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#1138164 - 05/11/2012 21:26 Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera
Robbie84 Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/01/2007
Posts: 2095
Loc: Kalangadoo,South Australia
Hey everyone i recently brought a top of the line olympus vg-160 digital camera to improve my photography and take photos through a whole new view

However i've already accomplished getting a sunrise and sunset photo as well as one of a dog in mid air catch the tennis ball in his mouth but the one photo thats eluded me is that of an elusive lightning strike or bolt

I've been told that this camera can take such a pic but i need advice or tips on what settings to place my camera on

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#1138254 - 05/11/2012 23:55 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Robbie84]
Lightning....Lee Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 02/03/2011
Posts: 328
Can't help too much, haven't ever used one or heard of it, from my 30 seconds of reading about it...fun awaits! laugh Do you have some sort of mini-tripod or an actual tripod? Best bet IMHO is either a tripod or short of that you could try a very sketchy method, some other hard surface(not recommended)??? lol, Shoot on the cameras "Candle Scene Mode"??? Best I could think of as this is the cameras longest exposure time(4sec) but I am unsure what other effects it might automatically apply such as Aperture, ISO, WB ect...you should check that.
Good Luck...Hope to see you post a successful shot! grin

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#1138334 - 06/11/2012 10:43 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Lightning....Lee]
Greg Sorenson Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 05/11/2005
Posts: 3256
Loc: Canberra!
I'm not too much aware of the capabilities of your camera, however the the best way to take lightning photos focusses on a few things:

• a sturdy tripod to keep your camera still during a SLOW shutter speed.

• slow shutter speed - you'll need at least 10-30secs to open up your sensor to allow the lightning bolt to 'write' light onto your image.The issue is that this needs to be done in low light, such as twilight or night time otherwise you'll overexpose your image. It sounds counter intuitive but trust me, slow shutter speed is better.

• the lower the iso the better - depending on what model you have it will vary in terms of 'noise' when shooting in high iso setting. So stick to iso settings such as 100, 200 or 400 - iso is the sensitivity of you sensor to light, so the higher the number the quicker it reacts to light. But, the higher the iso the more data noise you will get

• if you want to shoot daytime lightning, then you will need a lightning trigger. You can buy these on the net from various places. They are useless in low light but are useful for picking up small changes in ambient light during the day, and will trigger your shutter release using a fast shutter speed (as you can only allow so much light in during the day) There are ways to slow down the shutter speed in the daytime, but i will leave that for a another day. From a personal view point i prefer lightning during the evening, as usually it is more spectacular, but having said that coupled with great cloud structure daytime shots can look great.

here's a couple samples and the settings i used:


48 sec exposure in "Bulb mode", f/5.6, focal length 80mm, iso 50 and of course a tripod - you'll note that during the 48 secs that my shutter was open, all these bolts fired showing how frequent the lightning was - so this is one exposure only


67 sec exposure in "Bulb mode", f/7.1, focal length 80mm, iso 50 and of course a tripod

Note: I can turn down the iso sensitivity of my sensor to 50, but your camera may only be able to go to 100.

best of luck!
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Storm season is upon us... now let the fun begin

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#1138354 - 06/11/2012 11:28 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Greg Sorenson]
poida84 Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 11/04/2002
Posts: 590
Loc: buxton,wollondilly
these are some of the specs that might help you guys help him set it up.
ISO Auto, High Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Focal length (equiv.) 26 – 130 mm
Maximum aperture F2.8 - F6.5
Minimum shutter speed 4 sec

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#1138416 - 06/11/2012 15:00 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: poida84]
Robbie84 Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/01/2007
Posts: 2095
Loc: Kalangadoo,South Australia
Good tips guys but the olympus vg160 only has an max aperture of 2.8 and the iso goes up to 1600 as for shutter speed i can use hi speed 1 or 2 which takes photos in quick succession

http://www.olympus.com.au/Products/Digital-Cameras/Smart/VG-160.aspx

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#1138495 - 06/11/2012 19:37 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Lightning....Lee]
Lightning....Lee Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 02/03/2011
Posts: 328
What Greg has detailed is(as expected-it's Greg! smile ) Spot on. But as you can maybe tell the best option for shooting lightning/storms are DSLR's that have manual capability, ie. you can choose what you want the camera to do.
"Point and Shoots"(like yours) just don't have this unfortunately(Not many I am aware of), example: The longest exposure time you can select is 4 seconds, one of Greg’s images above is +1min(you will find even longer amongst lightning images). So if you can see what I am getting at, the camera just isn't good for this sort of thing...hence my comment...
Originally Posted By: Lightning....Lee
...fun awaits! laugh

It will be frustrating, some challenges you face are achieving decent focus and exposure, having the camera actually taking a picture while a bolt is occurring ect. It's do able, the results won't be as nice though and it will take a lot more time and frustration just to achieve one or two ok images...out of possibly hundreds.

I would think either my above description, "candle scene mode" may work depending on the ability to set at least some of the cameras settings manually, like manual focus would probably be the most important IMHO. Or depending on how many shots your "drive" can take before stopping to "write" this could work, but again dependant on your ability to at least "lock" some settings in, if not the results will be even more varied and it could take forever just to get one decent shot. "Drive" is when it shoots in quick succession. I don't know what your vid capabilities are like, resolution and whether or not it's interlaced, I would imagine the resolution won't be too flash and it will probably be interlaced(even though interlacing can be taken care of post processing) this would be your only other option I could think of, taking video then removing good images from it.
Not to be negative...but good luck with it! grin

I guess it depends how serious you are about it, if you want to take lightning images then the DSLR is the only way to go imho. The one thing I will say, if you’re not sure about it, either find someone with one and try yourself or buy a cheap setup, don't spend an arm and a leg on new gear if you aren't sure how serious you are. Depending on the day of the week, you could probably get a second hand setup relatively cheap, and again no point going for pretty and nice here if you aren't sure, so go for older cameras and basic lenses, it doesn't matter if you don't have the best camera and lens around but it will be something to learn on, the succes will keep you motivated(as opposed to the frustration with the Point and Shoot) and most important it won't break the bank!

Always happy to help(not that I am that helpful! smile ) if you have anymore questions...

Lee

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#1138639 - 07/11/2012 15:58 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Lightning....Lee]
Robbie84 Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/01/2007
Posts: 2095
Loc: Kalangadoo,South Australia
I've gone out and put a nikon L310 on layby as a christmas present to myself apparently it has point and shoot so with a lil bit of careful shopping and budgeting i will have it off before christmas in time for when the real lightning storms happen during jan-feb next year


Edited by rstewart84 (07/11/2012 15:59)

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#1138707 - 07/11/2012 19:33 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Robbie84]
Invictus Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 12/01/2011
Posts: 87
Loc: Brisbane, Qld
Any particular reason for choosing the L310?
Looking at the specs for that camera, you aren't much better off than the other model, if you need long exposure times (as mentioned by others for lightning).
According to Nikon, the longest exposure time with the L310 is 4 seconds, in a 'fireworks' mode, otherwise it's only 1 second.

Ideally you would want a camera than has 'bulb' mode, or the ability to hold open the shutter indefinately, until you close it. 30 seconds would personally be a minimum.
I would also look for a camera that has the ability to shoot RAW, and turn off features such as noise reduction etc. In short, one that has the option for full manual control.
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http://mattduncan.redbubble.com

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#1138715 - 07/11/2012 20:21 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Invictus]
Robbie84 Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 17/01/2007
Posts: 2095
Loc: Kalangadoo,South Australia
I would invictus but i dont have deep pockets like everyone else does so buying one that is like 1000-2000 bucks is out of the question... however i've been told that if the lightning is constant and im in the right position i should right with using this camera to take a lightning shot

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#1138744 - 07/11/2012 23:00 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Robbie84]
Lightning....Lee Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 02/03/2011
Posts: 328
I agree with invictus, you are pretty much the same off with the cool pix(L310), same frustrations will arise but it does have a few advantages over the VG-160, namely both "Night landscape" and "Fireworks" modes focus to infinity, but still need a position to lock on I believe, can be problematic, aside from that if you can get onto a lightning active cell, then you will get results but nowhere near as easy with a full manual DSLR, which is sort of the point I was trying to make to you with the point and shoots, it's doable if you put in the time, it's frustrating though and that can really be the deal breaker that unfortunately makes people throw it in.

Originally Posted By: rstewart84
I would invictus but i dont have deep pockets like everyone else does so buying one that is like 1000-2000 bucks is out of the question...



This is something else though
I used to sort of think the same, but really being new and learning you don't need the best or newest gear on the block, sure we all like to be fancy and it's shame some days when you think "well...maybe if my equipment was better the results will be!" Totally not true, the right equipment is the key, better equipment will help but in the long run you can upgrade once you have made a decision on whether or not it's something that you would make say a $500-$1000 sacrifice for...until then though, out of interest if I can ask, what are you paying for the L310? Crapshoot, around the $200 mark? I can think of a setup, certainly not topnotch(would have been in its time maybe) and second hand that would be around that price($200-$300) and would whip it in ability.
Furthermore though, a friend...namely me, can think of a more cheaper option if I do you the favour of not charging you for my services...(and on second thought, I will PM you about this or my friggin Inbox will overflow!)

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#1138749 - 07/11/2012 23:16 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Robbie84]
Invictus Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 12/01/2011
Posts: 87
Loc: Brisbane, Qld
No problem. Everyone has a budget.
Have you thought about getting a second hand DSLR?
You can pickup a good kit for less than $500. ( Example: Nikon D3000 )
Plus there are quite a few in the point and shoot range with manual control.
_________________________
Matt.
http://mattduncan.redbubble.com

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#1138769 - 08/11/2012 07:42 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Invictus]
Greg Sorenson Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 05/11/2005
Posts: 3256
Loc: Canberra!
I think the entry level dslrs are very impressive these days, and darn cheap. The range of manual control are just extraordinary considering just a few years ago would have been a pipe dream for even pro shooters. I would highly recommend the canon 600d for a beginner, lightning will be no problem at all as it has Bulb mode, can shoot raw and with 18MP you print pretty large images: http://www.canon.com.au/For-You/EOS-Digital-SLR-Cameras/600D

From eGlobal you can pick up the body and a kit lens for 504.00
http://www.eglobaldigitalcameras.com.au/...slr-camera.html
_________________________
Storm season is upon us... now let the fun begin

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#1138916 - 08/11/2012 16:25 Re: Getting lightning shots with an Olympus VG-160 digital camera [Re: Greg Sorenson]
Markus Offline
Weatherzone Moderator

Registered: 02/12/2010
Posts: 2285
Loc: Clare, SA
The only entry level DSLR I WOUDLN'T recommend getting is the d3000, my school had them and the processor in them is so slow, theres like a 2 second delay between taking a picture and it appearing on the screen, so slow it was painfall.

Any DSLR has great image quality, the rebel range with the 18 megapixel sensor, the only limitation to a very large print is how well you take the image, get it razor sharp and you could print it huge.
Nikons cameras do have the better sensors atm, mainly in regards to dynamic range but if you know what your doing you can produce great results with any camera.

But yeah I've seen good lightning images taken with point and shoots, but it is a hellova lot easier to do it with a DSLR
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http://markdawsonphoto.wordpress.com/

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