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Click Night Shots

edited February 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum

I bought your cheat sheets recently. I must say they are very nice for anyone to start off as a photographer. Would you be updating them?

I need help on night shots. Can you suggest something?


  • edited February 2015
    Night shots will depend greatly on what you're photographing and what you are seeking to get. As a general rule, use a tripod, and if you want the dark areas to be free of digital noise, keep the ISO as low as you can afford. Raise ISO as needed if you have moving subjects that require faster shutter speeds only. The camera will go down to 30 seconds automatically. Below that, use a remote shutter release and bulb mode.

    The compromise between digital noise and proper exposure can be a challenge. The camera's meter will tend to brighten a scene and may overexpose it. At the same time, though, bright areas are quieter than dark ones.

    One small improvement can be made by letting the camera's meter overexpose a night shot by a little, then reducing exposure in post (you can go up or down 2 stops in RAW processing). When you lower the exposure in post it's like turning down the volume of an electronic device. You lower both signal and noise at the same time. The more noisy the ISO, the more visible this will be. At ISO 100 it's hardly worth the effort, but at 6400 it's dramatic.

    Here is a link to a pair of very severe crops from a shot into a dark room. The ISO is 6400. This is a D3200, in A mode, on a tripod, with noise reduction off. The first shot is taken with exposure compensation -2 in camera to make it dark. The second is taken with normal exposure, and the exposure lowered -2 in View NX2 to match the first.

    You will have to experiment to see what exposure you want, and this will depend on what you're photographing. You can get a very strange and interesting effect by using the camera's meter and getting an exposure that looks twilit. If you want a true night shot you will probably have to go with manual metering, auto ISO off, and long shutter times.

    Remember that if you have the camera's in-camera noise reduction on, all low light exposure times will be doubled. It will take 60 seconds for a 30 second exposure to be recorded!

  • Hey @mayanksrivastava - I do update the cheat cards from time to time if I feel like there's something worth tweaking. With regards to "night shots", what exactly are you trying to photograph? The settings and overall setup will vary depending on the subject or scene.
  • edited February 2015
    Thanks @Moose. I am basically trying to capture the night life of a city (streets,landscape).
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