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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    19

    Taking Photos in Low Light Situations

    Hi, could someone help me with this noob question, please.

    I have children which are in primary school and often, they have a 'recital' or an 'item' as we call it here in the land of Oz.

    Often, the hall they are in is not very bright - there is only one door open with hardly any natural light coming in.....and plenty of light bulbs at the front of the stage and mostly fluorescent lighting spread about.

    The closest I could get to the stage to take my shots is approx 20-25 meters.

    I use a 18-70mm lens (i know its a kit but that's all I can afford at the moment...), and 55-200 and sometimes 100-300mm (waiting for my 17-50mm Tammy). I shoot at a really hight ISO, and lowest aperture the lens will allow.

    If I shoot at low shutters speed, my shots are blurry (of course!) and at high speed, I just can't get the right light on my camera screen.

    I was thinking of bringing in a monopod, but it may be a bit too much.

    Sorry for the long, winded explanation.

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    God's Country - Australia
    Posts
    10,409
    nothing you can really do except to buy a faster lens or use a flash. a monopod wont help cos it wont stop the childs motion anyway. 17-50 is far too short imo.
    D800e l V1 l AW1 l 16-35 l 35 l 50 l 85 l 105 l EM1 l EP5 l 7.5 l 12-40 l 14 l 17 l 25 l 45 l 60 l 75
    flickr

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
    Posts
    2,152
    As far as camera setting, you're already doing all you can. High ISO and widest aperture.
    At that distance from the stage I'd say you need the FoV (Field of View) of your 100-300mm lens.
    In which case a monopod will surely help to stabilise the camera.
    It won't help in stabilising the kids, so wait until they are stood still before tripping the shutter.
    How about going early and bagging a better seat?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    As previously said, not much you can do. You need a 70-200mm F/2.8, here's the best budget one.

    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Mount Pleasant, SC
    Posts
    145
    Quote Originally Posted by dr4gon View Post
    As previously said, not much you can do. You need a 70-200mm F/2.8, here's the best budget one.:
    Not MY BUDGET! It becomes more than just a casual hobby when the lens costs twice what the camera does! If I could just figure out a way to make a living doing this, then the lens would be a write off.... Until then...eBay and Quantaray
    Joe Holmes
    Sony α550
    Sony HVL-F42AM Flash
    Sony DT18-55 F3.5-5.6 (Kit Lens)
    Minolta Maxxum 50 1:1.7(22) Prime
    Minolta 35-70 F4 (Mini Beercan)
    Minolta 70-210 F4 (Beercan)
    Minolta 28-135 F4-4.5 (This beast is pretty heavy)
    Minolta Maxxum 100-200 F4.5
    Quantaray D28-90 1:3.5-5.6 Ver 5
    Tamron DiII 55-200 1:4.5-6

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    2,204
    Well after you get over the sticker shock (takes a little while), you'll see that glass is far more important than the body which is nearly my cheapest item (relatively speaking).
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Guelph, Ontario
    Posts
    1,903
    Joe....if you have reached the ISO limit and the biggest aperture, try this.....set the camera to continuous mode and only start depressing the button when you notice the SSS bars stabilize.
    of course this is not gonna freeze the movement but it should give you less blurry images on the somewhat stationary kids.

    is flash photography allowed inside the hall?
    Canon EOS 7D

    flickr
    FLUIDR

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    19
    Quote Originally Posted by Elisha82 View Post
    is flash photography allowed inside the hall?
    As far as i know, it is....as I seen some people using flash on their p&s cameras.

    I did use the built-in flash but got the weird eyes happening, even if I turn on the red-eye reduction tool.

    Can't get a close enough seating, as the seatings are set. Would using a fast lens.....say a 50mm f/1.7......then crop it later in Photoshop.....maybe

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,549
    The flash has to be above the level of the lens ... by about 5-8 inches, or you stand a good chance of getting "red eye."

    You can also try to use "wireless" flash, which separates the flash from the camera entirely. You can have the flash located closer to the subject and trigger it with the camera. This is a great idea when you have the separation you speak of.

    A fast lens still NEEDS light. If you starve the lens, you get noise in your image and then you are left wrestling with that, also. The best idea is to get a longer, brighter lens. If people could get away with "LESS", I have no doubt they would. No one likes to spend more money than they have to.

    The biggest problem is that your Depth of Field tightens up enormously with a longer lens that it opened up for light.

    For example:

    Subject distance is 30-feet away
    You are using a nifty 135mm f/1.8 low-light gobbler.

    Here is kind of how it lays out:

    Name:  135mm f18 DOF 30-feet.JPG
Views: 104
Size:  44.7 KB

    You have only one foot of clear focus (six-inches either way, front to back, from the center of focus) to work with. That's going to be rough if there is a group.

    If you use a 50mm f/1.7 lens wide-open (f/1.7), your subject will be about 60% smaller, but the DOF deepens to 7.5 feet, which mean you can get a larger group ... but again, smaller and with less pixels to describe them.

    You need to understand this change in size, so click on this TAMRON link and you will have an actual online lens comparison, with which you can select the focal length of the lens and compare them.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 06-08-2009 at 08:09 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    1,757
    I USE THE SIGMA APO 70-200mm F/2.8 EX

    TOOK THOUSANDS OF BASKETBALL PICS OF MY KIDS GAMES WITH IT..
    GOT IF FOR 700

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