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  • ISO's and kit lenses

    The last couple of nights provided us southerners with some lovely aurora opportunities, however when I went outside there was too much cloud cover.
    My question is .......
    My camera is a Nikon D90, I used kit lens 18-105, f.3.2, (I think) the ISO goes up to 3200 which I haven't used yet. I tried one at 2500 last night and it was badly grainy, looked awful, there were very thick clouds.
    was this because I exposed for 3 minutes?
    because the camera/lens isn't up to the job?
    because I'm not up to the job

    I'm just curious because I've seen other photographers' pics using 3200 and upward and their pics don't appear to be grainy, I have put in a link to some shots which were taken by photographers Monday and last night underneath. Some have included their specs. Gorgeous Pics.

    http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2...tm?site=hobart
    Jenne

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  • #2
    ISO's and kit lenses

    Your camera just isn't into you

    The lens might give you some aberrations, but has nothing to do with the noise. And a D90 is a fine camera, but its not up to multiple minute exposures or seriously high ISO's.

    As for technique: if you used a good tripod with a remote release, then your technique is fine. Having said that, and stating the bleeding obvious, tripods and remote release have nothing to do with image noise
    I Use Nikon Gear

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    • #3
      Thanks Jeff, I was thinking that the wonderfully clear pics I have seen, especially of the aurora lately, have been done with cameras and lenses much more expensive than my current set up, I know 3200 ISO on some cameras show minimal noise, so I guess I will just have to use smaller ISO's and longer time exposures for a noiseless image. And yes I was using a tripod and a remote release.
      Jenne

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      • #4
        You are obviously using a tripod so why not just cut back to a lower iso (800 will work) and have a longer exposure?
        .

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        • #5
          ISO's and kit lenses

          From a noise perspective, the only difference your lens makes is related to its speed, a fast lens lets you use a lower ISO and/or shorter exposures.
          I Use Nikon Gear

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          • #6
            On long exposure shots Jenne (above even 5 seconds) I always go with ISO100, even with the 5D2. If I do need to use high ISO's for any shots I overexpose by 1 stop. That helps reduce the noise, because pulling exposure back helps reduce it, where having to raise exposure makes it worse.

            I don't know Nikons but does the D90 have long exposure noise reduction? I know my 5D2 does, the only downside is it takes a while to process the shot, I get the "busy" signal for about a minute or longer for shots of 15 seconds exposure and longer even on ISO100.
            Lloyd
            Never make the same mistake twice, there are so many new ones, try a different one each day
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            • #7
              Whilst I try to use a low ISO for night/long exposure shots there are instances where you have to up the ISO for a good reason - e.g. shooting stars where a long exposure (where anything over 5 seconds can be considered long depending on focal length and where you are pointing) would lead to streaks rather than points or when you'd end up with rediculously long exposures and you just don't want to wait (e.g. the diff between doing a 4 minute light painting effort in pitch dark at ISO 800 rather than a 30 minute one at ISO 100)

              in answer to Jenne - whilst the D90 was awesome for it's time - my D90 at 3200 was very noisy - much noisier than my D7000 at ISO 6400+

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              • #8
                Thank you all so much, your replies kind of confirm what I suspected, that my D90 has definite limitations compared to newer equipment so I will just put up with it and find ways around problems when necessary. I've usually not gone over 500 ISO and my pics have been nice and clear (when I have focussed properly that is ) so in future I guess you will be seeing star streaks from me but not to worry. I think some of the 'curtain' effect in the auroras is with a short exposure and ISO's of 3200 upwards so I won't probably get one of those, but just to photograph an aurora is very special to me, so I'm happy.

                Lloyd, yes the D90 does have noise reduction but I don't know it made much difference really, and after a 4 minute time exposure, I had to wait another 4 minutes while it processed itself in the camera before I could use it again, and on those cold wintery nights down here that got a little boring jumping around keeping warm hehe. But I will remember your tip about over and under exposing, I didn't know that.
                Jenne

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                • #9
                  ISO's and kit lenses

                  Errr, that would be "over-exposure"


                  ...qualified by a stern "slight", as in "Slightly Overexposed" for long exposures...




                  Good Luck, wear Long-John's and harden up
                  I Use Nikon Gear

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                  • #10
                    G'day Jenne

                    May I take an opposite approach - Don't try to take long exposures
                    1) Log onto "startrails,de" and download the [totally free] small pgm for startrails stacking of images
                    2) I suggest you pop into the D90 setup menu, find the NR settings and turn it OFF ~ if it's like many Canon & Pentax's I meet, it is not serving much help to you
                    3) shoot your after dark pix at ISO-800 / 1600 x 30 seconds x 10, 20, 30, 50, 100 images
                    4) stack them using startrails to make your composite image

                    Noise will be a non-issue at 30seconds and you can decide how many / how few images you include into the final composite image

                    Regards, Phil
                    __________________
                    > Offers Digital Photography workshops in outback eastern Australia
                    > recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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                    • #11
                      Thanks so much Phil, I do have the NR off since Alan set me straight on that one, and thank you for the startrails stacking information. Wouldn't they be really dark if I only took a 30 second exposure. I went out again on Saturday night but again there was too much cloud cover, however this one underneath was the shortest exposure of about 2 minutes @ 500 ISO, f3.5 - no noise but quite dark.

                      Name:  60cc9af155c4c0136c78e0d56854ad87.jpg
Views: 1
Size:  52.3 KB
                      Jenne

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                      • #12
                        G'day Jenne

                        Would they be dark? .... nup > ALL the exposures are added together to create one big l-o-n-g exposure

                        Regards, Phil
                        __________________
                        > Offers Digital Photography workshops in outback eastern Australia
                        > recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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                        • #13
                          Phil, thanks so much. OK I will give that a shot next time then (pardon the pun) , pity I hadn't read this before I went out on Saturday night, I could have tried it out. Sounds pretty exciting.
                          Jenne

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                          • #14
                            G'day Jenne

                            Without meaning to ambush your thread on the Aurora - here's a typical stacked star trails pic - the exposure was started about 15 minutes after actual sunset before all light had gone from the sky. The first few exposures provided the outlines of the trees, the final exposures were just white star-dots against a solid black sky


                            exif = 175 exposures of 30 seconds each x f3,5, 24mm, ISO-1000
                            Stacked using startrails.exe free of charge from www.startrails.de

                            Hope this helps
                            Regards, Phil
                            __________________
                            > Offers Digital Photography workshops in outback eastern Australia
                            > recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

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