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Author Topic: Low Light but need to increase shutter speed  (Read 10798 times)
georgeswift
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« on: July 13, 2011, 03:51:04 AM »
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Hello,

Newbie here, and this question might probably have been answered already, but I am hoping to get a simple tip.

If I were shooting at night in low light conditions, maybe just some fluorescent lights, what is the best setting to get
some dynamic high action shots. I know you need to increase the shutter speed to minimize blurring, but in low light
of course it is hard.

What should I do? Increase the ISO or something? THanks!
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Kerry L
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2011, 07:05:50 AM »
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Yes you're on the right track by adjusting to higher ISO. This will increase the noise especially in the shadow areas. Another alternative is to open up the lens aperture, likely wide open. This will reduce your depth of field so careful focusing is critical. You will likely find using a combination of both of these adjustments will result in acceptable results.

Finally the last option is to deliberatel under expose and compensate in post processing. Shooting camera RAW is essential to get anything reasonable. Noise will be a problem expecially in the shadow areas.

You mentioned shooting in mixed light sources. You might want to shoot a grey card or other colour reference to help later in getting a good colour balance.

The great advantage of shooting digital is that you can experiment at little cost except for your time. Keep good notes as you try these different techniques so you can repeat the results that work best for you.

Good luck.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2011, 07:33:55 AM »
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If the scene is close to the camera, and even better if ceiling/walls are white, you might want to go for a flash.

-h
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k bennett
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« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2011, 09:30:55 AM »
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Yes, increasing your ISO is often the only thing you can do. Given the choice between noisy high-ISO photos and no photos at all, well, it's a simple choice.

Some situations are so dark they simply can't be photographed well, especially for high action. Been in a lot of gymnasiums like that. Ick. Professional sports photographers will light the whole gym with big flash units, but most people can't do that.

Good luck.
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louoates
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2011, 06:43:13 PM »
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I'd add: Tripod, if possible. And IS (image stabilized) lens if you have one.

Don't forget to have something you know is white in the scene or shoot a white card before or after your main snap so you can eyedropper that white in raw mode.
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AlanPezzulich
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« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2011, 05:08:25 PM »
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You will probably want to set the camera's noise reduction setting higher. A better option is to use a noise reduction software (i.e. Topaz Denoise).

Alan
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louoates
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« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2011, 10:01:45 PM »
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You will probably want to set the camera's noise reduction setting higher. A better option is to use a noise reduction software (i.e. Topaz Denoise).

Alan


I agree. I use Nik's Define 2.0 for near-perfect noise control automatically. I wouldn't depend on the camera for that function.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2011, 05:32:15 AM »
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What should I do? Increase the ISO or something? THanks!

Hi George,

Assuming you cannot or don't want to increase the ambient light level or add additional light, increase the ISO.

Depending on your camera, shoot in Raw file format and potentially boost exposure some more in postprocessing. On some cameras you'll get images with lower noise when you don't push the ISO setting too much and underexpose 1 or 2 stops, then boost in Raw conversion. The remaining noise caused by the low lightlevels and ISO gain amplification can be reduced in postprocessing.

Cheers,
Bart
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haring
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2011, 01:11:41 PM »
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Hello,

Newbie here, and this question might probably have been answered already, but I am hoping to get a simple tip.

If I were shooting at night in low light conditions, maybe just some fluorescent lights, what is the best setting to get
some dynamic high action shots. I know you need to increase the shutter speed to minimize blurring, but in low light
of course it is hard.

What should I do? Increase the ISO or something? THanks!

1. get a 1.2 - 1.0 lens, or/and
2. get a camera with high ISO, or/and
3. learn to use flash so the image looks natural (- this is the hardest!)
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k bennett
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2011, 02:31:10 PM »
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1. get a 1.2 - 1.0 lens, or/and
2. get a camera with high ISO, or/and
3. learn to use flash so the image looks natural (- this is the hardest!)


Actually, #1 might be the hardest. Shooting in-focus high quality images with an f/1.2 lens wide open is difficult, even more so when the subject is dynamic action.

#2 is the most useful answer, but there are some situations in which none of these will work.
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Colin4May
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« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2011, 05:50:30 AM »
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Interesting thread.

 have a great camera (Lumix G3) http://www.panasonic.co.uk/html/en_GB/Products/LUMIX+Digital+Cameras/Overview/LUMIX+G+Micro+System+Cameras/4855154/index.html  and have taken some great photos with it, even in lowlight- BUT..

I came seriously unstuck at last Sunday's One Love festival of Jamaican Music at Wembley Arena. I'm too embarassed to post the pictures I took... they are all blurred.

I have though long and hard about this, and there are, I think, mitigating factors-

1. It was very hot, very crowded, with a lost of dancing jostling, so it was difficult to hold the camera steady.
2. The stage lights varied in intensity, while the Arena itself was mainly dark.
3. The performers on stage were moving a lot! I was about 10 people from the front of the stage.
4. I'd had a few cans of Red Stripe Lol!
5. The camera is relatively new, and I've sort of jumped straight in rather than read the manual..

So all that points to a fine camera in the hands of a poor photographer. I think I've learnt my lesson and need to swot up on lowlight action photography, while trying to hold the camera steady!

I think the next gig will be a more low-key affair, so I can experiment with different settings rather than be desparate to snap at eveything on stage!
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2011, 07:31:16 AM »
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I know you need to increase the shutter speed to minimize blurring, but in low light of course it is hard.

My suggestion is to do the following:

1 - Make sure you have a good tight grip on the camera, arms tucked in and make yourself as solid and immovable as possible,
2 - Fire off as many shots as you can (burst mode), at least one will usually be sharp,
3 - Lean against something solid and refer back to #1,
4 - If possible, use a mini cheapo tripod (for table shooting), attach it to your camera and lean it against a wall or solid structure.

Hope this works for you

Dave (UK)
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digitaldog
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« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 09:34:17 AM »
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As an FYI, its useful to know that shooting raw and raising ISO can often produce LESS noise, not more than a lower ISO:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=56906.0;topicseen
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 01:07:40 PM »
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George: there is some really good advice in the posts to you, and here are a couple of other things you should do (I have this same problem when I shoot people in Cathedrals).
Sometimes you want to stop the motion of the subject - maybe a skateboarder at night under street lamps and so you have to shoot with a high shutter speed. So you will need to use the widest aperture (whatever the camera comes with)  and ISO 1600 +.

But here's the trick - set the metering to spot meter and get your exposure from the brightest thing you want to have detail in by pointing at it, then adjust your exposure with the + and - adjustment to + 1.5 or so. This forces the camera to collect light from the brightest parts of the scene in preference to the shadows. Don't worry about the shadows they will all be solid black anyway. You will get a good exposure of the subjects face, shirt and so. Shoot multiple exposures because although your hand shake might blur the first shot, by the third shot the camera will probably have settled down and the images will be sharper.

Waeshael
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