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Aperature settings for pictures at night

Discussion in 'Help Team' started by dreamer1955, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    What aperature would i need to use to get photos of the London eye reflecting in Thames at night ?

    Is F16 + 90 seconds = F22 + 2 mins ?

    I need one aperature so i can play around with the bulb setting to get the photos i want on my EOS 3 film SLR.
     
  2. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    You can use any aperture you like to take a photograph of the London Eye. Why do you want such a small aperture? What effect are you trying to achieve? How close to the London Eye are you going to be? I assume that if you want reflections in the Thames then you will be on the bridge and I would have thought that f8 or so would be fine. However, with some lenses, a very small aperture might make points of light into little star bursts. Remember that the Eye is moving (or will it be stopped for the night when you plan to photograph it?) and that a long exposure will result in a small amount of blurring as it moves slowly.

    Two other points. Your maths is a little out. If you go from f16 to f22, this is one whole stop less light and so the exposure should double i.e. it becomes 2 x 90 = 180 seconds and not the 120 seconds you state. Secondly, as you are shooting on film (and depending on what film you are using) you are likely to suffer from reciprocity failure meaning that you will get a colour shift as the different colour layers in the emulsion respond differently at low light levels. In fact, when you get to this sort of exposure time, you should bracket quite wildly. In other words, your exposure is likely to longer than what you think and your bracketing should be to double or even quadruple your estimated exposure and adding a few seconds here and there won't make any difference.
     
  3. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    Yes. In general I would have thought that, when taking photos at night, full aperture should be your starting point, or maybe one stop down if your lens has unacceptable softness as full aperture.

    Not only that, the film speed will reduce with reciprocity failure. It's not unusual to find that a 100 ASA film is actually faster than a 400 ASA film (from the same stable) once the exposure runs into minutes. Not that you should need minutes when photographing objects in the middle of a city, which are brilliantly lit to the detriment of the natural environment...

    ... speaking of which, IMO "night time" views of cities are more atmospheric when taken in twilight so that there is some (but not much) natural blue light in the sky.
     
  4. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    I assume by 'full aperture' you mean wide-open or maximum aperture. If your camera is tripod-mounted you can shoot at any aperture you want and just because the lighting is low, it does not mean that you have to shoot at maximum aperture. In general, you either shoot at maximum aperture to maintain a reasonable shutter speed if hand-held or you are deliberately looking for minimal depth-of-field. I normally start at something like f8 for night shots.

    Isn't that what I intimated?

    And I'm not sure why you claim that a 100 ISO film becomes faster than a 400 ISO film when reciprocity failure sets in. In my experience, film becomes slower because very low light levels have have much reduced chance of making the silver halides react and register that they have been struck by light. I would guess that a 100 ISO film may behave more like a 50 or 25 ISO film.
     
  5. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    I want a "smooth ice" effect with reflections in the water.

    I wanted to use F22 as i thought this would give me clear results than using F8 or F11 at night.

    As we all know the EOS 3 is a great camera, it locks on to a subject and in day light photos even of Concorde taking off and the EOS 3 taking 6 FPS at 1/640th sec where pin sharp but at night even with a tripod the pictures come out a tiny bit soft......

    I'm not sure if this down to the way light works on film at night.

    I get to most places 30 mins before the sun goes down but after it goes down my eyes cant see sky blue after sunset, it can only see the jet black of night which happens 45 mins after sunset so as yet i cant work the correct moment to get those "just after" sunset pics.

    Am I right in assuming that
    :-
    At F16 = 1 1/2 mins (90 secs) exposure time

    At F22 = 3 mins (180 secs) exposure time.

    F22 at 3 mins will i guess wash out the detail in brightly lit objects.

    I guess F16 seems like a good F stop for all the stuff i want to do.

    How do i work out what exposure F11 would need ?

    Would that still be 1 1/2 mins for the " smooth ice " effect ?

    How can I work out when I've doubled the film stops ?

    Now due to lack of film being sold in most shops including Jessops I tend to use Truprint ASA/200, If i want to us ASA/400 I'm forced to use Tesco's own brand as i cant get Fuji or Kodak in Tescos. Tesco film is ok (as i've taken many good pics with it inc ones of Concorde on a wet day).

    I recently did buy 5 ASA/200 Kodak Gold films from Tesco so i hope i will get better colours than using Truprint.........
     
  6. Nod

    Nod Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    Scrumbow, at f/11, (using your f/16 timing as a basis), you'll need 45 seconds (but bracket a stop each side at 1/2 stop increments to make sure - IMO).

    As for finding film, try 7dayshop.com as well as other places that advertise in AP (other mags may also carry ads for discount films...) like Mailshots.?
     
  7. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    How many seconds = 1/2 a stop ?

    How many F stops = + 1 or 2 stops ?

    Thanks for letting me know I'll start shopping at7dayshop.com etc as i feel the EOS 3 is still to good to be put on the shelf.
     
  8. Bettina

    Bettina Well-Known Member

    There is a lot of light in central London and very long exposures will give you an orange sky. For the London Eye I'd stick to, probably, F8 at 10 secs to start off with but it really depends on the lens (wide angle, telephoto) you're using and the position you're shooting from. If shooting from bridges esp. the footbridge, there's a lot of vibration.

    Why not check out London Eye pictures on Flickr. Sometimes you can see the Metadata which will give you and indication.
     
  9. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    How many seconds = 1/2 a stop ?

    How many F stops = + 1 or 2 stops ?

    A stop is a halving or doubling of the light admitted, so half a stop is half that. For a 1 minute exposure a stop up or down would be 30 secs or 2 minutes. Half a stop would be 45 secs or 90 secs.

    I don't understand your second question and assume it's a typo. 1 F stop = 1 stop. Aperture and shutter speed stops are interchangable, if that is what you are really asking. If you open the lens by a full stop, say by opening from f8 to f5.6, you double the light passing through the lens per unit time, so to give the same exposure you half the time the shutter is open. In other words you shorten the shutter speed by a stop. So f8 at 1/125th gives the same exposure as f5.6 at 1/250th or f4 at 1/500th or, for that matter, f11 at 1/60th.
     
  10. nimbus

    nimbus Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    I would consider that using an aperture of f5.6-8 would be a better option than f22, lenses tend not to give their best performances when stopped down this far, due to the effect of diffraction. This has the advantage of giving a shorter exposure time, I do not consider that anything would be clearer at f22.

    With regard to film choice, would transparency film not be a better choice? It will give a much sharper picture than negative film, which many processors tend to misprint, due to automatic machinery that has difficulty dealing with negatives that are 'different', unless manually overridden.

    Other suppliers for film at reasonable prices include Discount Films Direct and Mailshots. Speed Graphic also carry a decent range at fair prices. In London film should be reasonably easy to obtain, since Jessops, Jacobs and many others still carry a selection. And yes, the EOS 3 is too good to leave on the shelf!
     
  11. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    I think i did make a typo in my last post.

    I use 2 lenses
    :-
    Tamron 28-105 mm zoom (f4-f22)

    Tokina 80-400 mm zoom (f5.6 - f29) i think.

    Both are great lenses, I wanted to get a wider angle lens (16-28mm) zoom if one exists but all the ones i've seen so far are very expensive so the Tamron will have to do.

    The Tokina was my "Concorde chasing" lens and that thing got me the best photos i ever took of Concorde, it was as good as the Canon 100-400 mm IS but the Tokina cost me half the amount and took photos almost as good as the Canon..
     
  12. Hotblack

    Hotblack Dead Horse Flogger

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    How sturdy is your tripod? Was it windy? were you on a slightly unstable surface?

    Any one could cause slightly soft images.
     
  13. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    It is sturdy enough to hold the EOS 3 + PB2E motorwinder + Tokina 80-400mm zoom with no worries and that little lot weigh an awful lot, but when i take most pics they are on a bridge with cars/buses etc passing behind me.
     
  14. Nod

    Nod Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    Being on a bridge and relatively close to moving traffic will be your problem. The vibration of any bus or lorry will make the whole bridge shake as will the draught caused by the vehicles passing. If possible (hard on a busy bridge!), try to do your exposing while no traffic is passing - easier with wider apertures and higher speeds.

    Does the Eos 3 have automatic bracketing? Many cameras do. If it does, a series of 5 exposures (with the camera set to auto bracket at 1/2 and 1 stop either side of the set exposure) should give you what you're after. Check the manual.
     
  15. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    It does but i dont think it works in Bulb mode as thats where i take most of "frozen ice" photos in.
     
  16. Nod

    Nod Well-Known Member

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    [homer]D'oh![/homer]
    Stupid me!!!

    OK then...

    If you think the correct shutter speed is 30 seconds (which will be constant) and the correct aperture will be f/11 then 1 stop under will be f/16, 1/2 a stop under will be f/13, 1/2 a stop over will be f/9.5 and a stop over will be f/8.


    It's probably worth looking in a bookshop for a copy of Michael Langford's Basic Photography which explains the relationship between shutter speed and aperture as well as subjects like latitude and reciprocity failure.
     
  17. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Questions

    A couple of questions:

    1) Why are you looking at fast ISO 200 and ISO 400 films if you deliberately want a long expsoure in order to blur the water movement? Surely, an ISO 50 film (preferably transparency) is the way to go?

    2) How are you getting your prints made? Do you print your own or do you get a lab to do it? Different labs will give different results for night shots because none of them know how you want the sky to look. It's a situation where you print these yourself if you want full control over how the final image should look. There is little point in going to great lengths at the taking stage only to have your work subjected to the arbitrary opinion of the lab staff as to how it should look.
     
  18. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    Not really, you were talking about colour balance i.e. reciprocity failure differing between the colour sensitive layers in the film.

    Yes. And the nominal 400 ASA film is probably working at an effective speed of 10 ASA. This does happen when the exposure gets long enough.

    Which is why I would advocate using an aperture as large as you can get away with (bearing in mind depth of field constraints - which are not often a serious problem - as well as lens aberrations) when working in low light - it's not just a matter of getting away without a tripod. If you can keep the exposure down to a few seconds then reciprocity failure remains reasonable. Ripples on water etc. smooth out with exposures under 10 sec - unless the waves are ocean swell.
     
  19. dreamer1955

    dreamer1955 Well-Known Member

    Re: Questions

    I cant get hold of ISO 50.

    I want ISO 100 but Truprint and Tesco only do ISO 200 film so have to stick to ISO 200.

    Truprint do it all for me.
     
  20. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: Aperture settings for pictures at night

    I can only assume you didn't read David's post properly - although there's a (very uncharacteristic) lapse in the English, I fail to see how this bit relates to anything other than increasing the exposure due to reciprocity failure:

    "your exposure is likely to longer than what you think and your bracketing should be to double or even quadruple your estimated exposure and adding a few seconds here and there won't make any difference. "
     

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