Zooming while maintaining a wide aperture and fast shutter in low-light?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Church Rat, Jun 13, 2007.

  1. Church Rat

    Church Rat TPF Noob!

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    I want to take concert photos and night photos, and of course there will be low-light. I don't want to use the flash. I won't be using a tripod for the concerts photos, and the camera does not have an Image Stabilizer.

    1st:
    Can this be done? When zooming big, I want to maintain a wide aperture, but every time I zoom the aperture doesn't stay wide, it changes to the next higher aperture. For example: I want it to stay at 3.5, but when I zoom it goes to 4, 4.5, 5, 5.6, 6, 6.3.


    2nd:
    When I'm in A mode, I can only adjust the aperture, but not shutter. When I'm in S mode, I can only adjust the shutter, but not aperture. Is there a mode that I can use to change both the aperture and shutter?

    3rd:
    My camera goes up to ISO 3200. Which is the best to use for a concert and for night cityscapes? What type of effect will the ISO have on the aperture and shutter speed?


    I have been reading the manual, but the manual only gives so much information. Maybe someone can suggest me a good book in aperture, shutter speed, exposure...and well, you know a beginner's guide with in-depth information?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First - read the manual. And I dont mean that negatively - but seriously, the manual - life saver.

    Second - pick up Understanding Exposure.

    Of course it can - for a fee. Telephoto lenses that stay wide at the end of their length are NOT cheap; they arent meant to be since they serve a very specefic purpose; sports/concert photography obviously.

    M. For Manual Mode.

    Depends. As noone knows what camera you have, they cant recommend a good low-light iso setting since that will behave differently on different cameras. Some do it well - some dont.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    It can, but the problem will be the long shutter speed required. Any movement by the camera or the subject will cause blur.

    This is a limitation of your lens. The maximum aperture is different as you change the focal length. Higher quality lenses often have 'constant' maximum apertures.

    That's right, A is aperture priority and S is shutter priority. You change the priority setting and the camera gives you the appropriate other setting.

    Yes, Manual mode (probably M). However, this does not mean that you can just change your setting to what you want, and get a great shot. You still have to capture enough light to get the exposure.

    The higher the ISO, the more noise you will get in your images. Try it and see.
    When you increase the ISO, you are essentially increasing the sensitivity of the sensor...so you can get an exposure with less light. For each stop you increase the ISO (100 --> 200 --> 400), you can shorten the shutter speed by one stop (1/125 --> 1/250 --> 1/500)...or you could reduce the size of the aperture by one stop.

    For still subjects at night, use a tripod or other support. For concerts, use a wide aperture (low F number) and a high ISO...in order to get as fast a shutter speed as possible.

    [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Exposure-Photographs-Digital-Updated/dp/0817463003/ref=pd_sim_b_3_img/103-9278322-5495851"]Understanding Exposure[/ame]
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Learn to use your spot meter in manual mode. Here's a brief tut. This guy seems to have a handle on it... http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1034&message=11196709

    If you just meter off what you think is middle grey it won't help you much but if you bounce around it will help to get you into a range of expos' and help you with the mood shots as well.

    Aren't you glad you got a Nikon?

    BTW a 50mm f1.8 would help a lot. You can crop easier than you can get good exposure with no subject movement using a tele/zoom. You could also look for a 180mm or a 135mm f2.8 in an AI (manual focus) if you are going to be using manual mode. Both are great lenses, fast and you can usually pick up one for a song.

    mike
     
  5. Church Rat

    Church Rat TPF Noob!

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    Thank you all for your help and information. You all are right that I am able to change the Shutter and Aperture in Manual mode (M). I don't know why I didn't think it didn't work that way, because I've messed with all the modes. I also have a P mode (Program), but haven't really messed with that setting that much yet.

    Also, I have ordered the "Understanding Exposure" book off of Amazon. Hope to get it next week. I'm really interested in learning the basics of photography and so much more. I'm not someone who wants to take the easy way out...just looking for some information before hand.

    Some of you know already that I ended up getting the Nikon D80, and I am really loving it. I took some pictures of the old Bullock's Building in L.A. (now Southwestern Law School) across from where I live, and it's actually 2 blocks away. I took this picture from my room and the window has a screen over it, so I was actually just really amazed at what a good shot I got with the lens having to focus through the screen. It's not a great pic by any means though, I know.

    [​IMG]

    Mike_E: Thanks for the link of using the spot meter. I used spot meter on this picture above just to test things out. I don't know if it actually made a difference though, because it was dark and really didn't know exactly what to look for.

    You had suggested a 50mm f1.8 lens. Is that a normal lens or wide angle lens? I also was looking online at the "wider aperture" lens f.14, but I noticed how expensive it was too. Heh, does it make a big difference when it comes to low-light? I'm sure the f1.4 is the best for all light, but, I guess what I'm trying to say is...is it worth it?

    As for those manual focus lenses you mentioned (180mm/135mm f2.8) I think I would lean towards that too being that I've not been using the auto focus feature that often when I'm taking photos. I will definitely keep it in mind! :0)

    Thanks again for all the info!

    Vicky~
     
  6. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    OK the lens you have is a variable aperture lens - that is the maximum aperture available depends on the focal length. At the wide end the aperture will be larger than at the long end so you. Your lens will be something like 18-200 f3.5-6.3. This is just too slow for using at a concert.

    Buy something like an 85mm f1.8 prime lens. OK you can't zoom but 85mm is pretty long and if you are close enough you'll get great shots. A wide aperture like f1.8 means you can keep the ISO down and shutter speeds up. If you need to have a zoom, then you need something fast like the 70-200 f2.8 - not cheap! :)

    Although you can change both in M, your aperture will still not be able to go larger than f6.3 at the long end. That's all your lens will alow. By making the shutter speed faster you must maintain a proper exposure so your ISO will need to go up. the higher tyhe ISO the more grain (digital noise) you'll see in your images. ISO 3200 is usually pretty noisy and poor quality however if you convert to B&W you may be able to rescue some nice images using Noise Ninja (noise reducing software).

    Av mode (I guess A on your D80) is aperture priority so you get to control only the aperture and the camera controls the shutter speed to get a correct exposure. Using Tv mode is the opposite. You get to control shutter speed and the camera automatically changes aperture so that you get a correct exposure. If you select a fast shutter speed though the camera may not be able to select a wide enough aperture and an error will be shown (probably a flashing aperture) indicating that a correct exposure can not be made. Under/Over exposure may occur.

    After you've read understanding exposure this will make more sense. At a low light concert ISO800 or ISO1600 are probably required (depends on the amount of light you have). Using higher ISOs means noisier images. :(

    However if you need high shutter speeds you may have no option. You really need a faster lens.

    I always recommend the excellent "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Petersen. A simple but very effective book on exposure explaining the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and giving some useful tips on getting a correct exposure.


    Regards
    JD
     

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