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Thread: Blurry night scene

  1. #1

    Question Blurry night scene

    Hi all, joined CS a few months back and should be considered a Newbie around here Need all the advise I can get from the CS family on the photo I took (see below).



    As the Forum only allows images <100kb, I've cut out part of the night scene I took. Following was the setting of my camera while taking this photo:
    =================
    Shooting Mode: Manual
    Tv:1
    Av: 5.6
    ISO: 400
    Focal Length: 122mm
    White Balance: Auto
    =================

    Camera setup
    1) Camera placed on camera back (Pretty stable)
    2) Using Canon 28 - 135mm "IS" on

    MY QUESTION:
    Given no camera shake, why are all the lights not sharp but looked foamy?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hey, can anyone tell me how to post the image into the actual size?? Thanks!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    You won't eliminate camera shake unless you used a tripod, not matter how steady it felt.

    The scene is too contrasty for a balanced out exposure. Completely dark background against lighted signages, they are bound to get over exposed.

    Mind you, I'm making these comments based on what you described. Your image is too small for any meaningful evaluation, even if its less than 100kb.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl07 View Post
    Hey, can anyone tell me how to post the image into the actual size?? Thanks!
    There is a 'Sticky' post on Forum guidelines & FAQ for newbies, you will find detailed answer to your question. But to answer your question very briefly, you need to upload your photo to a photo hosting site (for eg. www.photobucket.com), then 'link' that uploaded image to your post in Clubsnap.

    To get sharp images, use a tripod. Use ISO100 and a smaller aperture (maybe f/8).

    Experiment and good luck!
    Pictures always should have a special story behind it or a special meaning to the photographer.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hi Kit and Hitman, Thanks for the comment and advise on using tripod. I'm providing the link to my image for those who are interested to know what I'm seeing. Hopefully this link will bring all of you guys to the bigger image.

    http://gallery.clubsnap.com/showphot...//ppuser/57772

    oh...btw, I've trid using ISO100 but the "foamy" lights will still be visible. What will be the setting to get a decent night shoot? Tripod, long shutter and f2.8?

  6. #6
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl07 View Post
    Camera setup
    1) Camera placed on camera back (Pretty stable)
    2) Using Canon 28 - 135mm "IS" on

    MY QUESTION:
    Given no camera shake, why are all the lights not sharp but looked foamy?
    Without getting into the technicality of camera shake since a tripod is not used. I can think of a few reasons for your remark of "sharp but looked foamy"

    1) Have you ever shot a picture in day time...say a shot in a room without any lamp. Just the stray light coming in through the window. Now say you take the meter reading and expose it more bias to illuminate the room wall so it does not appear very dark. Now doing so, the light streaming in from the window will be really OVER exposure. And you notice that the light ray shining in has blurry edges or even foamy if you want to call it that. Not only blurry but it looses all details in the brightest areas right?

    Okay now imagine shooting at night. All those pin spot light or lit windows of a building, can become like that too. This is usually due to over exposure. As the light from the ray coming in from the window in the room or all those bright little spots on a building in a night scene...well the longer you keep the exposure going, the most light keep hitting your image sensor or film. This can cause a burn-in effect and this gets worst if there is camer shake going on. No lens is 100% sharp and there are for sure stray light distortion as it passes through the lens( made up of multi layers of glass elements) to the sensor and film. Thus you can get those foamy unclear definition of a lit object for example. If the exposure is just right you might avoid seeing too clearly that ghostly foamy aura at all the light spots.

    2) You can limit this futher by closing down your apertune. f5.6 is not one of the aperture I like to use for night shoot. I tend to use f8 or even f16 as most lens sharpest f-stop tend to be around those numbers. This is becasue lens elements are made up of many layer of glass that is concave or convex. Typically therefore most lens has what I call the sweetspot range. Anything less or more...quality will deteriorate....quite badly at times too! So if you have a few lens, take the time to go give them all what I call an "apeture test" Trying to work out all the "sweet spots" of all your lens.

    3) Walking out from a cold aircon room into a normal room temperture or outdoor can cause some fogging. Sometime it is so light that it does not fully fog up your shot but just enough to cause some foamy or foggy auro to certain bright edges? Changing lens can cause foggy glass if that lens was in a cold room and you took it out and change it with another in the outdoor. Doing so, now not only will the front glass be foggy but the rear one too and now that you seal it on the inside of your camera body, it can take abit longer for the foggy coating to evaporate.

    4) Some blurry edges can be due to a dirty front lens or filter you need to clean as smudges might have compromise the quality of the image passing through it on it's way to the sensor or film.

    5) Sometime...quality of the lens you bought also play a part in the quality of the type of shot you can capture too.

    6) This is the worst scenario. A damage sensor heheheh...

    Apart from all this yes it could be camera shake due to hand holding, not using a tripod and even with a tripod..was it securely place on solid groung or like on a bridge where heavy vehicles can shake the bridge enough that shot taken at speed like 1 second can still register in your shot.

    There are many variables at play here. And yes a bigger picture would help some of us here to better establish what really was the cause of it or maybe looking at it, we can go mimic it to see if we can reproduce the effect to confirm what caused it.

    Just my two bits...
    Last edited by sammy888; 9th January 2008 at 10:04 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl07 View Post
    Hi Kit and Hitman, Thanks for the comment and advise on using tripod. I'm providing the link to my image for those who are interested to know what I'm seeing. Hopefully this link will bring all of you guys to the bigger image.

    http://gallery.clubsnap.com/showphot...//ppuser/57772

    oh...btw, I've trid using ISO100 but the "foamy" lights will still be visible. What will be the setting to get a decent night shoot? Tripod, long shutter and f2.8?
    Looks like this falls under my first point's explanation. And also your shot was abit out of focus as edges of the building are all soft. This just makes the "burning in" of the long exposure to make the "foamy" effect alot worst. You need to cut down they exposure time.

    Try to experiment by shooting on manual mode. Don't use auto setting for exposure.

    Try this: Set apeture to say f16. Then try to shoot the same shot ( with tripod adviseable and set at ISO 100 ) then shoot a shot at 1 sec, then 5 sec, then 10 sec...do this till you shoot a shot at 30 sec. ( or even more if you want to see how much more worst the foamy edges gets) then you go a comparison. This will also teach you to better understand exposure and how sometime too little or too much is not always a good thing. I find your shot too over exposure. I think you were trying too hard to get more details for your night shot.

    Sometime...keeping the dark areas of a night stay dark can also be a good shot if not better. Not everything need to be greatly exposure for details. Also, when you do a night shoot...nothing is ever perfect, even pros will take many shots of the same scene and keep changing the setting...just in case. You will take even more shots for sure heheh but you will start to cut down that amount as you get better and understand how to do it.

    As far as I know, most people who do alot of night shoot, we very rarely use auto mode. As lighting is so complicated at night to shoot. I alway shoot on manual. No camera in the world on auto mode can give you the best exposure. Only your experience and your eyes can do better then the auto mode and this can be true even sometime in the day time! heheh....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hi Sammy888, appreciate your comments on the enquiry that I had. I truely agree with your burn in theory. Base on your comment in item 2:

    ================================================== ======
    2) You can limit this futher by closing down your apertune. f5.6 is not one of the aperture I like to use for night shoot. I tend to use f8 or even f16 as most lens sharpest f-stop tend to be around those numbers. This is becasue lens elements are made up of many layer of glass that is concave or convex. Typically therefore most lens has what I call the sweetspot range. Anything less or more...quality will deteriorate....quite badly at times too! So if you have a few lens, take the time to go give them all what I call an "apeture test" Trying to work out all the "sweet spots" of all your lens.
    ================================================== ======

    If we were to bump up the apeture to f8 or f16, we will definately have to either slow down the shutter speed or increase the ISO. Can we say that slowing down the shutter speed will be more prefered then setting up the ISO to avoid grainyness? But if we were to keep a longer shutter, the burn in effect will definately come into play again. So bottom line, we will need to get a balance between ISO setting and Shutter setting right?

  9. #9
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl07 View Post
    Hi Sammy888, appreciate your comments on the enquiry that I had. I truely agree with your burn in theory. Base on your comment in item 2:

    ================================================== ======
    2) You can limit this futher by closing down your apertune. f5.6 is not one of the aperture I like to use for night shoot. I tend to use f8 or even f16 as most lens sharpest f-stop tend to be around those numbers. This is becasue lens elements are made up of many layer of glass that is concave or convex. Typically therefore most lens has what I call the sweetspot range. Anything less or more...quality will deteriorate....quite badly at times too! So if you have a few lens, take the time to go give them all what I call an "apeture test" Trying to work out all the "sweet spots" of all your lens.
    ================================================== ======

    If we were to bump up the apeture to f8 or f16, we will definately have to either slow down the shutter speed or increase the ISO. Can we say that slowing down the shutter speed will be more prefered then setting up the ISO to avoid grainyness? But if we were to keep a longer shutter, the burn in effect will definately come into play again. So bottom line, we will need to get a balance between ISO setting and Shutter setting right?

    heheh and that is why photography is always so challenging and a mystery at times and keep us all pursuing to get that perfect shot or in the end...use Photoshop to make up for the short coming. Now you understand? heheh

    In night photography ...well even for day shooting..there is really many ways to take the same shot. The thing is...what kind of end result we want..AND sometime have to take a less then favorable route because either you are not good enough, have the right gear to archieve it or well it is just bad timing...etc. The challenge is how and what you make do with what you have and using it to the best of your gear and your ability to understand your gear to get the best shot possible.

    Too long an exposure and even if it is a dimly lit tree branch swaying in the wind will still be blurry in a shot...so do you use a flash? If not..then do you use a faster speed but if so...the dim scene might not get enough burn in to register in your film or sensor to form an image....decision...decision heheh.. that is the way it is...there is not one way to doing it....plus we have not even touch on the creative part of the shot too heheh... just taking a stragith forward shot is already nerve wrecking but being creative too.

    Well not to worry like...just keep practicing...understand the fundemantal of photography, understand your gear's limitation and just be not afraid to make mistakes...take endless variable shots with varying setting and then learn from it. It would not take long to learn it..you just to get started.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hey sammy888 and all who have contributed to this thread. Thanks for all your inputs and detail writup for this topic. I will be getting myself a tripod and be trying out the night scene again. Till then, I should say that this thread will be put on idle until I have updates...... Thanks again all!!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hi Owl07,

    Your shot like underexposed leh + not focused. You did 1 second shuttle speed at f5.6?

    I did this at 3s at f/9 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/22552862@N05/2174711107/). No tripod but rested camera on window ledge. Still learning. heh heh.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Quote Originally Posted by Owl07 View Post
    Hi all, joined CS a few months back and should be considered a Newbie around here Need all the advise I can get from the CS family on the photo I took (see below).



    As the Forum only allows images <100kb, I've cut out part of the night scene I took. Following was the setting of my camera while taking this photo:
    =================
    Shooting Mode: Manual
    Tv:1
    Av: 5.6
    ISO: 400
    Focal Length: 122mm
    White Balance: Auto
    =================

    Camera setup
    1) Camera placed on camera back (Pretty stable)
    2) Using Canon 28 - 135mm "IS" on

    MY QUESTION:
    Given no camera shake, why are all the lights not sharp but looked foamy?
    firstly - the scene is underexposed, that has been mentioned already

    secondly - no one is going to be able to say for sure why a photo isn't sharp, we can only guess, so take everything here with a pinch of salt. given that the camera bag was really stable, to the point of being like a tripod, i could offer a few explanations why your photograph may not be sharp, in order of possibility

    i) you did not use timer. when shooting night shots with a tripod or bracing, unless it is handheld (which should not be the case especially with the lighting condition you have used).. you should set a delay release.. if you don't know how, read the manual. the reason being, for exposures which are significant in timing, if you shake the camera a little when you set off the shutter.. your image will be soft. for sure. i'm thinking it's mainly due to this.

    ii) for something which is braced, you should not use IS. just think about it. your lens is trying to compensate for something which isn't happening - assuming that everything was done right. what happens if you try to stop vibrations on a perfectly still object?

    iii) wind. if the wind was blowing vigorously then your camera will have shake, like it or not.

    in any case, keep shooting.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Hi Kitch and night8. Thanks for sharing. Nice shot Kitch, looks like we have some of the same building both our shots. Just different perpective... I think I will definately have to get a Tripod in order to learn more on night shoot.... anyone selling? haha....

    Night86, Yes, I did used a timer to have the camera shoot 10s after I pressed the trigger. Precisely what you mentioned, not doing this will definatley create a shake in the image. Come to think of it, there was in fact a slight breeze (wind) while I was taking the photo. This might contribute to some of the shake, taking into consideration my bag was a Lowepro Stealth200AW As for the IS shooting during shooting.... hmmm does it mean that any tripod mounted, timer shot images should have their "IS" switched off everytime? This topic is interesting and should help me in my next try on the same nightshoot....... do advise!! Thanks all!!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Blurry night scene

    Fromt he small picture, the blurry lights and all is probably cause of over exposure and aiming directly at a light source resulting in this effect where cause blurriness around the subject. Happens when you aim at light emiting stuff especially tubes. Also where did you focus? Im guessing at infinity but slight back and front. A smaller aperature will probably help.

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