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Thread: Low LIght photography

  1. #1
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Low LIght photography

    Hello, I bought one of those digital camcorders with a low-light mode. Specifically, a Panasonic with "MagicPix". "Low-light" may be overstating things, once the light drops below a "somewhat dim" status, the features isn't useful. I'm looking for ways to make it more useful. Do these camcorder low-light modes pick up IR? If I pick up (say) the Surefire IR light (M1, is it?), will I be able to shoot in lower light?

    Thanks!

    Joe

  2. #2

    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    Joe,

    I've tried that and I wouldn't recommend it (M1 for consumer video devices that is.) I have a camcorder with nightshot and the onboard IR is adequate. Add more say with an M6+IR filter, and the camcorder's instinct is to lower the exposure, thus making more IR useless. I'm not sure however about the Panasonics.

  3. #3
    Flashaholic
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    i've been doing some shooting with a digital camera that let's me keep the shutter open for up to 15 seconds.

    in my urban neiborhood, with the camera "on" for 15 seconds (using a tripod), it might as well be daylight. the pictures come out rather spooky looking, but rather clear/detailed nonetheless.


  4. #4
    Flashaholic*
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    Thanks guys. AO, if there's an onboard IR on my camera, I haven't found it. Better look through the manual again. I probably wouldn't plunge right into the M1 in any case, maybe see how a cheaper IR LED helps (or not).

    Leddite, thanks for the tip, but I'm using it in camcorder mode, I'm hoping to be able to film video in lower light.

    Joe

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    There are two forms of night-vision for camcorders:

    One is the use of a CCD with enhanced IR sensitivity and a removable IR filter. (Sony NightShot and another brand).

    The other is to increase shutter time at the expense of framerate and causing motion blur. JVC NightAlive operates this way.

    IR-sensitive NV camcorders are MUCH better than the long-shutter ones.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    I have a Sony DCR-TRV33 which will employ both methods (IR-sensitive and slow shutter). The SS mode is available in color ("Color Slow Shutter" on the Sony, 1/4s) and in IR mode ("Super NightShot" on the Sony, also 1/4s). As for excessive infrared light lowering the exposure, you should be able to lock the exposure control wide open, or at any position for that matter. It might be a menu setting on your camera, so look around.

    I don't know of any digital still cameras that readily employ IR-sensitive modes. The TRV33, though being a video camera, doubles as a still camera with 1Mpixel resolution.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    You could just ducktape an M6 to the side of your camera. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

  8. #8
    Flashaholic* GeoffChan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    [ QUOTE ]
    IlluminatingBikr said:
    You could just ducktape an M6 to the side of your camera. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

    [/ QUOTE ]

    I'm waiting for a Picatinny to tripod converter so I can mount an M900 to my "Dark Angel" [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif[/img]

    Geoff

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    Hello Joe,

    I was playing with the same thing a few months ago.

    I was not satisfied with the M1's ability to light up an area. I found a light at Harbor Freight that allows two levels of brightness and can focus from flood to spot. I believe it was around $40. The beam is not as good as the M1, and the finish is "rough" but I find it more useful in what I am trying to do with my camera.

    By the way, I am using a Sony digital video camera.

    Tom

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    Interestingly enough, I've been confused by the fact that my Panasonic seems to have two ways to shoot in low light -- one is MagicPix, one is some other form of low-light boost. Maybe one is IR-sensitive and the other slow shutter? May have to test it out to see.

    Joe

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Low LIght photography

    One is an IR-sensitive mode, the other a slow-shutter function. I know that current-model Sony cameras offer one, the other, and then the two used together: NightShot (IR sensitive), Color Slow Shutter(1/4-1/30s exposure), and Super NightShot (IR sensitive + 1/4-1/30s exposure). CSS and SNS work best with no camera movement and a fixed focus.

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