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nikon d3100 d3100

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#1 Elliot B.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 16:56

I am using a Nikon D3100 with the stock 18-55 lens.

I took some photos last night, of a town fair at night.

I was using aperture-priority mode, 1600 ISO, 3.5 aperture (which is, as far as I know, the lowest for the camera?/lens? - and this number changed as I zoomed in, not sure why).

Almost every photos was light-to-medium blurred. Basically, every one was unusable.

I don't know much about photography - did I use the right settings?

I was keeping as still as possible but it clearly didn't help.

I do not want to use a flash.

How can I improve this situation? A new lens? If so, how much do they cost?

Five photo examples from the set are attached below.

DSC_0239.jpg

DSC_0254.jpg

DSC_0266.jpg

DSC_0296.jpg

DSC_0311.jpg


#2 Detection

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:00

I don't own an expensive camera, so this might not be relevant for you, but I have a sports setting I can select on mine which takes near perfect photos of fast moving objects

I`m pretty sure you could manually set everything up the way sports mode does, I would imagine it would be a very fast shutter speed you'd need

#3 OP Elliot B.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:01

I don't own an expensive camera, so this might not be relevant for you, but I have a sports setting I can select on mine which takes near perfect photos of fast moving objects

I`m pretty sure you could manually set everything up the way sports mode does, I would imagine it would be a very fast shutter speed you'd need

I tried Auto (No Flash) and Sport modes, all gave very blurred photos :(

#4 ahodgey

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:04

As you zoom in less light can enter directly onto the CCD sensor so the aperture has to become smaller on zoom lenses to compensate for this. A higher ISO will make the CCD sensor more sensitive so could help but can lead to a graining effect and sometimes spots. A prime lens may help in this situation (wider aperture) but then you lose the ability to zoom (you have to move your body instead).

#5 Kerm

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:06

The aperture changes on the different level of zoom, so at it's shortest focal length it will be able to open to 3.5, at it's longest length it can only manage 5.6 i imagine with that lens. That's a by product of how they are made.
2 things you can do to reduce the blur. You need to shoot at a higher shutter speed, 1/100 or something should do it unless somebody is running around.
So a lens with a wider aperture, such as 2.8, or even 1.8, or eeeeeven 1.2 (wider aperture = more glass = more expensive) that would allow loads more light onto the sensor so would balance needing a quicker shutter speed.
Second thing you can do is kick up the ISO even more (higher ISO = the sensor is more sensitive to light), so ISO 3200 or higher depending on your camera's abilities. The higher the ISO the lesser the photo quality.
So you can see why people love these wide aperture lenses and splash the cash.
Try manual settings with the highest ISO your camera can handle, get your shutter speed to 1/80th perhaps and keep the aperture as wide (lowest number) as it will go.
Any other questions just ask. Good luck.

#6 +chconline

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:10

You're shooting at 1/10 shutter speed... usually if you want a good, stable pic at night, you'll need at least 1/30 with IS. Bump up the ISO and increase the shutter speed.

#7 shozilla

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:11

If you have S mode which is called Shutter... adjust that and it will allow you to use the fast shutter speed without any blur effect to your photos.

Ah they beat me to it.

#8 OP Elliot B.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:14

The aperture changes on the different level of zoom, so at it's shortest focal length it will be able to open to 3.5, at it's longest length it can only manage 5.6 i imagine with that lens. That's a by product of how they are made.
2 things you can do to reduce the blur. You need to shoot at a higher shutter speed, 1/100 or something should do it unless somebody is running around.
So a lens with a wider aperture, such as 2.8, or even 1.8, or eeeeeven 1.2 (wider aperture = more glass = more expensive) that would allow loads more light onto the sensor so would balance needing a quicker shutter speed.
Second thing you can do is kick up the ISO even more (higher ISO = the sensor is more sensitive to light), so ISO 3200 or higher depending on your camera's abilities. The higher the ISO the lesser the photo quality.
So you can see why people love these wide aperture lenses and splash the cash.
Try manual settings with the highest ISO your camera can handle, get your shutter speed to 1/80th perhaps and keep the aperture as wide (lowest number) as it will go.
Any other questions just ask. Good luck.

3.5 seems to be 1/500 - does that make sense :s

So, I need a new lens ideally. What do I look for?

You're shooting at 1/10 shutter speed... usually if you want a good, stable pic at night, you'll need at least 1/30 with IS. Bump up the ISO and increase the shutter speed.


If you have S mode which is called Shutter... adjust that and it will allow you to use the fast shutter speed without any blur effect to your photos.

Ah they beat me to it.


HawkMan suggested I use "A mode" at night, but this clearly ended up with awful photos. So you guys think I should have used "S mode", instead?

#9 ahodgey

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:19

I wouldnt use aperture priority in low light situations as you are controlling the amount of light entering onto the CCD. The camera compensates by leaving the aperture open for longer leading to the blurring because of you not being able to hold the camera steady / objects moving in the shot.

I would try taking a photo in program mode (or p) to start with to get a feel for what the camera / lens can do. In program mode you can control the Shutter speed and aperture settings within the limit the processing engine thinks is acceptable for a good photo. Try to keep the lens zoomed out in low light as well so the aperture is larger letting more light in which should in turn allow for shorter shutter times leading to less blurring

#10 Detection

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:20

HawkMan suggested I use "A mode" at night, but this clearly ended up with awful photos. So you guys think I should have used "S mode", instead?


I've played around with the different modes on mine a few times to see what looks better at which time of day / type of photo

Its dark in the UK now, maybe grab your camera and shoot a couple shots in each mode outside, see how they turn out when you copy them to the PC :)

#11 OP Elliot B.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:23

I've played around with the different modes on mine a few times to see what looks better at which time of day / type of photo

Its dark in the UK now, maybe grab your camera and shoot a couple shots in each mode outside, see how they turn out when you copy them to the PC :)

Unforatunely, the onyl way I can test it now is using cars. There are hardly any people around here at night, and certainly few light sources.

So basically, HawkMan suggested "A mode" in another topic, two guys here are suggesting "S mode" and now a guy is suggesting "P mode" :o

Talk about confusion! :p

It seems "A mode" is the one I shouldn't be using, though.

You're shooting at 1/10 shutter speed... usually if you want a good, stable pic at night, you'll need at least 1/30 with IS. Bump up the ISO and increase the shutter speed.


How high? The camera seems to go up to 4000.

#12 Glassed Silver

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:25

Not having all of the posts on here I'll chime in, too.

a) There ARE lenses that don't make your aperture smaller (increase the value) upon changing the focal length (zooming)
I know because I have one. I have a Canon model, but it's performing about the same on Nikon mounts, too I've heard.
It's a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 DCII VR (Vibrant reduction)

It's noisy and bulky, but the image quality for the price and the fact that it's got constant aperture and not variable is so sweet.
Much recommended! (Y)

b) Bump up the ISO if your camera allows it (quality-wise). The shots seem pretty good apart from the blurring, so there's still some room for cranking up the light sensitivity I guess.

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#13 ahodgey

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:26

One other thing I tried when I was learning (and still am learning) was to try and take the same photo on a number of different settings, so experiment with different aperture settings, shutter settings and ISO settings for the same or similar shots. Then when you get back to the PC review the images and see which look best and then look up the properties of image (right click the image, properties and select details) to see the settings you used. Write these down. I have a small notebook in my camera bag listing the various settings that make a good photo in different conditions I have learned through experimenting.

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:28

Unforatunely, the onyl way I can test it now is using cars. There are hardly any people around here at night, and certainly few light sources.

So basically, HawkMan suggested "A mode" in another topic, two guys here are suggesting "S mode" and now a guy is suggesting "P mode" :o

Talk about confusion! :p

It seems "A mode" is the one I shouldn't be using, though.


haha yea I think I normally just use Auto for most shots for simplicity unless I`m trying for something specific such as LTE shot on the tail lights of cars or a Macro of some PC component

At night the camera is going to need a longer exposure to get enough light into the image, so if you're not using a tripod / subject is moving, its not going to be easy to get a decent night time shot without blur / very dark image

I`ll follow this thread, I love photography but in the same boat as you I think, just guess work and taking tips from people/google

#15 Glassed Silver

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Posted 17 November 2012 - 17:29

Unforatunely, the onyl way I can test it now is using cars. There are hardly any people around here at night, and certainly few light sources.

So basically, HawkMan suggested "A mode" in another topic, two guys here are suggesting "S mode" and now a guy is suggesting "P mode" :o

Talk about confusion! :p

It seems "A mode" is the one I shouldn't be using, though.



How high? The camera seems to go up to 4000.


Go with "shutter priority" which is S mode here.
I own a Canon and with Canon it's called TV (time value). Maybe you've heard of that before, but it doesn't matter.
You want S mode, go with that.
It lets you pick a shutter speed and the rest is automatic apart from ISO, which I suggest you crank up, too.


Also: if the shot doesn't have to be full size in terms of resolution, so cropping is an option, don't zoom in and just crop the part you want in post production.

This will give you full aperture width on lenses that have variable max apertures. :) (that's what you have :p)

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