Shooting in dim places?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by poopingfish, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. poopingfish

    poopingfish TPF Noob!

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    Went to go take pictures of some of my friends indoor today.
    Very poor lighting, I was forced to use flash, an ISO of 800, and a shurrt of 1/30th if Im lucky. I was REALLY trying not to hit 1600.
    Is this about as good as it gets? I usually sat around f/3.5 and 5.6 with the stock 18-55.

    Are there any tricks or can anyone give advice for shooting in low light like this? It sucks trying to get that shot when someone gets bunkered or a big moment and everyone is blurry. Especially in general having to shoot hand held. Thanks guys
     
  2. gryphonslair99

    gryphonslair99 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Well lighting and how to use it is a huge issue in photography. Most of these suggestions are probably not going to make you happy, but I can't change physics.

    First, A huge reason for faster glass, f2.8 and faster, is low light. Bigger aperture = more light = faster shutter speeds. Faster glass usually means more money, especially if you want a zoom lens with a constant f2.8 aperture.

    Second, A way to make up for slower glass is as you found, high ISO and post processing. Not the ideal, but you do the best to get the shot. Keep in mind that if the exposure is dead on, the noise will be reduced compared to a so-so exposure.

    Third, flash is your friend. Not that little piece of junk that is built into the camera, but a shoe mount unit. Learn to embrace and use it. Here are a couple of excellent resources for learning to use flash.
    http://planetneil.com/tangents/flash-photography-techniques/
    This is written for Canon EOS units but has good information everyone can use.
    http://photonotes.org/articles/eos-flash/

    Finally, good photographic technique is of the up most importance. Part of good photographic technique is knowing what equipment to use, when and then using it. Low light = tripod. Low light = flash. Low light = tripod and flash. Depends on the situation. Might not be the most convenient, but a photo in focus is better than one that is not.
     
  3. sultan

    sultan TPF Noob!

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    Are you shooting in pitch darkness? This is very strange. I can shoot in my basement at night at just ISO 400 and 1/200 second exposure (with flash). Just a hint, you don't need a long exposure for flash, flash is very fast and only a bit more light is added in the rest of the time. Make sure you are doing a full flash dump and using the largest aperture possible. If it still isn't good enough, try one of these lenses:
    - Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lens - About $100
    - Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens - About $350
    - Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 Wide Angle Lens - About $360

    UPDATE - Yes, as gryfonslair99 said, an external flash and tripod are very useful in low light. It's just that external flashes are rather clunky and tripods take time to set up, so I wouldn't use them for casual pictures.
     
  4. passerby

    passerby TPF Noob!

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    When the picture need to be taken, than it must be taken regardless. Low quality photo is better than no photo et al. When the need comes to take picture difficult situation and in hurry - use auto mode. When ther is time than manual or semi auto.

    In my work place there is an enlarge photo from end to end of the wall that was taken in the late 1800. Grainy B/W photo of a station in one of Sydney suburb. That 30 km distance from the city was the end of the world back then. Thank God that someone took that picture, so that we today may understand what 1800 look like.
     
  5. poopingfish

    poopingfish TPF Noob!

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    I couldnt use a tripod. Was on field following other players.
    Im looking at getting a new lense, but being the age I am I have no job. Therefore no income for things like this.
    I realize a faster lense would definitely help. But wouldnt a lower f stop mean only a slight part of the field and players would be in focus?
    How much would an okay or budget external flash be?

    I almost bought the 50 /1.8 prime but ended up getting a new monitor.
    I want a longer lense so I can take tighter shots. I cant get close to players or else I get shot. I dont have 350 to drop on a lense though.
    A 200mm or something would be ideal if possible, like a 50-200 or somethng.

    Oh and one more question, how come I cant go over 200 shutter with flash? Its not necessarily needed but is kind of an annoyance.
    Lastly, I still dont fully understand the "metering" modes and how I can change the flash. How can I make sure its "flashing fully"?
     
  6. sultan

    sultan TPF Noob!

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    Telephoto = Small Aperture or Giant Heavy Lens that is useless without a Tripod and costs a fortune

    You can't get low light telephoto on a budget.

    If you want low light on a budget, the 50mm f/1.8 can't be beat.
     
  7. poopingfish

    poopingfish TPF Noob!

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    I guess I could just shoot large and crop them myself. Argh.
    http://www.pbnation.com/showthread.php?p=45299199#post45299199
    Theres the link to my PB thread on the paintball forums. You can download them if you want and see how most of them turned out. Its hard running around taking pictures while being shot at. Haha.
     
  8. Mav

    Mav TPF Noob!

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    Try 1/125s or 1/200s instead. You won't have any motion blur, and you're actually using the flash more efficiently at that point since you're proportionally using more of the flash and less ambient light for the exposure. The flash burst only lasts about 1/1000s. What will happen at faster shutter speeds with a flash is that you'll get less background natural lighting and more of your subjects with flash lighting only. My indoor lighting at night is around EV3 (dark corners) to EV5 in the better spots. I tend to get pretty good results shooting my 11 month old at iso400, 1/125s, and f/2.8 to f/5.6 apertures.
     
  9. poopingfish

    poopingfish TPF Noob!

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    I wanted too but at higher shutter speeds then 1/30 you couldnt see anything in the background.
     
  10. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The reason he cannot get above 1/200th using his flash, is that this is his maximum sync speed.
     
  11. sultan

    sultan TPF Noob!

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    The reason you see nothing in the background at fast shutter speeds and flash is that your flash doesn't have enough range. No flash that I know of can light up a field. poopingfish, you need a fast lens and high ISO to get what you want. Even then, a tripod would help a lot. Thats all you can do on a budget. Maybe try the highlights and shadows tool on your computer and turn up the shadows slider all the way. It will degrade the IQ but you will see the background.
     

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