Night time exposure setting

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Herman, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Herman

    Herman The Image Stimulator

    Jul 11, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Hi there, don't worry it's just me again.

    Which manual settings you recommend to take pictures of lighted night time buildings ?
    400 Asa and 1/30 sec. and f 3.5 - 5.6 ?

    Best regards, Herman
  2. KillRamsey

    KillRamsey Super Moderator

    Jun 20, 2012
    Cambridge, MA
    I dug around for an example. This was shot at iso400, f5.6, and 2 seconds:


    Now the windows may be overexposed for your liking, but I don't see how I could've gotten much of an image out of 1/30th of a second.
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  3. Yes, theres no set formula (though, having said that, someone is bound to produce one). I'm afraid I just do try it and see, myself. some work, some don't. Because I prefer noise to be the least possible, I will often set the ISO first, and let the camera decide on aperture and shutter. I'll wind it up until I get to a shutter speed I can keep stable. With my X100, ISO3200 is good. But with some older cameras I noticed that 400 was fine because the cameras were stabilised which made up for my shakes.

    It will be different with each set of circumstances, as well. A building lit from the inside will have different requirements to that lit from the outside, for example. The quality of lighting will have its effect, as will the colour.
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  4. Richard

    Richard Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    If circumstances permit, I would put the camera on a tripod and use a delayed release of 2 seconds to avoid camera shake. Then I would take a few shots with automatic exposure and set varying degrees of under exposure with the exposure compensation control and select the best ones when I can see the images properly on a big screen later.

    If you have to work handheld, the camera will often have a scene mode for handheld night-time pictures which should produce reasonable results.

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  5. Herman

    Herman The Image Stimulator

    Jul 11, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Thanks for the replies.
    Handheld shots at f3.5 , ISO 1600 and 1/15 second are okay?
    Any thoughts are welcome, thank you.
  6. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    1/15 seconds is doable if I'm using 28mm or wider. Or a camera like the X100 with the nice soft shutter.
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  7. Petach

    Petach Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    pretty much most of my night city-scapes are at f/8 to f/11 and anything from 10s to 30s.....and always on tripod of course. I want as much sharpness I can get front to back hence the f/8 to f/11 and without having to use the bulb setting (most cameras max out at 30s then you have to use bulb and a remote) The benefit of the long exposure on water or in the sky is the smoothing effect, and also people tend to disappear from the photo if they are moving, Light trails also add something.

    30s at f/22 and iso 100

    Light Trails 12/09/2013 by petach123 (Peter Tachauer), on Flickr

    30s at f/9 iso 200

    Circular Quay Sydney by petach123 (Peter Tachauer), on Flickr
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