"Subject is too dark"....

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by dan.rpo, Dec 28, 2008.

  1. dan.rpo

    dan.rpo TPF Noob!

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    i like taking night pictures, however, sometimes the camera will flash and say "subject is too dark" and will not allow me to take a picture even if there is some source of light, though it may be very minute...how can i take a picture in whatever lighting conditions i want, even though the camera thinks its "too dark"?
     
  2. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Use a big aperture, but photography is all about light if there is none why shoot
     
  3. TwoRails

    TwoRails TPF Noob!

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    What camera settings are you using? Manual, auto, 'P' mode, with flash, etc.??
     
  4. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When there is only a small light source and a lot of darkness, your camera will register for "a lot of darkness" (actually it will "think" : "Hey, it is waaaay too dark out here for me to take a decent photo"). With auto focus settings this will lead to the fact that your auto focus can NO longer focus. There is way too little for it to see. Then it's time to quickly switch to manual focus and focus on the available light sources. Exposure will need to become a bit of a guess, I assume, since your camera will always keep thinking "it is too dark for me here". Assuming that you work with a tripod, you can test large apertures and comparatively short shutter speeds (which will still be a lot longer than those you get during daylight, of course), or - which will give you better defined light - a smaller aperture and even longer shutter speeds of up to 20 or even 30 seconds. You then best even set the camera on timer (if - like me - you don't have a remote control) and have it take the pic all by itself without you touching it, and letting it expose for those 30 seconds (which turns into a long time, you'll wait and see - my daughter swims the length of the Olympic sized pool in that time). After that it will turn into a bit of a game, which makes it extra pleasing, more so when you get a good result and begin to see more in the photo than you were able to see with your own eyes. :DBut it means, of course, that you go ALL manual, since the automatics inside the camera will forever only register "darkness-darkness-darkness"!
     
  5. AlexColeman

    AlexColeman TPF Noob!

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    What are you using?
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You will need to override the camera somehow. Check the manual to see if it is possible. A lot of cameras will produce junk photos especially at nighttime when left to their own automatic methods.
     
  7. SandShots

    SandShots TPF Noob!

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    shoot in manual mode.
     
  8. dan.rpo

    dan.rpo TPF Noob!

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    when i got that message i was in manual mode...i had it on f/5.6, i dont remember what the shutter speed was for a "normal exposure" at the time...i was on a tripod and i DO have a remote control...the picture i was taking was a lonely street lamp on a very foggy night. that was the only light source and i was from a decent distance, id say a good 50ft from the light.....how could i have taken that picture without the camera prohibiting me and saying "it is too dark for me to take a picture"?
     
  9. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    What camera are you using? On manual mode, I don't know why it would be preventing you from taking a picture...
     
  10. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think the reason why you can't get a photo is not because your camera thinks it's "too dark", but because it can't lock focus. If there's not enough light for the AF system to "see", your camera can't lock focus, and it won't let you take the exposure.
     
  11. dan.rpo

    dan.rpo TPF Noob!

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    i am using a Nikon d40....well for example...i tried again another shot last night that had one very small light source in a completely dark room...i tried to take the exposure at big apertures (5.6, 8 etc) and it would give me the same "subject is too dark" message..however, when i got smaller and smaller, (f/32 - the smallest i could go i believe), i was able to take the shot with a 20 second exposure....so is that all i should have done in my first situation? increase the aperture until it let me take the shot?
     
  12. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sounds like you need to use bulb. (You need an exposure longer than 30 seconds.)

    Are you sure about those f/ numbers? 5.6 sound give you a much faster exposure time than f/32.

    You could also raise the ISO.
     

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