
with a dSLR in terms of long exposures. I wouldn't recommend it for this specific type photo but it's a dynamite all-around camera
capable of equalling or exceeding resolution and image quality which can be done with an eight megapixel dSLR in many cases.


Here's the moonlight shot followed by the similar day frame:

Last edited by Lin Evans; Feb 1, 2015 at 12:56 PM.
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 1:23 PM   #2
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Lin: those are really interesting, especially as I'm tempted to upgrade to an R1!

The moonlit shot looks like daylight apart from the star-trails, and both are really nice clean images. Keep them coming!

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Old Feb 17, 2006, 5:00 PM   #3
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 6:03 PM   #4
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Lin, stunning scenery!!!! Nice shots.
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Old Feb 17, 2006, 9:45 PM   #5
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This sky is so clear, I guess there is no polution here. :G Simply stunning. Regards Jaki.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 3:21 PM   #6
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Hi Guys,

Thanks - I guess I'm finished with these type shots for a while. Ialmost froze to death making these - LOL - but that was actually warm compared to last night. It was -16 F last night with a wind chill of about -40 so I'm staying by the fire for a week or so until it warms up - HA!

It was pretty clear that night, but now snow clouds but begining to clear so who knows??

Best regards,

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Old Feb 18, 2006, 3:43 PM   #7
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Beautiful shots of that scenery. The moonlit shot is great.

I can understand about the temps. That is why I don't live in that beautiful country.....I get cold here and would be a heatwave compared to that.

Thanks for suffering and sharing the results:-)
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 11:31 AM   #8
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Beautiful. Love the moonlight shot.........thekman.
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 6:41 AM   #9
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Thats a very nice photo Lin, the moonlit shot especially.

What shutter speed did you end up using to get that shot?

You mention that a dSLR would be far better for long exposure, I have no experience with dSLR's but I used to take night stuff around London with my Panasonic FZ10 (until it was stolen).

Now I'm looking for a camera to take great low light long exposure pictures and would like to get into moonlit shots. I have been leaning towards another stablized lens model such as the Nikon 8800, Olympus C-8080 or the FZ30.

Any suggestions / advice you can offer me?
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 11:07 AM   #10
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Very nice picture. Maybe some day I will see it in person
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