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onsdag 29. september 2010

Back to Basics :: What Makes Good Photos : The Olypmus E450 included!

Here is the list of what I think actually makes for good photography and therefore good shots in descending order of importance

1) Shutter Speed
2) Focus (on the subject)
3) After cutting / "light"room effects
4) Aperture & Depth of Field Effect
6) Composition
7) White Balance/ colour setting/ ISO: fiddely wee things of dSLRs/ mFT cameras

Suprised by the order?

The key thing I think that makes the difference between a mediocre amateur shot and a pro shot is not actually composition; it is sharpeness and vividness of colours, or contrast in montone.

Composition through the lens is not always king and I am a devotee of the "light room" cropping blade. As long as a shot has some subject of interest which is sharp ( or not if that is a really unique good blur) then you can crop, monotonise, saturate, sharpen, selectively blur and even photomontage your image, to either rescue a poor composition or find something really eye catching.

My other hobby is sailing and in that sport their is an adage that them whom maketh two mistakes will deserve only second place in a race, while them whom doth have only one wee tiny error will come correspondingly first. In photography if you start to eliminate your mistakes, then you will quickly be able to focus on ( pun there ok!) better composition: ie more interesting shots.

Shutter is King

At 1/250th of a second you are not free of camera shake from hand held shots or even with a rather hefty little mirror on a DSLR like mine, the shock of the mirror mechanism can cause a tiny amount of shake. Also noticeable at say 1/25th on a tripod.

EDIT: Luckily there is a "lock up" anti-shock mirror pre-lift delay to shutter which helps and the higher series E520 and above have image stabilisation (IS) which works well enough to take two shutter speeds down according to users.

On the E450, I find the P (programme) and related Auto (programme with flash), choose too slow a shutter speed : often 200th of a second while being way up at f8: my slowest lenses are zooms which are 5.6, so this is annoying that it stops up and slows the shutter. I notice immediately when the light is down, or at the longer focal legnths, my image sharpness drops.

Try Shutter then you fool Freddie! The problem is that in Shutter Priority you can be out of sensible exposure with a blinking f number as soon as the light changes or you want to go even faster up the shutter dial.

Help is at hand: Sports mode, but this engages the rather poor continuous image sensor focus when using Live View, and does not allow for bracketing: It will at least though, secure you the fastest available shutter speed for a "correct" exposure.

Sharper Budgets

Pro's use faster lenses ( sub f3 in FT or sub f2 where possible) : They choose primes at super wide 20 or 24, then 28, sometimes 35, 49-52 and then 90 - 120 and finally a 200 before you then get into sports and twitcher types of big whites at sub f5.

In the days of film, pro's took far more images than amateurs, thus allowing for some blurred "frames" or imperfections, while often allowing them to get the shot for that series or pose. Now I notice that pro's spend a little more time in set up and checking the camera settings between frames, or series of frames, and I dare say if you canvassed them, you may find they actually take less frames than enthusiasts with dSLRs.

Expensive lenses and top end FF, wider or APS-C type cameras and the Olympus E5( onto ZD Pro lenses) also focus better and faster, and have the best quality lens elements to make the sharpest image plane.

So the kit helps pro's make fewer mistakes.

Focus on Focusing

The higher end systems all offer faster, more accurate focusing too.

I really must say that I miss the old split prism manual focus and find that even some expensive cameras I have tried are not really all that much faster. It is just we are lazy and in the digital world, okay, we want to take masses and masses more frames than before, so twisting the left hand is very passe?

My only advice on focusing is to get used to the cameras focusing choices and settings and find what works on your camera for your style of images and in different situations:

: on the E-450, select spot AF and put it on the centre dot of the three as default, such that you get into the habit of focus-reslect frame. The more complex functions, like hybrid AF and using the AE/AF lock with different settings are also worth learning as I am now: the continuous autofocus does not seem very good to me so far. Face detect is way quicker on the current compact camera ranges from all and sundry than on the E450, but it can be useful. If you have a GH1 or G10 from panasonic, now you can touch screen select what you want to focus on.

Another useful function is M-AF-S which is a combination of an AF followed by a fine manual adjust: in practice it needs to be done on a tripod with 7x or 10x live view magnification: I use it mostly on "macro" close up attempts but also it is of use when you have a disappearing edge:like a door frame, where you want to keep the centre of it in focus so that on say f5.6, the whole frame is in focus with the background blurring out.

MF also has it's place , in close ups, indoor shots in low light and night images, when the "night scene" pre-programme doesn't find anything to focus on.

Bracketing Exposures

Bracketing is my favourite means of improving photos and I guess the technique came from pros: certainlky it relates to the experience of running the test strips in the dark room when exposing paper. Pros were and probably still are, more likely to use an external meter to get the correct exposure and then push the emulsion or print, the ISO or the curves now, to get the best from the frames which were taken at the "correct" exposure.

BKT allows you to look at is which exposure is most pleasing for the subject : but further more, you can get around many faults coming from over or under exposure and resulting at sensor - processor level noise.

You can see that you gain or lose in detail, contrast, sharpness-DoF, and over all feel of the image: you can also see which exposure makes unacceptable white-out highlights, noisy-hard black shadows or unwanted noise flecks and pixelation effects in quarter tones.

In other words, you may be able to eliminate noise ( abberrant, coloured pixels) by selecting the shot which is slightly underexposed and "lifting" all the graph to brighten and reveal detail in the three-quarter tones and shadows. Or the converse, an over exposed shot may have a grey feel to it, but capture detail in the subject area the "correct" exposure does not.

BKT is worth starting experimenting on in Programme with ISO AUTO, and the exposure compensation being +/- 1.0 : a whole exposure step, so you can learn what type of shot requires which side of the line ( the camera does vary the ISO in order to bracket down one f stop beyond a certain dark exposure limit) . This was easy on the old needle days: you underexposed for highlights and if you were on transparency films and you could rely on the lab to either get lucky on their test strip or totally mess up a whole roll of Ektakrome for you!

On a tripod with a static scene you can also then work up layers from your bracket in your image software, which add both contrast and detail to the subject.

BKT is the main function I wanted which was not available on a compact camera with RAW file format for under €500. Hence I bought an E450 with a kit 14-42 and the 25mm f2.8 prime ( =50mm in old money 135), which renders the system smaller than the Fuji FinePix /oly 6000s with the biggest zooms.

The noise issues with the FT 10mpx chip can be worked around by bracketing: noise comes in at either end of the scale for any camera- abberant red flecks in both shadows and highlights. Also it comes to happen on some grey tone or quarter tone ( brigth areas which are less light than highlights) that there it is again: noise.

Some of this is associated to JPEG compression- set the camera to take RAW + a jpeg of your preference; if the CF and XD are getting filled, then pump down the JPEG to small-medium-compress for internet use. Finally to get an umissable frame, switch off RAW and go back to Large Fine Jpeg and select ISO100.

DoF notes:

If you get the shutter speed right and look at eliminating noise and getting a choice of best exposure, then the next thing to look at is controlling and utilisation of Depth of Field.

This is influenced by the aperture of course, the focal legnth of the lens but also the nature of that particular lens: the 40-150 even at f5.6 gives a very short depth of field, so much so you have to stop it down to deepen it! Where as for comparison, the 14-42 at max mm (=84m), gives a deeper depth of field than the 40 at the same.

Short and super wide angled too vary. But one area which also varies is the sharpness of the actual supposed focal plane at high f stops: this can be so soft as to render them not worth having the f2.8 or 1.4 setting! This affects several FT lenses I will not slander further, and the faster Zuiko OM primes when used on FT cameras ( presumably also a little soft on film!)

BKT is also very useful in DoF experiments, where you want to select a most pleasing fade in and out or when you want to look at light in addition to blur to bring out the best in the subject-background relationship.


Finally here I get onto what you frame with your fancy bit of "enthusiast, pro level" kit!

The only thing I will say tonight, is you have to decide what the photo is going to be OF. What is the subject and how will it differentiate itself, stand out, from the background?

If of course, you are shooting a pattern, or texture, it is kind of the opposite; how to make the whole frame the subject!

The final note on this is that you want to look for the golden zone and any triangle. -shapes or leading S-shapes in the image : I kind of do this naturally but miss out on some which i Kick myself for in the light-room. A tree is not pefectly on the S, or whatever!

The simple things still mess me up in composition: level horizon! But most of my potentially good shots gone wrong are messed up by shutter speed and I know this is the case for many, many photographers!

Practice : Chop Water, Fetch Wood

I would say go out and get the above list in that order or priorities, sorted so that you know when you do go on a shoot or when something is happening and you have a camera on you, that you can very quickly set the camera up and be confident you will overcome user-error, while adapting to the restraints and opportunities of the situation and lighting.

Put the camera on a small tripod and set it to P on ISO400: So take some frames of your table, take some of the objects on the table (without flash!) Set the camera on Shutter, 500 or more with AUTO ISO: Take photos of your house, your car, your spouse, your kids and your dog. Take photos of the view from your window and up and down the street. Focus on each lamp post in turn! Use BKT, go through the settings without too many combinations.

Then move onto BKT shots: start +1/-1 and then move down to -0.3/+0.3.

After some time you may find that you will be clicking not at the BKT function but at the little expo comp button and moving it for your expectations of the condiitions, taking time to alter the frame or more rough exposure settings with far higher aperture settings or faster shutter speeds on "correct" exposure to begin with.

tirsdag 28. september 2010

Through the Eye of the Beholder

A single eye sees 120-140' with biscopic vision being able to sense movement maybe as far out as 220'.

However what we recognise as out usual gaze, or our field of active view, is actually less than 90'. Within this we both collect, process and percieve the most information.

The relative magnification which we percieve as normal and the brain calculates our spatial awareness on, is actually equivalent to a 90mm lens on an FF / 35mm( 135) camera. However a 90mm lens will give a "crop" or field of view to a mere 24'.

Why is this? Well I don't really know the answer but at a guess I would say the eye has both a relatively convex first lens - the cornea, and a powerful, malleable second lens coupled to a very concave focusing surface which greatly increases the surface area for image-capture: more megapixels if you like, and in addition a super sensitve sweet spot, the Fovea Centralis where even more sensor elements are concentrated.

In this way the circular focal plane created by the lens in the eye is better exploited by falling onto a curved, 3D plane rather than a cropped plane like a CMOS/CCD or layer of film.

On a four thirds frame, the reverse is true: the focal circle is somewhat under exploited from the quality lenses. see below for more discussion on this.

Kit and Budget Lenses from Olympus and their Relativity to Eyesight

14-42mm f3.5 Kit lens: (28-84 in FF/ 35mm) eq14mm: 70' and 1/3rd approximate eye magnification
eq84mm: 30' and 1/1.1 app "" "" ""

25mm pancake f2.8 "prime" eq 50mm 46' and 1/1.75 app

40-150mm kit lens f4.0 80 as above

eq 200 12' amd 2.2
eq 300 8' and 3.4 magnification.

Relative Field of View and Magnification

As a rule of thumb you could say that 100mm represents about 1.1 eye magnification, or as mentioned, 90mm is equivalent.

To capture near to all that the eye sees in field of view you would need to be using a 20 or 24mm (ff/135) but of course this both shrinks distance objects and distorts straight lines.

I very much like using 90-120mm because for either portraits or actually some landscape details, architecture and near-macro, the crop produced is what the eye and brain would have most perception of: the Foveal Crop you could say. Despite these lenses being either slower (f4 for example in a 40-150 zoom) or expensive ( f 2.0 or even 2.8 fixed focal macro/portrait primes) than say a 25mm prime or the 14-42mm kit lens, I prefer to use them because you can work at a little more distance from people. This gives you the chance to get the shot just before they are really aware that a photo is being taken.

Personal View on Four Thirds Economics and Technology

On a four thirds frame, the reverse is true from the extensive utilisation of the focal circle onto the retina in our eyes: the focal circle in this type of camera is somewhat under exploited with respect to these high quality lenses.

The latest mFT release from Panasonic, an 18 effective 16 CMOS with a panorame function which is broader than 4-3 demonstrates this to be the case. Some would say that a sensor bit-element dispersal of 4 to 5 microns, the sensors are too small and packed to offer equal quality to APS-C and FF sensors.

However, Olympus has pioneered compact-sized, near perfect telecentric lenses: this means that light is focused and travels almost paralell throught the later lens and aperture elements to an give an accurate re-dispersal to the focal surface, the resulting quality in image and reduction in scattered light and unwanted colour spectral effects means that the smaller sensor can acheive excellent results comparable say 10 mpx to 10mpx APS-C or even full frame cameras.

The quality of images producable even on the "cheap kit" lenses, is really superb and you have to spend a lot of money in getting two f-stops faster from the range of FT lenses out there.

Of course Canon and Nikon divotees will point to the previous noise in the FT sensors, now obvercome to give perhaps better results for Olympus and Panasonic operating at ISO 6400. Also these manufacturers have very good lenses which achieve a high degree of telecentricity.

However Olympus and the others in the FT /muFT group decided that less-must-be-more. By reducing materials they could reduce costs and pass that on to the hobby market they are aiming at. Also of course, the cameras are far smaller than most of the APS-C and all the FF ones on the market. mFT cameras are sold at a relative premium price, in line with the second tier of hobby dSLRs from the main competitors, but standing as mirrorless, half way compact-dSLR cameras.

What Olympus and Panasonic, Leica too, enjoy in better margins from this less-is-more, they can use to consolidate their leading positions in this market niche, or you may argue actually that is is a small sector, definded as: advanced compact digital cameras of superior qaulity lenses (interchangeable for all at the momeent) which even pros use. This means the producers can use their margin to continually innovate and offer ranges of cameras to suit consumer desires and pockets.

mandag 27. september 2010

Photo Time: Simulated Depth of Field, blurred in GIMP

Simulating Shortened Depth of Field : Making a mask and applying it to layers to blur the background.

In the old days, most quality cameras could produce nice portraits with the background blurred. These days the smaller digital t cameras create a veryt deep depth of field because of the short distance to the sensor chip from the lens, so the background is often very sharp. On dSLRs too, some lenses don't «stop up» enough to give an open enough aperture to «throw the background» either.

The four-thirds system presents challenges in this area because of the relative stop down the short diaganols of the crop make. The kit zoom lenses are over f3 , but the 40-150 does throw the background at f5.6 it must be said. But many of my shots lack that really blurred background of my f1.7-1.9 primes from Pentax, Fujica and OM days. So my olympus E450 DSLR sometimes dissapoints in giving good heads so to speak!

However help is at hand because t you can make up for this in PS or GIMP etc, by drawing out a mask and using it with layers to paste a blurred background onto your original sharp foreground. In the image above you can get the idea!

I had a go at the GIMP GURU's excellent tutorial, but found for GIMP v2.6 that there were a couple of functions that either differed, or were desirable to use. Here are my own personal notes & tips which I hope are of use.

WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO DO: Work-in-porgress Images are at the bottom of the blog: you are going to make a couple of copies of the original, and then on one make a "mask" which will be the area the original, sharp background will shine through, so to speak. You will blurr the edges of the white mask so it merges to the soon to be fuzzy background, and then invert the colour to black. This mask is then laid ontop of the other copy which is first blurred in the software options. Finally you merge the mask to the blurred layer using " apply mask" and then stack this ontop of the original so the person or object appears sharp on a blurred background.


Small errors in the Layers Dialogue box can cost all: you have to take care to do things in the right order, with the correct settings for the "apply mask" and remember to stack them in the right order so the mask is on top.
: worth saving WIP copies as you go as xcf files.

"toggeling" between selected area after cutting and background on the mask build, then both in order to go through "cutting" the mast needs to be done fully awake!

Small mistakes in selecting what layer to see and work on make for a PITAss. take care that you work on the one you have the eye logo on and is highlighted.

It can also be difficult in cutting the mask and then blurring it's edges to get a natural fade into the background, with no halo and no sharp, unnatural edge or vignetted outline areas. Also, getting the right amount of blurring on the background


> Copy Original > Lasso Select Sharp Object e.g. person!

> Blacken bacground with paint can fill

> Work up mask in white with an underlying orig' image as guide in BW >

> Blur the edges very slightly to 4 or 5 on gausian, invert to black on white [SAVE A COPY!!! ]

> Open a copy of the original image and blur it to more than '20' on gausian

> [Add Layer Mask] to the blurred image ; NB as ['white opaque']> paste on the mask to this layer in layer's dialogue box

> Open the original as a layer in the window> move it down the stack order in the dialogue box

> merge down the stack to end with. [SAVE as jpeg]

In Detail: On GIMP v2.6

  1. Open image File, then CTRL D to make a duplicate GIMP window as a jhandy back up / reference

  2. Make a new layer as follows: [Pull Down]Layer>new from visible> duplicate this layer with CTRL D while in the layers dialogue box > rename the duplicate "Mask"

  3. Use the lasso to clip out the foreground or objects to be sharp. Go to a black and white view or a colour channel ( [Decompose], see GIMP GURU) if you need a clearer outline to work on ie more contrast between subject and background making it easier to lasso correctly

  4. Once the area is drawn around, double click/click on the lasso in tool bar. The area should now be selected inside a hatched line. Press [CTRL-I] to select background.

  5. Select FILL tool ( paint can) on black and fill the background

  6. Save a copy once you are here as an xcf file

  7. Now we want to try to force the outline of the subject to white. Right-click in the image and choose (Image/Colors/Threshold). Drag the middle pointer on the 0-255 scale left to extend white over the white areas

  8. If you have the image (copy from start) open as a layer, then make it grayscale: otherwise make a new layer and paste ALL of the original image onto it, anchoring the floating layer with the little anchor icon in the Layers dialogue window. Choose this new layer and reduce opacity to about 50 -60% such that you can see a ghostly effect : now you can check the mask fits and captures the area you want sharp. Once done, delete the mask guide layer by right clicking and selecting delete layer.

  9. Now apply a gausian blur to the mask layerAT ONLY 4 to 6 pixels: this blurs the edges of the mask such that it will run into the to-be-blurred background and avoids obvious lines. Once computed, choose COLOUR>INVERT to now make the image Black on White as the actual mask. Save this and save an xcf or jpeg copy.

  10. In the Layers dialog, select the original image in the drop down box if you have it or paste and anchor from the other original open. Then click the Duplicate Layer buttonDouble-click on the name of the top layer. In the Edit Layer Attributes dialog, rename the new layer “Blurred”.

  11. I (Filters/Blur/Gaussian Blur )). Experiment to find a value that works well for your desired “depth of field”. Generally you won’t want to go too crazy with this or the look will be all wrong.Try 25 for a partial blur and over 40 for quite unsharp.

  12. SAVE A COPY of the WIP at this stage such that you can rework the blur if you feel it is not blurred enough or vice versa

  13. Go back to the Layers dialog and right-click on the “Blurred” layer; select “Add Layer Mask”.NB: At this point the next radio button selection is vital ! In the Add Mask Options dialog make sure White (Full Opacity) is selected. Then go to the black mask and select all and paste onto the blurred layer ONTO IT IN THE DIALOGUE BOX. Anchor it and deselect the eye on the mask itself

  14. You should see that there is a mask marked out in grey checker pattern over the area you want sharp and a nicely blurred background. Work back with CTRL Z if it is not to your burry liking!

  15. Open the original as a new layer. Move the orignal down on the list in the dialogue box so it is under the mask-blurred, and therefore will appear as the layer beneath on the final image. This shouuld now fill the masked area but be written over outside by the nice blurr you have created ! Jobs a gud'n.

  16. (delete the «mask»). Select the top layer, Blurred with mask, and then Choose Layers: [Merge Down ] save the image as a copy jpeg, keeping the main file as an xcf.

TIPS! When practising, reduce the image size and resolution to a web snap shot: this will make all the rendering and saving of your trial and errors a lot faster while you learn, and then you have a web ready series of shots!

TIPS! Be careful with the lower edge in portrait shots. When "cutting" ie outling the area to be the mask, check there is no foreground object to be blurred: short depth of field means it is just a slice into the distance which is in focus.

TIPS! It can be wise to give a margin to the figure for the edge blur: but if say it is a close up of a head with some diminishing depth of field on the person being good, then you can cut to the edge. This will vary with images : for instance, I find those with shadow from flash on one side need more there so that the shadow is softened. Trial and error will show you what works best, but it is difficult to extend a mask once «cut out».

TIPS! In GIMP 2.6 at least, when you have outlined the mask, and chosen to invert to background [CTRL I ] if the paintcan fill does not fill with black totally, then you can select a huge brush size and just go over it all in black: the foreground selected object will not be painted on as if it was "waxed". To fill in the mask itself, reverse with CTRL - I and then use white of course to remove any small specs or detail.

TIPS ! With similar images and a good contrast / edge to the background you do not really have to bother with an underlying black and white "ghost" to guide your fine working of the edges of the mask.

TIPS! Adjust the original for light before hand, but if it needs sharpening in the foreground, eg a face, then leave to the end ie sharpen the finished product and therefore make the background even more blurred in outset ( +40 in gaussian): In both cases - otherwise you will not get a good gradation between the masked background and the foreground / subject to be sharp or there will be an exposure discrepancy.

TIPS! Some edges are nice to leave really sharp with no gradation to the background on the mask. eg my wee one holding a feather in her mouth: the head likes a blurr on the mask of 5 px, but the feather looks wrong: Get round this by reworking the mask area after blurring the mask with the pain brush to give a sharp edge. It may be worth underlaying a "ghost" of the original again at this stage while the mask is white on black.

Footnote: Following on from that last tip:: According to GIMP GURU though " The best contrast between items can often be found in the green channel. It’s a good place to start looking, in any case. So the first thing we will do is decompose to individual RGB channels." as follows:

"Right-click in the image and choose (Image/Mode/Decompose). In the Decompose dialog box, choose RGB and click OK, Examine each channel to find which has the best contrast for isolating the subject. In this case the green channel image was the best. Close the other two images that you aren’t going to use. With a little work this green channel image will become our mask."



Too sharp

: too much detail in background to make the people stand out. The father is a little lost because the eye/brain places him more with the sharp sofa in the background

Mask WIP with blurred background. As you can see, the mask is not terribly detailed on the edges, but in this case it is quite sharp into the bodies with only a 3 or 4 pxl blur on the mask edge.

NB I have also been careful to exlcude foreground objects from the people so the foreground is also blurred, and been careful with the table edge and books: a lower edge should be checked for this in head-shoulders shots.


The eye now picks out the girls much quicker as being that to spend time on looking at, and the father is then pulled out more from the background detal.

The more you look at this shot, the more your eye-brain brings out the people from the background it now considers uninteresting!

I have put on an info dot to track any missuse of this photo. Pleas PM me before you copy this image for use.

Final with Crop

I like to crop! Here I could have used GIMP to "clone" out the light cabel/switch into to the beige wall in order to have a really clean image.

Note also: the fine detail on the LHS girls hair is not actually cut to a very fine mask detail: the eye/brain make the detail stand out more from the background now the rest is blurred but if when this is enlarged, the rough work shows in the hair and on a slight halo round the man's head. For enlargements, you have to trade off manual work in this area with what the eye won't actually pick up anyway. Here the faults are obvious at 15 cm so must be done.

Note also: I think I lightened the foreground layer but not the background in the image above, but got away with it because 1) the mask was only a 4 px blurr on the edges 2) flash was used in the original and it made the foreground lighter anyway: so the contrast is just enhanced in fact. This creates the halo on the man's head though if you zoom in.

Original cropped for comparison

All images (c) 2010 author. All text not quoted from GIMP GURU is original (c)2010 author

Olympus E450 Notes: Night Shots, Town.

I just combined an autumn eve's walk with a tripod and the E450 and was very, very surprised at the results from quite little effort. The shots are just as I came upon them so to speak, and done pretty relaxed but not spending much time: they are at least better than most camera review blogs who go out in the boring street or worse, take photos round the office.

So much for the Olympus being noisy at night! Very clear JPEGs produced in several instances, but some were too noisy without good reason other than some sodium lamp noise and intermediate exposure on walls of white wooden houses.

I got some "test" shots which in days of film would have take several rolls to get near as good.

Key Comments / Learning Points

15 seconds f8.0 ISO100 seems to be killer for nice, deep and sharp shots with only the brightest sodium lamps in a town vista being over exposed. I would manually bracket this and re-focus too in order to get that one killer shot you want!

NATURAL colours did it for me in an ordinary town scene: I would be temted to use MUTED for some scenes here where I live with all the white painted houses and sodium lamps. VIVID should be used with care, but probably very good on any coloured lights like neon or car tail lights.

22 seconds on f11 - 16 may work well for more DoF or more direct light sources ( street lights tonight) but worth bracketing.

Set the camera to Manual on the dial and on the MF focus select on the master panel.

WB auto seemed to work, but the sodium were more yellow than true orange, which I liked æsthetically anyway.

Forget it without a tripod . Put the antishock - to be found in the menu: best on 2 seconds release after mirror. ( the shutter opens waits 1 to 3 seconds after the mirror is flipped up in order to reduce the shock it makes )

BKT ( worth a go) +/1 1.0 set: I don't think I got this to work.

Live View

On the E-450 live view is a must for focusing really because the viewfinder is so small and hard to use for MF. Utilise the camera set on MF and it will hold the focus so spot focus with the tripod does not require holding buttons down or changing to toggle-focus lock AE/AF button.

Use the 7x function for MF on live view, camera ON the tripod!

With brighter light points, 6 seconds suffices with a range of apertures bracketed would be okay. Maybe shutter prio will let you do this but given the combinations I am looking at I dont know: By this I mean sintered white sodum lights (or perhaps distant flood lights too) where a illumination shows colours and lights the road or area well . A very bright moon as more than 20% of the frame may be worth trying on 6 seconds.

With a town view I think that 15 is about right on a range of apertures from f8 to f16.

With no direct light source in frame, the white buildings here leant themselvs to a good shot of the church:

MANUAL ( as are all other shots)

6 sec/f6.3/ 29mm ( 58mm eq) / manual focus/ 0.0 ex.cmp/ ISO 400 /tripod/ 1 sec mirror-shutter

delay ( antishock ASh.)

This worked out really very good for a simple test shot using the 7x manual focus in live view:

the ultra bright cintered sodium street lamps provide a cold almost pure white light, which brings

out the green in the foliage.

The lamps do not flare excessively, and the shadows have a realistic, ghostly affect. Very pleased with this test.

Street Shot: White sintered sodium intense lamps.

p... 311 Landscape shot over town and old folks in centre. : This is a disapointment but not that bad for a first try: the camera was on the tripod and the settings are the same as for 310 but on a 36 mm(eq 72) and +0.3 exposure.

Noise is to be expected from the actual scene, but this is not sharp enough to cut the mustard.

Either a focus issue with the f6.3@36mm or camera shake.

P...312 Same scene as 311. Very please with this experiment

15"/f8/40mm(80)/ ISO400/ + 1.0Ec./tripod/1sec delay

You can see the aperture stopping down really making things sharp, while it is indeed about plus one whole exposure step over exposed on the lights. Here, bracketing +/- 1.0 and even more would be worth while but probably need to be done manually.

P...313 same settings as 312 but becomes very noisy on the white walls, nothing to write home about: tower out of focus and maybe some shake or unsharpness influencing the steps: no point in looking at the ORF.

...314 Very pleased with this shot actually! Closer in on towers in the town.
same as above but ISO reduced to 100 and on max focal legnth 42mm(84)

>Crop sharpened of 314

P927...316 Very pleased with this experiment: the spire is very sharp and well exposed, while
their is a very good depth to the image, making it feel real 3D. short of a spot exposure and
focus on the tower, it is a hard range to get : this one has the spire very sharp actually and
nicely exposed. Noise is very low. 15sec f8 otherwise the same as the last few. 100ISO tells!

317....Spire with roofs no direct light sources : 15sec / f8 /17mm( 24) a nice composition for daytime which is very well
handled by the camera: making it feel more like you are there !

318: Spire, cropped for litter: portrait

15s/f8/17mm(34)/ISO100/0.0Ecomp/manual focus&exposure as per all so far.

319 Solsiden: the actual sol siden with passing car, is very very nicely exposed: 15 sec /f8./14mm(28)/ ISO100. The moon is out of focus but I guess this would take a 30 sec f16 to get the DOF.

Who hates DOF on FT cameras ?? !