View Full Version : Fireworks with a Digital SLR camera?

07-27-2005, 05:47 AM
Hi All!!

I am new to the board, but I have been lurking for a while.

My DH go to DL every year, but last year. We went to WDW. I have to say that after going to DL for so long, and then going to WDW we really enjoy DL better. Not really sure why.

We are going to DL in August/September. We leave Denver August 27 to be in LA August 28. We are doing DL for 5 days starting August 30

Anyways, we bought a new digital camera this year and was hoping for some advice. We have a Canon EOS 20D. Have any of you taken picutres of the fireworks with a Digital SLR camera? If so, what lens do you use? We have a 28-105mm and a 70-300mm. We just don't know if either of these lens's will work. We are thinking of buying a 50mm but we are not sure.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.



07-27-2005, 06:39 AM
Hi sulley,

The 28-105mm will be fine. You'll be using the wide end of the lens. What you will need is a tripod. Example:

Taken with a 20D, 4 second exposure. You can't get the trails like that by hand-holding

You'll want to leave ISO at 100, put the camera in manual (M), set the apperature around f11 and the sutter speed between 2 and 4 seconds. Take some test shots before the fireworks start to make sure you aren't overexposing the castle.

If you don't want to haul around a tripod, your pictures will look more like this:
Notice how the fireworks are 'frozen' and aren't nearly as dramatic.

For this kind of hand-held shot, bump up ISO to 1600, put the camera in apperature priority mode (Av) and open the apperature to maximum (3.5 or 4.0 at widest zoom, depending on what model 28-105 you have) and use -1 exposure compendation. Take some test shots. Manual Focus helps too.

If you're not going to take a tripod - the 50mm 1.8 wouldn't be a bad idea (that's what the second photo was taken with - 1/60 shutter, f1.8 apperature, iso 800), But you have to move pretty far back to get both the castle and the fireworks in the shot - 50mm on a 20D has an effective focal length of 80mm with the 1.6 crop factor. It's a great lens, at an amazing price.

You can get some neat shots with the 20D's ISO 3200 and the 50 1.8:

No flash pictures, please :fez:

07-27-2005, 06:48 AM
Thanks for the advice! That helps tons.

Now for day to day stuff in the park, would either lens work? Everything that we have been told, we need a closer range wide angle lens even for average pictures, due to how everything in the park is so close together.

07-27-2005, 07:37 AM
Yes, for DL, the wider the better. My primary lense is a 17-40, and at times I wished it was wider. I took my 70-200, and it never came out of the bag. The 28-105 should be a good walk around lens. If you need wider, take a few steps back :D

Here's my gallery from my birthday trip: (http://www.pbase.com/grimgrinnin/july_17_2005)

All pics taken with 17-40mm 4.0 or 50mm 1.8