Thought I would test the D700 out with something a little different, it performed quite well and the results looked pretty good to me. It was not a true low light test since I shot these at ISO-200 but these were the first images I shot with the D700.
First is full frame uncropped at 1000px and the second is a 100% crop of where the lightning hit the ground. No sharpening was done other than the NEF settings as shot.
Exposure - 6.2s Aperture - f/8.0 ISO-200 Focal Length - 27mm Lens - 24-70mm f/2.8 Whitebalance - auto (moved to cloudy post procs) Picture Control - vivid
The 100% crop did loose a little bit in the jpg to post it under the 150k here but it is pretty close to the original.
Mon 18-Aug-08 12:19 AM | edited Mon 18-Aug-08 12:24 AM by purple6816
I took some pictures last night and they did not come out as nice as yours. What settings do you recommend? Yours seem to work for you what are the best settings to use in general. I was shooting at 0.6 at 3.2 iso 800. I got several shots but wonder what would make them better.
The biggest key to getting some good lightening shots (besides being in a safe place) is a tripod and a shutter release. Your last shot there looks pretty good, you must have been in a nice lightening storm to get that many frames, good job. I think I probably took 70-100 frames before I captured just one, like the one shown above (and only two for the night).
I typically put my camera on the "bulb" setting, and using a shutter release, open the shutter until a lightening strike fills the frame (shutter on the image of mine above was about 6 seconds). If the lightening is really flying around I might capture more than one strike in one frame.
You want to be careful not to overexpose the frame and once you have a strike clearly in the frame it will tend to blow out everything around it, which is why I also use a low ISO (around ISO-200) and a smaller aperture like f/8 - f/16.
Obviously to use a bulb/shutter release setting you will need a tripod to keep the image sharp. I also use the white balance on "auto" but that is never correct and I adjust the white balance post processing.
It is actually one of the easier things to capture, you just sit there and press the shutter until something exciting happens, you just don't want to be to close to the action.
Just for fun: D70, 70-300 VR @ 80mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 30 sec., High ISO & Long Exposure NR off, jpeg fine, white balance auto, no post processing except re-sizing & "Save for web" with Photoshop CS3 to compress under 150 kb.
Same as the OP: first is full frame uncropped at 1000px and the second is a 100% crop:
I am almost positive it was turned off (or on automatic, which means it wouldn't have engaged), but the noise levels at ISO-200 at the shutter speed of less than 10 seconds wouldn't really be much of an issue. Now at higher iso's and a 5 or 10 sec exposure is different.
I never really shot more than about a 5 second exposure so I didn't really mess with it much, hope that helps. Scott
yeah, I said that because I didn't have access to the shooting data at the time... here is the full shooting data, and yes, it was off. It does kick in on exp over 1sec, but I had NR off, so no NR on this file.
File Info 1 File: _D7A0081-edit.nef, _D7A0081-edit.jpg Date Created: 7/28/2008 8:58:01 PM, 7/28/2008 8:58:02 PM Date Modified: 7/28/2008 8:58:02 PM, 7/28/2008 8:58:04 PM File Size: 11.5 MB, 2.98 MB Image Size: L (4256 x 2832), FX File Info 2 Date Shot: 7/28/2008 20:19:15.22 World Time: UTC-6, DST:OFF Image Quality: Lossless Compressed RAW (12-bit), RAW (12-bit) Artist: Scott Fillmer Copyright: (C)2008 Scott Fillmer, Auburn Images Image Comment: http://www.scottfillmer.com Camera Info Device: Nikon D700 Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G Focal Length: 27mm Focus Mode: Manual AF-Area Mode: Single VR: AF Fine Tune: OFF Exposure Aperture: F/8 Shutter Speed: 6.2s Exposure Mode: Manual Exposure Comp.: 0EV Exposure Tuning: Metering: Center-Weighted ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200 Flash Flash Sync Mode: Flash Mode: Flash Exposure Comp.: Colored Gel Filter: Image Settings White Balance: Auto, 0, 0 Color Space: Adobe RGB High ISO NR: OFF Long Exposure NR: OFF Active D-Lighting: Auto Image Authentication: ON Vignette Control: Normal Picture Control Picture Control: VIVID Base: Quick Adjust: - Sharpening: 4 Contrast: Active D-Lighting Brightness: Active D-Lighting Saturation: +1 Hue: 0 Filter Effects: Toning: GPS Latitude: Longitude: Altitude: Heading: UTC:
Thanks, that's much more infos that I was looking for. Your shot is very nice. I find it difficult to shoot lightning under a 15 second exposure as it often falls before or after the shot unless it's a very active storm.
I was lucky for the volcano shot as there was no rain or mist which can explain the glow in purple6816's photos in post #2. I chose 30s. to capture the lava trail & because it was about the time between lightning strikes.
I'm on the fence for a D700 & was looking for pics to compare noise to my D300. I tried to mimic your settings but no lightning tonight so I shot a plant outside light by tungsten from the house: D300, jpeg fine, 50mm f/1.8 @ f/3.5, ISO 200, 6 seconds, Long Exposure NR off, white balance incandescent, sharpening 6, Active D-Lighting low, no post processing except re-sizing & "Save for web" with Photoshop CS3 @ maximum quality, 100% crop:
Well, I have not really had much shooting opportunities with the D700, but I would say in comparison to the D300 it has about a stop or two advantage in noise. I have shot 1600 with the D300 and 3200 on the D700 which look about the same.
This below is a 100% of a shot from the D700 from last night at ISO-3200 and then the one below, same thing but the D300 at ISO-1600. Only thing I did to these two images below was open the jpg file and pull out a 100% crop of each.
I actually think the ISO-3200 on the D700 looks a little better than the ISO-1600 on the D300. Sorry focal lengths are different but that was the only 3200 shot I had (it was 1/200 at 2.8). First one is the D300 and I had to save them around 60% quality to get down to the 150k file size.
Thanks for posting those, they are both amazing considering they are 100% crops.
FX really shines @ 3,200 ISO & up but I was also wondering about low ISO & long exposure.
I took some more pictures of the Arenal Volcano 3 days ago but there was a light fog. Shot a night with an almost full moon: D300, ISO 200, 30s, no Long Exposure NR (takes time & prefer doing it on a PC), 50mm @ f/1.8, cloudy, sharpen 6, raw converted with NX, no post processing, full frame & 100% crop. Tip to post with maximum quality for web, the image needs to be about 500x500 pixels to be under 150kb.
>Thanks for the crop but could you post a crop of a part with >more gradient so we could see the noise, if there is any , >like the sidewalk/grass or car/hydrant?
Here ya go. Keep in mind this was at ISO 200, so the only significant noise I'd expect to see would be from the long exposure. I turned off Long Exposure NR. On a few pics, mainly the ones over the ocean, I quickly went through and cleaned up a few noisy pixels. But no more than 5 or 6 per image.