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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fireflies, Deer, Canon Rebel Xsi Noise

I went out on the 9th, not too far from my house, out in the country and noticed 3 BIG bucks out in a field not more than 100 yards from me, so I tried to put on my 100-400 L lens on but they ran through a tree row before I could. Two of them had impressive racks, with the velvet on them as they do this time of year. I continued on just past the tree row, into where another open field was and noticed at least a dozen other white-tailed deer in a soybean field. It was almost completely dark at this point, about 30 minutes after sunset, but I mounted the lens onto my camera, then the camera on one of my Bushnell window clips, not knowing if it would hold this 3 lb lens with my camera...but it did, if I tightened it really good.

They started to take off, so I killed my lights and then the car to remove any vibrations and could still make out the deer with just enough light...but not enough to tell if I were in focus or not. Anyone who has used this lens knows the manual focus on it, is very sensitive, and just the tiniest of movement will throw it way out of focus. So I practically guessed and then shot at 400 ISO, and over exposing the shots to see if I could get them, and somehow I guessed right on the focus...and got them in the frame! I was near a creek, and corn field to my right with dewpoints approaching 75 degrees, so there was sweat dripping into my eyes...a very tough thing to do with a heavy lens, darkness and heat factors.

Here are a few shots of the deer with some fireflies in the shot, click to enlarge and EXIF data is always embedded in my pictures. There is NOT this much light out, I'm doing almost 15-30 second exposures at 200-400 ISO!

I took this last shot here, and by the next frame...they were all gone. So weird, because I couldn't hear, nor see them leave. They were grunting before this, then all of a sudden gone...

So I left and went to Gardner Lake to shoot some more fireflies, and tried ISO 1600 and to my surprise, no noise...when I had the new high ISO function on. Now my XT has something similar to this on it, but it's not the same and is new to the Rebel series with the Xsi. The Xt has it as well, but it seems as if it takes you shoot a 30 second exposure, it will take an additional 30 seconds to process it. But...if you leave this function on all the time, (which I highly recommend doing so), you'll lose your burst of shots. Here is Canon's explanation of this.

I don't shoot sports or other scenes 90% of the time that requires me to fire off bursts to capture a quick-changing scene, so I leave it on. The XT's noise vs. the Xsi with High-ISO noise reduction function on is horrible. Here are images shot at 1600 ISO with 8-10 second exposures.

and an 800 ISO shot with a 15 second exposure:

To say the least, I was surprised, and didn't know about this function which is standard as OFF when bought new. I wish I would have known this on the Quinter tornado, as 800 ISO is what I used and has too much noise for my taste.

Rumors of the new Canon 5D II or Canon 5D Mark II are still surfacing for coming out this fall, and will hopefully blow away the new Nikon D3 in terms of noise and other features...I'm considering going the full-frame route, but will have to see how much it is, since I've never made a dime off of any photography...I just do it because it's fun and challenging at times. I have some more 1600 shots in complete darkness I'll post in the future as well, in case anyone wonders about the "dark' pixels being affected.

1 comment:

Steve Miller TX said...

As usual, you always present some interesting and unique shots and techniques. The detail and clarity of the firefly streaks are pretty cool. Nice work!

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