42 votes

Is it true that the best images from all digital cameras can be obtained at ISO 200?

There is an ISO which is not necessarily 200 that is the native sensitivity of the silicon from which the sensor is made. That sensitivity depends on the sensor itself, so will vary between cameras, ...
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34 votes

Why are my sky photographs coming out dark?

This is usually caused by the camera taking the scene as a whole and treating it as 18% gray. This is the way light meters (and camera meters) are calibrated to see the world. Scene mostly snow? 18% ...
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33 votes
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Why are War Photographers able to take pictures that seemingly violate the exposure rule?

First about depth-of-field: The two examples you posted, and many war pictures, are of objects at or near infinity (Latin: as far as the eye can see). The light waves from objects at infinity arrive ...
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32 votes

Why would using higher ISO and faster shutter speed yield more noise than using lower ISO and slower shutter speed?

So I first shoot with ISO 1600 and shutter speed set to 1/125 second and then I shoot with ISO 3200 and shutter speed set to 1/250 second. The amount of light should be identical and indeed both shots ...
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32 votes
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Why doesn't the picture become darker the more you zoom in?

The answer to this question revolves around explaining how zoom lenses function because you are correct in your observation: As you zoom to higher and higher magnifications the image dims unless ...
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32 votes

Why are War Photographers able to take pictures that seemingly violate the exposure rule?

For the first photo: You just happened to pick a staged photo... This is the image with text, note the artificial bright lighting coming from high above, near the cameras position?: This is the ...
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31 votes

Does using long exposure together with ND filter make the scene look more evenly lit?

No, changing the exposure or using an ND filter will not help you with this, since both will only brighten or darken everything by a certain factor. Your problem is the large relative difference ...
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29 votes

Lighting up a subject during sunset without a flash?

That's a nice silhouette! You're running into the same problem that anyone runs into when photographing a very backlit subject: a lot of light is coming from the background and creating a drastic ...
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27 votes
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How can I take a photo of a dark bar with a bright sign?

You could've probably got a decent result just by picking an intermediate exposure. Alternatively, you can try to take a short and a long exposure of the same scene, and combine them digitally ...
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26 votes

How to capture rays of light in a photograph using a DSLR camera

The first step is to find a situation where the atmosphere is right for such effects to appear to the naked eye - whether it's steam or fog or dust or whatever else in the air that is reflecting the ...
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25 votes
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Is the white balance wrong in these field poppy pictures?

What is going on? I compared both pictures of the field (left out the one with the tractor, as it suffers from the same problem as the other over-exposed picture, IMHO) in After effects. The image ...
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25 votes
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Do f-stop and exposure time perfectly cancel?

This is normal behavior, caused by: Imperfections of aperture. Usually there are variations from technology process which cause not to have exact size of the hole. On 50mm lens f4 you should have 12....
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24 votes
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Is it true that the best images from all digital cameras can be obtained at ISO 200?

The information your friend gave you was essentially correct for most digital cameras, particularly compact digital cameras with very small sensors, made about 15-20 years ago. Digital imaging sensors ...
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23 votes
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What's the difference between "Fake HDR" and real, bracketed exposure HDR?

What's the difference between “Fake HDR” and real, bracketed exposure HDR? The only difference is how broadly or narrowly you decide to define the term High Dynamic Range Imaging (HDR). Do you use ...
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23 votes

Why do my photographs taken with a film camera look so saturated?

I'd guess you're under-exposing a long way & the lab is having to work them really hard* to get anything like an image out of them; hence the amount of noise in them & no real blacks anywhere -...
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21 votes
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How do the 11+ stops of dynamic range from a modern DSLR fit into the 10 stops of the zone system?

That description only represents the "base setting", or "N" exposure, of the Zone System. The idea that the Zone System revolves around 10 exposure steps is a vast oversimplification. There are, ...
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  • 226
21 votes
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What is the relationship between ISO, aperture, and shutter speed?

The Factors There is an equation, and by convention, it's set up to be really simple. There are basically five factors to consider together: Aperture — the size of the opening which lets light in, ...
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20 votes

Could a "universal exposure" setting be practically possible?

A digital sensor isn't really best described as "reading data". A much better way to describe it is "collecting photons" that are then converted into data by measuring the microscopic electrical ...
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20 votes

Why are flash pulses so short?

That is a true statement, but it misses the big point. (As the shutter would see it), it would simply become continuous light, like any incandescent light bulb (always On for the full shutter ...
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  • 12.5k
20 votes
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Why are flash pulses so short?

Why? Fundamentally, it's because of the way flashes work. Flashtubes generate light by discharging a capacitor through a xenon-filled tube. The resulting electric arc produces bright white light. But ...
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19 votes

How to photograph a lightbulb?

In the immortal words of the late National Geographic photo editor Bob Gilka, "Kid, if you want to be a better photographer, you're going to have to stand in front of more interesting stuff." That ...
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  • 1,226
19 votes

Either background is overexposed or the foreground is underexposed. Are there possible solutions/approaches?

Definitely you shall use frontal lighting. Mostly so called fill-in flash. The second option: HDR with at least 3 shots to get high, mid and low tones.
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19 votes
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Canon 70D often overexposing or underexposing shots

All of these scenes have something in common: they’re high contrast with many, many stops between the shadows and the highlights. If you were to meter for the shadows, then you’d blow the highlights ...
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19 votes

Why are my sky photographs coming out dark?

Your camera's light meter measures brightness, but it can't tell if the brightness level it is measuring is a black cat in a coal mine or a white cat in a snowstorm.¹ It assumes everything you point ...
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19 votes
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Photo of sprites in a clear dark sky, is this possible?

Shots I've done of the Magellanic Clouds required an 8 second shutter speed at f/3.5, ISO 3200. It is conceivable that he could have captured these events since he was trying to photograph Lyrid ...
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18 votes
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What are physical causes of clipping?

What exactly limits modern digital camera sensors in capturing light intensity beyond certain point? In terms of the physical properties of the sensor itself: The number of photon strikes and the ...
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  • 167k
18 votes
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Hardware / post for crisp sunrise

[SAFETY WARNING: You should never image the sun with anything approaching a telephoto lens when it is more than about 10° above the horizon without a solar filter that not only protects against ...
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  • 167k
17 votes
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Since the speed of light is so high, why does shutter speed even matter?

why does shutter speed modify picture sharpness/detail? Why do pictures get darker with faster shutter speeds, and brighter with slower shutter speeds? These things happen because the light sensor in ...
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17 votes
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Sunny day in the shade - how to deal with white balance and exposure settings?

This is the situation when you use fill-flash. Contrary to common belief, flash is NOT to be used in darkness. In darkness flash lights up the foreground and leaves background pitch black. Flash is ...
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