Tips on photographng your aquarium? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 03:47 AM Thread Starter
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Tips on photographng your aquarium?

Any pointers?

I am not satisfied with the pictures I have been taking, and I'm sure there are things I could do to improve their quality.
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 04:49 AM
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I always take my pictures at night with all the lights off except the aquarium lights and no flash on the camera. Make sure the curtains in your room are also closed. Make sure your water in your tank is clean and clear+ topped off with water. I use a Sony h5 and it takes good pictures. Also try to use a tripod.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 04:55 AM Thread Starter
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I've been using a tripod and doing all of the above.

But I am mainly minterested in the settings people use with there camera.

Shutter spead, F-stop, etc.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 04:59 AM
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Use a proper gray card to do a custom white balance if you can. It makes a huge difference in the way the colors will come out. I normally use Tv mode on my Canon 350D with a shutter of about 1/60 and 1600ISO. I think it calculates the aperature to be around 5.6 with those settings.

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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 07:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vince+carrie View Post
Use a proper gray card to do a custom white balance if you can.
That is a very important tip if you can do it! Heck, even a white napkin is better than nothing! HAHAHA!
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 07:37 AM
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I think the trick is also having a nice camera and knowing how to use it.

My Canon S410 Digital Elph is just not a great camera for taking pictures of fishtanks IMO. My Canon G1 is a bit better, I forgot about the white balance setting though. Still my G1 is so dated and ancient at this point it's also not the best camera for taking pictures of tanks. I think the Lighting in the tank itself is very important as to how the pictures will come out.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 08:05 AM
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Can you guys explain the white balance thing?
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 10:00 AM
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Hi guys,

The trick is to keep your ISO as low as possible (to reduce the grainy look) a high iso will enable you to use lower light but at the expense of grainy images.

Stick your iso at 100, aperture (f number) as low as pos 5.6 etc and put your camera on a tripod then adjust the shutter speed accordingly. if it is too low (under 50) then increse your iso to 200 or 400 and try again.

In my experiance you just need to experiment, keep trying and use different settings.

have a look at my website for images i took whilst Travelling.

Good luck
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 10:04 AM
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White balance is what the camera sees as pure white. Under different light white looks different. What you need to do is tell the camera what is actually white. some cameras allow you to put a white item under the light, point it at it and it calibrates itself automatically. most pos have preset modes. you will be able to cycle through them as your pointing the camera at the subject. then simply choose the one that looks best.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 11:48 AM
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however if you have a good SLR camera you can shoot high ISO and not get grains. this allows you to do a much faster shutter and stop the fish in their movements.

i shoot my fish with a canon EOS rebel slr and i use a iso of 800-1600 with a 1/100 and higher shutter speed. no flash, f stop at 4. ideally id like to be able to get my f stop to 2.8 but my lense wont go that low, at least not the one i have now.

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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 01:04 PM
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I too have the EOS 300D (KISS REBEL) and as with any camera, even the high end pro versions a higher ISO equals a more grainy image. It is alwasys advisable to keep it as low as you can. Obviously if you need to use the higher ISO to get the shot then go for it.

Try this, Set your camera up in a position were it can't move. Then set your ISO at 100 and take an identical picture through the range 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 if you have it. Keep the f stop number the same the whole way through and only alter you shutter speed to counter the effects of the "faster film". As you progress up through the ISO's your shutter speed will increase.

Compare the pictures and you will see what i mean. Also you will then be able to see the maximum ISO you will be happy with. Me, I dont go above 400.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:17 PM
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I usually end up doing at least some photoshopping, usually to the background as it's never quite black:

(thumbnail)



The fastest ISO I've got is 400, but if I want the fish to be something other than blurs I have to use that. At that I'll use the auto exposure feature, but usually it ends up with an F-stop of 2.8 and speed of around 60. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20. Any faster than that and it's going to be too dark. Any slower than that and I've got blurry fish again. White balance is important. I usually end up using a piece of printer paper since I don't have an actual gray card .

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vince+carrie View Post
Use a proper gray card to do a custom white balance if you can. It makes a huge difference in the way the colors will come out. I normally use Tv mode on my Canon 350D with a shutter of about 1/60 and 1600ISO. I think it calculates the aperature to be around 5.6 with those settings.

With DSLRs, go fully manual. Shoot RAW so that you dont need to worry about White Balance. Its all fixed in the RAW processor. And get a flash and a wireless controller (Nikon finally released theirs, Canon has had for years now). That is all you need, Camera, controller, flash. With flash, you can keep your ISO at base and not worry about it. Plus the colors are always TRUE if you use overhead flash.


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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ianmason View Post
I too have the EOS 300D (KISS REBEL) and as with any camera, even the high end pro versions a higher ISO equals a more grainy image. It is alwasys advisable to keep it as low as you can. Obviously if you need to use the higher ISO to get the shot then go for it.

Try this, Set your camera up in a position were it can't move. Then set your ISO at 100 and take an identical picture through the range 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 if you have it. Keep the f stop number the same the whole way through and only alter you shutter speed to counter the effects of the "faster film". As you progress up through the ISO's your shutter speed will increase.

Compare the pictures and you will see what i mean. Also you will then be able to see the maximum ISO you will be happy with. Me, I dont go above 400.

Ian, the "usable" ISO depends on the camera. My first DSLR was rebel also, and I agree nothing over 400 was usable. Now, with 20D, I can go to 1600 and still produce usable shots. But, instead, i just use flash and ISO 100. Look into it too. Oh and check out THIS LINK, Trust me, that goes for everyone


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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-14-2006, 10:22 PM
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Paradise knows his chit, so I suggest you listen ...<and check out his photo album threads>
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