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Shooting at low light (Practising)

Discussion in 'Sony Alpha E-Mount Cameras' started by alaios, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

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    Dear all,
    I will be photo shooting tomorrow a concert where the light conditions would be quite low.

    I have started practicing for the easy case where target does not move. So I went to my room I turned on a very weak lamp and tried to shoot at different options.

    Below you will find the options I tried. For some reason I do not see too much of qualitative difference between those, in terms of noise accumulation.

    1 )I think the ideal for tomorrow's concert is to make the camera stay at 1600 and have a shutter speed that will not blur too much. Luckily this is a classical concert so the actors/signers do not move that radically
    2) Last time I was shooting at portrait mode, as the camera was doing an excellent job at tracking the face. I am not sure how this can be combined (portrait mode) with custom settings


    iso 1600, f/8, 1/80
    [​IMG]


    iso 1600 1600. f/5, 1/200
    [​IMG]
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    iso 6400, f/8, 1/125
    [​IMG]


    iso 12800, f/9, 1/500
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    With a NEX body and dim lighting conditions, I'd consider using MF. The dof should not be too shallow, and your distance shouldn't change that much, so you're faster with it in every case.
     
  3. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

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    Underexposure creates much more noise than high iso so I rather use high enough iso. Lens sharpness is generally ok if you stop down one aperture step and shake/movement of sitting subjects is not a problem even at 1/50 second (with 50 mm objective). I would put camera into aperture priority mode and put aperture to 8 and adjust iso so that exposure time would be reasonable. You may have to experiment with exposure compensation too. Or use manual mode. Remember histograms ore your friends.

    The best advise is to experiment until you find a suitable combination. Unfortunately I don't know if any of thore fancy program modes would be usable.
     
  4. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

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    Yes, that too.
     
  5. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount All-Pro

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    For me it depends on what your looking for. I kinda like the noise in dark concert pics. Gives a little more feel to it like film. My sister in law has a local band and I take pics for them quite often. I usually use my 50mm 1.4 at the smaller venues where I know lighting will be a problem. I try to stay at 1600 but usually venture into 3200.

    [​IMG]

    This second pic was actually two stitched together.... Problem with the 50mm in tight quarters. Lol

    But as you can see they don't look horrible at 3200 IMHO. Artsy rather than documentary I would say.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

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    What would you be your starting value for exposure time for slowly moving human bodies? Why also u put aperture to 8?
     
  7. Deadbear77

    Deadbear77 TalkEmount All-Pro

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    I usually try to keep shutter speed of at least 1/80, I think I shot these at f2.0 1/120 3200
     
  8. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    Depends on focal length and whether it has OSS or not. I guess you use the kit lens - if so, he meant that stopping down from f/5.6 (the maximum aperture of that lens at 50mm) to f/8 gives you more sharpness (like with any lens). However, in most cases I'd rather loose some sharpness to get less noise, but that's subjective.

    With the kit lens at 50mm, keep the shutter speed above 1/50 for good results. With a non-stabilized 50mm lens, try to stay below 1/100 if somehow possible. ISO 3200 should not be a problem with modern Sony cameras, but don't go over that if you want pleasing pictures (well, 6400 CAN look good - depending on the lighting).
     
  9. xXx1

    xXx1 TalkEmount All-Pro Subscribing Member

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    It depends. Slowly walking people are not generally a great problem. The old 1/mm (where mm is focal length) is a good starting point. Motion blur isn't always even undesirable.

    Many lenses perform best from about one stop stopped down to about 11 or 16. Wide open there is more spherical aberration (that is, spherical lenses don't have a singe focal length but a narrow range and it blurs the image) and with smaller apertures diffraction causes problems. All lenses (even very expensive ones) are results of compromises and one compromise is that you have a faster lens but it is softer especially wide open. Aperture 8 is great from depth of field point too.

    Softness isn't always a bad point. Old soft focus lenses sell for something like 400 USD.

    Anyway, I would start to experiment about aperture 8 and not to be afraid if I would use high iso. There are programs that are very good at removing noise (I use free GIMP) but I have no personal experience with them. Anyway noise isn't always terrible.

    The most important thing is to try to learn from every assignment. I am sure that you will be much better photographer than me if you want to. To me photography is more documenting than art. I mostly photograph things like that:
    [​IMG]

    There is quite much that you can do to the photos afterwards, just exposure compensation (remember the is additional information in the raw file), white balance, cropping, noise removal and sharpening can turn a average photo to good one in many cases.
     
  10. alaios

    alaios TalkEmount All-Pro

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    Well have noticed that for the kit lens 1855 at 55 I can not have anything better than f 4.5 ... no change to get anything better so that pretty much explains the noise I get in all the pictures above
     
  11. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer Charter Member

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    f/4.5? You waned to say f/5.6, right? And yep, that's one of the reasons people buy either primes or super expensive 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses. You can't expect to get everything from a super cheap kit lens.
     
  12. msullivan

    msullivan TalkEmount Regular

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    Amazing what quality can be achieved from even high ISOs.
     
  13. fishmatter

    fishmatter New to TalkEmount

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    Bear in mind that the maximum light levels at a concert are far from low. It's just that with all the unilluminated areas the average is. I don't bother metering stuff when I shoot concerts anymore - I just eyeball a few in manual and then lock it somewhere that I know will work. Unless the lighting is completely inconsistent, that is. But I rarely need to push the ISO too high, and most shots end up being around 2.8 @1/50 or a bit faster. If the band is jumping around I buy as many stops as I need with ISO.
     

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