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Old 12-23-2014, 05:21 AM   #1
jfman OP
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Night photography: tips for setting focus manually

Hey guy i am starting to mess with night photography with my rebel 2ti dslr. I am having trounle finding focus because the sight and lcd dont show anything prior to the photo being taken. So I do trial and error until its about right. Is there a better way?

Auto gocus is useless btw... Unles i have a light source in the frame.
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Old 12-23-2014, 06:17 AM   #2
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Shine a flashlight on the subject and then focus?
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Old 12-23-2014, 07:19 AM   #3
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Go to infinity on your lens, set F stop to 5.6 or slower. Shoot. Make small adjustments if needed
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
Hey guy i am starting to mess with night photography with my rebel 2ti dslr. I am having trounle finding focus because the sight and lcd dont show anything prior to the photo being taken. So I do trial and error until its about right. Is there a better way?

Auto gocus is useless btw... Unles i have a light source in the frame.
Does the rebel have a focus assist indicator? When it's really bad that's what I use on my Nikon DSLR's and it has arrows showing which way it's out of focus and then a dot for in focus.

Edit: Looked it up and you do have a manual focus confirmation, there's something that will flash/beep at you but I couldn't find much beyond that so I'd look in the manual or do some more digging in photo forums. I find DGrin (the photo sister forum of ADV) will get you better information, and DPReview's forums will get you answers a lot faster but not as reliable and sometimes random fanboy trolls will show up....think of it like a photo forum with a touch of JoMamma.
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Old 12-24-2014, 10:48 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
Hey guy i am starting to mess with night photography with my rebel 2ti dslr. I am having trounle finding focus because the sight and lcd dont show anything prior to the photo being taken. So I do trial and error until its about right. Is there a better way?

Auto gocus is useless btw... Unles i have a light source in the frame.
What are you shooting? does it move?

For far away stuff, I just manually do it most of the time w/ as tight an f-stop as I can afford...if it's on a tripod, I set it for depth of field. Just off infinity usually does great. I used to love the flashes that shot out a red LED light to help with near-focus of people. When I don't have that at my disposal, I manually focus alot. particularly if it's people. Definitely hit or miss, so I prefer a flash if people are involved. Take a look at your lens and figure out it's focus range in terms of lock-to-lock twist angle. For my SHG lenses, it's 180 degrees lock-to-lock from infinity to close focus. For my HG lenses, it's a mix of 120 degrees & non-mechanical couplings, which really screws with your ability to guess accurately.

DriveShaft screwed with this post 12-24-2014 at 10:57 AM
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:19 PM   #6
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I am just shooting landscpapes. i think with your tips I got the focus part down.

Now the issue I have is that the pics either have nice skies and dark landscpae or nice lanscapes and white/ugly skies. I have never messed with HDR.

Can I just take a low exposure shit, keep the rest of the settings then raise the exposure and combine them later on?

I dont know how to mess with brackets and stuff.
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Old 12-24-2014, 01:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfman View Post
I am just shooting landscpapes. i think with your tips I got the focus part down.

Now the issue I have is that the pics either have nice skies and dark landscpae or nice lanscapes and white/ugly skies. I have never messed with HDR.

Can I just take a low exposure shit, keep the rest of the settings then raise the exposure and combine them later on?

I dont know how to mess with brackets and stuff.
Brackets is easy once you find the setting. Just set it to the difference you want (I usually do 1 full stop) and shoot it preferably with a remote if you're trying to do an HDR so you don't move the camera at all.

Are you shooting RAW or JPEG? While it can't save everything you can get a lot more detail using RAW and this example is using a few generation old 4/3 sensor (E-620).

Quote:
Originally Posted by NikonsAndVStroms View Post
Here's an example of the highlights that can be saved, first image is a shot I took from my room over in Tel Aviv straight from the camera JPEG, then that with a direct B&W conversion and finally a B&W from a RAW file:



Additionally I've done a color RAW version since then:



(Edit: There are also some distortion corrections I applied in this new version)
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Old 12-24-2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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hyperfocal distance charts are your friend

at every lens zoom distance and aperture there is a focus distance that will put everything between x meters and infinity in focus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperfocal_distance

and yes, there's an app for that

http://www.dofmaster.com/

if your camera allows manual focus and gives you a distance or scale, you should be able to set it to (for instance)

24mm
f/8
focus at 12.5ft

everything from 6.25 ft to infinity is in focus

It's not magic, just math.
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