How to take pictures of the aquarium - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 05:36 AM Thread Starter
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How to take pictures of the aquarium

Its quite lovely some of the pictures that are posted on this forum. I would love to be able to take pictures like that but mines all suck.

This is the camera I am using if that helps.

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?id=1365&fl=4

But how do you guys take such nice pictures? Particularly shrimp. I have wonderful shrimp but I can't ever seem to get a decent pic of them

I'm not a doctor in real life but I play one on this forum


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post #2 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 06:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dr.tran View Post
Its quite lovely some of the pictures that are posted on this forum. I would love to be able to take pictures like that but mines all suck.

This is the camera I am using if that helps.

http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_se...p?id=1365&fl=4

But how do you guys take such nice pictures? Particularly shrimp. I have wonderful shrimp but I can't ever seem to get a decent pic of them
I do 2 things, I never use an on-camera flash and I always turn off the room lights. Both of these elements add distracting reflections. You may find you need a tripod, adjust your ISO as high as your willing to go before the colour noise becomes too distracting and experiment

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post #3 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 11:28 AM
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honestly...A LOT of the nicer pictures here are done with DSLR cameras
well never be able to match the quality taken with our point-and-shoots

however...I would say...get a tripod, pen and paper
then go through your camera settings one by one changing them by 1...one at a time
it will be time consuming...but if youre serious about it...its honestly the only way and youll learn how your camera works in the process

it is IMPOSSIBLE to find 1 person who regrets going pressurized

if you do it right, you can spend a lot of money in this hobby...of course, if you do it wrong - you'll spend A LOT more
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post #4 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 11:45 AM
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dr. tran have you tried setting your camera to night scene mode? If not make sure it's either on a tripod or you're holding it still while keeping the hand holding it on a solid surface so the camera does not move. The aquarium should be the only light source in the room too... Fast moving fish/shrimp will come out blurry in the pics.


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post #5 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 03:05 PM
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To take good pics of a tank you need to have a basic knowledge of aperture and shutter speed and ISO. You don't necessarily need a DSLR, but you probably will need a point and shoot that allows for manual manipulation of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Everyone is right though, best time is at night, with no lights on except the tank lights to minimize reflection. Also, take the pictures at an angle to further reduce reflection.

If your camera has a macro setting make sure you use that. Macro is for taking very close up pictures. Additionally you might have to use manual focus.

Good luck!


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post #6 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 03:23 PM
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I'd love to see someone do a write up of the best settings, tips, practices, etc and sticky it in this forum. Someone gave me a link one time to one of these threads on another site and I have since lost it, but there are a lot of times that I see some amazing photos on here and would love to get some tips from folks on how they got them.

I use a Nikon D80 for my full tank shots and a Canon Elph (don't remember the model, but its 3 or 4 years old) for my macro shots. I'm hoping Santa is going to bring me a Nikon D7000 and a 105mm macro lens!!

J


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post #7 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 03:40 PM
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Hi dr. tran,

+1 for non_compliance comments. I looked at the manual for your camera and there does not appear to be a "manual mode" where you can adjust the shutter speed, aperture (f-stop), optical zoom, macro mode, or manual focus. A DLSR is not required to capture a great image, but the ability to adjust the camera settings makes it much easier. A lot of the "point and shoot" cameras (Canon SX130is for example) have the ability to adjust all the setting I just mentioned.

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post #8 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 05:36 PM
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That camera you have is waterproof. Might not look as nice as some of the amazing pictures some people on here take, but some in the tank, underwater photos might be pretty cool!


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post #9 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-15-2010, 07:46 PM
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I will try and do a side by side tonight with my dSLR on my usual settings (normally iso 3200 @ f9 on aperture priority hand held with an image stabilized lens - I only use a tripod when I have the macro lens on) and my wife's point and shoot on auto only.

With a tripod for the point and shoot I should attain similar results. Depending on if you have a really high ISO and you can manually set it, you may not be able to capture livestock this way, but for tank shots I think I can probably attain similar results.

It comes down to exposure time in the simplest terms. All cameras capture an image in the same fashion - light and time, you just have to find a method that works best with the equipment you have.

When I'm done I will post the images and the exif data for each shot.

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post #10 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 02:28 AM
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Here are the two shots. The top shot is from my dSLR, the bottom is from my wife's point and shoot set to "Simple Mode" and has the flash turned off. I did not use a tripod for either shot, instead I just leaned on some available furniture. I tried my best to get the same level of zoom for both and no editing has been done to these shots, both were imported into Lightroom (I shoot in RAW on the dSLR) and both were exported with no editing.

The most noticble differences
-dSLR took a better overall exposure (normally I do a lower my exposure by a full stop due to how bright the lights are but for this purpose there was no exposure compensation).
-Point and Shoot is over saturated, but this comes part and parcel with most point and shoots.

The water looks cleaner in the point and shoot shot, but I was in the tank messing around a bit between takes so please disregard that aspect.

Environmentally all I did for these shots was to turn the lights off in the room and close the curtains (taken after dark). No flash used in either shot.

Based on these results, I would recommend the following:
-turning off the lights in your room
-closing the doors/curtains
-turning off your flash
Taking these basic steps should get you what your looking for no matter the camera. The only variable I could not test was flat fronted tanks as mine is curved, there is a possibility that if you see too much of your own reflection in the shots that you may have to take the picture at a slight angle, but only experimentation on your end will determine that.

dSLR: f9, 1/50, ISO 3200, White Balance Auto, shot in "aperture priority"


Point and Shoot: f4.7, 1/8, ISO 200, White Balance Auto, shot in "Simple Mode"

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post #11 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 04:17 AM
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dr tran, have you looked at the various Olympus/Panasonic m4/3 cameras? And perhaps evaluated their potential for aquarium photography?
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post #12 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 11:24 AM
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IMO the DSLR looks about 5x better...

the pns is yellow..some of the color and light/dark contrast on the blyxa is washed out...and the level of detail on the hc leaves is lacking and with the air/co2 stone...the DSLR shows individual bubbles, the pns shows a blurred stream

i dont kno enough about cameras to kno if the settings are similar or comparable...but like i said...the DSLR is so much better than the pns

it is IMPOSSIBLE to find 1 person who regrets going pressurized

if you do it right, you can spend a lot of money in this hobby...of course, if you do it wrong - you'll spend A LOT more
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post #13 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 01:22 PM
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The white balance on the P&S is different and it's over exposed, slightly.

Of course the DSLR has a huge advantage in high ISO performance, which is why it is set at 1/50 sec instead of 1/8.


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post #14 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 01:24 PM
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your explanation





my head
...its way over it

I have a Sony DSC-W90...what are the "best" settings I should use?
http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/...specifications

it is IMPOSSIBLE to find 1 person who regrets going pressurized

if you do it right, you can spend a lot of money in this hobby...of course, if you do it wrong - you'll spend A LOT more
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post #15 of 36 (permalink) Old 12-16-2010, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMoneybags View Post
your explanation





my head
...its way over it
Says the guy who schooled me on the liquid engineering principles of a RG reactor. No no my friend, I won't let you play the dumb card here.

On another note, saw you bought some RCS... glad to see you getting back into the shrimp hobby. I have a TON of babies right now, so if you want more in a few months, lemme know.

Back on topic... seriously, can the photo experts maybe do a write up on anything from best lenses to settings, to tips, etc and we sticky it?

J


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