Taking pics outside in the dark

Discussion in 'Photography' started by rich, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. rich

    rich Guest

    I have a Canon Ius 700 7.1MP camera. Tonight I went out in my car at night,
    parked underneath some flood lights and got ready to take some pics, the
    natural lighting was just fine, the car looked grerat underneath the
    floodlights.

    However, the pics are a disaster, with flash on the result is basically a
    black picture. The flash kills all the floodlit area. And the pictures
    without flash and blurred to bits. Can someone please tell a newb what I
    should have done in this situation?

    regards
     
    rich, Dec 1, 2005
    #1
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  2. rich

    UC Guest

    Not photography, that's for sure!
     
    UC, Dec 1, 2005
    #2
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  3. rich

    Chris Down Guest

    In very simple terms you simply didn't have enough aperture and sensor
    sensitivity to get the same exposure in the camera as you got with your
    eyes.
    The blurring was caused by camera movement while the shutter was open, hand
    held anything over about 1/15th of a second will be unusable at your
    shortest focal length.

    Night photos are hard as they require maximum aperture to let in enough
    light, and maximum aperture means minimum depth of field so if you are close
    to the subject it is hard to get all of it in focus.
    You can increase the ISO setting, but that introduces noise into the shot.
    As you noticed using flash completely destroys the interesting lighting you
    were trying to capture. With a proper external flash you would have got a
    shot as though it were daytime, with a small inbuilt flash you just forced
    the camera to take a short exposure with a small aperture without adding
    enough flash light to get the exposure, hence the black picture.

    As it was a static subject you could have tried a long exposure with the
    camera on a trpod, possibly using the self timer to start the shot so that
    you did not touch the camera at all.

    Another area to take care with is colour/white balance. Your eyes are very
    good at adjusting for any colour cast or hue in the illumination. You will
    notice that a sheet of white paper looks white to you inside under normal
    lights, or inside under flourescent lighting, or outside in daylight .
    You will find that your camera has to be preset for the colour/temperature
    of the illumination, to get this right you need to know the spec of the
    flood lights (halogen, tungsten etc) as it is unlikely the automatic white
    balance will get this right, being less sophisticated than the human
    eye/brain combination . You can of course adjust the white balance in
    who editing software.

    I hope this helps....


    Looking at ther specs on your camera I would suggest that it is probably not
    the right tool for the job, a DSLR in manual on a tripod being far better
    suited, but I would be happy to hear from anyone who has used an ultra
    compact in this sort of situation and got good results.
     
    Chris Down, Dec 1, 2005
    #3
  4. rich

    m Ransley Guest

    Your canon should do it, use a tripod , self timer to fire the shot,
    experiment with exposure time, and keep flash off for now. I dont know
    your cameras specs but my sony w5 does up to 30 seconds that is plenty
    of time to even play with f stops, im sure your canon is similar.
    Experiment with white balance, that you may have trouble with , but you
    can come close. My sony has several flash modes for accent flash, forced
    and fill flash. Im sure yours does also. Try 100, 400, 800 asa, one will
    have the least noise. Experiment till you get something good as you can
    then see if the flash can highlight. It may take you an hour and 30-40
    shots, but you will learn about your camera and its limitations. Sure a
    dslr will do better, you pay for that, but with experimenting you might
    be happily suprised. With film this experimenting was a pain to perfect
    , now you just preview the screen.
     
    m Ransley, Dec 2, 2005
    #4
  5. rich

    rich Guest

    many thanks for your reply! You explained it perfectly.
     
    rich, Dec 2, 2005
    #5
  6. rich

    Chris Down Guest

    Always happy to help
     
    Chris Down, Dec 2, 2005
    #6
  7. rich

    Chris Down Guest

    My concern with the ultra compact Canon with a very high pixel count on a
    small sensor is that the noise may ruin the shot even if you can get the
    aperture and shutter speed combination required. The resulting file will
    then be saved as jpeg with the compression adding to the noise.
    The Ixux 700 only has a maximim ASA of 400 and a 7.18x5.32 mm sensor.
    Miniumum shutter speed is 15 seconds. So you may be pushing the envelope
    to get a good quality noise free, shake free shot.

    The problem with spotting the noise on the preview screen is that the size
    is such that a shot looks OKon there but terrible once you look at it on a
    PC screen or as a print.

    Why I mentioned the DSLR is that with that technology you can get 1600 ASA,
    a 22.7x15.1 mm sensor (Canon 300D) and a shutter speed up to 30 seconds
    with a bulb option if you need it. This will give far more exposure options
    and far less noise, even at max sensitivity.
    Perhaps more importantly you can save the resulting shot as a RAW file so
    you don't introduce any additional noise prior to trying to correct the
    colour on the PC.
    As for price, you can get a reconditioned Canon 300D for not much more than
    a well specified compact.

    For my part I have both a Canon A40 for sticking in my pocket, and a 300D
    with L series glass for when I go out planning to take photos. Both are
    great for their purpose.
     
    Chris Down, Dec 2, 2005
    #7
  8. rich

    Guest Guest


    Don't use a flash, use a tripod or some thing else that won't move (the roof
    of the car) use the self timer or a cable release if it has one, take the
    picture in AV mode and you should get a result.
     
    Guest, Dec 2, 2005
    #8
  9. rich

    Glenn Guest

    Most flash units (especially on-camera) are only good for 10 feet.
     
    Glenn, Dec 7, 2005
    #9
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