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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Need advice on taking low light photographs
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08/23/2004 10:09:34 PM · #1
I know I dont have a great camera for low light situations but I would like to do the best my camera I capable of. I have a Panasonic DMC-FZ1 with a FZ2 firmware upgrade.
The camera with the firmware upgrade has the following features:
Simple Priority : Total Auto
Shutter Priority : 8sec to 1/2000
Aperture Priority : 2.8 to 11
ISO : Auto / 50 / 100 / 200 / 400
Lens : 12x Optical ( 35mm - 420mm ) f2.8 from 35mm to 420mm.
No total manual controls : all auto focus
When I take a low light photo with soft lighting the picture turn out grainy and RED. What am I doing wrong? Any advice would be helpful.
08/23/2004 10:22:23 PM · #2
1. dont use the flash
2. use an iso of 50. small ther iso the less grain
3. get a tripod. wallmart sells em for 30 bux. you will use this alot more than you think. also if you can figure it out, try to use the manual settings on your camera(if it has one)
4. also on cameras the lowest aperature and the highest are allways the grainyiest. so for clear pictures try to stay away from them if possible.

Message edited by author 2004-08-23 22:23:35.
08/23/2004 10:25:58 PM · #3
Can you post a sample of an image that is 'red'? That sounds like it might be a white balance issue... As far as the noise goes, lower end consumer and especially older cameras are noisy in low light situations. You can get a noise reduction program like NeatImage or Noise Ninja to remove some noise, but use it sparingly.

Whatever you do, USE A TRIPOD! Use the lowest ISO your camera supports, and I would suggest Aperture Priority with the most open setting (2.8 according to your original post.)
08/23/2004 10:27:18 PM · #4
Originally posted by Thousands_Fall:

4. also on cameras the lowest aperature and the highest are allways the grainyiest. so for clear pictures try to stay away from them if possible.


That's the first time I've heard that one. Has anyone else found this to be true?
08/23/2004 10:44:03 PM · #5
Originally posted by TooCool:

Can you post a sample of an image that is 'red'? That sounds like it might be a white balance issue... As far as the noise goes, lower end consumer and especially older cameras are noisy in low light situations. You can get a noise reduction program like NeatImage or Noise Ninja to remove some noise, but use it sparingly.

Whatever you do, USE A TRIPOD! Use the lowest ISO your camera supports, and I would suggest Aperture Priority with the most open setting (2.8 according to your original post.)


Here are two photos taken the same night. The indoor is real grainy and red the outdoor seems to be ok.
INDOOR PICTURE:
Shutter: 1/8
Aperture: 2.8
ISO: 400
Exposure +/-: 0.00
White Balance : Auto
Flash : Off

OUTDOOR PICTURE :
Shutter: 1/20
Aperture: 2.8
ISO: 50
Exposure +/-: 2.00
White Balance : Auto
Flash : Off

INDOOR LOW LIGHT RED
OUTDOOR LOW LIGHT (SEEMS OK)
08/23/2004 10:48:05 PM · #6
Definately a white balance issue on the inside shot. Try setting it for incandesent (sp) light (symbol probably looks like a light bulb).
08/23/2004 10:51:04 PM · #7
Thank you, I will try that.
08/23/2004 11:54:48 PM · #8
Originally posted by TooCool:

Originally posted by Thousands_Fall:

4. also on cameras the lowest aperature and the highest are allways the grainyiest. so for clear pictures try to stay away from them if possible.


That's the first time I've heard that one. Has anyone else found this to be true?


never heard of it either
08/26/2004 12:43:37 PM · #9
I read that the red shift is due to the sensor heating up.
"...However, for very long exposures (several minutes and more) you have to deal with another problem, the heat glow: the amplifier circuit will heat the sensor from one side and result in a reddish glow that creeps from the edge of the frame as you increase the exposure. It's less of a problem in cold weather, for obvious reasons."

Article from betterphoto.com
08/26/2004 03:13:00 PM · #10
Originally posted by TooCool:

Can you post a sample of an image that is 'red'? That sounds like it might be a white balance issue...

My profile picture was made just this way ... no flash under low-level incandescent lighting : )
08/26/2004 05:08:40 PM · #11
Note that your outdoor shot is not a fair comparison. The moon is a sunlit scene- like shooting a bright clearing in a dark forest- so the exposure will be different than a shot that's dark overall.
08/26/2004 06:16:08 PM · #12
The graininess in the low light image is caused by digital noise, which is increased by using high ISO (400 in this case) and slow shutter speeds. The Panasonic DMC-FZ1 doesn't shoot slower than 1/8 second, probably because the noise would be too much. The strength of that camera is its high image stabilized zoom, not it's low light capability.
08/26/2004 06:31:32 PM · #13
Something else you may want to try; go to the library, there are many, many books about night and low light photography. Some of the techniques in the books may help you reduce the red in the photo. I have read the one by Lee Frost, it is excellent! (It is called "The Complete Guide to Night and Low-Light Photography")

Good Luck!

-Danielle

Message edited by author 2004-08-26 18:32:59.
08/26/2004 06:35:15 PM · #14
i'm not sure about the technical specs because my camera does this automatically, but if you take another exposure at the same time with the same shutter/WB/aperature/ISO settings adn the lens cap on, you can apply it in PS to cancel most of the noise. look around and you can probably find a very detailed tutorial to do this.
08/26/2004 06:38:14 PM · #15
Originally posted by longlivenyhc:

Originally posted by TooCool:

Originally posted by Thousands_Fall:

4. also on cameras the lowest aperature and the highest are allways the grainyiest. so for clear pictures try to stay away from them if possible.


That's the first time I've heard that one. Has anyone else found this to be true?


never heard of it either


Neither have I...

-Danielle
08/26/2004 06:52:20 PM · #16
Originally posted by TooCool:

Originally posted by Thousands_Fall:

4. also on cameras the lowest aperature and the highest are allways the grainyiest. so for clear pictures try to stay away from them if possible.


That's the first time I've heard that one. Has anyone else found this to be true?


Revealing the most grain, probably not. Certainly the smallest aperture will have the most gain, for any given scene as it will require a longer exposure.

In general though, wide open and stopped down as far as possible will both give you the worst possible results for any given lens. Typically lens quality degrades towards both extremes, due to different effects.
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