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Thread: Which lens for night shoot of the city?

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    Which lens for night shoot of the city?

    Hi guys.

    Im planning on doing my first night shoot of Melbourne with my new 7d and a few lenses.
    Id love to take some long exposure shots over the yarra towards southbank and anywhere else that looks good!
    Lenses i have - canon 50mm 1.8 - canon 10-22 usm - and im wanting to hire the 24-105L f4 to see whether i like it.
    I also have 2 old kit lenses the 18-55 and 70-300 non IS.
    Which lenses would you be using and why? Any tips much appreciated. Thanks heaps
    Steve

    Canon G12, Canon 7D, Canon 10-22USM, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 24-105L​, Canon 100mm Macro USM

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Just a 1st impressions, but the 1st 2 you mentioned should see you. The 50mm is pretty fast, and if you're tempted by some wide vistas the 10-20 would stand the test quite well.
    As I said, 1st impressions.
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    I would try them all if I had those choices!
    I have the 7d and only the 50mm and 100mm so far, I did hire a fisheye when I was in the city using it for the first time and really enjoyed the effects I got with it!
    Most of my city shots have been with my olympus e-30 and the 14-54mm!

    I do suggest heading docklands way as well! From the one position you have the bolte to the right and etihad to the left, when the sun is coming down during the winter it is amazing when the storm clouds hang above the city yet the sun burst thought the clouds from behind you and lights the buildings up in a golden glow!
    It is a waiting game though, but more often than not it will happen, very fleetingly! Worth the patience!
    I didnt help much in yr lens choice but I hope you have fun!
    Cheers and Happy Shooting
    Cindy

    Canon 7D, 50mm, 100mm Macro
    Olympus E-30, 9-18mm, 14-54mm, 50-200mm
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    If you are planning to shoot vistas then you should really be shooting stopped down to about 5.6-8 and on a tripod and at low ISO, not at uber hi ISO's which just ruin image quality. Shoot RAW, in case you don't already.

    A fast lens may come in handy if you want to shoot wide open (for effect) but you will get much better image quality stopped down and on a tripod.

    I don't doubt you could use any of the lenses you mentioned it just depends on what you want to achieve. It might also turn out that some of those lenses are flare prone (unlikely as Canon is very good at that kind of thing) which can be a problem at night (or maybe you can even use it to your advantage if you want to).

    I prefer a 24-70 on a FF body for this kind of thing.

    JJ
    Last edited by jjphoto; 01-06-2012 at 7:46pm.

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    Loves The Wildlife. Mary Anne's Avatar
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    The 24-105mm f/4 lens wont be very wide on a 1.6 cropped frame like the 7D, that would make is around 39-168mm.
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    I love to do night shoots of Sydney Harbour, and I've used everything I have including my 100-400L, 11-16 F2.8 Tokina, 24-105L even both of my macro lenses!

    They all do a great job Mary Anne, just marry the focal length with what you want to get in the shot.

    As someone else said earlier, nice long exposures on a tripod are what you need, and use lots of negative compensation otherwise the camera will try and make them look like daylight, whcih is not waht you want. Use your live view to get a feel for how the shot will come out.
    Use a UV filter if you want the lights to have a bit of a starry effect, and the longer the exposure, the more starry they look.
    If you have a star filter, even better.
    Longer exposures will also give you better reflections off the water.

    Enjoy your trip Mary Anne!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bennymiata View Post
    Use a UV filter if you want the lights to have a bit of a starry effect, and the longer the exposure, the more starry they look.
    If you have a star filter, even better.
    !
    Sorry mary anne please correct me if I am wrong, but I was under the assumption that the star effect on lights was all about you aperture and that depending on the make of the lens the amount of 'star lines' for want of a better description was dependent on the amount of blades used in the lens construction
    Last edited by Seabee; 01-06-2012 at 9:16pm.

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    I disagree with the uv filter for a starry look. I don't use filters if doing long exposures, I've been told to never have a filter on for long exp due to unwanted flare and reflections. Correct me if I'm wrong, thi is what I've read and have been told.

    You'll get the star effect yes if u have a star filter but I have never used one- looks to fake IMO. If you use an aperture of f16-f22 you'll get the star effect. Done it heaps of times and it looks pretty cool.

    Hmm lens choice I'd be going the wider angle and 24-105 so u can play with a bit of focal lengths. Have fun- looking forward to what u come up with
    "I press buttons and hope for the best!"
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    Ps, check out my Sydney set on Flickr, I think it's there. Have heaps of stars

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    If you can, pick a night when there is no cloud cover - most of the city's light pollution will go straight up and you won't have as much of a kacky sodium/tungsten/whatever colour cast to clean up in PP.
    +1 for the tripod, low ISO, f5.6-f16 or thereabouts, long exposure, try 15 to 30secs @ around f8 to begin with then fine tune from there - you'll need to use Bulb to get the >30sec exposures.
    Use whatever lens you have available and swap as needs be.
    Don't rule out using a telephoto lens for night photography, just be aware that they will be a bit more prone to camera shake than a shorter lens.
    Use a remote shutter release, or self timer, and mirror lock-up - I'd also be using manual focus on the lens and fine tune the focus using Liveview.
    Have a great evening!
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    Thanks heaps for the replys!!

    Ameerat42- Thanks mate, ill be sure to use both of these lenses.
    Seabee- I remember your shots with the fisheye and they were great! Thanks for the info, i will go to docklands
    JJphoto- Thanks for the info. Ive just started shooting in raw & jpg this morning so ill keep doing that!
    Bennymiata- Thanks for the info, ill have to give all the lenses a crack!
    Danielle10- Thanks for the info, Great set of photos on flickr
    Bushbikie- Last night or the night before would have been awesome! no clouds just stars! Thanks for the detail also.

    Now i just have to make the trip! thanks heaps for all the input. ill be sure to post the shots!

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    I've found form my experience Danielle, that while it isn't 100% necessary to use a UV filter to get stars on the lights, it does help as you get that bit of extra refraction between the filter and front element.
    I generally do not use UV filters either, but they can be handy for some things.
    I've also found in my experience, that the longer the exposure, the more pronounced the star effect is, so you're right in that using a smaller lens opening will give better results, because using a larger F stop number means the exposure will be longer.

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    I used to ask myself this question all the time but to be honest I am not sure it can be 100% answered. I bought a siggy 10-20 in view of landscape shotting but for the last 6 months have used it more for portrait than landscape - go figure and the 24-105 I bought in view of portrait and general photography I have also deployed it quite a bit for landscape and sunset / sunrise. My 70-200 that I mostly bought in view of my photograpy at horse events has had use from horse events through to landscape.

    I may be on my own on this but I fit the lens I think I will need for what I intend to shoot and carry my other three with me. I never go anywhere without my 10-20, 24-105 & 70-200 and a couple of flashes. Having said that I do often swap a lens for the same shot also. Could be said I lack experience and I would say that we are always learning and unless you step outside the box you will not continue to evolve.

    For me it is more a question of what cant I fit in rather than what I need.

    I would take the canon 50mm 1.8 - canon 10-22 usm - and im wanting to hire the 24-105L f4, my trustee tripod and at lease one flash. But at the end of the day, that is me and as a photography you have to be your own person and develop your own style.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited by mikew09; 03-06-2012 at 8:01am.
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    Just about any lens will work at night, as you simply set the exposure to suit. The down side is the longer the exposure, the greater the risk of camera shake etc. Some really great points have been made about using tripods and mirror lock-up (this is really important and does make a difference!). As noted, the danger with a longer lens is tripod shake, which can be caused by mirror slap, but mostly by even a small amount of breeze. In these situations, a really compact lens can be useful. Remove the strap from your camera or tape it to the tripod, so it doesn't flap in the breeze. Use a wireless remote if you have one, or ensure the wired cable cannot blow around in a breeze (velcro on your tripod is one way of securing some loose items(. Use your timer in conjunction with mirror lock-up, as the longer the tripod has to rid itself of vibrations the better the result. Even better, invest in a carbon fibre tripod, which will help absorb vibrations a little better than an aluminium version. If your tripod is not real stable, this is the weakest link in the whole process.

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    Thanks Mikew09. Ill take all the lenses and have a crack with them all.
    Roastman. Thanks for the info. I have done a few Long exposures in the last few weeks and ive noticed some of the shots have turned a bit soft. I have borrowed a cheap nasty tripod and i have not been using mirror lockup. These 2 things might be the solution. Ill get a good tripod this week. I have been using the 2 sec timer but sometimes i think the camrea is still moving slightly after pulling the trigger. Ill look into a wireless shutter release too. Thanks heaps guys

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    Would you go this shutter release? http://www.digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au/prod21.htm or the cabled one?

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    The release you pictured willonly fore the shutter but won't focus the camera.
    In other words, it won't do a half-press.

    Get a cheap Chinese one with a wire that will also do long exposures and multiple shots, and save yourself some money as they can be bought off the web for under $20.00

    If you use live-view, the camera won't shake, and generally you will be focussing manually anyway, so the live view is very good for this in dark conditions as the screen will give you an approximation of the finished picture with the settings you have dialled in on the camera.

    A good tripos is an absolute must for long exposures, and if you can afford it, a good carbon fibre tripod is really the way to go.
    Firstly, CF tripods are steadier and shake less than metal legs, and they are lighter to carry around too.
    A good tripod will last a lifetime, so in the bigger scheme of things, its yearly cost is minimal.

  18. #18
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    What I would take with a 7D? ? ?

    The 10 to 22; the 18 to 55 and the 50/1.8

    Why?
    - Because I would prefer to travel light and whilst night time Cityscapes can be made with a variety of FL lenses, I tend to favour the wider lenses for that type of City / Urban area.

    - Because both those zoom lenses have 6 aperture blades and as already mentioned that effects various aspects of the star flare: and I like shooting Star Flare in Night-time City scapes.
    Specifically in this case the NUMBER of aperture blades is EVEN and that will mean 6 points on the star from a lens with Six Blades.

    I would not use a UV filter – and generally would NOT use a UV Filter for Night-time shooting anyway as doing so will increase the likelihood of all (bad) Flare, including Veiling Flare and also increase the chance of Ghost Images.



    - Because the 50/1.8 is the fastest lens you have and I would always be on the lookout for Candid Portraits.

    ***

    STAR FLARE with LENSES -
    Though shot for another example (for an example of mixed lighting), this image below shows the Star Flare of a Lens with 8 Aperture Blades – i.e. therewill be 8 points on the Flare.
    For an ODD number of Blades there will be double the number of points of the Star Flare as there are Blades.

    When shooting for Star Flare it is usually better to use a Prime Lens, (to reduce the likelihood of Veiling Flare which is more apparent and also more likely with a Zoom Lens, so the OP might wish to use the 50/1.8 – which has 5 Blades and will make Ten Pointed Star.

    A suitable aperture to begin a bracket for Star Flare is around F/5.6 for that Prime Lens:
    F/8 would be a good start for either of the two Zoom Lenses.


    The Many Colours of Mixed Lighting
    © AJ Group P/L AUS 2008


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    Quote Originally Posted by Seabee View Post
    . . . I was under the assumption that the star effect on lights was all about you aperture and that depending on the make of the lens the amount of 'star lines' for want of a better description was dependent on the amount of blades used in the lens construction

    Please post #18 above for the details which included there, to also answer your confusion.

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 04-06-2012 at 12:06pm.

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    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Please post #18 above for the details which included there, to also answer your confusion.

    WW
    'Star Flare' and 'Points'................yep, they were the words that somehow escaped me the other day

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