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Thread: Blurry night portraits ( or other applications)

  1. #1

    Default Blurry night portraits ( or other applications)

    Hey all,

    just wanted to ask a couple of questions which would be extremely useful for any other applications at night.

    Shots were taken at Marina Esplanade Area and at MBS Open Air. Aperture Mode Iso 200.

    I was using a D90 with SB600 + 18-70mm + 50mm F1.8 and trying to achieve a nice background with well lit subjects.

    Due to the haze, conditions were pretty dark and hazy


    With 18-70mm + Sb600

    Direct flash - Subjects well lit/no blur. Background was wiped out black.

    Slow Sync/ Rear flash mode - Subjects were well lit / slightly blur. Background was brightly lit/blur.

    Counter: Tried to increase ISO but lead to more blur. Tried to steady breathing and handshake and resulted in better pictures but still abit blur.

    With 50mm f1.8d + SB600

    Direct Flash - Subjects well lit/sharp. Background darkened out

    Slow Sync/ Rear Flash Mode - Subjects were still blur. Background brightly lit and blur.

    Counter: Increase ISO lead to more blur, applied breathing and steadying techniques but still very difficult.




    Question 1 : With the 50mmf1.8, shouldnt it be easier to take night portraits handheld with the larger aperture? with the flash included should be a breeze. Perhaps technique?

    Question 2: Is this to say that night portraits need tripod for every shot? minimum iso and large aperture with proper technique not enough?

    Question 3: Will increasing the flash power decrease the chances of blur? i found my subjects properly exposed so i did not try to add more.


    Thanks for looking!!
    Last edited by SpyGlass; 23rd October 2010 at 12:07 PM.
    Run and Gun All for Fun!
    Nikon D90/ Tokina 11-16mm / Tamron 17-50mm f2.8

  2. #2
    Moderator Octarine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Blurry night portraits ( or other applications)

    Can you please some pictures and exif data? Let's see the camera settings, your descriptions are too vague and I suspect you haven't even checked them at all. Have you heard about this rule of thumb for stable shoots: "shutter speed faster or equal to 1 / focal length"?
    EOS

  3. #3

    Default Re: Blurry night portraits ( or other applications)

    Question 1 : With the 50mmf1.8, shouldn't it be easier to take night portraits hand held with the larger aperture? with the flash included should be a breeze. Perhaps technique?

    >> Not true. This is the reason why people buy D700, D3, D3s and f/1.4 primes. Technique of course plays a bit part. You will experiment and learn for yourself.

    Question 2: Is this to say that night portraits need tripod for every shot? minimum iso and large aperture with proper technique not enough?

    >> Not true. If you have D3s, and good hand-holding technique, VR fast lens, and maybe 2 to 3 lightings, generally you don't need tripod.

    Question 3: Will increasing the flash power decrease the chances of blur? i found my subjects properly exposed so i did not try to add more.

    >> TTL? If using TTL on flash, it should be fine.
    Define blur, caused by motion blur? Caused by shallow depth of field? Caused by camera shake?

    Try Manual mode, ISO 400, f/4.0, 1/40s, TTL flash, flash WB, Optional: (AF illuminator assist, High ISO noise NR to normal, Active D-lighting to normal)

    If too dark, increase ISO to 800 but look at your indicator to know if it is going to be over-exposed or underexposed; adjust accordingly but keep shutter speed 1/your focal length or your minimum hand hold speed. Generally, mine is 1/8s for lens with VR. 1/15 to 1/25 for lens without VR. This will only take care of camera shake. For motion blur, depends on your subject is moving or not, if they are moving, at least 1/40s. Adjust your ISO and aperture accordingly. ISO don't go above ISO 800 for D90. D700 is around ISO 1600, with NR turn on, 3200 is possible for D700. Aperture don't go below f/2.8 because you want your subject to be in focus and certain parts very soft because of the shallow depth of field.

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