Question about low light photos

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by skywalkerbeth, Feb 12, 2008.

  1. skywalkerbeth

    skywalkerbeth TPF Noob!

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    Hi

    I am curious to know if this is a good idea, in general.

    I don't have a full size tripod yet, so I only take handheld photos.

    When the lighting is dim, I will set the camera to shutter priority and set the shutter on 1/60 or sometimes as low as 1/40. I just let the camera pick its own aperture, which in some cases could be 1.4 - or even in daylight but near a tall building it might pick 3.5, etc.

    I have not experimented with using anything above 100 ISO yet - that's next.

    Is that a good general strategy for low lighting or should I just bump up the ISO (how much is optimal) and/or vow to only use a tripod (which I cannot do yet, and in many cases just don't want to cart it around, for instance when traveling...). Or is there something yet I'm just not thinking of?

    thanks!
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    The problem is that when it gets dim or dark...you will very quickly be limited by your max aperture.

    Say you put the camera into Tv and set it to 1/60. It won't be long until F1.4 won't be large enough (and your DOF will be fairly thin).

    I think that a better method would be to set the aperture for the DOF that you want, using Av mode. There is no upper limit to the shutter speed.
    Keep in mind that a wider aperture will mean a faster shutter speed.
    Keep an eye on the shutter speed. If it drops below what you need to have to freeze subject motion of camera shake, then turn up your ISO until you get an adaquate shutter speed. (rule of thumb is 1/focal length for hand held).
     
  3. Big Bully

    Big Bully TPF Noob!

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    During the summer most of my shots are in low light situations. Or weird light situtaions for cameras. I do all of my photos w/o a tripod because mine are mainly of motorsports.
    I don't know much about ISO settings and shutter settings, I mainly let the camera pick it's own.. But when I tend to fool around with the settings I tend to get very artistic pictures. But, like I said most of my pictures are of vehicles moving at a fast rate. So I guess it all depends on what you are shooting.
     
  4. skywalkerbeth

    skywalkerbeth TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, I will try that!

    That is why I picked 1/60 with the lower limit of 1/40. But I do notice that many times my DOF is just not very good.

    What would be a good aperture for a decent DOF? Would say 5.6 be a good overall DOF?
     
  5. skywalkerbeth

    skywalkerbeth TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Meg.
     
  6. Big Mike

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

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    It depends on the focal length of the lens (35mm in your case) and the distance to the subject (and also on what you want to do). So in some situations, F1.4 or F1.8 might be enough...but in other scenarios, F8 or F11 might be what you want or need.
     
  7. Big Bully

    Big Bully TPF Noob!

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    Listen to Mike, he knows what he is talking about...

    Keep talking Mike :)
     
  8. Big Mike

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

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    I believe that your lens even has a DOF scale on it. So for a given distance and aperture, you can read what the DOF will be.

    I tried to find a good link for how to read that scale...this is the best I could find with a quick search. He's using a 10D, which has the same size sensor as you do, so it should fit. http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/technical/digitaldof.html
     
  9. skywalkerbeth

    skywalkerbeth TPF Noob!

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    Thank you, great info! more reading material...
     
  10. Proteus617

    Proteus617 TPF Noob!

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    A cheap tripod is about $20. A mini is about $10. That will save alot of frustration. Also, use your camera's self-timer. This will prevent you from shaking it around when you fire the shutter without the expense of a cable release.
     
  11. skywalkerbeth

    skywalkerbeth TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Proteus - I do use my timer. I have a tiny table top tripod, but it's useless in many cases. A tripod is on my list of things to buy, for certain.
     

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