Low Light Photo Taking Help

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by TurboDSM91, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. TurboDSM91

    TurboDSM91 TPF Noob!

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    I am still new to this forum and photography in general so if this is a repost i am sorry.

    I have a Rebel XSi and i can take great shots (atleast in my opinion) during the day or decently lit areas.
    I always have trouble in low light though. Last evening (sun setting) i tried taking shots with my camera and my new 28-135mm lens of cars at a car show and every pic came out fuzzy like the focus was just off. Also the pics looked grainy (could be the long exposure i had). Kinda ticks me of because the other day i was taking pics with the same setup and they looked great. I just need to be educated on taking still shots and sports photography in low light.
     
  2. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    for low light you need several things, to be able to open the lens up i.e. 2.8, raise iso, which will give you "noise" (grainy).

    using a tripod with long exposures is a must, so based on your photos appearing fuzzy i will quess they were handheld at a low shutter speed which ends up with camera shake.

    every camera and lens has limitation, you need to learn what your equipment will do and stay within those limitation, or up grade to something that will provice you with the results you want.

    however, that would be the last thing to do, first thing, but your camera on a tripod for low light situations,using a large aperture opening (small number) and remember as you zoom out on that lens your fstop is going to stop down which means your shutter is going to be slower, which brings us back to a tripod.
     
  3. pmsnel

    pmsnel TPF Noob!

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    I have the rebel as well (mine has the 450D label) and I have to say that it doesn't handle low light conditions well in the p-mode. You really have to twiddle with the thing and get it out of auto iso. And yes use a tripod and keep in mind your shutter speed. Rather shoot in raw and use a faster shutter speed and light up the picture afterwards than having a veeeeerrrrrry slow shutter speed as it tends to choose in p-mode.

    And if this doesn't work: Get yourself a good flash (haven't got one myself yet, but it's on my list!)
     
  4. Big Mike

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

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    Light is required to make an exposure (take a picture). The camera controls how much light gets to the film/sensor by adjusting the aperture (size of hole in lens) and the shutter speed (length of time).

    As the light levels get low, you can open the aperture to let in more light...but before long, you reach your maximum aperture. So then you have to use a longer (slower) shutter speed.
    The shutter speed controls how motion is captured. A slower shutter speed will show motion as blur...it could be motion of the subject (sports etc.) or it could be motion of the camera (holding it in your hands while shooting).
    So if you are shooting a static subject, you could use a tripod to keep the camera still, but if you are shooting moving subject, a faster shutter speed will be required.

    The obvious solution is to use a lens with a larger maximum aperture. Your lens, for example, has a variable max aperture of F3.5 (at 28mm) and F5.6 (at 135mm).
    A 'fast' lens would be something like the 50mm F1.8. F1.8 is more than three times as big as F5.6.

    There is another factor, which is the ISO. The ISO is the scale of 'sensitivity' for film, and for digital, it's the scale of amplification. As you turn up the ISO, the digital signal from the sensor is amplified...thus allowing you to use less light for an exposure.
    In other words, when you turn up the ISO, you can get a faster shutter speed, and thus less blur. Sounds great right? The trade off is digital noise. As the signal is amplified, it causes distortion, which shows up in the image as digital noise. Most cameras will allow you to turn the ISO up higher than you probably want to go, so it's up to you to determine how much noise you can live with....but noise is better than blur.

    Of course, there is the option to just add more light (flash etc.)
     
  5. TurboDSM91

    TurboDSM91 TPF Noob!

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    Ok, i have the cameras built in flash (obviously) but my photography teaher this semester hounded on not using the flash.

    Yes the photos were being handheld and there probably was some camera shake. Though i did try again this morning by using just natual light from the window and took pictures of my ceiling fan while positioned on my couch so that camera shake was impossible and i still wound up with fuzziness.

    So with sports what should i do? i am supposed to get individual shots at times and when zoomed in i get dark pictures or if i turn up the iso i get grains.

    This picture for instance is after some editing and correction yet you can still see grains and it is dark. this was with a 75-300mm lens and a 1600 iso on a monopod, from a considerable distance away. here flash was not allowed. yet i took pictures right next to a lady who was getting great colorful shots that froze action but she wouldnt really talk to me.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    your trying to take images with the camera that has serious limitations. You need to be able to raise your iso higher, which is going to create more noise.


    You can have anything you want, you just can't have everything.

    why not try some actions shots in a better location? i.e. a better lite gym for instance.
     
  7. Big Mike

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

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    Did you use touch the camera when taking the photo? To be perfectly still, you need to use a remote or the self timer etc. But while you can eliminate camera shake, a moving subject (ceiling fan) will still be blurry if the shutter speed isn't fast enough to freeze it.

    Get a better (faster) lens. Shooting sports (especially in low light) is one of the most demanding types of photography. Pro sports shooters use lenses that cost many thousands of dollars, because that's what is often needed to get the shot.

    Also, it should be said that noise really comes out in a photo, when you have to use software to 'fix' the exposure. For example, your shot above is underexposed and that's after it's had 'some editing and correction'.
    If you expose for your subject (not the scene in general) you shouldn't have to fix the exposure and thus won't have nearly as much noise.
     
  8. subscuck

    subscuck No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [​IMG]

    You're underexposed by about a couple stops. There's no exif, so I don't know where aperture and shutter speed were. What metering mode are you using? Between the window in the left, and the curtain behind, in Evaluative Metering the lens is reading a lot of light, hence it gives you a fast shutter speed. IDK if XSi has Spot Metering. If it does, use that. If not, Partial would be better than Evaluative. But as I just realized, if your using an auto mode, you can't change metering, Evaluative is default. If you're using an auto mode, try using Av so you can control metering and ISO. Backlit shots like this really can't be pulled off in auto very easily, you need to control some things that the camera won't let you.
     
  9. TurboDSM91

    TurboDSM91 TPF Noob!

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    i always shoot in M. Everything is adjustable, i was using evaluative metering, i will switch to spot metering.
    Ann: the XSi is what i could afford at the time. I'd much rather hear how to work with what i have then how many limitations the camera has.
    Big Mike: The ceiling fan was still and not moving, i was hand holding the camera but was well supported.
    when it comes to lenses i cant spend thousands, i'm limited to hundreds haha. i like the 28-135mm but just am no good at low light shots. I am experimenting with lowering the strength of my built in flash and am starting to get better fill light shots
     
  10. j-digg

    j-digg TPF Noob!

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    This is one type of situation where your gear is a limiting factor, and thats basically that. It doesnt matter how good you are, you arent going to be able to get a decent exposure with 1/640 @ 5.6 in those gym lights with the XSi's ISO capabilities :\ It looks like youre quite far away from the action as well, in which case your built in flash wouldnt do much ( if anything ). Id just recommend taking pics in burst at a reasonable shutter speed and hoping one of the series comes out decent.

    PS: I have a DSM too :D 95 Talon TSi AWD. Fun cars.
     
  11. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    i understand, but i was just trying to help you understand that the equipment is a limitation.
     
  12. TurboDSM91

    TurboDSM91 TPF Noob!

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    I couldnt pass up the black friday deal that presented itself for the XSi. In the future i will certainly upgrade the body

    If anyone wants to donate a 50d let me know ;)

    J-digg - Hey, always good to meet a fellow DSMTuner! I love these cars...at times haha
     

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