I don’t care what anyone says, your tripod is an essential piece of equipment. There are some people out there who will say that they will just handhold their camera in very low light conditions. However, your hands are no substitute for a rock solid tripod.
In my opinion, the only way you are going to do any decent night photography, is if you bring along a tripod.
Have you ever had that feeling like you have forgotten something, but just don’t know what it is? Despite that feeling, you just move forward and only realize what you forgot, once it is to late.
Well, I forgot my tripod. I only realized that I had forgotten it when i was at the airport. To late.
I knew that there was going to be many night photo opportunities at Niagara Falls, that was the only reason why I wanted to take my tripod.
Without a tripod, I had to think of an easy way to get decent night shots. My X-E1 can bracket shots and shoot RAW, but I only have trial software for HDR right now. I could have boosted up the ISO to get a somewhat fast shutter speed for the night shots as well. However, I remembered my X10 had a nice little feature…
…and this feature is called Pro Low Light. Essentially, it takes 4 exposures and blends them together. HDR right? Well, Fuji does not call it HDR, they call it Pro Low Light. Anyhow, what does it matter…
Therefore, I put the Pro Low Light feature on my X10 to work. The results are presentable and frankly, quite surprising coming out of such a small camera with a 2/3″ sensor.
There is obvious “noise” in them and if you are taking a picture of a neon sign off in the distance, it will just turn out to be a colored blob of light.
I really would not call this HDR and rightly so. First, Fuji never claims it to be HDR. Secondly, you are not getting the full dynamic range of the scene.
However, what you are getting, are some pretty damn good night shots that are very presentable.
The only downside to this feature, is that you can not control at what ISO the camera will shoot at. It is a truly automatic feature that will pick the settings for you. After the fact, i saw that the ISO was up at 3200 for the photos. At that ISO, the photos look darn good to me.
Though, I know for a fact that a tripod, bracketed shots in RAW and then making an HDR image, would have given me results with more dynamic range and less noise. In regards to how it would have handled all the lights, I am not sure.
As I have said before, the X10 never ceases to amaze me and after a full week of shooting with the X-E1, I have the same feeling for that camera as well. The only way that I will now come up with crummy photos, is if I make the mistake by using the camera wrong or if I forget my tripod 😉