Rebel XT and low light

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by washer, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. washer macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #1
    i love my rebel xt. it shoots great pics on auto and its always great when there is lots of light, like outside on a sunny day.
    but, for shots without as much light, such as inside, or shadows, or espically concerts, plays, or performances where there is not only low light, but your shooting from dark to a lit stage. and how about night sky/star-scapes?
    sometimes i forget and come up with pitch black even if the conditions (like a well lit stage) look like it had enough light.
    i know you can jack up the iso, get a smaller aperature, and longer shutter speed. anything else? the flash is usually a no-go for performances, but it wouldn't fill enough anyway
    is there no easy way to get good pictures in the dark?
    do i need a different lens? what should i look for in a future lens for low light?
     
  2. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    What setting are you using for the camera? Manual can be complicated to use, but will let you have the most control of your picture.

    In shooting in darkened conditions, you'll want to set your aperture as large as possible, by setting the f/stop (the number displayed on the camera) to be as low as it can be.

    Then, crank up the ISO as high as it will go without going totally grainy. (1600 on the original rebel).

    Then, look through the viewfinder, point it at your subject, and look at the little bar and arrow at the bottom. The arrow shows light metering info. If it is to the left, in negative numbers, turn the dial to decrease your shutter speed until it gets to the middle. If it's too far to the right, in positive numbers, turn the dial to increase your shutter speed until it comes to the center. If the number you came to is less than 1/40 of a second (displayed as '40'), you might have trouble holding the camera steady enough for a clean shot, at which point a tripod would help.

    For starscapes you need a tripod and long shutter speeds (>10 seconds usually).
     
  3. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #3
    Yes, a faster lens would help in situations such as you describe. An f/1.2, f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2.0, or f/2.8 are all considered "fast" lenses, the f/1.2 being the fastest. This means that they all have larger apertures and let in more light than a lens which can only open to f/3.5 - f/5.6.
     
  4. AmpedPhoto macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    #4
    well first off what ISO are you using? for concerts and night shots where you don't have a flash bump up the ISo and you will most likely get your shot. Also the cheap flash thats on the cam is no good. get a real one
     
  5. Blong macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #5
    I'm not an expert on concert photography, but here are a few things that make metering a little easier.

    Concerts can be diffcult to correctly meter, peoples faces can tend to blow out. Try to compensate by dialling in -2 exposure compensation.

    Try setting the metering to "partial". This will meter a 9% area in the middle of the viewfinder. Although not as good as spot metering, the camera will be less "fooled" by the darkness around the stage.

    Also, if you have a zoom, maybe zoom in, hold the exposure, zoom back and shoot. I suppose that will only work if you need a wider shot.

    Hope this helps a little.

    Rob
     
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #6
    But if the band is moving, and chances are they ARE moving, a tripod won't help.

    Its hard to shoot photos unless you're very very close to the stage (lets say "beside" the stage. If you're going to a concert, but will be a distance away, you're going to need to have a decent zoom and a wide aperture, and that's an expensive lense to bring to a concert if you're in a massive crowd. I wouldn't.

    I think that with the constantly changing light levels on stage, it's really a pain in the ass to shoot. Go into Continuous mode, hold that button down for a few seconds, and hope one of those photos turns out well. Just take heaps of photos. You'll get a few good ones. ;)
     
  7. Frank (Atlanta) macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    #7
    There's been some good advice; however, best way forward would be for you to:

    1. Post a picture

    2. Provide environment/venue info - re: lighting, etc.

    3. Provide EXIF info (ISO, shutter speed, aperture, lens specs (max aperture), etc.)

    4. Provide camera set-up info (auto, shutter/aperture priority, manual, metering modes, etc.)

    In short, some of the above recommendations may be valid & others may not depending upon how you're shotting - it could be perhaps something as simple as metering mode or lens speed to an environment that's simply too dark.

    thx,
    Frank
     
  8. OutThere macrumors 603

    OutThere

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #8

    That's true...most concert photos, except those taken by pro concert photogs, turn out a little 'abstract' :p

    You'll get motion blur from people rocking out at anything less than about 1/100 shutter speed, but unless it's a bright concert, or you have a really fast lens, you could have trouble getting enough light at that speed.
     
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #9
    Exposure is based on a combination of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. But there are limits. SHuter speed can't get to slow or you get motion blur, the camera has a maximum ISO setting and your lens likely is limited to f/4.5 or somethng like that. Busting these limits means buysing more equipment. A faster lens would help. if you need more ISO speed you may need to go with black and white film

    THe least expensive option may likely be a front row ticket so you can shoot with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. As for non-concert low-light shots, get a tripod.
     
  10. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #10
    I'd suggest you go through your archives and look at how long your lens was when taking the various shots (this information will be stored in the EXIF data of the JPEG, and also in the RAW image data if you're shooting raw rather than JPEG). 50mm? 85? 135? Then think about whether you can justify the cost of a prime that comes close to what you're normally at when shooting. As a rule, a prime at a given length can be faster than a zoom at that same length; if it's only as fast as a given zoom, it will generally be cheaper and sharper than that zoom.

    Unfortunately, lenses like the 50mm f/1.4, 100mm f/2, 135mm f/2.0L, and 85mm f/1.2L don't come cheap (they're in order, from cheapest to most expensive, based upon RRP in Australia). You could cheat and get the 70-200 f/2.8 IS, which will give you the flexibility of a zoom as well as a much faster shot than you'd get with a cheaper zoom, but that's also not exactly cheap, and it's a bit slower than the primes I've mentioned (although the IS will help for hand-held shots). It's also a rather large lens, and moderately heavy, although the image quality is excellent. The 50mm f/1.8 is the exception to the rule: it's dirt cheap, and relatively fast; the only major drawback is the length is relatively short. If your shots are in the 50-85mm range, though, it's probably a decent choice without breaking the budget.

    It's hard to give specific advice, as circumstances differ, but hopefully the above will give you some food for thought.
     
  11. washer thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #11
    thanks everybody for the feedback, definitly some stuff to chew on
    i guess my main problem with starscapes is light polution. is there any way to help this, or do you just have to be away from it all out in the boondocks? since i live in a suburb, unless i go out to the beach or the mountains, im usually only intrested in shooting the moon:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/washer/sets/72057594083879408/
    *or downtown skylines at night-
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/washer/sets/72057594068427256/

    Thanks Rob, I'll try that

    yea, i was shooting one of my uncle's bands a few months ago; my first steps into low-light, concert shoots. i ended up going trial and error with my friend and just shot a bunch, heres one that turned out ok. there were some other cool 'abstracts' but im still in the process of getting everything online.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/washer/102904673/in/set-72057594068426207/

    do you suggest the canon speedlight? or another flash?

    these are canons offerings right? ive got the canon efs18-55mm that came with the rebel and my parents got me a quantaray 55-200mm for christmas. the quantaray says 1:4-5.6 on it too, is that the aperture? i know what aperture is and how to set it, just not sure what it says on the lens (i didnt buy it, as far as i know, some guy at wolf camera coulda cheaped my parents out on the thing)

    thanks, im still working on getting more of my pics on flickr. ill work on getting the last batch up soon, including my failed attempts at shooting a staged performance. they will be here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/washer/

    so i guess after i feel more comfortable working manual in low light and ive pushed the boundries, the next step is to get a faster lens? not the flash, the lens would be the better buy? and any suggestions for a future purchase, go canon or 3rd party?

    thanks again everybody
    im really amazed at how helpful and responsive this fourm is
    washer
     
  12. sjl macrumors 6502

    sjl

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #12
    Yes, every lens I mentioned is a Canon lens that will work with a Canon DSLR. You're right: 1:4-5.6 is the aperture of the lens, or more accurately, the widest (=fastest) aperture it can manage. The lower number (4) is the lowest aperture number for the wide end (55mm on the quantaray), whilst the higher number (5.6) is the lowest aperture number for the long end (200mm). Most zooms will have different speeds at the two extremes of their ranges; the exceptions (such as Canon's 70-200mm offerings) tend to be high end lenses.

    f/4-5.6 is typical for a zoom.
     
  13. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #13
    I didn't go through the entire thread, But here are some samples of the XT is low light with a Tokina 12-24, IRC.
     

    Attached Files:

  14. washer thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    #14
    wow, i love the one looking in the window. very cool
     
  15. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    #15

    Well thanks. It won second place in my stores photo contest. I like it personally. A few other places I have submitted this image to have not done as well. :eek:
     

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