Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

+-Calendar for sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!


Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?

  • 49 Replies
  • 12619 Views
*

Offline Raoul Duke

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 205
Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« on: November 07, 2012, 11:31:49 AM »
I'm pretty much a complete amateur when it comes to photography and have basically been using simple point and shoot cameras my entire life.  I am interested in kicking it up a notch and getting something with decent zoom lens and a few more features than the cameras I have owned in the past.  I am particularly interested in getting something that I can do long-exposure night shots with a tripod.

I looked at the Canon PowerShot SX40 HS and was impressed with the lens, but I understand that it's not good for long-exposure shots because it doesn't let you go beyond ISO 100 (I am not even sure what that means).  My price range is somewhere around $300-$400. 

Can someone recommend a decent long zoom point-and-shoot that I could use for long-exposure shots?
"Getting bored with your neurosis?  Drop you analyst--drop him/her like a cold potato--and make tracks for the nearest river." -Edward Abbey

*

Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 7586
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2012, 12:33:00 PM »
I'll have to let the experts chime in with recommendations, but I can say that 15 seconds is just enough exposure time to get some stars to show up. Most of the Canons require you to hack the firmware/software to go beyond that. I'd recommend looking for something with at least a 30 second exposure time. I believe some of the Fuji FinePixPanasonic Lumix models may work well for what you're looking for. All I know is the last time I tried to take a star picture with my old Canon A720IS I got nothing but black.

Oops, I mis-remebered the camera line.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2012, 01:32:47 PM by RichardM »

*

Offline TexasAggieHiker

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1207
  • The road goes on forever & the party never ends...
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2012, 01:24:15 PM »
I've been using a Panasonic Lumix  LX3 for 3 or 4 years now and love it!  Takes pretty good shots of the stars.  They make a LX7 now.  I would look into one of them.

*

Offline Raoul Duke

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 205
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2012, 07:03:06 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I'll look into that camera.

Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
"Getting bored with your neurosis?  Drop you analyst--drop him/her like a cold potato--and make tracks for the nearest river." -Edward Abbey

*

Offline RichardM

  • Admin/Moderator
  • Global Moderator
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 7586
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2012, 07:39:58 PM »
Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.
It's going to depend on the camera and how good the sensor is. Check the Exif data for some good Milky Way shots. Some of TJ's recent shots show an exposure time of 25 seconds. and we all know he must have a good camera to take those shots. ;)

*

Offline The Scorpion

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1908
    • My Big Bend Photos
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2012, 09:38:40 PM »
I haven't kept up with the P&S cameras in a long time so im not sure what many of them care capable of these days, but this info should help.

Not all P&S cameras have good low light capability, meaning a few things, 1. the image will be very grainy, or 2. it  cant focus/ lack of manual focus in low light situations.

manual focus is preferred, but depending on the camera and its abilities, you can obtain auto focus, but its gonna be tricky.
you need for the sensor to be able to have a good ISO noise handling at higher ISO's like 800+. the higher the ISO# the more sensitive it is to light, meaning you can do a short exposure and get the same image brightness as a longer exposure.
Next is the f/ stops. many P&S cameras start out at f/3.2 and go to f/11. For star shots like the milky way you really need to have the lens OPEN, which means the iris in the lens is opened up REALLY big. f/1.4 is REALLY wide open, think of the pupils in your eyes opening up really wide when it gets dark, they do that to let in more light, but your focus plane gets smaller.

the exposure you need to capture the stars will need to be about 20 to 25 seconds depending on the lens focal length. Many P&S cameras start out at 24 or 28mm, and on an APS-C size sensor (1.6 crop), thats equivalent  to 38mm to 44mm in film or full frame sensors.
you need to have a wide angle such as 18 to 20mm so you can use the longer exposures. the longer the lens (24mm and up) the more star travel you will see in the exposures.

TJ has some very good night shots with the stars, but he also has an excellent full frame camera and a kick ass lens.
I do some night time shots as well, but i usually mount my camera to a tracking Equatorial mount and do exposures up to about 8 minutes.

to sum it up these are the features you should look for.

manual focus, or really kick ass auto focus that can focus on the stars
high ISO such as 800+
camera that has good low light performance (not so grainy at the higher ISO's)
wide angle lens under 24mm (might be a long shot)
f/ratio of 2.0 preferred, but don't think many P&S's go that low on the f/stops

everything is better with bacon!!!

http://jamesb.smugmug.com/BigBendNationalPark/

*

Offline tjavery

  • Golden Eagle
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1504
  • foto nut
    • http://www.thomasjavery.com/proj_big_bend
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2012, 09:59:55 PM »
SV has excellent advice. Thanks for that!

Dpreview.com has a lot of good info on cameras. You might want to search there:
http://www.dpreview.com/products/search/cameras
http://www.dpreview.com/products/compacts/statistics

Good luck!

*

Offline Al

  • Dog Face Moth
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4071
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2012, 10:16:57 PM »
I use that site before buying any camera.  Seems like there's a choice in point and shoot cameras: zoom; or, low light.

*

Offline badknees

  • Actually, I was there once
  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 4303
  • I think I know that place
    • Through the Mirror
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2012, 05:44:40 AM »
I haven't kept up with the P&S cameras in a long time so im not sure what many of them care capable of these days, but this info should help.

Not all P&S cameras have good low light capability, meaning a few things, 1. the image will be very grainy, or 2. it  cant focus/ lack of manual focus in low light situations.

manual focus is preferred, but depending on the camera and its abilities, you can obtain auto focus, but its gonna be tricky.
you need for the sensor to be able to have a good ISO noise handling at higher ISO's like 800+. the higher the ISO# the more sensitive it is to light, meaning you can do a short exposure and get the same image brightness as a longer exposure.
Next is the f/ stops. many P&S cameras start out at f/3.2 and go to f/11. For star shots like the milky way you really need to have the lens OPEN, which means the iris in the lens is opened up REALLY big. f/1.4 is REALLY wide open, think of the pupils in your eyes opening up really wide when it gets dark, they do that to let in more light, but your focus plane gets smaller.

the exposure you need to capture the stars will need to be about 20 to 25 seconds depending on the lens focal length. Many P&S cameras start out at 24 or 28mm, and on an APS-C size sensor (1.6 crop), thats equivalent  to 38mm to 44mm in film or full frame sensors.
you need to have a wide angle such as 18 to 20mm so you can use the longer exposures. the longer the lens (24mm and up) the more star travel you will see in the exposures.

TJ has some very good night shots with the stars, but he also has an excellent full frame camera and a kick ass lens.
I do some night time shots as well, but i usually mount my camera to a tracking Equatorial mount and do exposures up to about 8 minutes.

to sum it up these are the features you should look for.

manual focus, or really kick ass auto focus that can focus on the stars
high ISO such as 800+
camera that has good low light performance (not so grainy at the higher ISO's)
wide angle lens under 24mm (might be a long shot)
f/ratio of 2.0 preferred, but don't think many P&S's go that low on the f/stops

Noise continues to be a problem with small P&S's. The noise produced by a sensor is related the the size of the individual photosites on the sensor. Manufacturers are cramming high MP counts (sensor site density), on small sensors. The signal/noise ratio will always be higher on a larger sensor that has a lower pixel pitch. That is why a  full frame 10 MP camera will produce a much cleaner image than a P&S with a 16MP pixel count. Of course most manufacturers also heavily process out of camera jpgs at high ISO, so if you want any control you will need a P&S that will output a Raw file or TIFF. There really is something to the phrase "you must have a really nice camera", when it comes to the ability to expand the capabilty beyond well lit, static subjects.
Not all those who wander are lost.
J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

*

Offline steelfrog

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1548
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 11:17:14 AM »
I've used a Panasonic LX-5 for a while; just ordered an LX-7; let you know how it goes.

*

Offline kevint

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 646
    • Pictures
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2012, 12:09:28 PM »
The word you want to google is "superzoom."  This is how reviewers like to refer to these high zoom point and shoot articles.  I checked and turned up this article from August.  Anything older than 6-12 months will not be helpful to you.


http://www.techradar.com/news/photography-video-capture/cameras/best-compact-camera-2012-33-reviewed-963985?artc_pg=2


I have owned, or had access to two of these over the years.  I did not like using them because they are too heavy for what I want in a P&S and the electronic zoom lacks the level of control i want.  In other words, is quick press of the zoom button zoomed more than I wanted.
-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

*

Offline kevint

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 646
    • Pictures
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2012, 12:17:37 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  I'll look into that camera.

Any idea on how long one needs to set the exposure to capture the Milky Way in night sky photos?  Do you think 30 sec is sufficient, or do you need to set it for longer.


For the mechanics of taking pictures of the milky way, etc, I found this resource on TJ Avery's blog. 


http://www.thomasjavery.com/notes/starshots.pdf


For a objective assessment of camera sensors, I recommend the DxOMark website:


http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings


I believe the sensor rating most applicable to what you want to do is "dynamic range." 
-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

*

Offline Flash

  • Mountain Lion
  • *
  • 1926
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2012, 01:41:34 PM »
I purchased a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX9V last summer and I am still figuring out all the things it can do...  :eusa_doh: Overall good camera, but what I really like is that it GPS tags all the shots. Great for remembering not only where I was, but which way was I looking.  ;)

*

Offline kevint

  • Golden Eagle
  • Black Bear
  • *
  • 646
    • Pictures
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2012, 09:37:23 AM »
Another article just appeared on star photography from a first timer's position.  One key point from this is that wide angle is key for this kind of photography so don't ignore that aspect of your camera decision.


http://www.mattk.com/2012/11/08/what-i-learned-on-my-first-star-photo-shoot/



-- Kevin (W5KLT)

"It's not an adventure until something goes wrong."  --Yvon Chouinard

*

Offline Raoul Duke

  • Coyote
  • *
  • 205
Re: Decent point and shoot for long exposure shots?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 08:12:31 PM »
Another article just appeared on star photography from a first timer's position.  One key point from this is that wide angle is key for this kind of photography so don't ignore that aspect of your camera decision.


http://www.mattk.com/2012/11/08/what-i-learned-on-my-first-star-photo-shoot/

Thanks for all the info and excellent articles, Kevin and the rest of you.  I'll let you know what I decide on camera-wise.  Even better, I'm heading to the park next weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to post a decent photo trip report!
"Getting bored with your neurosis?  Drop you analyst--drop him/her like a cold potato--and make tracks for the nearest river." -Edward Abbey

 


©COPYRIGHT NOTICE

All photographs and content posted by members are to be considered copyrighted by their respective owners and may not be used for any purposes, commercial or otherwise, without permission.

+-Calendar For Sale

 2019 BigBendChat Calendar on sale now!

Powered by EzPortal

Facebook Comments