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Is it possible to set the camera up and leave the shutter open to capture stuff like that? I mean can you "set it and forget it" and walk away while having the shutter set to close like every 10 seconds or so? Otherwise, how do photographers capture pictures of lightning?

Generally speaking, all DSLRs are capable of doing part of this -- the aforementioned "bulb" mode. I know Nikon DSLRs can do this out of box. But they don't control sequence of shots; that's just not a common requirement. But there bound to be control software out there to do it. Astronomers use that kind of thing on a regular basis.

To answer the lightning question, it depends whether it's daylight or night shoot. Daylight is easier to answer: pure dumb luck. You can increase the luck factor by doing hundreds if not thousands of shots at high shutter speeds (to compensate for ambient light), but it's just hard.

Night shoot is simplier. Most night photos are pure trickery, from a perspective. Most night shot has no near focus (out to infinity), at the widest possible (no real DoF issues or possibility), has ISO cranked up as far as reasonable... so the only thing to play with is the shutter speed. This is necessary due to one overriding (and stupidly obvious) fact: there is insufficient light.

So what really happens in night shoots is that you capture a time slice in a photo -- in essence, you converted a 4D situation (3D plus time) into 2D. Say you set the camera to take a 10 sec exposure. That's a 10 sec record of everything that happens in that scene. So for example, if the first 5 seconds is pitch black, the next had a lightning strike, and then pitch black again for another 5 seconds, then what you (hopefully) will get is a nice photo of a lightning strike.

It's the same theory with fireworks shots. For example:

DSC_0410.jpg

ISO 200, f/5.6, 5s exposure.

You can bet your donkeys that none of the live watchers remembered the fireworks like that.... because our eyes don't retain images the same way as a camera sensor. The photos you see of full bursts of fireworks can be instead wimpy flares, but captured in a camera it becomes a sensational trail of light.

It's the same idea for those artsy-fartsy pictures with headlamp trails or tail-light trails in them. The camera's merely being used to compress a 4D construct into 2D, using the lack of ambient light to achieve this. It's not simple, and it's not easy, but it's doable; I'd shot the Orion constellation in a light polluted environment using a D70 with a 70-200mm... but damn tricky.

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need some quick advise. have an impromptu holiday and since i've been meaning to move up to a DSLR, i thought i might as well buy one now.

there is no budget per se, but i wouldn't want to buy something that will be overwhelming for a novice, or over-spec'd for my purposes (travel pics mostly, but should be good in low light since i like night scenes and inside churches/temples/bars).

sometime ago i heard about the nikon D3000, but then someone pointed out it doesn't have liveview, which i don't know if it should be a deal breaker or not. also heard about the D90, but i haven't been keeping updated on cameras so don't know if it's still good in the context of more recent models. i see the EOS7D on TV which piqued my interest, but that's about all i know of new cameras. i also just picked up a camera mag and it seems there's this new fangled micro-4/3 system, and so i am now even more overwhelmed with choices.

unfortunately i only have 3 days before i fly out to italy, so can't do proper research. appreciate any quick advise on camera choice, and for those who live in singapore, where the best place/s to buy are. thanks

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need some quick advise. have an impromptu holiday and since i've been meaning to move up to a DSLR, i thought i might as well buy one now.

there is no budget per se, but i wouldn't want to buy something that will be overwhelming for a novice, or over-spec'd for my purposes (travel pics mostly, but should be good in low light since i like night scenes and inside churches/temples/bars).

Assuming you want to retain the DSLR longer than your holiday, which particular area do you want to shoot? That's the key item, and would impact on your lens choices.

If it's travel pics, then tbh, a DSLR is overkill -- a Point-and-shoot might be better, lighter, and less logistically of a headache. Do pick one with a hotshoe and if possible, the ability to command flashes, since some of the subject matter (inside buildings) benefit greatly from a better, angled and off-body flash.

So ask yourself, if you really do want to buy a DSLR, do you want to shoot long and narrow (birds, planes, pretty girls on the next street... ), long and wide (landscape, possibly architecture), short and narrow (macrophotography), or short and wide (er, I dunno, normal stuff? Includes arty arty fisheyes, I supposed)? Since we are short on time, a rough idea would do.

My basic advice in the event that you really want a DSLR is this: get a decent body (which can support older lens), get a lens that is to your speciality (and try not to go with restrictive lens type like digital only), and get a decent flash unit. The body and flash, for Nikon, is reasonable. The lens, a lot less.

In general, Nikon and Canon are about on par, it's just which PR you prefer. Try it out on a store to see which UI you prefer, and generally your first choice of UI is the right choice (UI is an intutive subject, you either love it or hate it. You can get used to a particular UI, but a UI you like is a better UI).

unfortunately i only have 3 days before i fly out to italy, so can't do proper research. appreciate any quick advise on camera choice, and for those who live in singapore, where the best place/s to buy are. thanks

Alanphoto at Sim Lim and Funan is generally viewed as reliable (if not inexpensive, especially the Funan shop..). The other camera speciality store that is reputable is Cathy Photo at Peninsular Plaza, but that's IMO a bit on the expensive side.

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lynx,

thanks for highlighting the considerations. after this holiday i hope to get more into the hobby and my main interests would be "long and wide (landscape, possibly architecture), short and narrow (macrophotography)", and the aforementioned night/lowlight shots.

typically, i bring along during business trips one of those slim cybershots, and if i'm extending my stay for a quick holiday, a powershot s5. so indeed, portability and simplicity has been a consideration of mine, but i have so far not been fully satisfied by the picture quality i've been getting with these. not to say they're poor (they're mostly good actually), but every now and then there's a shot i hope to have captured better. and not to say success depends entirely on equipment, but that led me to thinking that perhaps a DSLR will afford me a better chance of capturing those moments.

let me try to describe the shots i didn't quite "make"

- semi-dark hallway inside angkor wat with light coming through some slats. wall patterns were hidden by shadows even after playing around with the contrast, and using flash totally killed the mood

- sunlight breaking through clouds over the pampas. tried using different white balance presets but still the grass weren't green enough and the blue sky nowhere as deep

- same color problem shooting inside the gaudi house which had lots of colorful glass on lamps and inset into the walls

- rising incense smoke near temple window. didn't even register.

- tulips in a marketplace and a row of traditional lanterns in a turkish pub. didn't quite get the depth of field i wanted.

have to say i'm starting to lean towards the micro 4/3, either the panasonic GF1 or the olympus EP2 (or the E-PL1 but not sure if already available), because of their portability. but i just fear that they'll fall short on color reproduction and low light performance, so i'm willing to consider lugging around a "proper" DSLR.

many thanks for the shop recommendations. i'll pass by funan in the next couple of days. just want to arm myself with some pros and cons before i hit the shops since i will most likely will have to buy on the spot because of my time constraint.

Edited by Major Focker
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A bit of a rush here, but since you did say you have a tight schedule -- hit Cathy in Peninsula Plaza first, then Alan in either Funan (nearby) or Sim Lim, and start earlier. Reason is that Cathy close quite early, so if you need to do comparison shopping and decide to go back to Cathy, than you at least got the opportunity.

But to be honest I think Sim Lim is better for variety (but most of their prices are the same within the building). Our local IT show just ended, so if you are lucky you might hit a good deal.

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so i ended up at funan during lunch break and got the micro 4/3 olympus E-PL1 with the kit zoom and another lens, the panasonic 20mm pancake. blew about US$1k but very happy with the form factor. took some pics to familiriaze myself with it.

full-auto:

post-6173-1268835616_thumb.jpg

couldn't get much depth out of my point&shoot so i went crazy with my new toy:

post-6173-1268835646_thumb.jpgpost-6173-1268835681_thumb.jpg

also played around with the art filters.

pinhole:

post-6173-1268835776_thumb.jpg

soft-focus:

post-6173-1268835753_thumb.jpg

pop-art:

post-6173-1268835528_thumb.jpg

and my favorite, the diorama filter. makes the view outside my window look like model train scenery:

post-6173-1268835721_thumb.jpg

lastly, tried to stress it with this handheld shot under dim incandescent lighting:

post-6173-1268835566_thumb.jpg

i think the white balance compensation did a good job neutralizing the yellow light, but the focus could be sharper. and that was basically my only gripe with this camera, the autofocus was a tad slow and not always accurate. fortunately, it allowed for manual focus fine tuning. i've read that the panasonic GF1 focusing was much faster and very reliable. so if ever a GF2 comes out with in-camera stabilization i would probably grab one in a heartbeat, specially since the panasonic pancake i got is really turning out to be gem. i'll be keeping it on rather than the original kit zoom. aside from the excellent image quality, it makes the camera small enough to comfortably fit in my jacket pocket. perfect for travelling.

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and my favorite, the diorama filter. makes the view outside my window look like model train scenery:

post-6173-1268835721_thumb.jpg

Nice tilt shift photo.

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What's the logic behind your choice here eugimon? :unsure:

Because it's a better lens in almost every possible way. Better sharpness at 1.4 than the nikon or canon cousins. More consistent focusing, color drift is about the same as the nikon/canon (but in a different way) but most importantly, the nikon's bokeh is sharp and universally disliked, especially if you're shooting small points of light like street lamps or christmas lights in the background while the HSM's is almost universally praised.

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Because it's a better lens in almost every possible way. Better sharpness at 1.4 than the nikon or canon cousins. More consistent focusing, color drift is about the same as the nikon/canon (but in a different way) but most importantly, the nikon's bokeh is sharp and universally disliked, especially if you're shooting small points of light like street lamps or christmas lights in the background while the HSM's is almost universally praised.

funny, the one complaint I see a lot about most sigma lenses (including the one in question) is that they tend to have really inconsistent/poorly calibrated focusing. (and I don't know about the Nikon but the Canon is $150 cheaper.)

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funny, the one complaint I see a lot about most sigma lenses (including the one in question) is that they tend to have really inconsistent/poorly calibrated focusing. (and I don't know about the Nikon but the Canon is $150 cheaper.)

yeah, in general. But most people praise the 50mm HSM in terms of performance and build quality. It's consistently reviewed to be superior to the canon 1.4 50mm.

The HSM is more expensive than either the canon or nikon equivalents. But if you're doing any night photography the harshness of the bokeh makes the sigma an easy win over the nikon and that it's noticeably sharper than the canon @ 1.4 gives it an easy win there too. What's the point of buying such a fast lens if the images are soft?

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yeah, in general. But most people praise the 50mm HSM in terms of performance and build quality. It's consistently reviewed to be superior to the canon 1.4 50mm.

The HSM is more expensive than either the canon or nikon equivalents. But if you're doing any night photography the harshness of the bokeh makes the sigma an easy win over the nikon and that it's noticeably sharper than the canon @ 1.4 gives it an easy win there too. What's the point of buying such a fast lens if the images are soft?

point taken. Although personally I'd stick with the 35mm lens or even go with a wider 28~30mm rather than a 50mm on a crop body.

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point taken. Although personally I'd stick with the 35mm lens or even go with a wider 28~30mm rather than a 50mm on a crop body.

yeah, I wouldn't get the 50mm HSM personally, I was just offering a suggestion for MacrossMan since he was saying he was going to be doing club/night photo work and the harshness of the nikon's 50mm is a really bad choice for that situation.

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The Digital Picture has something to say about the Sigma 50 mm 1.4.

Basically they say that if you get one that focusses properly it's a better lens than the Canon 50 mm 1.4.

yeah, in general. But most people praise the 50mm HSM in terms of performance and build quality. It's consistently reviewed to be superior to the canon 1.4 50mm.

The HSM is more expensive than either the canon or nikon equivalents. But if you're doing any night photography the harshness of the bokeh makes the sigma an easy win over the nikon and that it's noticeably sharper than the canon @ 1.4 gives it an easy win there too. What's the point of buying such a fast lens if the images are soft?

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dude. awesome... shoes... yeah. WTF MAN? VALKYRIES VALKYRIES!

that is all.

^_^

looks nice, a little soft but digging the creamy bokeh, makes the background look painterly and really pops the shoes out, nice.

Edited by eugimon
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dude. awesome... shoes... yeah. WTF MAN? VALKYRIES =7]

that is all.

^_^

sorry :( i moved in a new house and my toys are currently in storage right now

as expected @ f1.4 .....soft but it gets better @ f2 and up

Edited by Vegas
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sorry :( i moved in a new house and my toys are currently in storage right now

as expected @ f1.4 .....soft but it gets better @ f2 and up

excuses.

psh.

See, soft at 1.4, that's why you shoulda gotten a sigma 50mm HSM. :p

Congrats on the new house though, that's pretty awesome. You'll have to take a few shots once you get your stuff out and displayed.

Edited by eugimon
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excuses.

psh.

See, soft at 1.4, that's why you shoulda gotten a sigma 50mm HSM. :p

Congrats on the new house though, that's pretty awesome. You'll have to take a few shots once you get your stuff out and displayed.

that is if im lucky to get one that focuses properly ^_^

thanks eugimon

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Nice shots Vegas! Maybe I should get the 50 mm f1.4 too.

Anyone else jealous or am I the only one the want to be in Vegas' shoes. (I know, bad joke, but I couldn't help myself :ph34r: )

I went the the local camera store yesterday to get a price for my 'wishlist'

I'm up to €4400,00, but that includes a Gitzo GT2531 carbon 6x series 2 tripod to replace my current Gitzo Basalt tripod and a Lowepro Vertex 200 AW backpack. B))

what a better way to test the new lens with a new pair of subjects :lol:

no sharpening has been done on these pics and shot them on different f stops

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I went the the local camera store yesterday to get a price for my 'wishlist'

I'm up to €4400,00, but that includes a Gitzo GT2531 carbon 6x series 2 tripod to replace my current Gitzo Basalt tripod and a Lowepro Vertex 200 AW backpack. B))

very nice stuff!!!

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Any opinion on the Nikon - AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 or AF-S NIKKOR

16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Leaning on getting the first one. Slowly getting the hang of the a few things.. but need more practice.. and finally got a Kata bag .. awesomeness..

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Any opinion on the Nikon - AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 or AF-S NIKKOR

16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Leaning on getting the first one. Slowly getting the hang of the a few things.. but need more practice.. and finally got a Kata bag .. awesomeness..

the 18-200 is a better lens than either the 18-50 or 50-200 with less distortion at 18mm and a better focal length than the 50-200.

It's a well regarded lens, it's just big and long.

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^_^ my 70-200 has arrived!!!!

You're gonna love that lens vegas! Have you still got the 450D? If so, it'll give some nice reach with the crop factor.

My 5D mkII + 24-70 mm f2.8 + accessories should arrive sometime next week. Can't wait!

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You're gonna love that lens vegas! Have you still got the 450D? If so, it'll give some nice reach with the crop factor.

My 5D mkII + 24-70 mm f2.8 + accessories should arrive sometime next week. Can't wait!

i sold my xsi to fund my 5d2. yah im loving the 70-200. im going to shoot some cars with it hopefully soon.

show us your loot when it comes!

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