Follow The ‘500 Rule’ To Take The Best Pictures Of The Night Sky

Follow The ‘500 Rule’ To Take The Best Pictures Of The Night Sky

Night sky photography is a lot of fun, but it’s also challenging. Provided you have the right equipment, it mostly comes down to tweaking your camera settings. And the “500 Rule” can help with that.

Photo by Anunturi gratuite

To take a decent photo of the sky at night, you need the right exposure settings, one of which is shutter speed. Your shutter might be open anywhere between six and 45 seconds to allow enough light in your shot. But if you leave the shutter open too long, your camera will detect the movement of the stars and your picture will come out blurry. These are also known as star trails. They can actually add a pretty cool effect if that’s what you’re going for, but if you’re not, you’ll need to adjust your speed.

That’s where the “500 Rule” comes into play. According to the rule, the longest shutter speed you can use before your photo gets blurry is equal to 500 divided by your lens’ focal length. If your focal length is 18mm, your maximum shutter speed is 27.8 seconds, (provided you’re using a full-frame camera). It’s basic maths, but PhotographyLife has done the work for you. Here are the longest shutter speeds you can use for night photography, depending on your lens:

  • 11mm: 45.5 seconds
  • 12mm: 41.7 seconds
  • 14mm: 35.7 seconds
  • 16mm: 31.3 seconds
  • 18mm: 27.8 seconds
  • 20mm: 25 seconds
  • 24mm: 20.8 seconds
  • 28mm: 17.9 seconds
  • 35mm: 14.3 seconds
  • 50mm: 10 seconds
  • 85mm: 5.9 seconds

As the site explains, some people now go by the 600 rule or the 400 rule. As cameras come with more pixels, they detect smaller star movements, so the numbers have to be adjusted accordingly. Like any rule of thumb, it gives you a ballpark idea of what you can get away with, but you’ll definitely need to tweak your exposure settings anyway. For more tips, head to their full post at the link below.

What Makes a Good Night Photography Lens? [PhotographyLife]

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