What max shutter speed for people around bonfire?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Soonershooter, Sep 26, 2008.

  1. Soonershooter

    Soonershooter TPF Noob!

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    I want to take some available-light photos of people around a bonfire and I'd like to keep the ISO setting as low as possible. I know I'll have to put my camera on a tripod, but I don't have a feel for the longest exposure time that I can get away with. Of course, I'm worried that people will move a little bit and my picture will be out of focus.

    If the people are seated and trying to be cooperative, how long can I expect them to be still after I say "Everybody, Hold it"? 1/4 second? Perhaps 1 second?

    Does anyone have experience doing this?
     
  2. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There is no one setting. Sorry, but you are going to have to play. I will say this... bonfires are not usually very bright, I hope you have a fast lens and/or a camera that works well at higher ISO, else you will get motion blur.
     
  3. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    What kind of glass are you using? To be honest, of you're wanting to try to stop the movement of the people, it's probably not going to happen without a slowsync from a flash. Even then, youre going to get some ghostly.......ghosts looking things

    ~Michael~
     
  4. Soonershooter

    Soonershooter TPF Noob!

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    To answer the question from IFLYNETHING, I would probably use a 50 mm f/1.8 lens and I could go to ISO 3200. But I think you guys are missing the intent of the original question. I was asking about the slowest shutter speed that I could reasonably use without getting blur. Your answers seem to be more concerned with whether I could get the proper exposure, which is a little different question.
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    1 second might be pushing it a little, but maybe not... How still can your friends sit?

    If some of them can't sit still for 1 second (doesn't sound very hard, but some people just can't stop moving...lol) 1/4 should be doable (if they try to sit still). If they're not cooperating at all I think you'd need 1/40 or faster. It will probably be pretty hard to get a shutter speed that fast though.

    You might have to deal with a little bit of blur, or get everyone nice and drunk and take the pictures once everyone is passed out around the fire.
     
  6. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Depending on your friends to be good photographic subjects while at night... not a good idea. :lmao:

    As far as shuter speeds... depends yet again.

    - Will you be using a tripod?
    - How big/bright is the fire going to be?
    - How good is your shooting technique?
    - How far away are you going to be from your subject?

    I know it is obvious but, you do know that anyone you place in front of the fire will be silhouetted, yes? You do know that if you use ISO 3200, you will have a TON of noise too, right?

    As you can tell, there is again no one fixed answer due to too many variables. If you answer all the questions, we can give you the exact info... unfortunately, as you are finding out... there are a lot of variables!

    So in the end, the answer is... only YOU can find out once you are there, and even then simple changes like a displacement of 3 feet in any direction, and your settings can change again.
     
  7. Drake

    Drake TPF Noob!

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    Noone mentioned the influence of focal length? Results may be very different when using 18mm and 50mm lens.
     
  8. McQueen278

    McQueen278 TPF Noob!

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    I'd use a flash around 1/8-1/16th power, a 1/60th shutter speed at f/2.8 and an ISO 0f 800.
     
  9. Soonershooter

    Soonershooter TPF Noob!

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    Okay. Let me try to re-state the question with enough specificity that people can feel comfortable with giving a specific answer.

    Using only available light, with the camera on a tripod, and two or three seated people attempting to hold their poses, what is the longest exposure time that you have personally used on a photo and still not had a blur problem due to the movement of the subjects?
     
  10. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    It depends on how much the person is moving...

    If they're asleep you could probably get away with 30 seconds to a couple minutes.
    If they're moving around a lot you may need 1/60 or better.

    Trust me - I understand what you're asking, but there is no way any of us can answer that without being there.

    It doesn't really matter what the longest exposure any of us have gotten away with because your conditions will be different than ours.

    If I said I was able to shoot a portrait once with a 3 minute exposure is that what you would shoot everything at?
     
  11. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm going to assume you're using a digital camera since you mentioned adjusting the ISO...

    Take a picture, say somewhere around 1/40. Zoom in on it on the LCD on the back of the camera. Is it blurry? Bump the ISO a little and use a faster shutter speed for the next one.
    If it wasn't blurry lower the ISO a little and try a slower shutter speed.

    I don't understand why it is so important that you must know the exact shutter speed to use before you get there. Your memory card can probably hold a couple hundred images, experiment a little.
     
  12. JerryPH

    JerryPH No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    What does the ambeint meter at? There is a big difference in ambient between 6:00PM and 9:00PM, and thats a small 3 hour window of time! (Poor gent, is likely thinking that I am being a bit of an ass now, but really, I feel I am asking pertinent questions!)

    Also, don't go too high in the ISO department. Unless you have a D3 or D700, anything over ISO 400 is going to start to add a ton of noise to your picture!

    I wonder when it will finally catch that the words "IT DEPENDS" catches on. ;) :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2008

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