Can You See The Stars As Well As Your Camera?

This episode was brought to you by Skillshare
Despite what I say on this channel, human vision is quite amazing – we may not have
the sharpest vision, or the best colour vision, or the best night vision of the animal kingdom,
but we do have a remarkable balance of all three – a jack of all trades if you will. However, because we are mostly diurnal animals,
our night vision is certainly the weakest. So, I was wondering, when compared to the
average camera, how does our eyesight deal with low light conditions? [Intro by Caro Waro & Cristina de Manuel] Our eyes can cope with over a million-fold change in brightness from broad daylight to
a pitch black night, and coping with and adapting to changing levels of light variation is one
of the eye’s most important jobs. There are several ways our eyes let us see
better in the dark. Firstly, our pupil can widen, allowing more
light to pass through. However, our pupils are only able to dilate
from 1 millimeter up to 8 millimetres, which isn’t really enough to let in the amount
of light required to transition from a brightly lit scene to a starry night. Most of the magic that enables us to see at
night happens in the retina. This process is known as dark adaptation. Firstly, there is a switchover from cones
to rods. Cones are photosensitive cells which respond
best in high light levels and they send colour information to the brain, whereas the rods
are also sensitive at a much wider range of light levels – especially lower ones, and
this is actually why our vision is generally in black and white in low light conditions. To complete dark adaptation, the rods in the
retina must fully regenerate. When a photoreceptor is stimulated by light,
a compound called rhodopsin is photobleached in response. In cones, it takes around 10 minutes for the
pigment to regenerate, and in rods, up to 30 minutes – which is why it generally takes
around half an hour to fully adjust to a dark room. The horizontal cells which connect photoreceptors
downstream together also send information back to the photoreceptors so they can adjust
their sensitivity accordingly, and this means that small changes in light levels that would
be normally imperceptible in broad daylight are detected and fully perceptible under low
light conditions. Now, that’s about it when it comes to dark
adaptation in humans because we don’t have the other fancy adaptations that other nocturnal
animals have for low light environments, such as tapetums or spatial or temporal summation. So, how do cameras operate? Well, there are a few things that work quite
similarly to our own vision. We can open the aperture of a camera to let
more light in onto the sensor, and we can also raise the ISO, which increases the sensitivity
of the sensor. Both of these would be the equivalent of dilating
our pupils and undergoing dark adaptation. However, even when increasing ISO as far as
possible and opening the aperture as wide as it will go, the resulting picture of a
night sky will probably be a lot blacker that what you can see in real life. But fortunately, there are a few other things
you can do with your camera to make it perform a little bit better in low light, the main one being to
decrease the shutter speed. This allows an image to expose on the sensor
for longer. So for example, these pictures here took between
8 and 15 seconds to take – and believe it or not, they were taken at midnight! And, to be honest, I have to say that getting
an updated image every 10 seconds is *anything* but practical in real life but they can capture
a great level of detail and can also be used for artistic purposes, such as to denote the
passing of time, or for creative purposes. However, as well as taking longer to photograph,
the other downside of low light photography is that it tends to have a lot more noise. Cranking up the ISO increases sensor noise,
and exposing images on the sensor for longer than a couple of seconds creates thermal noise
as the sensor heats up. There are, however, a few ways around this. It is generally possible to reduce the appearance
of ISO noise in post-production, and you can reduce the degree of thermal noise in-camera
using a setting called the long exposure noise reduction or LENR setting. If you activate this setting after taking
a photo, the camera will take a second picture with the shutter closed for the same amount
of time, meaning you will have a dark picture with a thermal noise imaged on it, which can
be subtracted from the original photo taken. Whilst it does double the amount of time it
takes to take a photo, it does render a much cleaner image. So, as to who performs better in low light,
our eyes or a run of the mill camera, it depends on what you want. If what you want is to navigate quickly and
detect objects and do everything fast, human vision wins out. But, if you’re after detail and colour information,
then camera is probably the way to go. And, fun fact before I head off, the sky pictures
you saw in today’s episode as you might have been able to guess I took myself, I’m
quite proud of them, they were from the Perseid Meteor shower in mid-August. I took them following Ian Norman’s course
on skillshare, who is an astrophotographer I really, really admire and compared to theclueless
Inés from a year ago, I’m really pleased with how they turned out. Skillshare is an online learning community
with over 16000 classes, and if you know me, you know that with every video I make I always
try to challenge myself to try out a new photography or editing technique, and honestly, over the
past couple of months I’ve been trying out a few new things from skillshare, from subtle
animation things, to improving my timelapses to this long exposure photography – I’m trying
hyperlapses next! So if you’re like me and you like learning
new things and pushing yourself creatively, the first 500 people to click the link in
the description will get a 2 month free trial on skillshare. After that, membership starts at 10 dollars
per month, but, if you discover during your trial that it’s not for you, you can cancel,
there is no risk or obligation to continue with it!
and as always thank you so much for watching me and I’ll see you in the next one! Bye! [Art & Animation: Caro Waro & Cristina de
Manuel] [Music: Thastor & CryoSleepKitten]
[Hosting, Script, Editing: Inés Dawson] [Translated into {language} by {your name}]


  1. WillDiv August 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Funny hat!!!

  2. Draw Curiosity August 24, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Which do you think is better, your eyes, or the camera?

    I hope you enjoyed this video! If you did and are creatively inclined, do consider checking out the sponsor, Skillshare. They are offering a 2 month free trial to the first 500 people to go to which I think is a fantastic deal (I spent an afternoon watching the astrophotography courses, and 3 nights testing out some of the techniques I learnt, alongside a few other things relating to timelapses and hyperlapses – so there is a lot to learn from Skillshare in 2 months!)

  3. Nicholas Hoi August 24, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    we are happy that out eyes can see the stars and the moon, where as the camera not so much

  4. Bob August 24, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Wow great photos, you obviously got a lot of inspiration from the course. As to the question, camera or eye, I think it is too hard to choose. I love the permanant image of the camera but it is no use without eyes to appreciate it

  5. PCheezo August 24, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Team Eyes

  6. Mike Stevenson August 24, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Another great video πŸ™‚ – The long exposure shots are brilliant!

  7. Vykk Draygo August 24, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Well, my camera is on my phone. I could see the milky way this past weekend. My phone couldn't. ;(

  8. OMGitsScience August 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    Hahaha that so much noise shot πŸ‘πŸ˜‚ brilliant

  9. Ruudsch Ma' Hinda August 24, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Oooh. This reminds me of a German saying:
    At night all cats are blue.

    Referring to the black/white sight when it's dark. Does this saying also exist in any other language? Or in a similar way?

  10. flagpoleeip August 24, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I think I prefer my eyes. I could probably live without my camera.
    I like your hat.

  11. Step Back History August 24, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Best hat ever

  12. Yisrael Wealcatch August 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Great video as usual! I just recently got into astrophotography. I have noticed that using a good DSLR and reasonable settings in a more urban area, you can get much better detail with a camera (although, light pollution still plays a factor). On the other hand, in a very dark place, your eyes can do remarkably well as seeing fine detail in the Milky Way for example. One advantage to CCD imaging is that you can edit in Lightroom or Photoshop to enhance the color a lot (more true to life), unlike your eyes which in low light see much less color as you stated. Bottom line, yes, it depends a lot on what you want. I like both πŸ™‚

  13. CHM Tech August 24, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Loved your video! And if I also may comment how amazing your audience is. But when you think about it, you're a remarkable individual, so I guess it's natural that you attract similar qualities. Which, btw., can be seen all over your channel πŸ™‚

  14. Joe Mason August 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Another great video, I love the pictures!

  15. Aduard Castel August 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    Neither my camera or eyes do better, your eyes Ines are the ultimate light sensor <3
    naaaa just kidding xD great video, I didn't know that LENR was a thing

  16. Ath Athanasius August 24, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Yay! Ines returns to youtube. We missed you.

    I once more feel humbled by the breadth of your interests and intelligence.

  17. Eddy Cordon August 25, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Awesome!. How the camera subtract the heat noise from the image?, maybe in other video? xD

  18. Bryndal Dwyre August 25, 2017 at 5:27 am

    Fantastic video Ines. Great to learn something new every time I watch one of them. Keep up the good work. πŸ™‚

  19. nickt August 25, 2017 at 6:11 am

    3200 ISO is waaaaaay too high, but thanks for teaching about LENR!

  20. someguy August 25, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    I'm going to like this video.

  21. SylenDraws August 26, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    Cameras work better because they have flash built into them πŸ™‚

  22. AlexxSir August 26, 2017 at 9:05 pm

    Este canal deberia tener muchos mas suscribers. Por que a la gente no le interesa estas cosas >:| ?

  23. 2300Kenzie August 27, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Although I haven't tested it, I think the camera does better on the 12 dot illusion.Β  But then again…how can I determine if they get it or not if I check their work?

  24. Katrina Eames August 28, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    That was cool – I had never really thought about the question

  25. CS Art August 29, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Love this video as always!! Your enthusiasm always makes it much more enjoyable πŸ™‚

  26. goohz has a channel September 9, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you InΓ©s :] !

  27. Odd Fellow December 12, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    sent thanks to funderfoot.
    Do wonder what an analogue camera would do, google time.

  28. MrEiht January 11, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    You are * scary as ***.
    E.g. Astro cameras are cooled by e.g. peltier elements to -40.
    Then there are specific sensors for these cameras too. They perform much better in the dark than your camera.
    Are you just talking about the visible light spectrum here?

  29. Alone Spirit January 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Q: "Can You See The Stars As Well As Your Camera?"
    A: Yes, in fact I'm looking at both of them right now. With the camera being black it does blend in to the sky a bit but remains easily discerned when held at arm's length.
    Still almost 90 minutes till sunrise here.

  30. Danielle Wilson April 5, 2018 at 4:28 am

    I thought noise only referred to sound

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *