bricejohnson
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Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 12:41 am

Hi All,

I was recently at YVR taking some dusk photos... I had to shoot at 1/20 of a second in, S mode, with ISO 800; Unfortunately, the images turned out quite grainy. What mode would you recommend to get tack sharp images at dusk/night while using a tripod? I tried using landscape mode before, while using a tripod, but the images were not tack sharp; the plane was soft, and not in focus.

How did these photos turned out so well, and with no grain?


http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-F...d=e0e3e6626949eb06644ce37f3768930c

http://www.airliners.net/photo/Air-F...d=e0e3e6626949eb06644ce37f3768930c


http://www.airliners.net/photo/AeroM...d=4bc08e62b94f2eb9a36a2b991d11e0f9

Thanks

[Edited 2013-03-15 17:43:14]
Calvin
 
DL747
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 6:43 am

Second appears blurry and therefore unusable. On the first, I noticed you shot in Sports mode, it is definitely beneficial to use M or A. That will give you far more control. Also, I wouldn't think a 1/2000 shutter would be necessary, if you are concerned about grain, tone that down a bit. I would say the first is flat, soft maybe blurry, and maybe low in the frame, but that is subjective.
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ckw
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:49 am

Well the first 2 shots suggest to me that your tripod is not as stable, or your pan head not as smooth as it needs to be. Notice the little wiggles in some of the landing lights. There is up and down jiggling going on here.

If you have a solid tripod and genuinely smooth pan, then you might as well shoot at 1/2th as 1/20th, hence no need to push the ISO.

Yes, the technique requires practice, but with the right support, quite do-able. Without the right support, you're not really much better off than when hand holding.

Cheers,

Colin
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GuitrThree
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:23 pm

Quoting DL747 (Reply 1):
Second appears blurry and therefore unusable.
Quoting ckw (Reply 2):
Well the first 2 shots suggest to me that your tripod is not as stable,

Guys,
unless you are looking at other pictures than the three links he posted, those aren't his photo's. They are accepted/in the DB shots from two different photog's and he was using them as examples of non-grainy shots. Not like I know anything about night photos and I'm just trying to get full daylight shots under control, I'm sure it would help to see some of his, however. What little I do know is that ISO800 in the dusk leads to grain. Get that down.
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Asuspine
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 1:56 pm

Quoting GuitrThree (Reply 3):
Guys,
unless you are looking at other pictures than the three links he posted, those aren't his photo's.

  and I was wondering the same.
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ThierryD
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 5:27 pm

Calvin,

if you're shooting under such conditions you'll need a decent camera combined with a decent lens, some practice and a LOT of tries.

All that combined will give you a usable panning shot under low light conditions.

Modern full frame cameras help an awful lot to reduce grain, e.g. on my D700 I can easily push ISO up to 1250 without getting too much grain:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Planecatcher



Good lenses help in that matter as well.

On top of that knowing how to use the grain reducing tool in your post-processing software will help you getting your photos "grain free".

Thierry
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vikkyvik
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:25 pm

There are at least a few variables here, all of which are basically geared to get you a lower shutter speed and/or lower ISO while maintaining exposure:

1.) How good are you at panning? The better you are, the lower shutter speed you can use, which means a lower ISO.
2.) What focal length are you shooting at? For moving objects and low shutter speeds, you'll often get some blur at the nose or tail, even if the middle of the aircraft is sharp. Different parts of the aircraft are moving at different speeds relative to your panning, which you start to notice as shutter speeds get low. This issue is reduced as you increase focal length.
3.) How noise-resistant is your camera's sensor? Underexposure will increase noise, but if your camera's sensor can handle noise decently, you may be able to underexpose slightly to get a lower ISO. Though for me, I'd take a higher ISO and nail the exposure (or overexpose a bit) rather than a lower ISO underexposure.

Quoting ckw (Reply 2):
If you have a solid tripod and genuinely smooth pan, then you might as well shoot at 1/2th as 1/20th, hence no need to push the ISO.

Not entirely true. You'll start to get more blur due to point #2 above as your shutter speed gets longer.

Quoting ThierryD (Reply 5):
Modern full frame cameras help an awful lot to reduce grain, e.g. on my D700 I can easily push ISO up to 1250 without getting too much grain:

With proper exposure, it's not all that hard even with crop cameras and some practice with NR in post (ISO 1600 on a 50D):


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Vik S

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bricejohnson
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:37 pm

Thanks for the responses guys; those links in my thread starter are not my photos.. I was searching the A.net DB for what I want my results to look like... I don't have any shots accepted here yet... still working on that  

Does anyone recommend Topaz DeNoise for noise reduction? I am thinking of purchasing it to help with that... I found DeNoise second-hand, in the CD-ROM version, with new Serial Numbers, etc... and thought it would be a necessary addition for Photoshop.

For those of you who don't know, I am shooting with a Nikon D3100... I understand that it's grain performance is not the greatest, but I can't afford an upgrade at this point. I think the D3100 is perfect for me.

Thanks

[Edited 2013-03-16 16:48:20]
Calvin
 
ckw
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:57 am

Assuming you are using a recent version of Photoshop, the noise reduction on Adobe ACR is very effective. Of course you need to shoot raw to use it. But, if that applies to you, I would experiment with that before buying add-ons

Cheers,

Colin
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:42 pm

You didn't mention what camera you're using; I have a good friend that does a whole lot of very "low light" and night-time stuff; all of her pictures look very nice; ( she mainly uses her Nikon D-4 , her 400 mm / f2.8, and a few other pretty "fast" lenses; If your pockets "won't stand" a D 4, the next best option, (and nearly as good, IMO), is a pre-owned D 3s. Those are becoming much more affordable now that everyone is rushing out to buy a D4.
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bricejohnson
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:18 am

Ok... thanks Colin for your response. I will try some more experimenting with the Photoshop RAW NR. I have used it before, but find that when trying to remove the noise, it takes a lot of detail out of the image. Thanks to the rest for the other responses... they have been really helpful  

Sorry that I can't post any example images... as I don't have a membership yet, and don't have any external links to point you to the pics.

For the pros...

What mode do you use for shooting panning photos at dusk? What f/stop, shutter speed, and ISO setting would you put it to if the conditions were getting quite dark... just like the posted shots in the thread started taken by other photographers on A.net?

Thanks all.
Calvin
 
n314as
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:35 pm

There are many ways of doing these - some real - some photoshop.

First, I would use a lower ISO and open the lens. That should help. The plane here was perhaps starting his takeoff and not moving fast maybe a 1/2 second exposure on a tripod - and lucky because some do not turn out good - do a sequence.

Second, Use the "smart smoothing" features in photo software. Do not over sharpen. This also works to smooth out the sky and everything else of grain - perhaps used in this photo.

Third, this plane may have been still and the digital artist chose to choose everything else around the plane to give it "motion blur" and that does the trick too when signaling out one plane or one subject too.
This takes time to trace all around the plane but it is effective. You fix the little remainders after the motion blur.

These are several natural and manipulated situations

Any of these will cause that effect.
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vikkyvik
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Tue Mar 19, 2013 11:41 pm

Quoting BriceJohnson (Reply 10):
Ok... thanks Colin for your response. I will try some more experimenting with the Photoshop RAW NR. I have used it before, but find that when trying to remove the noise, it takes a lot of detail out of the image.

Play around with both the amount of noise reduction and the Luminance Details slider. I have combinations of those that I use depending on the need for NR (usually based on ISO and exposure, primarily). And I also add some sharpening, which required playing around with the Sharpening and Details sliders. Obviously the idea is to reduce noise while preserving details, and I still fine-tune it on specific images now and then.
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bricejohnson
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:27 am

Thanks for the advice guys  

Any suggestions for metering? Spot, Matrix, or Center Waited (Nikon)? What's the best metering mode to use for getting some good aircraft pics... particularly at dusk/night?
Calvin
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:51 am

Quoting BriceJohnson (Reply 13):
What's the best metering mode to use for getting some good aircraft pics... particularly at dusk/night?

I would shoot manual exposure, and only use the camera's metering as a preliminary guide, if at all. I find that my camera does not meter accurately at all as the light grows dimmer - I would have to keep adding more and more exposure compensation, so may as well shoot manual (well, to be fair, I shoot manual all the time, but....).
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ckw
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:55 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 14):
I find that my camera does not meter accurately at all as the light grows dimmer

I think you'll find it DOES meter accurately, but I'm guessing the resulting image does not look right - too bright?

You have to remember what a meter does - at its most basic level it attempts to calculate an exposure which will render the entire scene an averaged neutral grey. More sophisticated implementations attempt to factor in color, sky etc. but essentially, your meter will attempt to render dusk as day. Some cameras have a "night program" which will address this to some extent.

Cheers,

Colin
Colin K. Work, Pixstel
 
Jetwings
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:05 pm

I made a lot of night action pictures at Zurich (ZRH) with my full frame camera. I used ISO 6400 and got a speed of 1/20 and 1/25 with open aperture. It is realy not easy to get sharp panning shots. But with a little luck, there are some pictures, which are sharp enough. Usually around 90 - 95% of the pictures are not sharp. The second problem is to reduce the grain (with Photoshop, DXO, etc.).

On my homepage are some of my results, all taken at Zurich during this winter.

www.jetwings.ch

Regards, Andi
 
9vswr
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:36 pm

I took the first 2 photos you listed, and in general, when shooting action shots in dusk conditions, I try to keep the ISO as low as possible by bringing the shutter speed down (I usually shoot in Shutter priority to achieved the desired shutter speed and panning effect). Of course, having a camera that handles higher ISOs well (I use a D90, and it handles noise alright) as aforementioned and a noise reducing program in your image editor does play a big part in getting the shots to appear 'noiseless'.

P.S. The first photo was shot at ISO640, so it is possible to achieve relatively noiseless images in the correct circumstances. I do not use a tripod for panning; all my panning shots are handheld.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:46 pm

Quoting ckw (Reply 15):
I think you'll find it DOES meter accurately, but I'm guessing the resulting image does not look right - too bright?

No. Far too dark.
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ckw
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RE: Getting Dusk/Night Shots Without Noise

Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:19 am

Quoting vikkyvik (Reply 18):
No. Far too dark.

That surprises me - I can only guess the meter is being over influenced by bright lights - possibly you would have more success with a spot or partial metering mode ... but if you're happy with manual, no need

Cheers,

Colin
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