I’m currently on vacation on the island of Maui. Each time I come to the Islands I hope to get a chance to shoot the Milky Way from atop Haleakala, weather and moon permitting. Well once again, it hasn’t worked out because I’m here during a full moon phase. I decided to make the best of it and head down to a relatively dark area near the water hoping I could at least get a glimpse of the Milky Way. I set the ISO to 5000 on the D700 and tried a few long exposure shots to see if I could locate it. No luck, the moon was just too bright. I had my Fuji X100 along, so I decided to try some long exposure shots.
I usually have the ISO set to auto on the Fuji X100 and aperture priority mode. So I needed to change the settings to force it to ISO200 and also set the shutter dial to “T” so I could adjust the length of exposure. The other issue came when I tried to focus. Because it was relatively dark, there wasn’t enough contrast to focus on anything. The Moon was at my back so I turned and focused on the Moon then set the switch on the side to manual focus so it would basically stay at infinity. Since I don’t have a remote shutter release yet, I set the camera to a 2 second timer release and set it on the tripod and fired away. This is the first shot. I was impressed. The noise is manageable and rather quite impressive for a small camera. You can see it almost looks like daylight. The Moon was very bright.
Here is the second shot, I had the aperture wide open. There was a little path light just behind the camera on the right that was helping to illuminate the kayaks.
And the final shot taken with the Fuji X100 sitting on a fence rail. I set the ISO back to AUTO and this was taken at ISO 1600, 20 second exposure. It had a lot of noise. I used Topaz DeNoise to help reduce the effect. I would recommend forcing the camera to the lowest ISO possible, which is always a good idea for long exposure images, especially if you are using a camera with a smaller sensor. This is something I can get away with on my Nikon with its full frame sensor.
I’ve been very impressed with the capabilities, features and ease of use of the Fuji X100 and will definitely use it when I don’t want to lug around the larger camera and all the lenses. I’ll have more examples in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.