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View Full Version : Tips for very low light photography without a tripod?



Rex914
09-01-2006, 10:54 PM
Tomorrow night, I will be dining at a nice steakhouse that I've only been to once before. Because it's a fairly rare occasion, I want to take some pictures of the food this time around because it was really nicely styled last time.

The lighting is very poor in this restaurant from a photographic perspective and will most likely land me in the 1/4 - 1/6 second shutter speed realm, even after bumping up to maximum ISO (which is only 200 on this model). Obviously, I don't want to use flash for multiple reasons.

Are there any special tips for taking pictures in this situation?

I've tried using table props before to stabilize the camera, but I've still gotten a fair amount of shake, even with that aid.

MindBender
09-02-2006, 04:35 AM
Get yourself a mini-tripod. I got a little Targus one that's all steel with telescoping legs for $3.99 USD (YMMV). It goes from about 3 1/2 inches to about 6 or 8 inches and has an indipendant lock for the swivel on the mount. Closed down it's about 4 inches long and 1 inch diameter. Fits in my pocket no problem. I keep it in the glovebox of my car actually, so I always have it with me. Would be easy to carry with your camera and doesn't make much of a footprint so it would fit on a table easily.

Otherwise, you're talking about needing a higher ISO or more light.

Good luck.

coldrain
09-02-2006, 05:07 AM
i'd say

1. get a new camera already!

2. get a good tripod that noticably does not let the camera move when you touch the camera/operate it.

3. Use lower ISO anyway, since you are lloking at long exposures even with higher ISO. The low ISO noise performance is worth it (unless the food is still alive).

4. Use the timer (probably it has a timer to make self portraits), that will eliminate movement from you pressing the shutter.

5. take care of setting custom white balance on a white piece of paper, if your camera supports custom white balance. It is worth it!

Rex914
09-02-2006, 09:56 AM
1. get a new camera already!

I wish I could, but I'm forbidden from getting a new one until I graduate from college, and that's still at least a year away.


2. get a good tripod that noticably does not let the camera move when you touch the camera/operate it.

Not a bad idea. I think one of those table-top tripods mentioned above might do the trick...


4. Use the timer (probably it has a timer to make self portraits), that will eliminate movement from you pressing the shutter.

I can try this out, provided I can prop it in such a way that it won't move.


5. take care of setting custom white balance on a white piece of paper, if your camera supports custom white balance. It is worth it!

No such function unfortunately.

Thanks for the suggestions!

JLV
09-02-2006, 10:02 AM
For low budget and easy of carrying you like to try what I call a tripod less tripod.

I use a 1/4 x 20 bolt inserted in the tripod socket on the camera. To that I have attached a one foot wire. (I am using fishing leader wire. I think twisted picture hanging wire would also work). To the loop I made at the outer end of the
wire, I attach a shock cord. I step on the end of the cord and pull up. The pressure helps steady the hand.

This will give you much of the steadiness of a monopod. Yet it is easier to carry.

coldrain
09-02-2006, 10:08 AM
No custom white balance? Then make s pic with something white in it anyway, so you have a reference on how to adjust the colours with those lighting conditions. That will save you those blue meat headaches a bit.

toriaj
09-02-2006, 06:55 PM
For low budget and easy of carrying you like to try what I call a tripod less tripod.

I use a 1/4 x 20 bolt inserted in the tripod socket on the camera. To that I have attached a one foot wire. (I am using fishing leader wire. I think twisted picture hanging wire would also work). To the loop I made at the outer end of the
wire, I attach a shock cord. I step on the end of the cord and pull up. The pressure helps steady the hand.

This will give you much of the steadiness of a monopod. Yet it is easier to carry.

Could you give us a picture of what this looks like in use? It sounds very interesting, but a little hard to picture.

JLV
09-03-2006, 12:56 PM
Could you give us a picture of what this looks like in use? It sounds very interesting, but a little hard to picture.

I have attached a photo. One steps on the loose end of the shock cord and pulls the camera up.

I hope this helps.

MindBender
09-03-2006, 06:03 PM
I use a 1/4 x 20 bolt inserted in the tripod socket on the camera.
...
The pressure helps steady the hand.

I can see this being useful on a metal tripod mount with a large enough camera to get a good hold on it... wouldn't a P&S camera with a plastic tripod mount just slip and/or break the mount?

Although... I'm kinda enjoying the mental image of some guy going to a candle light formal dinner with friends... and whipping that contraption out... getting hauled off by the matre'd... ;) hehehe

It's a good idea, I love MacGyver stuff :D , just funny to think about.

toriaj
09-03-2006, 09:06 PM
JLV, the pic helps a lot! Okay, stretching up the shock cord helps to steady the shot? Funny how that would work. But a very creative solution!

JLV
09-04-2006, 11:10 AM
I can see this being useful on a metal tripod mount with a large enough camera to get a good hold on it... wouldn't a P&S camera with a plastic tripod mount just slip and/or break the mount?


I used a stainless steel bolt because thatís what I had. I would have liked a softer material. I found I had a plastic bolt, originally intended to bolt licence plates on cars. I have now started to use that rather than the steel one. My steel bolt had a hex head which was easier to turn with my fingers, but the plastic will work. I have been using this rig on my Panasonic FZ20. I used one
of my film SLRs in the photo.