Originally Posted by usayit
Shooting long exposures is a way to get proper exposure in very dark situations but you still need to get a proper exposure. Underexposure doesn't work well on digital sensors and the results are as you have discovered. This is the same for any digital camera; some better than others.
1) Turn off anti-shock when tripod mounted
2) Keep ISO set between 100-400. I prefer the lowest setting if tripod mounted anyways.
3) For now... set your camera to aperture priority set between f/5.6 to f/8
4) Let your camera decide on a shutter time value. Since you are tripod, expect long exposures.
5) Lay off the noise reduction software.. it kills detail. Software is not a miracle worker... they have to work with the initial frame. If the initial frame is bad quality, the results will still be bad quality.
Shooting "long exposures" simply doesn't mean the act of using a very slow shutter it means you are using long exposures to obtain a good exposure.
usayit, with all due respect I disagree with your 5 tips, your opening statement is right on, but tips 1 - 5 not so much.
the only one I agree with is tip #2, shoot at a low ISO.
I never turn anti-shock off at night on a tripod, and I even use a 12 second timer also as I get ready to light paint. I almost always shoot wideopen, if using the PL 25mm f/1.4, then I am f/1.4, I have never shot a night scene at f/5.6 to f/8. I would never let my camera decide what shutter speed I need. I control that but I do shoot several shots of the same scene adjusting shutter speeds to get more or less light depending on the scene.
Noise reduction, these cameras are noisy especially in the shadows of a dimly lit or pitch darkness shot of a car, some noise reduction IMO is neccessary, and yes it does hurt detail, but there is a tradeoff.
OP, to me your image is simply underexposed, get more light on the car with a simple led torch and it will be much sharper with less noise, though noise will still be there, to me, the best lowlight lens is the Panny 20mm f/1.7, though I am still testing the PL25mm f/1.4.
These were shot last night:
This shot is a well lit drive in, shot wideopen at f/1.4 using the PL25mm, shutter speed of 1/50, and ISO200, handheld. This shot was easy since the lighting was so good, in fact I should have lowered ISO to maybe 100 and/or used a faster shutter speed, as the lights are a tad over exposed IMO, noise reduction was used.
Now lets try with lower lighting. My car getting washed, only light was coming from the single bay garage, noise reduction was used.
ISO250, shutter speed 1.3 seconds, f/1.4.
Now for tougher lighting conditions. Pitch darkness. The light of the moon.
here I stopped down to f/2.0, ISO100, and a 13 second exposure, anti-shock with 12 second timer, walking in front of the car and light painting with a batter powered led cheapo light I bought on ebay, noise reduction was used.
I have read repeatedly on several forums to not use IBIS on a tripod, and I have done alot of testing and found that I can't see a difference at all, so I just leave it on. Ditto for the anti-shock, it in no way that I see hurts my images, and I have done many back to back shots with these settings on and off. I say leave them on in the hope that they are actually doing something.
If you want to get serious about nightscaping, get the p20mm or pl25mm, the lenses you are using will reveal their shortcomings with this style of shooting, especially with exposures above 10 seconds in pitch darkness, heck, for whatever reason my Oly 45mm f/1.8 prime really sucks under these conditions. Give it some light and it is outstanding, take it into the darkness and long exposures and it literally becomes garbage.
Now mind you I am a newbie and have only been doing this since May, all my shots are with a E-pl1, I always shoot in manual mode, and in the darkness always manual focus, the tendencies I have, such as always wanting to shoot wideopen or close to wideopen, are part of my style, and my look. the 'littlemt look'...