How to shoot in dark lighting condition ?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by PappyGatmus, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. PappyGatmus
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    PappyGatmus New Member

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    Be it in room, outdoor, any situation with dark lighting. Lighting so bad I dunno if I focused on my subject correctly.

    I would want to avoid using flash, it just turned out so.. well ugly.

    Is there any way to do it or is it just impossible?
  2. rufus5150
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    rufus5150 New Member

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    A camera with excellent high-iso performance and a fast lens might get you there.

    Off camera flash is almost always a viable solution and shouldn't be shunned the way that an on-camera flash should be.
  3. Big Mike
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    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member

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    Photography literally means drawing with light....so if you don't have much light, then you don't have much to draw with, do you?

    That doesn't mean you can't take shots in dark situations though.

    One of the three components of exposure is time (shutter speed)...so the less light you have, the longer you will need to get enough light for an exposure. Of course, the flip side of this is that longer shutter speeds affect how motion is captured. Motion of things in front of the camera and motion of the camera itself.
    The point I'm getting at, is that if you want sharpness in your photos in low light, you will need to have the camera steady...as in, on a tripod and triggered with a remote (or self timer). This will allow you to shoot in just about anything (except total darkness).

    Another one of the three exposure components is the sensitivity (ISO). You can turn up the ISO which will allow you to get an exposure with less light (faster shutter speed). So you might be able to shoot moving subjects or shoot while holding the camera. The flip side to this is digital noise (or film grain).

    Lastly, you could add your own light. Flash is one way of doing this, but there are certainly other ways of adding light. You might actually learn to love using flash...as long as you don't use on-camera flash.
  4. KmH
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    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish

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    Yes, there is a way to do it.

    You need a camera that has exellent High ISO capabilities and a lens that can be opened to a wide aperature. Nikon makes a very good high ISO camera, the D3, about $4700 (no lens).

    In a lower price range the Nikon D90 does a pretty good job about $1000 (no lens).
  5. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what you're shooting too.

    If it's moving, you'll need high ISO and fast lenses. (Or more light - flash.)

    If it's not moving, all you need is a tripod.
  6. PappyGatmus
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    PappyGatmus New Member

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    Oh... so that's what ISO is for.

    I had mine set at 250.
  7. Josh66
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    Josh66 Well-Known Member

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    Yup, ISO is the light sensitivity. The higher the number, the more sensitive it is.
  8. PappyGatmus
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    PappyGatmus New Member

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    Wow! You guys have been very helpful, sorry I didn't mentioned it earlier.

    Thanks for everyone's time.
  9. UUilliam
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    UUilliam New Member

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    pappy, i would learn basics first

    read up on the following:

    What is Aperture (make sure it isn't the software called aperture)
    How to use aperture (make sure it isn't the software called aperture)
    What is shutter speed
    How to use Shutter speed
    What is ISO
    When to use ISO
    How to use ISO
    What is F-number

    there is allot more that is some basics fro mthe top of my head, just search the words in google, you should get a few pages explaining
    i might make a topic soon with references to helpful websites so keep an eye out (will be in about 2 - 3 days possibly)
  10. JerryPH
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    JerryPH New Member

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    .. or just pick up a book called UNDSTANDING EXPOSURE by Bryon Peterson.
  11. gsgary
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    gsgary Well-Known Member

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    He could even read the manual
  12. B Kennedy
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    B Kennedy New Member

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    Everyone knows that Canon handles noise waaay better than Nikon:headbang:
  13. Tasmaster
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    Tasmaster New Member

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    Or how about the D700 for the exact same photos but half the price.
  14. musicaleCA
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    musicaleCA New Member

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    Or get a darn flash, and get it off camera, for half and half again? Really now, you needn't have fast lenses and a super-duper camera that can be punched up to 3200 or 6400 ISO without much noise. I found I can use off-camera flash to get shots very easily indoors with my 450D, and that can't be pushed past ISO 400 without bad noise. There are other ways of getting around the problem than fast glass and high ISO, that will cost far less too (though either certainly help, none of it will do any good if you don't first understand what shooting in such lighting conditions means, and how it affects how you set exposure).
  15. JerryPH
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    JerryPH New Member

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    You go right on thinking that. In the meantime, you care to show me a shot at ISO 6400 that is cleaner than this one from a Canon?


    [​IMG]
    Matching EXIF for proof HERE.

    Or a shot cleaner than ISO 25,600?:
    [​IMG]
    Matching EXIF for proof HERE.

    To get back on topic and speak to the OP, if it is a dark room and you want to take a picture of a static object, place the camera on a tripod and work with long shutter speeds. If it is a moving object, not even a camera with high ISO will help you.

    Seriously, get over your fear or hesitation of using flashes, they are an invaluable tool and will do more for your photography than you can imagine... once you LEARN how to use them properly. Visit the Strobist website and read Lighting 101 and Lighting 102.
  16. paulk_68
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    paulk_68 New Member

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    The exif data for that shot was:

    Camera: Nikon D700 Exposure: 0.8 sec (4/5) Aperture: f/16 Focal Length: 24 mm ISO Speed: 25600

    A Canon user would have know that the same sharpness/DOF/exposure could have been achieved with an aperture of f/8, and would not have needed an ISO speed of 25,600 ;)
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  17. musicaleCA
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    musicaleCA New Member

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    Please, not another Canon vs. Nikon debacle. Personally, I think there is some validity to the argument that Nikon has sensors that have better signal-to-noise ratios at high ISOs, just as I think there's some validity to the argument that Canon has more reliable gear. The differences are pretty darn slight.

    Man, those were/are (I read them a while ago :p ) a great read. Probably helped me the most with my flash photography. And I probably wouldn't have managed to shoot at ISOs as low as 400, with 1/20 and f/2.5 without the advice on there (and yep, the people were moving too, but having a solid knowledge of how to stabilize the camera on the fly and how to bounce flash and use the camera on manual has done more for my low-light photos than anything else).
  18. tsaraleksi
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    tsaraleksi New Member

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    Ask and yea shall receive.

    [​IMG]
    1/100, f/2.8, ISO6400

    I think the point here is that at this point it's not really a contest with meaningful differences. Both companies have cameras capable of work at extremely high ISO sensitivities.
  19. JerryPH
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    JerryPH New Member

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    That is not the point... the point was an exercise of highest ISO settings results, not "optimal settings". This has nothing about Canon users... just that Canon has other advantages (natural skin tone is one), and Nikon has this. Again, let's see any Canon product shoot at this ISO at this level of clarity. ;)

    This is not a Canon vs Nikon thread, let's not turn this into that. I responded to someone who said that Canon had better low light shooting capabilities... uhhmm... no. Canon has other things, but this is currently Nikon's domain. This will likely change in the future, but it is not the way it is now or since 2007 when the D3 came out.
  20. JerryPH
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    JerryPH New Member

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    That is a fact. :)

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