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Old Feb 2, 2014, 10:47 PM   #1
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Default long night exposures FZ-150

Hi all, The other night we had a nice bright sky, so I decided to take a shot of our backyard. Oddly, it was blurry. So, I repeated it again tonight .... blurry again. I have no idea why. There didn't seem to be any wind, and the exposure seemed right, it was well lit. (I shot it at iso 100, and 9 seconds.) I tried the same shot during the day, and it was sharp as a tack. Any thoughts are appreciated. ..... john
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 1:17 AM   #2
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Use a tripod, 2 second delay, manual mode, if you have it, use manual focus.
- zoom in on the lcd display (not the optical zoom, but the display zoom if you have that feature) to make sure what you want in focus is in focus.
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 9:04 AM   #3
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Hi rainrunner, Yes, I was using a tripod, 2 second dely, and manual mode, but not manual focus. I'm not sure if there's a display zoom, but I could zoom in, focus, then return the zoom to the original. I'll give that a try. Thanks, ..... john
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 2:46 PM   #4
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G'day John

Your FZ is capable of some really good after-dark stuff once you get a few basics 'right'. Some of the above comments are close - some are a bit 'sus' unfortunately

  • Tripod shake will be your biggest 'problem' - all tripods wobble just a tiny bit as you press the shutter button so please use the 2-sec delay setting
  • WB - often there is mixed types of lighting at night - house lights, street lights, city lights etc - so use AWB here
  • Focus - leave on autofocus - the FZ has an excellent focussing system, and at night it will open up from its daytime small focus square to the larger, multi-point focus square to 'get it right'
Exposure - you've got several options here -
  1. you can go to 'scenes' and try 'after dark' or 'fireworks' ... each will give 2 to 4 seconds exposure with an automatic increase of iso as well, or
  2. you can use Manual and set Shutter time anything from say, 2sec to 15 seconds; with iso on 100 or 800, with Aperture at maximum if it's really dark to f8 if there's lots of bright lights around [like below]
Give this a go and i'm sure that you'll come home with some quite reasonable shots

Here's a sample of the sort of thing you should be able to get fairly easily - but keep the lens clean of dust !!
It's a 8sec exposure at f8; iso-100; EV -1; lens at 2x zoom



Hope this helps a bit
Phil
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Old Feb 3, 2014, 3:39 PM   #5
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John, you should post the picture so we can see what type of blurriness your shot showed, whether it be out of focus or camera shake.
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Old Feb 4, 2014, 1:20 PM   #6
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Hi Phil, Thanks for the help. Basically I'm doing what you suggest. I said that I used a tripod, but I really rested it on a large bowl, which was just the right height. I always use 2 second dely when I want stillness. I have not tried, the night settings, or manual focus, as rainrunner suggested. (It was one of those reddish bright night skies, and I only had it for one night.) It's very odd, because I've taken low light shots before and they turn out very well. Originally I thought that the trees might have been moving imperceptively, but the entire shot is unifomally fuzzy, so ??? I'm going to try it again when I get the chance, using yours and rainrunner's ideas. I'm wondering now if there might be a slight vibration in the house. (It probably wouldn't take much, maybe just the furnace) The bowl was sitting on the window sill. I'll let you know how I make out. ..... john
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Old Feb 4, 2014, 5:21 PM   #7
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how light is your tripod and is it where there's a breeze? i have a lightweight tripod that pretty much can't be used where there's any wind or people running indoors nearby or cars driving by if i'm shooting near 'em - otherwise the tripod moves and so does the pic. luckily i also have a very heavy tripod which never budges.
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Old Feb 4, 2014, 5:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shinnen View Post
Hi rainrunner, Yes, I was using a tripod, 2 second dely, and manual mode, but not manual focus. I'm not sure if there's a display zoom, but I could zoom in, focus, then return the zoom to the original. I'll give that a try. Thanks, ..... john
With many zoom lenses, the focus changes when you change focal length, so this may not work. Using autofocus in dim lighting can also give less than satisfactory results, since there may not be enough contrast to get a focus lock. If your camera is defaulting to close focus, or infinity, this would create a blurry shot, regardless of camera steadiness.

brian
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Old Feb 4, 2014, 8:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
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With many zoom lenses, the focus changes when you change focal length, so this may not work. .... brian

G'day mate

VT is quite correct here - while back in film-camera days the zoom lens change-of-focus during zooming was tightly controlled via only using short zooms, these days with very good auto focus systems, the lens makers get more zoom and allow some focus shift to occur, knowing that the autofocus system will bring it back into line

Insofar as tripod shake / movement etc have a good look at this and see the effects of tripod shake ... you'll also see a bright blue lens flare from a streetlight 30deg sideways out of the photo, but it's affecting the image
[I've tried to get the images side-by-side without success -]

1- with tripod shake


2- without tripod shake



Phil
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Old Feb 8, 2014, 7:21 PM   #10
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Hi, I did some experimenting, and discovered that increasing the iso, and decreasing the aperture help to reduce fuziness (in night shots). Of course the 'side effects' are obvious..... noise and dark pictures. I think that the picture I was trying to take challenges the limits of this camera, because there is no light source anywhere, and a fairly low contrast subject (snow and trees). For this I was not able to go higher than iso 200 without lots of noise. 15 seconds at iso 100 was ok after I applied some serious shadow lightening. Is there any way of increasing the exposure time beyond 15 seconds in Manual mode? Thanks, ....... john
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