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Camera settings for different conditions...

Well I finally got my Rebel XT at Nebraska Furniture Mart and now i'm waiting on the order to come in... I'm wondering what some of the settings you use for shooting lightning, low-light, sunshine ect. such as the iso or what not...
 
Lightning, usually 8.0 Aperture....and various shutter speeds, usually in bulb mode, so you can hold it indefinatly. ISO usually is kept around 100-200.
 
Lightning... anywhere from f/2.8 to f/11 depending on distance. It's digital... try it out in the field and adjust as needed. Remember to use the histogram! In general, you want the histogram to be as far right as possible without clipping highlights. If the scene is still too bright, you can adjust in photoshop a stop or two without losing detail.

One last note: I use the rule of 1/(1.6x*focal length) to determine guarenteed sharpness for hand holding. 1.6 is due to the crop factor.

Aaron
 
Remember, do not be afraid to shoot as many trials as possible...it's digital so it won't cost you a penny. Also, ALWAYS SHOOT RAW, when shooting lightning. You can save an image if you over/under exposed it, if you shoot raw...if you shoot JPEG, you'll just have to throw it in the trash bin.
 
I'd reccomend that you pick up a book on SLR photography. Optimally used, your camera, unlike normal point and shoot consumer cameras, doesn't use predefined settings, it's all up to you. You can put the camera in a "dumb mode" called "Program", where it makes it's best guess at getting a useable picture, but this isn't usually the way to get awesome photos.

Oh, and as everyone else here is saying -- take TONS of pictures and try different things. You'll see in a short order what effects changing different settings has. :)
 
Hey I got a question about bulb shots, do they eat up allot of battery life if you do star shots and similar length exposure shots? I've been trying a few with my new digital and haven't had any problems but it was something I was curious about.
 
Robert,

"Bulb" shots (long exposures) can eat up your battery depending on the camera. I seem to remember Sony cameras having this issue. Most DSLR cameras will open the shutter and wait for the signal to shut it again. Include in this the mirror flipping up.

The newer DSLR (and probably the other non DSLR's) have better technology for power management and usually do so quite well. I never had issues with the Canon 10D or Olympus E-10. I did run into some issues with an older Olympus C-2100 but that was mostly sensor noise rather than battery issues.
 
I'm not sure about the Nikon bodies, but Canon uses permanent magnets to hold the shutter open. Since the T series, back in the 80's, there is no power drain during long exposures. I suspect Nikon has a similar design. (Just a SWAG!)

Here are several lightning exposure guides. There are some differences between them, but most agree on the main issues.
http://www.cimms.ou.edu/~doswell/ltgph.html
http://www.inchase.org/outflow/chad/lightn...tningphoto.html
http://www.uscoles.com/howtolightn.htm

In short:
Adjust aperture or film/sensor speed to compensate for lightning distance.
Adjust shutter time to expose background as desired.
Don't get zapped!


-Greg
 
I'm not sure about the Nikon bodies, but Canon uses permanent magnets to hold the shutter open. Since the T series, back in the 80's, there is no power drain during long exposures. I suspect Nikon has a similar design. (Just a SWAG!)

-Greg

Digital has to be different since the sensor is using power the entire time.

I'm not sure if this problem has been fixed in the last year or two, but during long bulb exposures its not uncommon to get "hot pixels." On my Canon you'll get bright green spots when the pixel burns out. I don't want to go into deals, but you should expect this to happen. Its usually not a big deal, just clone out the hot pixels. I think this problem is worse in warm weather than in cold.
 
Since power was discussed above and I have been unable to find the answer elsewhere, how many shots are you getting per charge on your XT's and 20D's?
Thanks!
 
="Robert Edmonds" Hey I got a question about bulb shots, do they eat up allot of battery life if you do star shots and similar length exposure shots? I've been trying a few with my new digital and haven't had any problems but it was something I was curious about.

I took a one hour and 45 minute exposure on a star swirl shot with my Canon Digital Rebel and although it used most of the battery, I still had about one-fourth of the battery left. I do have a second battery, and with the quick charger I have, they only take about 15-30 minutes to charge.
 
I have a Kodak EasyShare Z740 and it has a PASM mode. I don't quite understand what it means nor how to use it. Considering that I am going to try and get some lightning shots with the storms here tomorrow I figured that it might be wise to learn what it is and how to use it in the overnight. Thanks a ton for any information.
 
I have a Kodak EasyShare Z740 and it has a PASM mode. I don't quite understand what it means nor how to use it. Considering that I am going to try and get some lightning shots with the storms here tomorrow I figured that it might be wise to learn what it is and how to use it in the overnight. Thanks a ton for any information.

The mode itself is called PASM? Usually, cameras have P, A, S, and M settings (so four seperate modes, not a combined PASM mode). The P usually stands for Program (automatic exposure, where the camera chooses what it feels to be the best shutted speed and aperture combo; the A stands for Aperture-priority (you specify the aperture, the camera chooses the shutter speed needed for proper exposure); the S stands for shutter-speed priority (you specify the shutter speed, the camera chooses the aperture for proper exposure); the M stands for manual, where you choose the shutter speed AND aperture. Perhaps the PASM mode allows you to pick P, A, S, or M somehow.
 
I have a Kodak EasyShare Z740 and it has a PASM mode. I don't quite understand what it means nor how to use it. Considering that I am going to try and get some lightning shots with the storms here tomorrow I figured that it might be wise to learn what it is and how to use it in the overnight. Thanks a ton for any information.

The mode itself is called PASM? Usually, cameras have P, A, S, and M settings (so four seperate modes, not a combined PASM mode). The P usually stands for Program (automatic exposure, where the camera chooses what it feels to be the best shutted speed and aperture combo; the A stands for Aperture-priority (you specify the aperture, the camera chooses the shutter speed needed for proper exposure); the S stands for shutter-speed priority (you specify the shutter speed, the camera chooses the aperture for proper exposure); the M stands for manual, where you choose the shutter speed AND aperture. Perhaps the PASM mode allows you to pick P, A, S, or M somehow.

It is one setting you tune to, but once you get to that setting you can change to P, A, S, and M mode. What would be the best mode for lightning in low light settings? Or daytime lighting? Just curious. I want to learn as much as I can about my camera. I found this site.....still reading through it currently.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/Z740/Z740A.HTM
 
I'm not sure about the Nikon bodies, but Canon uses permanent magnets to hold the shutter open. Since the T series, back in the 80's, there is no power drain during long exposures. I suspect Nikon has a similar design. (Just a SWAG!)

-Greg

Digital has to be different since the sensor is using power the entire time.

I'm not sure if this problem has been fixed in the last year or two, but during long bulb exposures its not uncommon to get "hot pixels." On my Canon you'll get bright green spots when the pixel burns out. I don't want to go into deals, but you should expect this to happen. Its usually not a big deal, just clone out the hot pixels. I think this problem is worse in warm weather than in cold.

BTW, on the 20D model and up, there is a setting that can be enabled on the camera to cancel out the hot pixels on bulb shots. The downside to this is that to do this, it has to take another picture with the shutter closed for the exact amount of time of the original exposure. Which means that after, say, a 5 minute bulb shot, you have to sit there for another 5 minutes before you can take another picture.
 
It is one setting you tune to, but once you get to that setting you can change to P, A, S, and M mode. What would be the best mode for lightning in low light settings? Or daytime lighting? Just curious. I want to learn as much as I can about my camera. I found this site.....still reading through it currently.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/Z740/Z740A.HTM

You may be able to use the camera's meter to give you an estimated exposure time for any other objects in the scene, such as city lights, illuminated buildings. twilight sky, etc. To do that, put the camera in A - aperture priority - and set it to whatever aperture you want to use for the lightning. (At ASA 100, ~f4 for distant lightning, ~f9.5 for close strikes, F16+ if it's hitting in your back yard!) Select spot meter mode and aim at the object of interest. If it is bright enough, the camera will poop out an exposure recipe - F8 @ 10 sec, or whatever. You can recompose and shoot at that exposure, or - probably easier - use it as a starting point and go to full manual mode.

If you can't get a reading on anything, just go manual and start at f6.7 and a 10 sec exposure. (ASA 100~200). Chimp the shot and adjust exposure time and aperture as required.

Daytime lightning not much different. Run the camera in aperture priority. Meter the scene as if there was no lightning to worry about, but use an aperture appropriate for the lightning. You may want to use slower apertures than normal, just to increase the short shutter times. This will result in thinner lightning, but will increase your odds of catching it. With the camera in auto-drive mode, hold down the shutter hope for the best....

At any time of day, it can help to say the magic words: "Well, I guess that's it. No more lightning today!" Turn away as if you've lost interest. This will occasionally fool the lightning into striking for you, although it tends to wise up after a few go-rounds. ;)

Dark frame removal is probably best done after the fact. Take several dark frame shots at 1, 1.5 2, 3 ,4, 6 ,8 , etc. second shutter speeds. When you get home, call up the embedded image info and select the dark frame that most closely matches the (lightning) image's exposure time. (ASA must be constant!) You can use PS, or any editor that supports layers to subtract the dark frame from the image. If you don't have a big photo editing program, there are several astronomy oriented freeware apps that will do the same thing. This way, you don't need to waste time to capture a dark frame for each and every shot.

-Greg
 
Steve,

My experience is pretty much with the Canon 10D which uses the same power system as the 20D. I think I answered a similar question elsewhere in here, but can't find it right now, so here it is again.

Per battery, I have run about 3 hours of constant use shooting football games. This is no Chimping except at half time shooting the Cheerleaders. I've shot 30 minute exposures back to back with several 5 to 15 minute exposures on the same battery.

The largest battery drain to any digital camera is the LCD screen. The more you use it, the faster your battery goes. Cold is another killer for batteries (rechargables anyway). 30 degrees and below knocks my battery life down to about 30 minutes of real shooting. So I always try to keep a couple of spares in my pocket all nice and toasty.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the newer cameras will have some improvement on power management. Certainly better than they were a couple of years ago. With the Canon 10D and 20D you can find a battery pack/hand grip that will hold two batteries and help keep them better insulated for cold weather. From what I've read, this gives you more power than most people will use. These run about $150 or in that range.

For me, it's a matter of mere seconds to change out a battery if needed. I shoot a lot of different things and my 10D's shutter button finally went south. Now I'm back to my trusty old Olympus E-10. Hopefully, I'll be able to afford to send the 10D off to Canon for a repair, but I'm not betting on it.

Hope that answers a couple of questions.
 
I don't use the LCD much and get probably somewhere around 500+ shots? It's hard to tell. With the D30 (old battery tech), I'd go through a battery or two chasing in a day, but with the 20D, I've used the same battery for several chase days/photographic hikes back to back. Battery charge is pretty much a non issue for me with the 20D...

Aaron
 
I have the Digital Rebel with EF 18-55 mm lens that came with the kit... for some reason I can't do bulb setting, is it because of the lens? When I try to change the shutter speed, bulb doesn't show up.
 
okay never mind

Sorry forgot to mention that I was in Manual mode

edited: Jeepers don't I feel embarassed LOL. I had to scroll the dial a whole bunch of times before I got to the bulb setting. Now, the lowest apperture I can set to is 5 unfortunately, so that means I either have to leave the shutter open long enough to get enough light in there, or get a better lens heh.
 
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