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New better camera for night photography?

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    Hi!

    I've got a Canon 1100D which is a great camera. Using it though feels a bit basic at times, and with TVs, computers, mobiles, tablets etc all getting higher definition/retina display screens, 12 megapixels sometimes seems a bit pixelated. I had a few photos blown up to poster size recently, and they didn't seem that good at 12 megapixels.

    I'm being fussy now, but it's not got the full 1080p HD either. (I use my camera for filming stuff too).

    I also find at night, if you zoom in 100% on photos, they look grainy too.

    This is a picture I took... I was pleased with the outcome of it and it was taken on a nice night. I had it blown up to poster size where I liked it so much, but to be honest, it looked crap due to it's grainy bad quality look.

    Just to say... it was definitely focused.

    This is the full image...

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    Zoomed in to 100% in Aperture on the bridge tower...

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    ...and again at 100% on the grainy sky...

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    It was definitely in focus - I focus manually, but take a few different shots at slightly different focuses to check it's focused, and I also zoom in to focus. Flash was on (I was from quite a distance though), and the image quality was set to maximum.

    I like night photography most because of how everything looks much calmer, and clearer. I've done a lot of overtime at work so far this Summer, and would like to get a better camera...

    What camera would be best at something like this?

    Thanksssss!
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    Grain isn't caused by focus, it's caused by high ISO. Was the camera on automatic? Automatic and night time doesn't mix well on any camera. For best results you need to set the camera to manual and use a longer exposure time so more light hits the sensor, rather than compensating with a high ISO.

    Have you got the EXIF data for the photo? That will tell you what ISO you had. It looks like you're using Aperture (based on the loupe) so the data should be on the top left under the Info tab.
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    First off, you need to read up on what you're actually doing when you're taking night shots. Turn your flash off, for one, it's just wasting your battery power as it'll have absolutely zero effect for landscapes at night. Next up, grab a tripod and move the mode dial around to the M mode. You might have to dig out the manual for the next bit, but you're going to want something like ISO100, f/5.6, and whatever shutter speed balances those settings, probably something like 20-30 seconds for a scene like that. ISO100 will keep the sky and details clean, and f/5.6 will make sure it's as sharp as it can be. You'll want to get hold of a shutter release too, to make sure there's no camera shake.

    How are you manually focussing, through the viewfinder or with live view? Focusing through the viewfinder at night is pretty much impossible. Live view focusing at night is hard too, but possible if you zoom in in live view. Don't zoom the lens in to focus because the lens will shift focus as you zoom in and out. Personally I'd use autofocus on a scene like this. If you make sure a focus point is over a light source or some kind of contrast (between the bridge and the sky, for example), then you should be able to focus. It'll be quicker and more accurate than doing it manually.

    To this end, an 1100D is more than capable of doing clean, sharp night shots. It's entirely down to the user to take those photos correctly. Now if you want 1080p HD video then that may be reason enough to upgrade, but for your main point learn to use your equipment first. Before you learn how to take pictures properly, no amount of money thrown at gear will make your images any better.
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    (Original post by Roobsa)
    Grain isn't caused by focus, it's caused by high ISO. Was the camera on automatic? Automatic and night time doesn't mix well on any camera. For best results you need to set the camera to manual and use a longer exposure time so more light hits the sensor, rather than compensating with a high ISO.

    Have you got the EXIF data for the photo? That will tell you what ISO you had. It looks like you're using Aperture (based on the loupe) so the data should be on the top left under the Info tab.
    Argh... my mistake then?

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    I don't think i'm ready for photography yet. Been studying 'photography' for a year. All I know is how to put a camera on a tripod, and how to do Aperture settings on a camera.
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    I should have just went with my heart... and brain, and studied journalism.
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    I should have just went with my heart... and brain, and studied journalism.
    Oh come on, don't be such a pansy! The shot you posted has potential in terms of the way you framed it and subject matter, you just need to work on the technical stuff a little more. Everybody has to learn somewhere so you may as well start learning now. Dig out the manual for your camera and have a look through it. Towards the back it'll explain to you how to work the camera in M mode. Take it out with you at night and refer to it when you get a bit stuck, or just take pictures and adjust as you go along.

    I love doing night time stuff too, but it is definitely harder than daytime work. At the same time though, it's far more rewarding. If you check out my Flickr in the link below, there's a set called 'Trees at Night', which was a project for Uni. There are actually only one or two images in that set that I'm truly happy with, and working at night with flash was a real challenge. I might go back and reshoot one day but we'll see.

    I reckon you should go out tonight and come back to us tomorrow with a better picture than the one you posted just now. We've given you some clues as to how to go about it so just give it a go!
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    (Original post by Nuffles)
    Oh come on, don't be such a pansy! The shot you posted has potential in terms of the way you framed it and subject matter, you just need to work on the technical stuff a little more. Everybody has to learn somewhere so you may as well start learning now. Dig out the manual for your camera and have a look through it. Towards the back it'll explain to you how to work the camera in M mode. Take it out with you at night and refer to it when you get a bit stuck, or just take pictures and adjust as you go along.

    I love doing night time stuff too, but it is definitely harder than daytime work. At the same time though, it's far more rewarding. If you check out my Flickr in the link below, there's a set called 'Trees at Night', which was a project for Uni. There are actually only one or two images in that set that I'm truly happy with, and working at night with flash was a real challenge. I might go back and reshoot one day but we'll see.

    I reckon you should go out tonight and come back to us tomorrow with a better picture than the one you posted just now. We've given you some clues as to how to go about it so just give it a go!
    Wow those tree photos are beautiful!
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    This is a picture I took a few months back. It has an ISO of 100... no grainy bits! Same camera!



    ...and at 100% ...

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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    This is a picture I took a few months back. It has an ISO of 100... no grainy bits! Same camera!



    ...and at 100% ...

    Exactly! Any modern DSLR is capable of clean shots at low ISOs. Maybe try shooting in RAW too and applying noise reduction in Lightroom. Keep on working at it man, you'll get there.
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    I just have to say


    HDTV: 1920 x 1080
    iPad with Retina: 2048 x 1536
    MacBook Pro with Retina: 2,880 x 1,800
    12 Mega-Pixel Image: 4290 x 2800 :shock:
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    I am still saving to replace my Nikon D40 which is only 6 megapixels.


    I have no issue at all with the image quality. (Well, except wanting to replace it... but it's good enough, is what I'm getting at...)
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    Forget about how many megapixels a camera has, the sensor, the settings you choose (automatic ISO will cause grainyness at night) and most importantly the quality of the lens will determine the quality of the picture. Practice and practice for the shots you want to get, take the camera out of auto modes and practice, you'll soon learn what works best
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    (Original post by Nuffles)
    Oh come on, don't be such a pansy! The shot you posted has potential in terms of the way you framed it and subject matter, you just need to work on the technical stuff a little more. Everybody has to learn somewhere so you may as well start learning now. Dig out the manual for your camera and have a look through it. Towards the back it'll explain to you how to work the camera in M mode. Take it out with you at night and refer to it when you get a bit stuck, or just take pictures and adjust as you go along.
    This is very good advice. If learning from manuals isn't for you have a look at this youtube channel.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/adoramaTV

    If you dig out some of the early episodes of Digital Photography One on One you'll find the fundamentals are covered.

    These two might well be worth a look.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYvkbaIrQQ4&feature=plcp

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MYvkbaIrQQ4&feature=plcp
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    (Original post by DanBrwn)
    I just have to say


    HDTV: 1920 x 1080
    iPad with Retina: 2048 x 1536
    MacBook Pro with Retina: 2,880 x 1,800
    12 Mega-Pixel Image: 4290 x 2800 :shock:
    Thanks, but only thing is, I tend to crop my photos sometimes. When I do that, they become smaller in resolution.

    I have an iPad and although the pictures look alright on it, and soon as i zoom in on a picture, it goes pixelated.
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    Just bang out a longer exposure, lower ISO no grain. pow
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    (Original post by ScottS_bristol)
    Thanks, but only thing is, I tend to crop my photos sometimes. When I do that, they become smaller in resolution.

    I have an iPad and although the pictures look alright on it, and soon as i zoom in on a picture, it goes pixelated.
    If you zoom it at some point every raster graphics will become pixelated When taking pictures at night and using a tripod there is absolutely no need to set the ISO to 800. Choose 100 and just a longer exposure time (for my firework shots I set it to several seconds).
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    get a better lens with a lower aperture and don't use any iso above 800, also get a tripod (if you dont have one already) and bang out a 30 second shutter but i'd do that last because if you're using a low apeture with a high shutter speed i=it'll come out all washed out xD
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    Echoing what the others have said. Your first pic of the bridge IS GOOD in framing and composition etc etc.

    Basic things:

    1. Megapixels do not directly relate to image quality as much as people think. 12MP is EASILY enough. Higher sensor density leads to more noise at higher ISO rates, more expensive camera bodies are better able to handle this.
    2. Lense quality is more important than camera bodies and sensors.
    3. Knowing how to get the most from your equipment will make you a better tog and allow you to produce superior results rather than upgrading without first maxing your gear.
    4. Don't bother pixel peeking and going to 100% crop rate, you will never be happy. Instead, learn to frame your photograph how you want it without needing to crop. Obviously you might need to crop a little and thats ok.
    5. The greatest photographs ever taken were not taken with a D3 or 1DX and certainly were not technical masterpeices.

    I learnt photography shooting at night and also prefer to shoot at night for similar reasons mentioned.

    Keep ISO at 100
    Keep apperture at f/9 if you don't need a short shutter speed.
    Use a tripod
    Switch image stabilisation off
    Use manual focusing in live view or achive focus by taking test shots and checking them. (This takes practice)
    Use a remote trigger
    Flash off

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Updated: September 16, 2012
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