Ambient vs. Flash comparison

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Village Idiot, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Here's a little something I just through together.

    I have two shots of my uncooked dinner last night. The left photo was shot with ambient light and the right with a Canon 580EX II and shoot through umbrella triggered by a PW. Here's the exif for the two shots.

    Ambient:
    Camera: Canon EOS 30D
    Exposure: 1/60
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 135mm
    ISO Speed: 640

    Flash:
    Camera: Canon EOS 30D
    Exposure: 0.004 sec (1/250)
    Aperture: f/2.8
    Focal Length: 145 mm
    ISO Speed: 100

    As you can see, the ambient is still vastly underexposed with just the kitchen lights. I even had the ISO speed up to 640. I could have went higher, but then you're looking a a photo with less quality at larger resolutions because of noise. The shot was also taken at 135mm at 1/60. If I would have not been shooting with the 70-200 f/2.8 IS and had the image stabilization to compensate, the photo would have been out of focus.

    The photo with the flash provided enough light to use an ISO of 100 and the max sync speed of 1/250. And you can see with the proper modifiers and techniques, like the shoot through umbrella, that you don't have hard light, harsh shadows, or an over all non-desirable effect on the picture. If you look you can even see that the shadows in the photo with the flash are even softer than with ambient light.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    Chicken, bacon, aspragus, and cheese. What is that?

    Cool thread too.
     
  3. nynfortoo

    nynfortoo TPF Noob!

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    Very nice example. A proper flash is quite high on my list of things to get.
     
  4. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    My dinner.
     
  5. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    very cool. Looks like something I'd see in the Food magazines my fiance gets. Due to her schooling and profession we became foodies.
     
  6. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been trying to take pictures of my dinner on good nights for a portfolio so I can show the stuff to businesses around the area.
     
  7. seamus14

    seamus14 TPF Noob!

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    Good example. Thank you.
     
  8. asfixiate

    asfixiate TPF Noob!

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    First layer Mushroom risotto, second layer "tic-tac-toe" pattern asparagus with Chilean sea bass on top. That photographs well.
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i do not get the point why you compare a correctly exposed image with an underexposed image.

    why not expose correctly for the ambient light image (and use your tripod or similar). Then you could see the difference between ambient and the sort of flash you used. I suppose the main difference would be the lighting direction ... it would be most likely less defined in the case of ambient light and the scene would be much more evenly lit. Your directional flash overexposed parts of the scene and did cast some strong shadow to the left hand side.
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Because I was shooting handheld and trying to get the photo without having to move my lightstand in from the other room. I didn't want to shoot at ISO 1000-1600. Afterwards I figured I'd just get the flash.

    The shadow is definitely softer though, and fixing that would have been as easy as backing the light up and raising it in the air. The over exposure was purely my fault as I set the flash at 1/8 power and was trying to shoot at f/2.8. Dialing it down a bit would have fixed that.

    My whole point was that when people say don't use flash because it makes your pictures look bad is that you can use a flash and get results better than with ambient. In this situation, it was the right tool for the job. My kitchen lights are standard house lights and I would have had to push the camera to where I didn't want it to be to get a decent hand held shot or I would have had to use a tripod.

    I prefer to hand hold a camera whenever possible as it's much easier to manuever around and get the shot I want rather than have to fight a tripod to get it where I want.

    And to add, I do have a couple of shots I took that night at f/5.6 and f/9. They would have probably been 5 second exposures if I wasn't using a strobe of some type.
     
  11. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with Alex, if you are going to compare ambient to flash, you should at least expose the ambient shot properly.

    I'd rather see a well exposed shot with a little noise, than an underexposed shot.

    You can shoot pretty clean shots at ISO 800 or even higher, but the trick is to have the exposure in the higher/brighter level of the dynamic range.

    Also, a fair comparison of ambient vs flash might include a tripod. A tripod is no less convenient than using an umbrella/light stand etc.
     
  12. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When shooting with abient, your light source generally doesn't change so changing camera positions while using a tripod is indeed more cumbersome than shooting with a strobe that stays in one position while having the freedom to move camera positions unhindered by the weight and spatial limitations.
     

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