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pics with my Nikon p90


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Been used to using my phone which I really like but got a p90 now so I need to get practicing with it. Had no idea it was so hard to use a better quality camera for aquarium shots. Hella hard to get it to focus. I had better luck on auto focus rather than manual. Seemed to unfocus on manual when something would float by.


Anyways, heres a couple pics I spent a couple hours trying to get half way usable. Any tips welcome, Ive read the tips in the sticky too which are helping.


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Looks good. However, I'm looking at the middle pic, which looks like the saturation might be too much. It could just be the white balance, or did you process the pics with something like Photoshop?


The sand and rocks look pretty blue; you'll want to adjust the white balance. I assume there's a custom white balance setting that will let you point the lens at a piece of printer paper that's exposed to your lighting. Placing something white in your tank (like a white cutting board) also works.


In manual focus mode, it shouldn't matter what else is in view. I suspect your "focus" problems have less to do with focus and more to do with blurring from camera shake (due to slow shutter speeds from low lighting). A tripod will help steady the camera. Also, use the timer setting so the picture is taken a few seconds after you press the shutter (as the camera will move slightly when pressing the shutter).


In addition, using a higher ISO setting will typically result in quicker shutter speeds, but the resulting pic will be grainier. Shut off your pumps so that there is less motion (less blurring). A lower aperture setting will also let more light in. Are you using the zoom? This could restrict available aperture settings; it also tends to increase camera shake.


Does your camera have priority modes (like aperture and shutter speed priority modes)? These are auto modes that allow you to select the value of a particular setting, like shutter speed (while the camera chooses the other settings). These modes can be quite helpful. Manual mode will let you control multiple settings (even if that results in a poor exposure).

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Thanks. I had it on auto for those but yes it has Aperture Priority mode. I'll be trying it next on a tripod, can change the shutter speed and such too.

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Yep, you can adjust the shutter speed (S on the mode dial):



Shutter Priority, famous for freezing or blurring motion like waterfalls, works the same way, using the Command dial to select the shutter speed you prefer.


And for those times when you want to set both the aperture and shutter speed yourself, Manual mode is just a click away on the Mode dial. To select between shutter speed and aperture, you just press the Nikon P90's EV button on the Multi Selector then make your selection with the Command dial.

Source: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/CPP90/CPP90A.HTM#


Definitely play with the white balance settings. It looks like the reviewer had some problems with auto white balance. Another review mentions you might start seeing noise above ISO 100; so I suspect that you'll want to limit it to 200 and below.


Play around with the settings and make notes on what works and doesn't work for you. It doesn't shoot in RAW format so limited processing can be done with programs like Photoshop.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm no photo pro by any means but those are some really nice pics especially for just beginning with that camera. I know the biggest thing is.... practice, practice, practice... and then practice some more. And stability is a big key too but your pics look pretty well focused so I'd say your doing good on that (or are you using a tripod, which is a good idea too if your not already...).

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If you don't have a tripod, get one of those. I'd work on getting the best pictures that you can by adjusting the camera settings (white balance and exposure). Then you make post processing adjustments in Photoshop, Photoshop Lightroom, Photoshop Elements, or Gimp,

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This was on A, with f2.5, zoomed in as far as I could while being able to get it to still focus. Tripod, timer and against the glass. With just my blues on using cloudy white balance. Got the center one pretty good imo.



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First off, nice picture. I like it.

Try using its custom white balance (where you point it at a matte white item lit by your reef lights). This will get rid of the artificial blue color. See page 115 of the P90 manual (not page 115 of the PDF).

The DOF is pretty shallow (which can be a really good thing, but the majority of the polyps aren't in sharp focus). You could get more of the colony in focus if you used a smaller aperture.


If you haven't already, read through the manual. It looks like you are getting the hang of it, but might benefit from being able to tweak some of the settings. I think you will soon be getting the types of photos that you've been hoping to get.

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Those are some of your best yet. However, I'd still like to see a couple using the custom white setting (getting all of the blue out). You're getting some amazing detail.

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Those are some of your best yet. However, I'd still like to see a couple using the custom white setting (getting all of the blue out). You're getting some amazing detail.


But my tank is pretty blue though. Seems when I change my white setting much it looks more black and white than anything. I'll do some more tinkering though.

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I'm not saying that you need to take all your pics using the custom white balance setting; I'd just like to see how they come out. You mentioned that they look more black and white (less saturated); however, the main issue that I had with your first pics was that they looked over saturated (which makes me curious). These are starting to look really nice. Are you happy with what you are getting?

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Yeah some what. I think its getting easier to get but at the same time not getting the details I want on anything that very far back in the tank. But for what it is Im pretty happy. I'll try some more tomorrow with custom white balance and see how they turn out.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok I set up my white balance via @seabass suggestion. Kinda cool but odd at the same time to me, takes all the blue out even though the tank has lots of blue in it. The pics I thought were better when I took them than they were after I uploaded them lol. Kinda seems like I cant get it to focus as much with the custom white balance? I also just noticed that my iso was on 200 the whole time I took the pics tonight, I'll take them again tomorrow back down on 64.


Untouched, wasnt sure what to do with them if anything. Is this kinda what you were wanting me to do seabass? I left the image optimize on vivid.





These guys are little, maybe 3/8" tubes or so?










These two are on Cloudy...




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I really like them! Much better than on cloudy.

I don't know if your camera will let you further adjust the white balance, but some cameras let you make adjustments (to make it more blue if you wish). Another way to get more blue in your pictures is to add some more white light when setting the white balance; then take away the the white light and your pictures will be more blue.

However, I REALLY like the new pics as is. :)

Edit: If you are having focus problems, try a smaller aperture (larger number). This will give you a larger DOF (a larger range of focus). I suggest starting at f/8, if you want more in focus (you can make adjustment from there).

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Thanks man! I like them too, just different than what I am used too, I can always take both with blue and without. I cant really get any closeups of anything very far back in the tank but I would say Im happy with what I can get with this camera.

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Besides a smaller aperture to widen the range of focus, make sure that all of your pumps and filters are off so there is no blur from motion. In a couple of the pics, you can see some particles floating by (like shooting stars). The same thing happens to a moving coral or anemones (motion blur vs being out of focus). One last thing to improve your pics is to make sure the glass is totally clean (inside and out).

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I also just noticed that my iso was on 200 the whole time I took the pics tonight, I'll take them again tomorrow back down on 64.

Pictures can get grainy at higher ISO settings; however, I don't notice that as being an issue with your pictures at ISO 200. Higher ISO settings will allow you to use faster shutter speeds (or if you are using aperture priority mode, the camera will automatically use a quicker shutter). I don't see ISO 200 as being a problem. You might even be able to use ISO 400 without seeing the pictures getting very grainy (although this can vary a lot between different models of cameras).


I cant really get any closeups of anything very far back in the tank

I get that too (pictures taken closer to the front seem to come out better). What happens when you try shooting pictures further in the back? The lens characteristics will vary at a higher zoom (so set your zoom first, then change your settings). Is it a focus problem or something else? Besides the added distance, you are shooting through more water; so the clearer your water, the better. If you don't use activated carbon, you might wish to (in order to improve clarity).
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