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Old Oct 9, 2007, 11:12 PM   #1
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Hi all !

I'm a proud new owner of a D40X and I've not got a clue ! Within days of buying it and having not had time to read the book I've shot off on holiday. Found myself in New York wanting to take some aerial night shots but spend all the time messing with the settings and getting nowhere.

If anyone could please (please please please) stick a few tips on what settings I should put it on I would be deeply grateful. There's a good chance the settings ara all over the place by now and I'm not clued up just yet so as simple as possible please.

Many Thanks in advance and I promise that as soon as I get home I'll read the book and not pester you with basic questions after that (well maybe one or two).

Might even post a few before and after pics on here to congratulate any posters on this thread.


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Old Oct 10, 2007, 10:46 AM   #2
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Night Cityscape type shots are normally taken using a tripod. ;-) Typically, you want to use a long exposure with the ISO speed set to it's lowest setting to keep noise levels down.

Leave noise reduction turned on (which is really a "dark frame subtraction" type system designed to remove hot pixels that usually occur with long exposures). It works by taking two photos when shutter speeds are around 1 second or slower. The second exposure is taken with the shutter closed.

The camera then finds the locations of any hot pixels in the dark frame exposure and removes them from the same locations in the actual exposure (by replacing them with values interpolated from surrounding pixels). It works because the camera is at the same temperature, using the same exposure length, so hot pixels are likely to be in the same locations in both images.

In other words, if you try to take these types of photos without a steady camera, you can expect a blurry image, because of the slower shutter speeds needed for proper exposure.

Can you get around it? Maybe.

If you use a higher ISO speed (which also means higher noise levels) with a relatively bright lens, you might be able to take night scenes without a steady platform. But, I'd have no experience trying to take ariel night shots. Perhaps the image can be steady enough that way for a longer exposure time.

I'd experiment with a variety of settings (lower ISO speeds with longer exposures, higher ISO speeds with faster exposures), so that I'd be more likely to get some keepers.

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Old Oct 10, 2007, 11:31 AM   #3
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If you can take the photos without waiting too long after sunset, that would probably help (so that some light from the setting sun is still contributing).

Here's an example of a night photo taken with a hand held camera at ISO 1600 not too long after sunset. My shutter speed was 1/25 second for it at f/3.5. It was taken 20 minutes after Sunset while waiting to board a River Boat Dinner cruise in Savannah, Georgia in December 2005. I was using a Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D wearing a Minolta 28mm f/2 AF lens.


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Old Oct 10, 2007, 12:36 PM   #4
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Hey thats for the reply !! Would I need the flash off ? It keeps popping up and flashing when taking the photo. Also which setting should I select before I tweek the ISO, I presume not auto so would it be A or s ?

Thanks again.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 7:40 PM   #5
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Hi,

I also recently bought a D40x and in NYC no less . I took some pics and have a question thats really bugging me:

I am used to Canon's 9 pt Autofocus but when I use auto focus for the D40x, it only has focus for certain depths? i.e. if I have a person staning in front of a scenic background that is way in the distance, autofocus will make the person clear but the background blurry as if I had it on portrait or something. Is there a work around this? Thanks and sorry if this is a newbie question.
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Old Oct 29, 2007, 7:50 PM   #6
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Depth of Field is controlled by Aperture (smaller apertures, represented by higher f/stop numbers give more depth of field), Focus Distance (the further you are from your subject, the greater the depth of field), and focal length,

See this handy Depth of Field Calculator to get a better idea of howthese factors (focus distance, focal length, and aperture) worktogether for depth of field purposes. You can plug in your camera model, aperture, and focus distance and it will calculate the area of acceptable sharpness.

Keep in mind that if you use a longer focal length (or more zoom), you'll need to be further away for your subject to occupy the same percentage of the frame.

http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Be careful of shutter speeds if you're trying to achieve more depth of field. If you use smaller apertures (higher f/stop numbers) for greater depth of field, you also require slower shutter speeds for proper exposure (which can cause motion blur in lower light if ISO speed is not fast enough).

Using smaller apertures can also impact flash range.

You also need to take lens characteristics into consideration. Most lenses tend to be sharper a couple of stops down from their widest aperture setting (lowest f/stop number). For example, a lens with a widest available aperture of f/2.8, may be considerably sharper at f/5.6.

You can start getting softer images if your aperture is smaller verus wider, too. if you set your aperture too small (i.e., f/16 or so), you'll start getting softer images from diffraction with many lenses. So, it's usually best to avoid aperture extremes, depending on lens quality/characteristics and what you're trying to achieve.
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