View Full Version : Help! What do I set my camera at for shots in bad light?

11-06-2007, 11:16 AM
I posted this same question under the Canon LSR forum and I thought I'd try here too. I have a Canon Rebel XTi and haven't had it long. I'm trying to take pictures of my kids basketball games in florescent lighting. They're awful! I have the zoom lens on and have tried both the action setting and the auto setting. The action setting is a blurry mess and the auto setting is better but they have to be quite close or they're really dark. Ugh, is there any way to get a good shot under those bad lights?


11-06-2007, 12:31 PM
A big aperture (small f-number) and a high ISO setting is what you'll need. Unfortunatly, the high ISO setting will result in a noisy image.

11-06-2007, 02:40 PM
A DSLR takes knowledge of how a camera actually works, and how aperture, ISO, and shutter speed work with each other to expose an image properly. Neither the auto mode nor the scene mode will give you what you're looking for when it comes to telling the camera what to do instead of the camera telling you what it think it should do. So basically, how much time are you willing to put in to learn what you need to know?

11-07-2007, 12:09 AM
The pictures come out blury because the camera automatically sets longer shutter speed when there is not enough light.
So what you have to do is manually set the smallest f-stop number possible, boost the ISO as high as you can without actually ruining the shots with noise and then you can either let the camera set the shutter speed for you or you can set it yourself but it should probably be shorter than 1/100 if you want to shoot rapidly moving objects like people playing basketball...
EDIT: And get some book on how the cameras work. The things like ISO, f-stops, shutter speed etc... :)

11-14-2007, 02:22 PM
If you're photographing action in bad lighting, you're going to have to get a more low-light-capable, fast-aperture lens. A consumer zoom lens won't do it. Now, if you can get close, you can get a cheap solution in the form of a Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, only about a hundred bucks. Combined with some cropping of that 10MP image, you can get some nice results. If you need more low-light telephoto reach, however, things are going to get expensive (and heavy). The Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 is the cheapest and smallest option I'm aware of, at about $600.

Remember to use a higher ISO as well, 800 or probably 1600. Use noise reduction software to fix most of the resultant noise.

12-04-2007, 08:27 AM
Hi there, I went through this. Unfortunately I don't think any of the rebels can do ISO 3200 which is what I'm forced to use with flash in a gym, if you can't do ISO 3200 you're probably going to be forced to go to a dual flash setup (wireless slave) or get a better body. After you can get to the point of F5.6 consumer glass with flash (and get a 580EXII or a metz AF-58 with a p76 pack for the speed) then you have white balance issues to conquer. My original 20D is nowhere as good at white balance in the gym as my 30D is---the problem is mixed lighting, the overhead lights are not daylight colored they are either mercury vapor or some other tech and not daylight colored and will create a perfectly horrid yellow background to all your shots because the flash is daylight and the camera is adjusting for the flash not the background, you have to get the flash and the background lighting closer to the same color frequency. You need a green omnibounce filter for your flash (available on ebay cheap) and then buy yourself an "expodisc" which is kinda like a portable gray card and set a custom white balance by pointing your camera upward at the lights and shooting a frame with the flash in ISO 3200 and at the set shutter speed you want. I usually have to settle for 1/125th second which is fast enough but should be faster for really fast action (one of the gyms I shoot in has huge windows and when I go in there as long as it isn't dark outside I can sometimes get f8 aperatures which is much better for the depth of field). Then go buy yourself noise ninja 2 to cut the noise down, I get wonderful shots this way (some of my karate pictures are on here someplace). If you follow this procedure you should be much happier with your pictures. I like my 10-22 EXDG sigma lens for close ups and I nearly exclusively use the 17-85 IS the rest of the time--IS will help you a lot in low light situations, if you sit in the bleachers the 28-135IS is a fantastic lens but you'll have a bit harder time because of the distance with the flash that way---you have to experiment and find what works for you.