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Old Jan 22, 2006, 2:10 PM   #1
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Hi All,

I'm heading down to Vegas for my 30th, and had planned on going to take my D50 down and get some experience with it.

I wanted to get some great pictures at night on the strip, and other than having a Tripod, (which I probably won't have with me)... what are some tips for getting good quality photographs? From what I've seen, using the "Nightscene" mode is primarily for portraits of people at night with a darkbackground. Would using "Program" Mode with the ISO bumped way, and a steady hand be the best way to take most of the shots?

Thanks,
Chris
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Old Jan 22, 2006, 3:49 PM   #2
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http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...hotography.htm

seems to cover a lot of what I've found by trial/error. Particularly for your situation, expose with a low-key histogram in vegas because the point-sources of light (all those individual bulbs) will blow out otherwise.

I'd recommend getting a "tabletop" tripod that's light and not so painful to setup on random surfaces (or even carry around attached to the camera if you don't mind strange looks). You'll not get the same kinda quality as you would from a nice sturdy tripod well planted on the earth, but I'm assuming you're not there primarily to take pictures It'll let you play with some bracketing if nothing else.

Vegas specfics - don't pull the camera out on the casino floor without asking management (they're paid to be paranoid) and don't take it to strip clubs. Try to make it a bit out of the city for some sunset/sunrise shots if you get the chance - the desert's a neat place to shoot.






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Old Jan 22, 2006, 11:47 PM   #3
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I took a bunch of Nights shots on my Vegas trip on Christmas Eve. However, I did not use a tripod, so for handheld night shots, you can try iso400, aperture priority f2.8 to f4.0, you should get a shutter speed of around 1/10 to 1/30, depending on the lighting of the scene. Since you have a D50, you may even go iso800 and image quaity should remain good. A good rule of thumb is to adjust your EV and underexpose by 1/3 to 2/3 stops so you can avoid too much clipped highlights.

For tripod shots, you can use the lowest iso, with aperture from f5.6 all the way to f16 (depending on your lens) and just use manual mode to take long exposures, from 2 seconds all the way to 30 seconds, these shots require a bit of experimenting.

curtis
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Old Jan 23, 2006, 6:41 AM   #4
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I'm going to strongly suggest you rethink the tripod. I took a look at the EXIF from some of my night shots from Vegas and with the exception of some flash shots, they were all ISO 400, shutters of 1 second or longer. I would also recommend a release cable.














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Old Jan 23, 2006, 8:53 AM   #5
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I was there a few weeks ago with my Minolta A1 and no tripod, and found that at ISO800 (looks fairly bad from the A1, but cleans up well enough for good prints with noise ninja) and anti-shake I could get away with a lot of handheld shots. Brace yorself and your camera as much as possible. Night shots from the Eifel tower at the paris hotel are great, I used ISO400 and pressed my camera against the fence, then pressed my face against the back to steady it. Out of a couple dozen I got one perfectly sharp 1/4 second exposure that I'm framing.

Bottom line, get your shutter speed up so that you dont blur your pictures. One trick I've used is to shoot in aperature priority wide open with -1 stop exposure compensation and as high ISO setting as I can tolerate. If the pictrues are a little dark you'll have to post process, but it gives you one stop faster shutter! You cant post process for camera shake. You'll also have to watch your depth of field, wide open the A1 was still infinite depth when focused over 100ft (aproximatly, of course).

Perhaps one of those pocket sized tabletop tripods would be a worthwhile investment, there are many places to set your camera (Concrete planters, short walls, etc).
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Old Jan 26, 2006, 6:10 PM   #6
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This is all good feedback. Thanks. I'll be sure and post some pictures when I get back!
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Old Jan 27, 2006, 11:45 AM   #7
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Here's my gallery, all with EXIF info intact so you can have some idea what to expect as far as shutter speed and apeture setting goes.

All shots are taken handheld.

No, it's not dSLR quality but I think the result is pretty good for a $300 camera. Since you have a D50, I think you should do really well.

http://www.pbase.com/curtisfun/vegas_xmas_2005

regards,

curtis
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Old Jan 29, 2006, 12:36 PM   #8
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So one question I had, is that if am taking the Vegas shots, am I going to want to bump the the EV to a value such as +8?

This seems fairly high, although I see that the following website http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm#evfcluxsuggests that 8 seems to be an optimal exposure setting.

Thx.
Chris
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Old Jan 29, 2006, 1:36 PM   #9
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You want a negative number EV value. If you go positive (or even zero), it will try to expose the entire frame "properly", generally meaning 18% gray over the entire image for zero (more for positive EV values). Vegas isn't that kind of shooting - you have really bright lights in a very small percentage of the frame. If you don't want to blow out those lights (and you don't, its what you're shooting), you'll need to accept that most of the frame will be black, and tell the camera that too.

Test it out with a streetlight or soemthing similar in a dark scene before you go. Figure out if your camera has a histogram display on it, and how to use that.
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Old Jan 29, 2006, 4:39 PM   #10
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MtnClimber wrote:
Quote:
So one question I had, is that if am taking the Vegas shots, am I going to want to bump the the EV to a value such as +8?

This seems fairly high, although I see that the following website http://www.fredparker.com/ultexp1.htm#evfcluxsuggests that 8 seems to be an optimal exposure setting.
You're misintrepeting the charts.

EV (Exposure Value) is another way of measuring light.

That's not the same thing as Exposure Compensation (where you set a + or - EV value to tell the camera to expose brighter or darker than it normally would for a given lighting condition).

If you used a +8 EV value with Autoexposure (which you can't anyway with most models), you'd be 8 stops overexposed. ;-)

If you want to see the approximate camera settings (aperture/shutter speed combinations) for a given Exposure Value and Film Speed (a.k.a, ISO speed), check out this exposure calculator (it's a little easier to see how different combinations work versus the charts in the above links). The numbers you see for "light intensity" choices represent the Exposure Value.

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

For night scenes, the Autoexposure Algorithms usually don't work that well with most models anyway (so, you'll want to experiment for best results).

The shutter/aperture speed combinations you'll find in the exposure calculators (charts at the link you posted, or the calculator I posted a link to), would probably make a good starting point using manual versus auto exposure.
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