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Sharpness at night

  1. PaulC
    Is it (practically) possible to get razor-sharp shots of a city at night from a Crown Graphic? Or is that asking too much?

    I ask because my first efforts, using a 23 (6x9) rollfilm back all showed some degree of camera shake. Even the best of them, when examined closely, had shake-distorted highlights where there were very bright lights.

    At first I thought it must be fairly straightforward to get razor-sharp results, since old timers routinely used very long exposures. Then it occured to me that the lights in a city night scene are so bright compared to the subject that the briefest shock will record a displaced image, whereas in a natural landscape a second of shake in a 30 second exposure will probably not record a visible blur because it will be six or seven stops darker than the unshaken image.

    Obviously, large format focal lengths multiply the problem of shake as well (err... just thought about that, it's only true if you want to enlarge beyond the size you would for a smaller format, isn't it?). So is it a pipe-dream to hope for absolutely sharp city-at-night shots, or are there techniques that may help to overcome the problem?

    This is the best of my shots. I think I covered the lens before opening the shutter and then again before closing it, but there is still blur:
  2. Bertil
    Bertil
    Hello Paul, I would have thougt that the definition in the highlights for this kind of pictures was mostly due to the character of the lens (multcoating and things like that) rather than the typ of camera; and after all, a camera with central shutter in the lens (like the Crown Graphic) would produce, I would have thought, less camera shake than a camera with a focal plane shutter. But a sturdy tripod is perhaps the most important thing!
    Best wishes
    /Bertil
  3. Ralph Javins
    Ralph Javins
    Good morning, Paul and Bertil;

    One thing I noticed: Nowhere was anything mentioned about the use of a cable release to get our hands and fingers off the camera to eliminate the almost inevitable movement caused by pressing on the lens shutter release lever. For me, a tripod will also suggest the use of a cable release; they go together, and it is easier to stand beside the tripod when releasing the shutter.

    Enjoy;

    Ralph, Latte Land, Washington
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