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E-M1: First Long Exposure - looking for tips

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by cyrax83, May 30, 2015.

  1. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi,
    I recently came into possession of a 10 stop ND filter so wanted to give it a go today, having never used one.

    Things I did wrong:
    1. I went around 5pm to take the shot, which resulted in a 4 minute exposure time - I know now for 10 stop you need to take it in the day
    2. I didn't have a step up ring (the ND was 77mm) but I was really eager to give it a go so I just held it in front of the lens for 4 minutes

    My settings that I used:
    1. 12-40mm at 23mm on f/8 and focused to infinity
    2. ISO 200
    3. 4 minute exposure
    4. Noise reduction was on (so exposure 4 minutes, then wait 4 minutes)

    I've resized the picture down to 1920 resolution from the RAW file, no other PP has been done. I've also attached a 1:1 from the high resolution image.

    Do you guys have any tips for long exposure on how I can improve for next time?
    Is f/8 and focus to infinity correct? The pier seems quite out of focus, perhaps it wasn't the best setting?

    Is the noise acceptable? I presume if I did it properly in the day with a 30 second to 1 minute exposure the noise would be a lot less? I was hoping the noise would be very minimal with the noise frame subtraction, but it looks still quite high (but I guess 4 minute exposure is quite long)

    Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It looks a bit underexposed - the most objectionable noise seems to be in the shadows so a better exposure would help. You probably don't want to focus on infinity, hyperfocal is better since I'm guessing you want the pier in focus.
     
  3. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Depth of field extends both in front of and behind the distance you focus on. If you focus on infinity there is no distance behind the focus point so you only get the advantage of depth of field in front of the focus point.

    On the other hand, if you focus at what is called the hyperfocal point, the depth of field will extend beyond that point to infinity and in front of that point for some distance. Since the hyperfocal point is always much closer than infinity, you get a much greater area looking in focus. And if you focus closer than the hyperfocal distance you get an area of depth of field in front of and behind the point at which you focus but the area behind will not extend to infinity. The area in front will extend closer than it does if you focus on the hyperfocal distance but overall the distance from the front of the depth of field area to the back of the depth of field area will be less than it is when you focus on the hyperfocal distance. You get maximum depth of field when focussing at the hyperfocal distance. What you want to do is to focus on the hyperfocal distance and that will get more of the pier in focus. You also get more depth of field by reducing the aperture and the hyperfocal distance gets closer to you as you stop down the aperture so you need to choose your aperture based on the closest point you want to look in focus and then focus on the hyperfocal distance for that aperture.

    There are a number of different things which contribute to noise and dark frame subtraction only deals with one of those things. You are still going to have to apply noise reduction to your images even though you used dark frame subtraction.
     
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  4. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 8, 2014
    Thanks for the tips, I didn't know about hyperfocal length. I've done some reading up on it and it makes sense!

    Is generally 1/3'rd of the way into the frame from the bottom the accepted hyperfocal distance? I know there is all sorts of calculations behind it. Or should I be using a hyperfocal calculation app on my phone to calculate the distance and focus on that?

    Also should I be using LOW ISO (100) for these shots? I've never shot on it and generally used ISO 200 as the base. From having a look on flickr, alot of the E-M1 ND shots seem to use ISO 100
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  5. brettmaxwell

    brettmaxwell Mu-43 Veteran

    350
    Dec 8, 2012
    If you're using raw files there's no point in shooting an artificial "low" iso setting. If you're using JPG, use it.

    23mm f8 will have tons of DOF with m4/3, I would focus this one on the end of the dock.

    Based on the 100% crop, and especially looking at all the lights, it's clear you had some movement during the exposure. Maybe you bumped the camera because you were holding the filter. That could also partially account for the lack of sharpness on the dock.
     
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  6. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Just speculation, but I'm wondering if hand-holding the filter for 4 minutes (quite a task, BTW) could have caused some blur.

    As for the exposure, did you take a shot without the filter and calculate 10 stops to dial in exposure manually, or let the camera expose to the filter automatically and let fly?

    Also, as generally the case with filters, the white balance will need to be adjusted a bit.
     
  7. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    As for the exposure time, it depends on how much you want to smooth out the water, and how fast and rough the water is. In the evening, you can do some of that just by reducing your shutter speed (no filter needed).
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2015
  8. David A

    David A Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 30, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    Probably not. If the camera doesn't move and the subject doesn't move then you shouldn't get blur. The camera is fixed on a tripod and the jetty and fixed objects in the scene aren't moving so they shouldn't blur. The water is moving so it will, but that's what the OP was trying to achieve.

    The one thing that could cause blur with a hand held filter in this situation is if the filter had something such as dust or fingerprints or something on it which caused light passing through different parts of the filter to diffract at different angles as it passed through the filter. That could result in blurring or a softening of the image.
     
  9. wonglp

    wonglp Mu-43 Veteran

    395
    Feb 28, 2011
    Singapore
    ISO low is useful if you want to extend the time for longer exposures, it's a stop slower than ISO200, so you get x2 speed. But it's not the base ISO200, so you might have slightly lesser dynamic range using it at ISO Low. ISO Low does give better noise patterns for me personally, so I use that quite a bit.Hope that helps.
     
  10. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    I shoot occasionally w/ strong ND filters especially for stitched panos that include something moving - water, clouds, grass....... Its necessary in some cases to completely blur moving elements or the pano won't stitch. I also shot implicit strong ND when using an R72 filter w/ an unconverted camera for IR shots.

    Usually I try for exposures from a few to 20 sec. Blurred clouds can look strange w/ SS of say 40" when the clouds are moving fast. But a couple second exposure can be much too short for slack tide waves. YMMV
     
  11. tradesmith45

    tradesmith45 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 13, 2012
    Oregon
    BTW, choice of SS & aperture vs. shutter priority gets even trickier when you are trying to do HDR & pano HDR. A sunset w/ something moving & wide DR is a classic example.
     
  12. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    I wonder if Live Composite (e.g. series of 1-2 second exposures for couple minutes) will produce similar results?
     
  13. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I've never been able to do HDR with something moving unless the movement would blend in with itself, such as a waterfall. I have done the same with long exposure. Such as the below long exposure panos...

    image. image.

    The rocks under the waves of the Patomac River (this is Great Falls, VA) kept the waves more or less stationary, and the long exposure blended the rest, making a pano possible without having to smooth out the water to the point of "fog."
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2015
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  14. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi Guys, Here are some of my next recent attempts after taking feedback on board. I think they are much better! Thoughts? I also focus 1-2 meters into the shot (rough guess at hyperfocal). Colour adjustments in lightroom.
    ISO LOW Came in handy when I wanted to extend the exposure a bit more than the 10 stop was giving me (~ 2 seconds)
    Most at f/8
    Thanks!

    P6060422 (Custom).

    P6060436 (Custom).

    P6060438 (Custom).
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
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  15. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Curious why you keep choosing f8 and why not something wider which which be more in the lens and m43 sweet spot. Plus the photons would help with noise.

    Also, curious what changes you implemented on the second attempts.
     
  16. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi, I keep choosing f/8 because I want to get everything in focus. If I go smaller you get diffraction. I could have possibly gone wider (probably to f/5.6) but I want to keep the shutter speed up and I'm not sure f/5.6 would have given me the dof I wanted. From what I've read f/7-f/8 is generally the sweet spot for landscapes on m/43? Maybe I'm wrong! If someone has some info on what aperture I should be using for landscapes I'd love to know as I generally do f/8 to be safe (especially on the wider 12mm (24mm equiv) focal length)

    On my second attempt I went in the day, screwed on the filters this time and focused at a hyper focal guess (1-2 meters into the shot rather than at infinity)

    It also helped that the camera was able to focus and meter through the 10stop fairly easily in the day
     
  17. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Hyperfocal distance for 12mm is roughly 6 ft at f4.0, 4.5 ft @f5.6 and 3 ft @f8.0 - good page to check dof values: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html
    in general, you'll be better off by focusing further than hyperfocal distance - that will little affect near limit, but still keep everything up to infinity in focus.

    Since you have EM1 - have you tried Live Composite to make longer exposures?
     
  18. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    193
    Dec 8, 2014
    I haven't actually used live composite before - I've checked out a youtube video and it looks really interesting! He's crazy for using f/22 though lol. How does Live Composite work with dark frame subtraction? (I'm always conscious of this considering E-M1's noisy long exposure sensor)


    Thanks so in using the calculator - it tells me the hyperfocal distance is 1.21 meters. Have I used the values correctly? What I don't understand is it tells me to focus at the subject which is 10 meters, but the hyperfocal distance is 1.21 meters, aren't I better off just focusing at the hyperfocal distance since the far limit is infinity?

    Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.30.42 am.
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2015
  19. budeny

    budeny Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 4, 2014
    Boulder, CO
    Yes, Live Composite looks like good way to have ND filters necessary to bring exposure only in 1/2-2 seconds window, rather than full set. It's actually old known method.
    In EM1, AFAIK, dark frame subtraction is equal to single exposure in series and happens before the series, when camera asks user to "Press shutter button once to prepare for composite shooting."

    10 meters is what you have to set - it's distance to your subject.
    If you try different values: little shorter, little longer than hyperfocal and much longer - that will help you understand where to focus better.
     
  20. wonglp

    wonglp Mu-43 Veteran

    395
    Feb 28, 2011
    Singapore
    I generally use F8 and larger apertures as well to keep diffraction in check, but of course, will stop down if I need to get slower speed and I don't have the filters in hand. If there's not much clouds in skies, it's possible to get long exposure effects to be similar between single long exposure and live composite.

    Here's a shot which has "artefacts" due to live composite. 0.8s composite for total about 2 min, if I did a single 2min shot with ND filter, the clouds motion will be smoother, but the traffic trails might be more faint as well.
    14072143860_42c2ee7b75_h.
     
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