BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 

How to Use

Hi. I have a Nikon N80 and would like to use the "Bulb" mode for taking photographs in the night. I understand that a tripod is needed and I also have a manual "cable release". My questions are: 1) What should be the f/stop? 2) Does film speed make much difference? 3) What difference would it make if I use the "Self Timer" instead of the "cable release"? Thanks.

To love this question, log in above
5/19/2004 7:36:30 AM

John Wright   Hello Phal. 1) The f/stop will have a role to play, but it really depends on how much depth of field you want/need. Obviously, the larger the aperture is open the smaller the DOF. Pretty much the same rules apply for bulb as they do with any other setting. 2) Yes, the film speed does make a difference. Keep in mind that the faster the film, the more sensitive it is to light. In Bulb mode, you run into the reciprocity effect (not really a failure in my book), and your color will shift. I recommend 100-speed film (or lower) for Bulb photography. 3) It doesn't really make a significant difference using the self-timer or the cable release. The thing that matters is that you don't have camera movement (i.e., touching the camera) during the exposure. Hope that helps.

To love this comment, log in above
5/19/2004 10:49:46 AM

Dave Cross   Hi Phal.

This site:-

Has everything you need to know and more... enjoy... and post some of your results :-)

Dave C.

To love this comment, log in above
5/19/2004 11:08:16 AM

Phal    Thanks John and Dave. I will post my review after taking the Photographs and also some pics as well.

To love this comment, log in above
5/19/2004 12:35:55 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  As mentioned, the f/stop will depend upon DOF requirements if the scene includes foreground elements. If you are shooting only a distant landscape that can be focused at infinity, use a medium-wide aperture (f-4 to f-5.6) to optimize lens clarity. ASA 100 is my recommendation also, for it's fine grain. The only time you'll need to use "bulb" is if your scene requires more exposure time than your camera's longest shutter speed (N80 is 30 seconds). Any speed less than that, you can use the timer. It's difficult to get an accurate exposure reading when shooting at night, so it's wise to take several shots at different shutter speeds.

To love this comment, log in above
5/20/2004 6:39:58 PM

Phal    Thanks for the valuable tips. I was in Niagara falls (Canada) last weekend and took 5 photographs of the falls during the night when the colored lights are projected. Three pics have come out well(though I am not a better judge).
I also used my 70-300 Nikon lens to get some very close view of the cascading water. these have not come out well and looks either out-of focus or over exposed.

I will appreciate any comments.


To love this comment, log in above
6/7/2004 1:45:17 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.