First real attempt at beam shots

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Itinifni
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First real attempt at beam shots

It’s about time I tried to learn how to take beam shots so I brought a few lights and my trusty Nikon D50 up north with me last weekend.

First thing I learned is don’t forget to bring a tri-pod, without one I was limited on shutter speed.

Second thing is my camera is lot smarter than I. I had the manual with me along with various BLF threads on camera settings but when I tried those settings the photo’s always ended up much darker than what I saw.
I have much to learn but since this was my first try I just tried to dial the camera in so the photos were more or less consistent with what I saw and somewhat focused.

Settings were: White balance to “Direct Sunlight”, f/3.5, shutter 0.62 sec., ISO 800. I thought I should be able to get these at ISO 400 but those were very dark.
It seems like no matter what I did the photos are not quite accurate, either the hot spot is good and spill is to dark or the spill is good and the hot spot to bright. In the end I think these are the best of the group.
For what it’s worth, all the pictures below were at the same settings.

Now for the pictures, first the lights.



Left to right:

  • Nitecore SENS CR XP-G swapped out for Nichia 219 on AW ICR123
  • iTP SA1 just the way it left the box, for referance
  • Sipik SK 68 just the way it left the bubble wrap, also for referance
  • L2P with home made triple Nichia 219 and KD V2*12 driver
  • Int’l Outdoor D11 (may also be Convoy S4 or a number of other lights) with a CW XM-L (from the parts bin) and KD V2*8
  • L2P with home made triple XP-G2 and KD V2*14
  • Convoy M1 with XM-L2 3C on a coper sinkpad and KD V2*11
  • Defiant 3C with XM-L2 3C on coper sinkpad and KD V2*10 and Tenergy Centura cells

I need to add a quick disclaimer here, I’m a bit 18650 poor right now. Only the XP-G2 light had a battery that could fully fuel the driver.

Ok, now for the reason you’ve hung on…I’ll skip the control shot, trust me it is black.


iTP SA1


Sipik flood


SENS CR


Triple Nichia


D11


Triple XP-G2


Convoy M1


Defiant


Sipik throw

The trees were only about 120 feet, I was going to take another set of photos across the lake Monday night but heard about the Marathon (in my home town) and became glued to the radio the rest of the night.

I’ll keep working on my photog skills, hope it was worth the read.

Oh yea, a couple more pictures I took Saturday afternoon, included just cause I love them. Wish I was still there.


I remember a time, when I searched for lights to fit my needs. Now I search for needs to fit my lights.

Edited by: Itinifni on 04/17/2013 - 21:52
moderator007
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Nice job with your first time. Way better than I could do. Thanks for sharing the scenery and the beamshoots. 8)

JohnnyMac
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Great beam shots!  8)

ImA4Wheelr
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Those are some really nice shots. My first attempt (currently my last attempt too) was awful. You just gave me some helpful info and incentive to try again. Just need to find a decent camera for small dollars. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

rdrfronty
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That’s for the shots. Beatiful scenery too.

Chicago X
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Very nice beamshots, and the scenery ain't too bad either !

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ohaya
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Hi,

Did you use a tripod for the beam shots? Although I’m no expert, I think that they came out rather well.

One the shot with the lights standing on the railing, you probably should have them facing the “other” direction. In that shot, the background is bright, so the camera measures that, so the lights all show up too dark. “Too much backlight”.

Another way is if you increased the f-opening (went to a smaller f-stop), or, use a slower shutter speed, depending how you want the depth-of-field. That way, the lights would have more detail, but the background (the trees, lake, sky, etc.) might be washed out/too bright.

Sorry if you already know all of this. If so, just ignore my comments :)…

I like the 1st of the two “scenery” shots. Very nice!

Good job on the beam shots, esp. on your 1st tries!

Chloe
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Lovely pictures, those last two. Smile

panthervision23
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What a great collection!

Old-Lumens
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Great shots for starting out! Love the scenery. I really miss Northern lakes, all the ones around here are brown & smell bad.

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Good job, infinitI (backwards) :bigsmile:

Could you let us know the target distance (to the trees)? It’s quite difficult to estimate looking at the images.

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I love your effort at night shots. The different tints stand out exceptionally well. If that’s your weekender shack can I move in? What a terrific area.

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thanks for your efforts!

imho the control shot should be taken at noon sunlight during the day. a black photo isn't very helpful.

 

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jacktheclipper
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Cool

ILIKEFLASHLIGHTS
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Those are pretty damn good! Wink

I checked your camera settings. I’ll just throw this out to you.

I seen where you had man 0.6 sec shutter and ISO 800. Try going to around 1.2 to 1.4 shutter and a lower ISO like 400 or 200. Give that a whirl and keep your focal say around 3.5 to 4.

Great job though. That’s a nice camera you have.

Itinifni
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@ Ohaya, I should have used the flash for the lights on the railing.

@ Banglabob, around 120 feet to the trees.

@ Kreisler, I agree, day shot of the area is much more usefull than a black screen.

@ ILF, if I had a tri-pod I would have slowed the shutter and lowered the ISO. I tried at around 1 sec but couldn’t hold the camera steady. I have a few tri-pods kicking around the house so I’ll bring one up to NH and leave it there next time I go up.

I remember a time, when I searched for lights to fit my needs. Now I search for needs to fit my lights.

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Nice for any attempt, especially so for a first!

I like to find an area that has trees, bushes, big stones, anything at spaces for measurements to show a good comparison for the flooders vs the throwers. So if you have a big stone at 10 yds, a bush at 20, a tree at 50 and a line of trees at 200 it will give a good idea of what the lights are doing in comparison to each other. Where possible, as has been said, take a daylight picture from the spot you plan to use for the beamshots so everything is visible and perspectives can be seen. For something like the Sipik in zoom mode you can’t see anything but the destination spot and dont get an idea of the distance being covered, so the daylight shot gives that perspective.

I use 2 tripods, one for the light and one for the camera. I cut a piece of PVC pipe in half lengthwise to make a carrier, threaded a 1/4 20 hole for mounting on the tripod. In this way each light is in the exact same position. Setting a second tripod up behind and above the light carrier lets me see the flashlight in the lower part of the beamshot pic so it’s identifiable. Easy then to switch out lights and snap another picture.

Manual settings so that nothing changes between shots, a remote shutter release if available so as not to create blur when the shutter is pressed (you can also use the timer for a 2 or 10 second delay after you press the shutter). And then do like you found…match the exposure shown on the camera’s lcd to what you see. Not as easy as that because the camera doesn’t have the dynamic range your eye does. So you kind of shoot the middle. Meaning, set up the camera for your mid level flashlight, then the weaker ones will appear dim, the brighter ones will have blown hot spots…just like what you see. Ever try to work on something, like wiring something up and matching colors on the wires, when all you’ve got is a bright light? It’s all blown out as it’s so bright right in front of your eyes. lol

For that “cheap” camera someone’s looking for, try googling a Canon s90…a little bit of an older design but it’s got a good sensor and manual settings. Be diligent and find a nice copy…probably in the $150 range for one in good shape, it was a $400 camera a few years ago. At any rate, the manual settings is what will come in handy for beam shots. Compare many different models at www.dpreview.com.

Edit: When you don’t have a tripod set the camera on something…the top of the car, the hood of the car, a trash can, a chair…anything that is stable. Then use the timer function for a shutter delay after you press the shutter. You can then use whatever shutter setting you’d use if you had a tripod. Might have to zoom out a bit to keep the item under the camera from showing. Wink

Dale

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Thanks for sharing. I think that all beamshot picture threads should include a Sipik SK68 /clone for reference, since most people own one of those.

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Quote:
DBCstm wrote: . . . For that “cheap” camera someone’s looking for, try googling a Canon s90…a little bit of an older design but it’s got a good sensor and manual settings. Be diligent and find a nice copy…probably in the $150 range for one in good shape, it was a $400 camera a few years ago. At any rate, the manual settings is what will come in handy for beam shots. Compare many different models at www.dpreview.com.

Edit: When you don’t have a tripod set the camera on something…the top of the car, the hood of the car, a trash can, a chair…anything that is stable. Then use the timer function for a shutter delay after you press the shutter. You can then use whatever shutter setting you’d use if you had a tripod. Might have to zoom out a bit to keep the item under the camera from showing. Wink

Thank you for the advice. I’ll check into it.

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Very nice…am inspired to do my own.

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