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  1. #1
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    Best camera settings for beamshots

    I want to take some beamshot comparison pics (when my new light arrives) and was wondering the best digi camera settings to use for 'accurate' representation

  2. #2
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonesetter2004
    I want to take some beamshot comparison pics (when my new light arrives) and was wondering the best digi camera settings to use for 'accurate' representation
    These are my settings:
    Setting – full manual
    ISO – 100
    Exposure – 6 seconds
    Aperture – F4.0
    Focus – Manual
    White Balance - Daylight

    You definitely need a tripod. There is no way anybody can hold a camera steady for that long. In fact, pressing the shutter button shakes the camera. The solution for that is use the timer feature. Press the 10-second timer and step away from the camera.

    Aim the lights at something! Aim on the ground about 20-30 yards away. Find a trail with features or a canopy. Add some objects like cones, a bike or wall/tree at the end. Light that doesn't bounce off anything is just lost. Keep the light steady while the shutter is open for those 6 seconds.

    Focus is actually difficult. Most cameras need a lot of light to auto-focus properly. One solution is to shine a lot of light on the the subject the camera to pre-focus. The best solution is to have a camera that can do manual focus. Focus manually and check on the computer at full resolution that the subject is sharp.

    Calibration or Ambient light shot. - It is useful to take a shot with no lights on. This will be a good reference point of all the ambient light present in your surroundings. City lights, house lights, sky can all be guaged. This photo should be relatively dark and capture what your eyes see when there are no lights on.

    Beam pattern shots are most useful when compared with other lights at the same time at the exact same settings. So shoot as many lights as you can. This will give you and others a point of reference and comparison.

    White Balance - it is important to take the photo out of 'Auto White Balance' mode. This mode will attempt to make most light colors look white. Set the white balance manually or put it in 'Daylight' mode to get a better representation of the light color.

    Note:
    Look at the photo on the computer and check that it actually looks realistic. If too dark, adjust exposure to 7 seconds or 8 seconds. Also note that ISO and Shutter speed have an inverse relationship. If you use ISO 200 for example, you'll have to adjust your shutter speed faster to 4-5 seconds. And most important, publish your camera settings to all that will see the photo.

    fc
    Last edited by fc; 01-18-2008 at 10:54 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Great info Francois, thanks

    I'll use your shootout pics as a reality checker with mine

  4. #4
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    Excellent instructions! I was preparing to shoot some beamshots of different brand MR16 bulbs and would have spent forever figuring that stuff out on my own.

    Thanks!
    BM
    "I've come to believe that common sense is not that common" - Matt Timmerman

  5. #5
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    Here's one I just took of my L&M ARC. This looks real to me - what I saw when taking the shot

    The near fill is shown well for its wide and near spill and the punch is long and bright. The Dolls' House is a bright kids colour

    32 yards to the bottom shed, camera 1 yard behind light.

    f 3.3
    Exposure 1 sec
    ISO 100
    Exposure bias +2 set-up
    Self-timer used, auto-foucus
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    These are my settings:
    Setting full manual
    ISO 100
    Exposure 6 seconds
    Aperture F4.0
    Focus Manual
    White Balance - Daylight

    fc
    Hi, 6 seconds?? too much seconds for beamshots, not??

    Greetings - Saludos

    msxtr
    Warning!!! my english is very very bad, sorry.

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  7. #7
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    I've been using 2sec, f2.8, 100ISO, manual focus, daylight white balance.

    The distance that the light is pointed down the trail, and how far things are that are reflecting the light plays a large role, light intensity falls off as the square of the distance, so things further away quickly get dimmer.

    White balance is the one thing I would change, depending on the lights you are using. Your eyes have a natural auto white balance. If you are taking beamshots of halogen lights, you should probably use a tungsten white balance, LED's and HID should use daylight. Halogens taken with a daylight white balance look extremely yellow compared to real life, this is because your eyes automatically adjust your brain's white balance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by itsdoable
    I've been using 2sec, f2.8, 100ISO, manual focus, daylight white balance.

    The distance that the light is pointed down the trail, and how far things are that are reflecting the light plays a large role, light intensity falls off as the square of the distance, so things further away quickly get dimmer.

    White balance is the one thing I would change, depending on the lights you are using. Your eyes have a natural auto white balance. If you are taking beamshots of halogen lights, you should probably use a tungsten white balance, LED's and HID should use daylight. Halogens taken with a daylight white balance look extremely yellow compared to real life, this is because your eyes automatically adjust your brain's white balance.
    I have an iBlaast! on its way which I want to get some comparison shots of (against and with the L&M ARC)

    The image above looks OK for this purpose. Parts of the tree are out of focus - not sure why, and I don't suppose it matters...

    Cheers

  9. #9
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    I don't know about 6 sec. all I get is big white flood. I use 1/6 sec. anyone try the 6 sec iso 100 daylight F4.0. maybe each model of digital camera is different, but 6 sec doesn't work for me. 1 sec is pretty bright beamshot already.


    Setting – full manual
    ISO – 100
    Exposure – 1/6 second
    Aperture – F4.0
    Focus – Manual
    White Balance - Daylight

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonesetter2004
    Parts of the tree are out of focus - not sure why, and I don't suppose it matters...

    Cheers
    It doesn't - but what you're seeing there is that your aperture is fairly open @ f/4 - this gives you a shallow depth of field. Means that basically you focus on one point in the frame, and items a certain distance closer or farther than that point will begin to lose sharpness. Close your aperture down to say f/10 and those items regain their sharpness, but now you've closed down and choked off some of the light through the lens. You either need a higher ISO, or more light to properly expose in that situation.

  11. #11
    fc
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrenalnjunky
    It doesn't - but what you're seeing there is that your aperture is fairly open @ f/4 - this gives you a shallow depth of field. Means that basically you focus on one point in the frame, and items a certain distance closer or farther than that point will begin to lose sharpness. Close your aperture down to say f/10 and those items regain their sharpness, but now you've closed down and choked off some of the light through the lens. You either need a higher ISO, or more light to properly expose in that situation.
    The other possibility is wind (or motion). On my backyard photos, the low branches are blurry too since it was a windy evening and my exposure time was slow.

    fc
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    The other possibility is wind (or motion). On my backyard photos, the low branches are blurry too since it was a windy evening and my exposure time was slow.

    fc
    Wind is almost certainly the answer - pretty much everything is in focus on the ground, near & far, exept for the tree branches which I couldn't understand.

    It was windy that night

  13. #13
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    just subscribing so I can find this when I get the rest of my act together. Thank ya'll for the good info!
    This isn't a "you're doing it wrong" topic.

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