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Long exposure

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by oto02, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU

    As I've seen here a few good long exposure, I said to myself to give it a crack.
    Said and done, took the car near to the lake where was pretty much dark, not pitch black, but dark enough.

    Set my PM1 on A mode and long exposure 50" on the tripod with one sec. anti-shock. After AF+MF I played lil' bit with my mobile to get some dim lights.

    The results are not bad apart of these annoying flees (snow effect). I tried the noise reduction on LR4, looks fine but the flees are still there.

    Can anyone please tell if it's a camera defect, wrong settings, or it's just me not good enuf?

    Is the case to send camera back to Oly?


    Attached Files:

  2. 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 IS when tripod mounted [grr.. another typo]
    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.
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  3. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    Thanks for your tips.

    I already used ISO 200 (min on PM1) f/10, with not noise reduction used at all.
    After your tips, I've tried again, over here being 12AM, so the night is young, but still these white fleas are still there. (time exposure was picked by the camera 30").

    I may try my E-3, with the same setting to see if I have the same bloody annoying results, but from what I remember, never seen those white spots into my pics. Hmmm
  4. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    Also I have to add that I used the m14-42mm IIR, and 14-54 mkI.
    Would you think a prime, would make any difference? Although 14-54 is a great lens.

  5. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 15, 2011
    A prime won't help any for what you're experiencing IMO. As for a faster lens.. doubt that would help as well since the camera is only selecting 30'.

    What I would do if I were you and manually increase exposure now.

    1st.. you can try adjust it manually with Exposure Compensation +1, +2.. and see how that works out


    2nd.. use the settings a base from what A mode told you and go to FULL manual and adjust the shutter speed while keep ISO as low as possible and your aperature the same.

    I personally would not go beyond F8, ISO 200.. and then just play with shutter speed till I got the shot I wanted. A faster lens could help if you were looking to get a shallower depth of field or wanted to avoid lights from getting really over exposed.
  6. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    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.

    E-PL1    ---    25mm    f/1.4    1/50s    ISO 200

    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.

    E-PL1    ---    25mm    f/1.4    1/1s    ISO 250

    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.

    E-PL1    ---    25mm    f/2.0    13s    ISO 100

    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'...

    E-PL1    ---    25mm    f/1.4    13s    ISO 160
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  7. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    the Panny 20mm will absolutely help in this regard, and essential to this type of shooting.
  8. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    oto20, you basically need to adjust exposure (or add light to the car), it's underexposed.

    For all other advice, I defer to littleMT! Especially leaving anti-shock on... and light painting.
  9. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    I tried long exposures for the first time last night with lightning. Takes a while for the camera to process after exposure and I'm using a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 8GB card.

    - Manual
    - F/11
    - 30 Sec
    - ISO 200

    E-M5    ---       f/1.0    30s    ISO 200
    • Like Like x 3
  10. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    F/10? Unless there is a good reason not to always shoot in the dark wide open - sure there are cases where this is not true. When light starved big apertures are needed to avoid excessive exposure.

    There are software filters that are quite mild except for "hot" or "dead" pixels that will reduce the 'fleas'. Quite a common problem in astrophotography is residual noise after dark correction. IRIS is freeware that does have quite a variety of such filters exactly for this problem.
  11. D@ne

    D@ne Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 23, 2012
    Great lightning pic! You just need to get into LR (or PS) and blur out your shadow. ;) 
  12. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    Good point. I'll turn off the patio light next time. :) 

  13. With all due respect, you should read the manual.


    Page 50.

    I've been teaching this a long time... you start out with the simple which is to achieve proper exposure. Rather than show how good you can be and how complex you can make it.

    * Always turn off Image Stabilization when tripod [edited for typo]
    * Always do selective noise reduction in post. Blanket application across the line is a lazy way of doing it but it kills details and the wonderful micro contrast that the lens is capable of.

    Sorry... If I seem brash.. I apologize but its a pet peeve of mine when others in a class do something similar (I know you are not a student and this is not a class). There is more than one way to achieve a good photo with long exposures but it doesn't mean your way is the correct and only way.

    Look.. I can show off too.. but it doesn't aid the original OP's questions. It just demonstrates you have found your way (which is good!) but its good to establish a good basic starting point first and foremost. Once that's done, anyone can go ahead and experiment and find their own way as well....


    • Like Like x 3
  14. Three sides to the exposure triangle....

    ISO, Shutter Value, and Aperture. As light capturing people, we need to balance all three for a good quality and well exposed photo. When you place a camera on a tripod, you alleviate the constraints of the Shutter Value side of the exposure triangle. Meaning it allows you to shoot long shutter times without any risk of blur introduced by handshake. This allows maximum flexibility with the other two sides; ISO and aperture. In general, you want a good quality photo so keep the ISO set to what is ideal for a digital sensor; often it from its BASE ISO (not always necessarily the lowest... consult manual to find out). Modern digital cameras for the most part are ok up until ISO 400.

    This means you are free to play around with aperture. Aperture, like a paint brush, is highly dependent on a photographer's intent. There are times when you want to shoot f/5.6.. sometimes f/8.. at other times f/1.x Remember the old saying: "f/8 and be there"? There is a reason why it became popular... especially among landscape and journalists. Aperture choice shouldn't just be driven by the notion "you should let more light in" or "restrict the amount of light". It should be driven by artistic intent.. if possible of course.

    Now I understand that when handheld, it is important to keep the shutter time value short which is why it is often necessity to shoot wide open to let more light in. But in the case of using a tripod, you alleviate this constraint. Furthermore, most lenses do not operate at their ideal at wide open... they operate best when stopped 1-2 stops down from wide open.
  15. Weasel_Loader, yes nice lightning picture. A tough one to capture as it requires a bit of good timing.

    In addition to stepping away from the porch light (which is a good suggestion), it would be nice to position yourself with something (maybe a barn or tree) in midway between hyper focal and close distance. It gives a nice sense of depth as lightning tends to be completely at far distances and flat. You can choose to push that subject all the way to black in post if you wish leaving a silhouette.

    There's lots of fun you can do with long exposures.... this is one.
  16. oto02

    oto02 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 24, 2012
    Melbourne, VICTORIA, AU
    Thanks so much for your input guys, appreciate that.
    It makes sense what you told me, no doubt. I will study more and I'll do my homework better.

    But in the end of the day, are those WHITE SPECS, normal to be there? I am aware of the noise, but these white ones look to me like it's dust on the sensor or something. By mistake I took (oh well at least I tried to) photo with the cap on, and all I could see was black background and white parts. I cleaned up the lens, and changed it too, same same.

    Tried LR4 to remove noise, most of the noise gone, but not the white ones ...


  17. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    I actually did play around with the sliders in LR and now realize some of the possibilities. Lightning is getting so rare these days around where I live, so who knows when I'll have my next opportunity. Thanks for the input.
  18. zpierce

    zpierce Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Sep 26, 2010
    Minneapolis, MN
    Card speed has nothing to do with it. If you have long exposure noise reduction turned on, the camera will shoot another frame of the same exposure length with the shutter closed to find the hot pixels to remove from your photo. The longer your exposure, the longer the wait. This would probably help the OP if they aren't using it.

    Great shot!
  19. Weasel_Loader

    Weasel_Loader Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 6, 2012
    Didn't know that. I'll check it out. Thanks!
  20. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Base ISO for maximum dynamic range.

    I was working with the assumption that the residual noise after dark correction (presuming the OP had it turned on) was not sufficient to manage the noise so that means sorter shutter speeds are needed - to maintain exposure level the naperture must increase.

    If one cannot open the aperture for other reasons then options rapidly diminish.

    Base ISO and shorter shutter speeds due to excessive noise from thermal effects leaves only aperture to play with in the old triangle. One could always use methods to lower the camera temperature but that is generally left for specialists.

    As for shock (anti-shock is not IS) on a tripod ... I find that there is noticable shake when using anything besides pancake lenses.
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