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  1. #1
    Graemey's Avatar
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    Default Aperture for night shots

    Hello All,

    I'm thinking of trying some night photography and was wondering about aperture settings. First of all does a large or small setting mean the diameter of the aperture or does it refer to the f number? Say if someone said 'use a large apetrure' would that mean the number f22 or do they mean the size of the aperture?

    Are there any rules of thumb for night shots?

    Thank you as always,

    Best wishes
    Graeme

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    Generally when people refer to a large aperture they mean a low f number, as they're referring to the diameter of the aperture. Is that what you mean? I think it makes more sense when you place the phrase in context - if someone is talking about low light photography for example.

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    RichardTaylor is online now dPS +1000 Club
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    (1) Large setting means "a big hole to let the light through", ie a small F number.


    See this (part of a series).
    Exposure (3): Aperture


    (2) Re night shots. There is really no rule of thumb. It just depends on what you want to achieve.

    This series may help. Available light night photography.
    Night Photography:1 - Cityscapes.

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    The smaller the number, the bigger the opening. ie. f2.8 large opening, f22 pinhole opening. f22 will give you more depth of field (less stuff is out of focus) and f2.8 will mean a shallow depth of field (more stuff out of focus). So if you want to have more of the photo in focus, you'll have to use a much longer shutter speed to compensate for the very small opening.
    1D4 7D 500D 70-200mm 2.8L 17-50mm 2.8 50mm 1.4 430EXII

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    Thak you all, that's explained it brilliantly. I'll have a look at those tutorials Richard.

    Best wishes
    and a Merry Christmas
    Graeme

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    My rule of thumb is- use the camera's meter reading and underexpose by two stops. That should give you a good starting spot. (This is for digital film is another matter)..

    http://elmoonphotography.blogspot.co...-and-flag.html
    Last edited by Elmo; 12-20-2010 at 02:01 PM.

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    Thanks for that.

    So could I be cheeky and ask you exactly how to take a reading? I know the basics but would you mind explaining it all?

    Best wishes
    Graeme

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graemey View Post
    Thanks for that.

    So could I be cheeky and ask you exactly how to take a reading? I know the basics but would you mind explaining it all?

    Best wishes
    Graeme
    I use my normal metering mode and shoot Av. When I part press the shutter the meter takes a reading. I then dial in minus a couple of stops using exposure compensation. I then check the display and histogram to get closer.

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    Hello again,

    It's the nusance. If I set up normal metering, set Av and press the shutter half way, could I lock the exposure with my EL button? Or do I focus on something neutral, half press the shutter, re-focus then dial a in minus a couple of stops using exposure compensation?

    Can I also ask, is there a way to set up my Forum Threads and get an e-mail alert when there is a reply?

    Thank you so much,

    Best wishes
    Graeme

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graemey View Post
    It's the nusance. If I set up normal metering, set Av and press the shutter half way, could I lock the exposure with my EL button? Or do I focus on something neutral, half press the shutter, re-focus then dial a in minus a couple of stops using exposure compensation?
    Either. Depends on what you want to accomplish. But with night photography, you typically want to "underexpose" as the autoexposure system of most dSLRs will have a tendency to overexpose mostly-black scenes (just as it will underexpose mostly-white scenes).

    Can I also ask, is there a way to set up my Forum Threads and get an e-mail alert when there is a reply?
    Check out the FAQ on "Subscriptions": Digital Photography School - Photography Forums - FAQ: User Profile Features
    I shoot with a Canon 5DmkII, 50D, and S90, and Pansonic GX-7. flickr stream and equipment list

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