What's the shutter speed for sunsets and night shots?

5 replies [Last post]
Wayne Moule
Joined: Jun 2 2001

I've got a Panny GX7 DV cam that has a shutter speed that goes down to 1/25th sec for stills on a memory stick and 1/50th for film.

I've also got a Samsung compact 35mm that can go down to 1/3rd sec via auto or bulb from 1-60 secs,which has to be done manually.

I would like to know how darker a scene I can take,like sunsets and for example the Blackpool illuminations,night street scenes etc,particularly for my Samsung?

Thanks in advance.

[This message has been edited by Wayne Moule (edited 23 June 2002).]

Joined: Dec 23 2000


Why don't you experiment ??? There are no hard and fast rules to the question you ask.

Most digital cameras these days go to very low light levels. It all depends on the effect you are looking for.

Or do you have a particular "shoot" in mind ?


Wayne Moule
Joined: Jun 2 2001

Thanks for the reply but...

I know this is probably the wrong place for this question,but my Samsung is not a digital camera and I'm not sure whether my camcorder has a slower enough shutter speed for say,Weymouth harbour lit up at night.

I will experiment with my Panasonic.

Alan Roberts at work
Joined: May 6 1999

Experiment is the only way. Unless you've got ASA specs for the cameras, and even then you can't guarantee performance because of recoprocity failure in film.

Go on, mess about with it, and then you'll be the expert on it.

Joined: Apr 4 2001

If it is possible to up the gain or set an effective ISO/ASA in stills mode than you may get some results at 1/50sec, but I wouldn't expect the images to be very good.

With the 35 mm camera you have a wealth of options. You can use a fast film, or use the bulb setting on your camera, but, Tripod, Tripod, Tripod don't forget it, or your images at such slow speeds will be wasted. And, try to get hold of a remote release if possible.

Blackpool illuminations, I would use a fill in flash for anything in the foreground but (on your camera) use the bulb to catch anything in the background.

Sunsets can be tough, as there is usually lots of light at the point you want to meter for, but too much contrast with the foreground, and it looks like mud. Try using a graduated ND filter (if its possible on your compact) to try and reduce the contrast between foreground and background, and you should get a good snap. It does all depend on the sunset though, and not all techniques suit every sunset.


Jim Bird
Joined: Sep 15 2000


I regularly shoot sunsets at F-stop 2.2 and shutter speeds of 1/1000.

I like to set the F-stop at 2.2 and then move the shutter speed to acquire the correct exposure in the viewfinder.

There is no real problem with this as long as the bats are not out.

In other words, as long as there are no (fast) moving objects, you can shoot a sunset at very high shutter speed.

Remember when filming to overexpose and underexpose some footage as this will give you the best chance of success.

Then, take your footage home and check the exposure on your TV, this way you can compare what you saw in the viewfinder.

So go out and experiment, but use a combination of both F stop settings and shutter speeds.

I'm not a lover of high gain settings and only use the 0db setting if possible.

For nightshots I use a nightsight.

Jim Bird.

[This message has been edited by Jim Bird (edited 26 June 2002).]