Forums > Photography Talk > The Fluorescent Factor

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

I've been experimenting with fluorescent tubes here lately. I love the effect i'm getting and all. One issue i've been running into are soft faces/sharp body. For the shots i've been doing, they have been 3/4 to half body shots. Settings are anywhere from ISO 640 1/20 to 1/30 exposure and ap at f/5.6.

The image would look sharp when I view them as "fit image" but as i zoom into them, they start to get soft. What's the reason for that and how do I make them sharper.

I'm using a Nikon D80 with a DX Lens 18-135 at approximatly 30mm focal.

Mar 14 10 03:26 pm Link

Photographer

David Simpson Images

Posts: 1328

Bangor, Maine, US

more lights or your model must really try and not move that is were the softness is coming from.

Mar 14 10 03:35 pm Link

Photographer

Monito -- Alan

Posts: 16524

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Use a tripod!  Use mirror lockup since mirror slap effects are most prevalent in that shutterspeed range.  Use a cable release or a self-timer.

1/20 to 1/30 is too slow for handheld.  30mm on a crop factor = 45 mm equivalent.  The standard rule of thumb for an 8x10 enlargement for shutter speed is one over the focal length = 1/45 sec.  Even so, you should expect some percentage of such shots to be just off enough, since you are playing the percentages.  And that's only for 8x10.  If you want crisp 16x20 (that is what 100% crop is simulating in the viewer), you should probably be using 1/200 sec.

You can even get mirror slap effects handheld, so if you really really gotta hafta must shoot handheld, try it with mirror lockup.

Test your lens in daylight at 1/1000 or faster, or with a flash as the only light (no ambient).

f/5.6 is probably the widest aperture of that lens or nearly, and it is probably not the sharpest lens in the Nikon lineup anyway.

Further, make some experiments with depth of field.  It is reasonably shallow at f/5.6, enough that if you focus on the body and the head leans forward a bit it will be out of focus.  Another possible source of error is that if you are close and you use focus-recompose, it can introduce error.

Mar 14 10 03:38 pm Link

Photographer

Greg Easton Photography

Posts: 1082

Providence, Rhode Island, US

Why are you firing so slow?

Mar 14 10 03:43 pm Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Monito -- Alan wrote:
Use a tripod!  Use mirror lockup since mirror slap effects are most prevalent in that shutterspeed range.  Use a cable release or a self-timer.

1/20 to 1/30 is too slow for handheld.  30mm on a crop factor = 45 mm equivalent.  The standard rule of thumb for an 8x10 enlargement for shutter speed is one over the focal length = 1/45 sec.  Even so, you should expect some percentage of such shots to be just off enough, since you are playing the percentages.  And that's only for 8x10.  If you want crisp 16x20 (that is what 100% crop is simulating in the viewer), you should probably be using 1/200 sec.

You can even get mirror slap effects handheld, so if you really really gotta hafta must shoot handheld, try it with mirror lockup.

Test your lens in daylight at 1/1000 or faster, or with a flash as the only light (no ambient).

f/5.6 is probably the widest aperture of that lens or nearly, and it is probably not the sharpest lens in the Nikon lineup anyway.

Further, make some experiments with depth of field.  It is reasonably shallow at f/5.6, enough that if you focus on the body and the head leans forward a bit it will be out of focus.  Another possible source of error is that if you are close and you use focus-recompose, it can introduce error.

oh yeah, I failed to mention i am using a tripod at these speeds and setting the timer for 2 seconds then "click"

the reason why i'm at f/5.6 is because 1, i've only used it on white backgrounds and want some whiteness to the background and 2, exposure.

So if i reversed this, It should come out a little more sharper? "close to the background to my likening of fall off, depth narrower than 5.6?

Here's a sample image
http://digitallureonline.net/DSC_1184.JPG

Greg Easton Photography wrote:
Why are you firing so slow?

to get a proper exposure. the tubes are 40w each. two in each fixture.

Mar 14 10 04:23 pm Link

Photographer

Greg Easton Photography

Posts: 1082

Providence, Rhode Island, US

You don't have enough light.  Your model is moving because the shutter is open too long.  You've got to add more light, increase the ISO which will invite a mess of noise in that older camera, or increase the shutter speed. Or find models that don't wiggle.

Mar 14 10 04:41 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Bots

Posts: 8020

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Greg Easton Photography wrote:
You don't have enough light.  Your model is moving because the shutter is open too long.  You've got to add more light, increase the ISO which will invite a mess of noise in that older camera, or increase the shutter speed. Or find models that don't wiggle.

Quantity of light issue -- have a look around one of the pro fixture makers site for reference. Look at how many 96w tubes they pack in. (and remember the fixtures are used in multiples)


http://www.kinoflo.com/Lighting%20Fixtu … taBeam.htm
http://www.kinoflo.com/Lighting%20Fixtu … cation.htm

Mar 14 10 04:55 pm Link

Photographer

Monito -- Alan

Posts: 16524

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dwain Thomas wrote:
oh yeah, I failed to mention i am using a tripod at these speeds and setting the timer for 2 seconds then "click"

the reason why i'm at f/5.6 is because 1, i've only used it on white backgrounds and want some whiteness to the background and 2, exposure.  So if i reversed this, It should come out a little more sharper? "close to the background to my likening of fall off, depth narrower than 5.6?

Here's a sample image
http://digitallureonline.net/DSC_1184.JPG

Thanks for the sample.  That helps a lot.

Looks like subject motion.  It is as you described: sharp body, fuzzy head (and not a hangover tongue ).  I don't think it is depth of field or lens issues because the seamless paper and background seem pretty sharp too.  You didn't mention mirror lockup; I really suggest it though it might not help, given what is evident in the sample.

Add a lot more light.  If you get up to 1/100 sec, that should be good enough to stop ordinary body sway on a model.

I don't understand what you mean by "reversed this", but I'm guessing it is not an issue or would not help.

Add a lot more light.

Mar 14 10 05:13 pm Link

Photographer

EM Photography Co

Posts: 110

Bellingham, Massachusetts, US

Get the 50mm f1.8 and you can shoot with lower light and it will give you sharper results. With the 50mm f1.8 you can shoot with a single 30w compact fluorescent in a clip light. As seen in my port......

Mar 14 10 05:28 pm Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Monito -- Alan wrote:

Thanks for the sample.  That helps a lot.

Looks like subject motion.  It is as you described: sharp body, fuzzy head (and not a hangover tongue ).  I don't think it is depth of field or lens issues because the seamless paper and background seem pretty sharp too.  You didn't mention mirror lockup; I really suggest it though it might not help, given what is evident in the sample.

Add a lot more light.  If you get up to 1/100 sec, that should be good enough to stop ordinary body sway on a model.

I don't understand what you mean by "reversed this", but I'm guessing it is not an issue or would not help.

Add a lot more light.

I see. thanks!

Mar 14 10 05:29 pm Link

Photographer

Steve Anderson

Posts: 547

Los Angeles, California, US

One issue i've been running into are soft faces/sharp body.


this is a focus problem. check your camera/lens combination or your eyes. It is not easy to focus 35mm in low light, it takes a lot of practice.
SA
www.SteveAndersonPhotography.com

Mar 14 10 05:31 pm Link

Photographer

DarkSlide

Posts: 2353

Alexandria, Virginia, US

I like using tubes on either side of the subject

https://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e285/newzpix/4854a3d060a37-1.jpg

Mar 14 10 05:34 pm Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

here's a hint, Photography Photo coming from "Photon" which is the basic "unit" of light. Graph is to draw.

Bluntly..photography requires light to imprint/react on a light sensitive medium.

Blurr comes from movement. anything under 1/125 handheld with out vibration damping is likely to be blurred. A model moves just by the act of breathing.

Mar 14 10 05:35 pm Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Steve Anderson Studios wrote:
One issue i've been running into are soft faces/sharp body.


this is a focus problem. check your camera/lens combination or your eyes. It is not easy to focus 35mm in low light, it takes a lot of practice.
SA
www.SteveAndersonPhotography.com

I'm not having an issue with the light being low. The model is close to the lights, so focusing on the model is not an issue. perhaps an equipment issue, but not user error.

Mar 14 10 05:36 pm Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I'm not having an issue with the light being low. The model is close to the lights, so focusing on the model is not an issue. perhaps an equipment issue, but not user error.

if you're at 1/30 you don't have light.

..and unless you have a Tripod costing a few $100..they vibrate.

Mar 14 10 05:38 pm Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Rebel Photo wrote:

if you're at 1/30 you don't have light.

..and unless you have a Tripod costing a few $100..they vibrate.

I'm saying there's plenty of light to focus.

it could be a tripod issue as well, I'm just looking to narrow down the issue to better it next time.

Mar 14 10 05:47 pm Link

Photographer

Brian Fischer

Posts: 612

San Luis Obispo, California, US

I've been playing with CF bulbs also.  These are taken in the last week in Reno. The rig is 8 CFLs in shoot-through umbrellas.  My biggest issue is killing the funny green tinge you get in some blond hair.

(I'd love any comments or help you have might have)

https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100313/20/4b9c603dacccb.jpg
ISO 200, 20mm, f4.5, 1/50th

https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100314/13/4b9d4c122ec50.jpg
ISO 200, 22mm, f4.5, 1/100th

https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100311/12/4b994d24c10a3.jpg
ISO 200, 85mm, f1.8, 1/200th

https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100311/10/4b993b68b2bf4.jpg
ISO 500, 22mm, f4.5, 1/100th

https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100309/22/4b974014d0e7e.jpg
ISO 500, 18mm, f4.5, 1/125th

Mar 14 10 05:55 pm Link

Photographer

Greg Easton Photography

Posts: 1082

Providence, Rhode Island, US

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I'm saying there's plenty of light to focus.

But your shutter is open too long to freeze the motion.  If you were using a flash at the same shutter speed it wouldn't be a problem.  If you were using more light you could fire faster and it wouldn't be a problem.  The lack of sufficient light to get your shutter speed down to something logical IS THE PROBLEM. 

You.  Do not.  Have.  Enough.  Light.

Mar 14 10 05:59 pm Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I'm saying there's plenty of light to focus.

it could be a tripod issue as well, I'm just looking to narrow down the issue to better it next time.

you do realize that your eyes don't work the same way as a camera...right? If your at ISO600+ f5.6 1/30 and wanting sharp images..it ain't going to happen. It may LOOK like there's enough light for sharp images as you see it...and your brain reads it...but there's not. (This is really a beginners issue)

Mar 14 10 06:00 pm Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Rebel Photo wrote:

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I'm saying there's plenty of light to focus.

it could be a tripod issue as well, I'm just looking to narrow down the issue to better it next time.

you do realize that your eyes don't work the same way as a camera...right? If your at ISO600+ f5.6 1/30 and wanting sharp images..it ain't going to happen. It may LOOK like there's enough light for sharp images as you see it...and your brain reads it...but there's not. (This is really a beginners issue)

Greg Easton Photography wrote:

But your shutter is open too long to freeze the motion.  If you were using a flash at the same shutter speed it wouldn't be a problem.  If you were using more light you could fire faster and it wouldn't be a problem.  The lack of sufficient light to get your shutter speed down to something logical IS THE PROBLEM. 

You.  Do not.  Have.  Enough.  Light.

I. Un.Der.Stand. I. don't. have. enough. light. for. shutter. speed.

the statement was said that I don't have enough light to focus which i do. No I don't have enough light for a faster shutter speed.

Mar 14 10 06:24 pm Link

Photographer

Faze1 photography

Posts: 579

Lawndale, California, US

Michael Bots wrote:

Quantity of light issue -- have a look around one of the pro fixture makers site for reference. Look at how many 96w tubes they pack in. (and remember the fixtures are used in multiples)


http://www.kinoflo.com/Lighting%20Fixtu … taBeam.htm
http://www.kinoflo.com/Lighting%20Fixtu … cation.htm

Sure wish I could afford KinoFlo. The amount of light I need for what I want to do with them would just be too pricey. Smh! It's a photographer that use to have an account on mm who use one fixture and produce some nice images. I think you can find him on you tube. 

http://www.youtube.com/user/SHAMAYIMtv# … 1HH1MzNxLI

Mar 14 10 06:45 pm Link

Photographer

JaysonPolansky com

Posts: 816

Sedona, Arizona, US

Michael Bots wrote:
Quantity of light issue --

If you want to talk about quality of light, it is hard to include florescent into the conversation. Keno Flo lights are often used in television, but have you even looked at a spectrograph of a florescent light?
Even the best quality, daylight  balanced (KF55, 5500K) lights from Keno leave a lot to be desired. http://www.kinoflo.com/Kino%20Flo%20lam … htm#Charts

Just for the fun of it, here is everything you ever wanted to know about lights and how accurately they they are.
http://ioannis.virtualcomposer2000.com/ … amici.html

Mar 14 10 07:18 pm Link

Photographer

Rebel Photo

Posts: 11446

Florence, South Carolina, US

Dwain Thomas wrote:

Rebel Photo wrote:

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I'm saying there's plenty of light to focus.

it could be a tripod issue as well, I'm just looking to narrow down the issue to better it next time.

you do realize that your eyes don't work the same way as a camera...right? If your at ISO600+ f5.6 1/30 and wanting sharp images..it ain't going to happen. It may LOOK like there's enough light for sharp images as you see it...and your brain reads it...but there's not. (This is really a beginners issue)

I. Un.Der.Stand. I. don't. have. enough. light. for. shutter. speed.

the statement was said that I don't have enough light to focus which i do. No I don't have enough light for a faster shutter speed.

as light falls off a surface or edge, definition is lost. I do not understand why you want to blame the equipment.

Mar 14 10 08:31 pm Link

Photographer

IMS Photos

Posts: 303

Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

Dwain Thomas wrote:
I've been experimenting with fluorescent tubes here lately. I love the effect i'm getting and all. One issue i've been running into are soft faces/sharp body. For the shots i've been doing, they have been 3/4 to half body shots. Settings are anywhere from ISO 640 1/20 to 1/30 exposure and ap at f/5.6.

The image would look sharp when I view them as "fit image" but as i zoom into them, they start to get soft. What's the reason for that and how do I make them sharper.

I'm using a Nikon D80 with a DX Lens 18-135 at approximatly 30mm focal.

Another  point .... when you say you are 'viewing to fit' I'm wondering if you are using something lke MS Picture Manager ? Be aware that in programmes like this even sharp images will NOT BE SHARP as the programme has to 'resize them' to fit the screen. Your images may look sharp when viewed 'fit image' but that is because the low 'magnification' is hiding the softness caused bythe reasons given above. I find with MS Picture Manager the best way to really see how sharp an image is .. is to look at detailed parts at 50% ... this gives a good 'meaningful' sight of the real sharpness

Mar 14 10 09:30 pm Link

Photographer

Michael Bots

Posts: 8020

Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Brian Fischer wrote:
I've been playing with CF bulbs also.  These are taken in the last week in Reno. The rig is 8 CFLs in shoot-through umbrellas.  My biggest issue is killing the funny green tinge you get in some blond hair.

(I'd love any comments or help you have might have)

Possibly a material fluorescence issue.  Many synthetic dyes (including hair and fabric dyes) will glow under Ultraviolet light. Much like the optical brighteners in laundry detergent. Hair care products are a wildcard in that regard.

UV filtering on the light source may help. (one of the functions of some of the plastic covers available for come types of tube)

Mar 15 10 02:38 am Link

Photographer

Warren Asher

Posts: 181

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

JaysonPolansky com wrote:
Just for the fun of it, here is everything you ever wanted to know about lights and how accurately they they are.
http://ioannis.virtualcomposer2000.com/ … amici.html

Well, I hope you understood all of that.  As for myself, if it was in German I couldn't of understood it less.

Personally, I'd simply like to learn how to take half a dozen florecent, (did I spell that right), tubes and get some good lighting from them.

Mar 15 10 08:15 am Link

Photographer

Matt Knowles

Posts: 3586

Ferndale, California, US

I would want more light just because you said you're setting the camera to go off in two seconds. That's ok for product shots, but for model shots? I want to capture the moment, not the moment two seconds later.

Mar 15 10 08:26 am Link

Photographer

Warren Asher

Posts: 181

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US

Brian Fischer wrote:
I've been playing with CF bulbs also.  These are taken in the last week in Reno. The rig is 8 CFLs in shoot-through umbrellas.  My biggest issue is killing the funny green tinge you get in some blond hair.

(I'd love any comments or help you have might have)


https://modelmayhm-2.vo.llnwd.net/d1/photos/100309/22/4b974014d0e7e.jpg
ISO 500, 18mm, f4.5, 1/125th

Not attempting to hijack the thread but I'd like to see a photo or two and get the details on the set up your using.  The image shown is my personal favorite of those you displayed.

Mar 15 10 08:29 am Link

Photographer

Dwain Thomas

Posts: 847

Columbus, Ohio, US

Matt Knowles wrote:
I would want more light just because you said you're setting the camera to go off in two seconds. That's ok for product shots, but for model shots? I want to capture the moment, not the moment two seconds later.

i'm setting it that way to reduce camera shake

Mar 15 10 09:19 am Link