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25mm F/0.95 Voigtlander - Shooting in the dark
  • Hi everyone,

    I am shooting on the Voigtlander 25 mm f0.95. I've tried several shots, insight and outsight. I've noticed that in some parts the dark areas were absolutely clear, no noise at all, but in some where were. I've keep ISO between 320 - 640, f0.95.

    How do I get, even if there is less light, the most best possible result - here a clean picture? Do I have to raise ISO in order ta achieve better results? (Sensor need more light sensitvity to bring out details, can you shoot on too low ISO?) I always thought: lower IS0 value= better picture quality.

    How do you handle night shoots, any tricks? Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks, Alex

  • 10 Replies sorted by
  • Be careful not to underexpose.. Try to expose as much to the right (on the histogram) as possible. Noise is part and parcel of available light shooting though. Remember also that red and blue channels are the noisiest, so if you really want to avoid noise as much as possible, take care to keep midtones of those channels contained, which is easier said than done..

    Personally, I rather go higher on the iso scale to be able to expose to the right rather than shoot "OK" exposure on a lower iso when conditions so require. Up to a certain point (I rarely go up to 3200) of course.

    If you want rid of noise alltogether, you need to work with good software in post.

  • @RRRR thx for replying! Right now my GH2 is still unhacked, which afterwards might help the pricute to be less noisy. I guess the higher mbits value is the less noise you avoid!?

    Do you keep shutter speed at 1/50 as recommanded on 24p?

  • re: shutter speed, it depends on the situation really.. Rule 1 is - get the shot, so even if you have go down to 1/25 to make things visible - so be it..

    re: hack / unhacked - there should be no difference in noise levels per se, however there is a massive difference in noise grain and artifacts which makes it hard to reduce noise in post. Hacked is always better.

  • @Alexauwa Keep shutter speed at 1/50, scale up ISO, but keep it below 2500 for color. For black and white, you can go up to 12,800 if you don't mind the grainy look because the luminance noise is less distracting than the chroma noise (and other color issues) you get at high ISO.

    If you need to use a preset WB (as in you don't want to use a custom one) the tungsten one is the best one for night time or indoor and does a decent job of balancing out some of the channel noise mentioned above. However, specifying the value in Kelvin can do even better - even err slightly on the "un-natural" side to reduce noise. I'll often shoot at 2700 to 3000K and correct color in post. Of course, if you happen to know the temp. of the lights around you, that can be a useful starting point.

    Often times, people will record with a fairly low contrast (to capture details) and then use curves/exposure/other modifications in post to bring the noise areas down a bit.

    Note, the color at ISO 2500 and above takes a real hit compared to anything below that. And @RRRR is completely right - getting a good histogram is more important than keeping a low ISO (as long as you stay within the limits mentioned, depending on your intent).

    Keep in mind that the less light there is, the more important "defining features" become in terms of getting a good shot. You may be able to get away with shooting a fairly low detail shot in daylight but they tend to look poorly in low light.

    Anyway, I'm sure you'll find your own approach but having shot everything from night interviews by street light to rain drops, sunsets and landscapes with that lens and camera, that is my take on it.

  • @Alexauwa And to what @RRRR said about noise, I would add that the intra-frame codecs do especially well with shadow noise detail. When I was comparing Factory or even Cluster vs. Orion or Sedna, it was like you could see where every keyframe was in the noise patterns in the shadows for static shots (which is to say that intra versions looked like 24 fps while the others looked like they were going by at a low frame rate).

  • @thepalalias great Infos, thx!

    I agree that shooting a bit over-exposed/flatter, less detailed will be a benefit to colorcorrect in post.@RRRR I've just turned on histogram... its quite tricky to keep mids at highest. I also think that wb preset with K2.500 works fine for night shots. As well I pushed the NR value to +2 although I have realized that the effects can be barely seen!?

    and ya..."Anyway, I'm sure you'll find your own approach but having shot everything from night interviews by street light to rain drops, sunsets and landscapes with that lens and camera, that is my take on it."

    I guess that is the great challenge and journey that cam is taking you on :)

  • @thepalalias Is there any specific hack like quantum, etc (there are so many) you could recommand? I am looking for a version with high and low quality setting, but not dumping to much space on disk, I need to be flexible as I shot spots/short films.

  • @sebfarges I'd love to shot on the Leica Noctilux f/0.95 - great to see! ;)

    Do you have any tips here when it comes to shooting in bad conditions, low light or at night?! Looking forward to your reply.

  • Thanks

    @thepalalias @RRRR

    for your tips! We've achieved some fantastic results with the voigtlander on our latest commercial. Looking forward to your feedback on vimeo.

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