The Joys of Night Photography
Fuji X100 | 1/8 sec, f/2, ISO 3200 [hand-held]
You gotta love the daylight savings time shift that happens in fall over here. Setting our clocks back an hour means the sun is already well below the horizon by the time I get out of the office. So during my evening walks with Suki, instead of that beautiful light cast by a setting sun that I love for photographs, I now have only the dim, oddly colored light cast by city street lamps to work with. Sigh.
Fuji X100 | 1/50 sec, f/2, ISO 3200
Not much else to do besides crank up the ISO and pin my camera at its widest aperture. Or lug a tripod around, which is not very practical on an outing with the dog.
Instead, I try to manage low shutter speeds at night by working on my hand-holding technique. The x100 has a relatively wide lens on it, which makes hand-holding a bit easier than it would be with a longer lens. Bracing myself on something solid helps, as does paying attention to my breathing. I find that taking a shot during the natural pause between exhalation and inhalation works wonders in getting sharp shots at low-shutter speeds.
As far as high ISO performance, the x100 is pretty good. All the images in this post were taken at either ISO3200 or ISO6400, and all are out of camera JPEGs.
Fuji X100 | 1/55 sec, f/2, ISO 3200
Files at these sensitivities seem just as clean to me as the ones I get from my D700, though I’d say the D700 still has the edge in detail retention at high ISO. Can’t tell the difference when you’re posting to a blog though, that’s for sure.
Focus is tricky when the light is this dim, especially with a contrast detect system like the one in the x100. Not entirely impossible though, and the electronic viewfinder makes framing in low light super easy.
Coming to the dog park in the dark sure feels strange now. At this time during the summer, there’d still be plenty of sunlight out.
Fuji X100 | 1/30 sec, f/2, ISO 6400
Fuji X100 | 1/70 sec, f/2, ISO 3200
You know what’s depressing? I go to work early enough to miss the morning sunrise as well. What gives with that!? Oh well. I’m totally looking forward to the weekend.