Advice needed: shooting stills during animation festival (low light conditions)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dwee8le, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Dwee8le, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    Dwee8le macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    #1
    Hi,

    I am looking for some advice from more experienced photographers than me: I was recently asked to take some pictures during a short animation festival organized by a friend of mine in October for their website and other promotional material. The shots schould give an impression of this festival and its visitors, et cetera.

    I am a novice photographer and my current gear is a Canon 450d with a Sigma 50mm f1.4 and a Canon 17-40mm f4 (I also have a yongnuo 560-II manual flash). My friend is not expecting high professional quality work, it's unpaid and is just a favor and he wanted me to help.
    I am not that worried about the shots themselves, but I am completely not used to the situation: shooting before, during and after the showing of the short animations means no flash, but (obviously) the whole situation will be pretty dark (it will be in a movie theater or a big room build to look like one). I will also not use a tripod.

    And that is my problem: what kind of gear do you use or would you advice to use for such a situation. My Sigma is f1.4 is pretty good, but it is also 50mm on a crop-sensor so it is very tight (equivalent of 80mm). The 17-40 is the right length I think, but f4 does not really work that well in low light conditions. Also, because my Canon 450d can't really do high ISO; 800 is allready pretty bad.

    I am absolutely willing to rent gear, I just don't know what to rent exactly. I was thinking of a Canon 5d mark II or III with a 24-70mm f2.8. Is that good enough to shoot in low light without flash?

    I am also interested in your stories on such a project. What worked for you and what should I try to avoid.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  2. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #2
    I shoot things like this and my 600d has sufficed with f2.8 glass at ISO1600

    Here is an example of a shot at ISO1600

    [​IMG]
    ConnectedUK: Money by The IPA, on Flickr

    Don't forget if it's going online you don't have to worry about ISO so much as the photo's won't be blown up very big!
     
  3. jabbott, Sep 8, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012

    jabbott macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #3
    Large aperture lenses are your friend in situations that are low light + no flash + handheld... yes the 50mm is tight on a crop sensor but it's still able to get shots in low light that f/2.8 zooms (including the 24-70L) simply can't get. An f/1.4 lens lets in four times as much light at max aperture as an f/2.8 at the same focal length. I've shot at concerts where my 550D couldn't focus using a 24-70L but using a 50mm f/1.4 it worked beautifully. As such, you'd probably be better off renting a Canon 24mm f/1.4L or 35mm f/1.4L (or just buying the older Sigma 28mm f/1.8 - great lens) rather than renting another camera. The one issue with the 450D though is that the max ISO is 1600, which may not provide a fast enough shutter speed even at f/1.4. I've found that shooting at ISO 6400 with a 50mm f/1.4 on a 550D is sometimes just barely sufficient in low light. Also be aware that your depth of field will be razor thin at such large apertures, so you'll want to focus on the subject using one shot AF (preferably with the center AF point only as it is more sensitive) and then recompose to get the framing you're after. Best of luck and have fun!
     
  4. Dwee8le thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2010
    Location:
    Amsterdam, Holland
    #4
    Thank you Acearchie and Jabbott your contributions!

    I will try to play around a bit with my ISO settings to see if the result is good enough for internet stills. I will ask what my friend wants to do with the pictures: if he wants them in print for flyers or something or just for his website.

    Renting a new body is not that expensive though: renting a Mark2 with the 35mm and 85mm from Canon's L series (they should be something like f1.4 and f1.2, right?), comes down to €85 a day. Not to bad I think, for 24 hours of use. The rental place that was recommended to me calls this "the Wedding package".
    I am also looking to upgrade in the near future, because the 450d is starting to show its limitations, but upgrading is now not a priority: that festival is in the next couple of weeks.

    Thanks for the heads up regarding the DOF factor. This coule mean trouble #. Last time I ended up with some great out of focus shots # when I was shooting in a low light situation.
     
  5. acearchie macrumors 68040

    acearchie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2006
    #5
    Only thing I would suggest is go for a zoom lens as you will find the time you lose switching lens' annoying.

    If you get the 5diii I hear it's pretty much clean at ISO6400 so f2.8 shouldn't be an issue.
     
  6. deep diver macrumors 65816

    deep diver

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Solon, OH
    #6
    I don't know what the venue looks like, but..... If your lens is too long, can you just step back. That is a lot less intrusive than having to step up because your lens is too short.
     
  7. Prodo123 macrumors 68020

    Prodo123

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    #7
    I can shoot darn good sports at f/2.8 with the 550D (!!!). Sure, I need to bump the ISO to 3200 which makes the photo look a bit cruddy but I can always clean up minor noise with Dfine (I would like to rely on it less though)

    Try renting a 5D Mark III and any f/2.8 lens you want. Heck, if you want, you can also stick with your 450D and a bunch of primes.

    Also, just renting a 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is a very good option as well. I almost wrote L after the aperture because it's that good of a lens.
     
  8. jabbott, Sep 9, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012

    jabbott macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
    #8
    Agreed. I just received a 5D3 and I'm convinced it can see in the dark. :) I did an ISO 6400 shot at f/1.4 for 8 seconds in a room that was nearly completely dark and it was able to cleanly show everything as if it were sunlit. Absolutely stunning results. You could definitely get away with using an f/2.8 lens on the 5D3 in low light, but not so much on the 450D due to the ISO 1600 limitation. The rental price for the 5D2 and lenses isn't bad... I hesitated to recommend the camera rental route being that this is an unpaid gig. But it's your money so you get to do whatever you want. :D Note that there are two different 35mm Canon primes, one is f/1.4 and the other is f/2. Same goes for the 85mm, there is an f/1.2 and an f/1.8 version. You can learn more about the differences of each lens here: http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-Lens-Reviews.aspx
     

Share This Page