Exposure/Flash Q (and maybe more)

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by guitarmy, Nov 27, 2006.

  1. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Alright, so I went out and bought a Nikon D50 and am currently learning what I'm doing. That means I don't know what I'm doing.

    Thus, I'm here to ask a question. I've read through the forum to try and find the answer so as to not be redundant, but can't find exactly what I'm looking for.

    Alright, details: I have the kit lens (18-55mm) and the camera. Basic. I was fooling around, shooting indoors in your typical bedroom-lighting situation (ceiling lights, probably 60 or 100 watt bulbs). I know how aperture and shutter speed (and ISO, albeit to a lesser extent) work to expose a picture - however, I couldn't get a properly exposed picture without using flash that was not blurred. The lighting was such that I had to set my shutter speed extremely slow and my aperture was wide open (I think 3.5).

    So, I guess what I'm asking is - is the light just too low to shoot without a flash (or a tripod w/out flash)? I just can't stand how washed out and flat things look when you use the body flash. Can you shoot handheld indoors w/out a flash?

    And if I wanted to shoot in that situation so as to have most planes in focus, I'd have to have my aperture set at at least f8, right? When I was fooling around with aperture priority, setting it to about f8, my shutter speed would be WAY too slow to shoot handheld.

    Help me please! Thanks.
     
  2. TBaraki

    TBaraki TPF Noob!

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    What was your ISO set at? A higher ISO will allow you to use a faster shutter speed at the same aperture eliminating the blur, the trade off being increased noise.

    Depending on the lighting though, a tripod or flash will be required to get crisp shots even at high ISO.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    Typical indoor lighting...really is quite low. Especially typical bedroom lighting. We humans adjust to it very easily...so we don't think that it's all that dim...but it's many times less bright than typical outdoor/day time lighting.

    As both of you know...there is not a lot of day light in Edmonton/Alberta this time of year.

    Good for you for discovering that on-camera flash is crap. It is. Get an accessory flash that can tilt...then bounce the flash off of the ceiling & walls.

    So don't shoot hand held. You can get a tripod for $20. Or even a table top (small size) one. You don't even need a tripod...just a bean bag or a rolled up sock. Anything really...just as long as you don't touch the camera when it fires. A remote cable release is helpful but you can use the self timer just as easily.
     
  4. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    My ISO was typically set at 200, although I bounced around up to 800 trying it out. Didn't make too much of a difference.

    Hmm. So an accessory flash and a tripod hey? Don't have the money for a flash, but tripod perhaps.

    For a flash - recommendations (for Nikon - I've heard SB-600)? Can I get a flash that will mount on the camera AND that will mount on a stand so I can move it away from the camera? Or are those two different types?

    Also, are most accessory flashes wireless so I can hold it off to the side and shoot with one hand if I don't like the angle of the flash? Or is that a bad idea?

    What about a reflector screen? That's probably only good for natural light I'd imagine.
     
  5. Big Mike

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

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    Well that's two stops. So with the same aperture...that would change your shutter speed from 1/30 to 1/125.

    Well a Nikon flash would be best, and give you the most options...but you can certainly get buy with a cheaper off-brand flash.

    Yes, you can get a flash that will mount on either the camera or on a stand....however, if it's on a stand, you have to find a way to fire it. Most of them are not wireless, not by themselves anyway. Nikon & Canon (maybe others) flash units can work together as master and slave. So if you had an SB-800...I think you could wirelessly trigger an SB-600. But those will cost you close to $1000.

    You could use an off-camera cord. Like this. It would allow you to hold the flash off to the side...and it would allow you to keep the TTL (through the lens) metering that you get with a Nikon flash.

    Another option would be to use optical triggers. You can get them for around $20. You just put one on the flash and any other flash that id fired...will trigger the flash. So you could use the built-in flash to trigger the off camera one...but you still have to deal with the light from the on-camera flash. And with this type of set up...you don't have TTL metering...which means you should be shooting in Manual mode and doing something to determine your exposure (flash meter or somthing).
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    Have a look at this site

    Lots of good info about using off camera flash. They guy does use and recommend Pocket Wizard remotes...which are expensive...but there is still plenty of great info and tips etc.
     
  7. guitarmy

    guitarmy TPF Noob!

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    Cool. I will check it out. There's a lot there that I don't really understand. Haha. Thanks a bunch!
     
  8. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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    to answer your original question, yes you can, but not without paying. The first choice is up the ISO. depending on your camera the ISO can go up to 3200, giving you a good deal more light to work with. The problem is the pictures will come out noisy as can be.

    Solution number two - new glass. There are a couple choices here. You could go for a nice fast lense such as nikons 50mm 1.8 lens. This will allow you to open the aperture to 1.8 instead of just 3.5, which lets in more light. Combine this with a slightly higher ISO (400 or 800) for best effect.

    now if you want to drop some more money, there are the IS and VR lenses which are image stabilized. These lenses use sensors to detect slight motions caused by hand shake and they will auto correct it by moving an element in the lens to compensate. These aren't cheap.

    Now if you are shooting with a camera that features on body image stabilization (such as the K10D from pentax) you have the advantage of IS on every lense, including those fast 1.4/1.8 primes. The pentax K10D will give you between 2 and 4 stops extra with the IS turned on.

    Of course these methods will cost money, but aside from stabilizing the body against something (table, floor, tripod) there isn't a clean way to reduce the blur from shooting handheld indoors. of course you could add light, either through lamps of flashes.
     

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