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TOPIC: Longer exposure or higher ISO?

Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6195

  • Tim Shrimpton
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Hi everyone!

Took a couple of night shots a couple of days ago which were a first for me. It was windy and kind of cold and my friend who was with me didn't have a jacket (!), so I didn't stay real long to play with things, but I got a couple of decent shots, all at ISO 100 and a longer exposure (20-30 seconds). It got the light trails I wanted, but I wondered what other people do. Would you up the ISO a bit in that case to allow for slightly shorter exposure? Would that change the look of the photo at all? I know both long exposure and higher ISOs introduce more noise to an image, so it seems about a horse a piece in that regard.

Anyway, here are two similar images that I got. Thanks for taking the time to think about my questions!

08.24.2014 - 21.43.08 [SHR_1026].jpg by daroga28, on Flickr

08.24.2014 - 21.46.44 [SHR_1028].jpg by daroga28, on Flickr
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Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6196

  • Brent Ross
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you get an increase in noise slightly and a decrease in motion blur

This shot is perfect with long exposure; however, if you are trying to capture crisp distant background stars or moon on a clearer night, you'll want a faster shutter speed because even stars and especially the moon move quite fast

Still 20 to 30 seconds is still good for stars. Stars blur around the 2 minute mark. Also , you may want multiple exposures using higher ISO to capture dimmer stars
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Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6197

  • jerry
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I agree with brent on all aspects. A double exposure would give this shot the "wow" factor if you included stars.
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Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6199

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when you talk about double exposure for digital, does that mean combining them in a HDR or exposure blending sort of way on the PC after the fact?
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Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6200

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probably for a sky/city double exposure, you can hand mask in photoshop. I don't see a benefit to running it through the HDR merge in PS because the dynamic range of both the sky and city on their own are suitable. It's just that the sky needs a few stops more than the city.

Also note if light pollution is too bad where you are, all you will get is a yellow glow
Last Edit: 2 years 3 months ago by Brent Ross.
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Longer exposure or higher ISO? 2 years 3 months ago #6201

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