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Olympus E-30 An Olympus 12.1MP upper mid-range DSLR, the E-30.

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Old 27th December 2009
thecedars thecedars is online now
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E30 and night time photos

Happy Christmas everyone!

Can anyone give me some guidance about taking night time photos with my E30 and 12-60mm lens and a basic tripod.
I am trying to take the outside of my house with some basic white Christmas lights around a tree and candle lights in the windows along with a couple of outdoor carriage style wall lights. We have a street light not far off that gives some general light but each combination of settings I use seems to give either a lot of noise in brown window frames or burnt out lights. Is there a way of taking this sort of photo without HDR or is a compromise between noise and burnt out highlights inevitable? Should I over or under expose? Am I waiting until it is too dark outside? Am I expecting too much? As you can see I am confused!
Any advice would be gratefully received.
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Mark
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Old 27th December 2009
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Re: E30 and night time photos

The best tip I have heard for this is to take the pictures against a dusk sky, so the blue/purple of the sky contrasts with the warm colours of the house lights.... Thus with more light in the sky you might be using a shorter exposure, so less likely to burn out the highlights in the house..

Pete
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Old 27th December 2009
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Re: E30 and night time photos

I suggest you start with the following settings:
  • Postion the camera on the tripod.
  • Set the ISO to loweset value (100).
  • Turn on noise reduction.
  • Set to Aperture priority mode and the aperture to give the DoF you require - watch the shutter duration and try to keep that as fairly short if possible. It's a trade off between a large DoF and noise (small aperture = large DoF = longer duration = more noise), but the noise reduction will help combat this.
  • Turn on Anti shock (2 seconds should be OK) or use a remote release (or both) if required.
  • Set to ESP metering.
  • Set exposure compensation offset to 0 (initially).

Now take a test shot and see what the result is like with no exposure compensation offset. If you are taking the photo with a black sky then you should try dialing a 1 or 2 stop negative exposure value. Take a number of shots at different negative exposure offsets and see which gives you the results you want. The low ISO and noise reduction should take care of any noise issues.

Steve
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Old 27th December 2009
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Smile Re: E30 and night time photos

Make sure you shoot in RAW, so that you can alter the WB in PP. You have so many different light sources in the picture you are describing, the AWB will probably not give you the picture you are seeing with your eyes. I hope this helps!
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Old 28th December 2009
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Re: E30 and night time photos

There are some shots in my gallery taken with this exact combination of camera and lens. I bracketed all the shots as described in the earlier post, but I found the best exposure for the shots with the reflections in the water were as metered by the camera (albeit with very burnt out highlights), but for the shot of the wheel where I wanted the lights to be exposed correctly the best shot was two stops underexposed. Noise reduction was set to auto so it cut in automatically on the long exposures, and white balance was set to auto. Just experiment with different setting and see which you like best. Hope this helps.
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Old 1st January 2010
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Re: E30 and night time photos

Thanks to all four of you for your help with this - I have just taken what I think is the my best attempt yet (please feel free to comment/offer any further advice!) - the dusting of snow did not harm the image either! But thanks again to you and best wishes to everyone on the forum for a great new year and many more moments of sharing tips on how we can all use our great Oly cameras

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Old 1st January 2010
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Re: E30 and night time photos

Very nice Mark. Looking at the photo's histogram in Photoshop the exposure is spot on. I personally would have waited another 15 mins or so to get a slightly darker blue sky, but that's just my personal preference. Looking at the Exif data ISO 100 for low noise and f/10 for good DoF and lens quality is fine.

Keep them coming, well done.

Steve
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Old 2nd January 2010
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Re: E30 and night time photos

I`m pleased you managed it in the end!
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Old 3rd January 2010
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Re: E30 and night time photos

nice job....., too late now but another thought for future reference might be to turn the christmas lights off and expose for the ambient light and while the shutter is open, assuming a good long shutter, switch the christmas lights on and back off, thus avoiding the blown highlights, it would take a bit of experimentation and might not work at all but worth a try
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