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Author Topic: Can someone help me with low light settings  (Read 7618 times)

Steven_urwin

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Can someone help me with low light settings
« on: October 06, 2012, 03:53:00 AM »
So, this problem has come up from working in nightclubs, where I am trying to get a night exposure for a human subject in the foreground, but have a shutter speed of around 1/30 or so for the ambient background.

I have toyed around with a couple of variations, each coming close to what I would like, but nothing bang on the nail.

Ideally I would like to have control of my aperture and shutter speed, and have the camera work out the ISO for me. The first problem I encounter is once I have mounted my flash (as this point I feel I should talk equipment. 5D3, 16-35 MK2 L, 24-70 MK2 L & EX 580 2) the auto ISO options become constrained. I have read into this a little, and have found a couple of ways around it.

Option 1... I set my ISO 4000, I set the shutter speed 1/60-1/200 and get the choice of aperture I want. Fine, except if I don't want my ISO higher than 4000, but I do want my shutter speed a little longer, say around the 1/25-1/30 mark.

Option 2... I set the Shutter speed to whatever I want 1/30 or whatever, have the auto ISO on (normally locked out at 400 max) but with the safety shift on ISO, with the ISO parameter set to a max of 6400. The problem with this is I don't like having the lens wide open. Drunk people in clubs tend to sway, and the fine depth of field result, inevitably, in people swaying out of the sweet spot. Plus on the 16-35 f4 is noticeably sharper than f2.8.

Option 3... I set the aperture at f4 on Av mode, and have the minimum time value parameter set to 1/30. This seems to work perfectly, until you switch on the flash, at which point, it forgets all about the 1/30 minimum shutter, AND locks out the flash to ISO 400.

Can anyone think of a way to have my minimum aperture set to f4, whilst I retain control of the shutter speed, and have the auto ISO range up to 6400 (or at least higher than 400!)

Sorry if this seems a trivial question, but I can't for the life of me figure it out.

Many thanks
5DIII, 7D Backup, 16-35L 2.8 MKII, 24-70L 2.8 MKII, 70-200L 2.8 MKII, 580EXII, 550EX Plus Elinchrom Studio Lights :)

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Can someone help me with low light settings
« on: October 06, 2012, 03:53:00 AM »

sanj

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2012, 05:12:26 AM »
Not trivial.
We all struggle in such situations...
I might go full manual. Set all parameters to your satisfaction for the background. Then fill in with flash. Control flash intensity with flash compensation.
Am I over simplifying it?

shadowsatnight

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2012, 05:13:29 AM »
Hi,

I'm not entirely sure what kind of shot you're aiming for from your description - night exposure with flash?  Are any of these (think it requires a facebook login, but that's where people seem to want the nightclub photos over here...) the kind of thing you're after:

https://www.facebook.com/evie.firth/photos_albums
The early shots are from when i first picked up a camera, so please don't judge too harshly.  I'm very much still learning :-)

What flash mode are you using?  Is ETTL trying to do clever things?  I guess at 4000iso, the flash will be set to pretty low power?
I generally shoot full manual so that i get what _i_ want.

Thanks
-Evie

PavelR

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2012, 06:07:53 AM »
Not trivial.
We all struggle in such situations...
I might go full manual. Set all parameters to your satisfaction for the background. Then fill in with flash. Control flash intensity with flash compensation.
Am I over simplifying it?
+1

Timothy_Bruce

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2012, 06:15:08 AM »
I also shoot nightclubs with the 16-35II and 580EXII on FF.
And for me M with a fixed ISO between 500 and 1600 depending on club-background-brightness works best.
I use the flash in ETTL at around +1 FEC with big difusor.
For the Exposure I use the upper dial for aperture but most of the time it is at 2,8 because sharpness is good enough and DOF is OK, a bit tricky, and for the drunken I korrekt for their movement manual by going back or forward or refocus if necessary.
The back dial is used for shutterspeed. So I first frame the subject then looking for the exposure meter and bring it to something around -1 to -3 depending on strobes, moving heads and scanners. The I get  a exposure time between 1/60 and 1 second.
And then taking the picture the moment I now that there is no direct MH etc. light on the subject for my exposure time. If that is impossible reducing Exposure time.
 And then I have some time after the flash has done his job to get my creativity out to play with the focus and zoom ring ;)

just what I figured out to work fine an give a nice amount of backgroundblur.

If you like I a can also give you a link to  the pictures I take with this technic.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 06:18:24 AM by Timothy_Bruce »

Steven_urwin

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2012, 06:16:57 AM »
This sort of idea. Hope this helps explain
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Steven_urwin

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »
I also shoot nightclubs with the 16-35II and 580EXII on FF.
And for me M with a fixed ISO between 500 and 1600 depending on club-background-brightness works best.
I use the flash in ETTL at around +1 FEC with big difusor.
For the Exposure I use the upper dial for aperture but most of the time it is at 2,8 because sharpness is good enough and DOF is OK, a bit tricky, and for the drunken I korrekt for their movement manual by going back or forward or refocus if necessary.
The back dial is used for shutterspeed. So I first frame the subject then looking for the exposure meter and bring it to something around -1 to -3 depending on strobes, moving heads and scanners. The I get  a exposure time between 1/60 and 1 second.
And then taking the picture the moment I now that there is no direct MH etc. light on the subject for my exposure time. If that is impossible reducing Exposure time.
 And then I have some time after the flash has done his job to get my creativity out to play with the focus and zoom ring ;)

just what I figured out to work fine an give a nice amount of backgroundblur.

If you like I a can also give you a link to  the pictures I take with this technic.

Thanks Timothy_Bruce... I forgot to mention, I am using a Stofen defuser, and have +2/3 EC dialled in... no FEC though.
I'd just like a way to shoot f4, without downgrading to an f4 lens... maybe I should look at the 17-40mm L for this reason?  :S
5DIII, 7D Backup, 16-35L 2.8 MKII, 24-70L 2.8 MKII, 70-200L 2.8 MKII, 580EXII, 550EX Plus Elinchrom Studio Lights :)

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »

shadowsatnight

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2012, 06:38:50 AM »
Thanks Timothy_Bruce... I forgot to mention, I am using a Stofen defuser, and have +2/3 EC dialled in... no FEC though.
I'd just like a way to shoot f4, without downgrading to an f4 lens... maybe I should look at the 17-40mm L for this reason?  :S

I'd stick with the fastest lens you can, as it'll help with the auto focus.

wickidwombat

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2012, 07:31:26 AM »
thats your problem you are dialling in + EC

if the background is darker than your subject you need to -EC on the flash to balance to the ambient

try
ISO 3200
1/15 sec
f2.8

-1 to -1.5 EC on the flash
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bbasiaga

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2012, 08:21:24 AM »
+1 on full manual mode.  You can then put your flash in TTL mode and use negative FEC to get a more natural blend with the background.  This will be the easiest way to have the control you want. 

-Brian

rocketdesigner

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2012, 10:29:51 AM »
Wouldn't you want faster shutter speeds than these for handheld shooting? Not only for your own tiny movements holding the camera, but also the fact as pointed out -- these people are often crocked and moving  as well?

Act444

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2012, 12:24:32 PM »
From my own experience, if it is dark enough, the flash light dominates the exposure for the foreground, so 1/10-1/30 sec can be used to light up the background a bit and still get a sharp foreground image...

squidgyg

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 12:35:31 PM »
As long as no-one from Melbourne steals my tips (and my business :P ) then here's how I shoot.

My equipment: T2i, 15-85mm lens, 580 exII (with stofen or Bounce card depending on venue)
this setup is fine for clubs, honestly, only full-frame could look better

Full Manual.
Shutter: 1/10
Aperture: f/4.0 (but set larger for big groups)
ISO: anywhere between ISO 200-800 (big groups sometimes 1600)
Flash either on ETTL, but I mostly shoot manual flash 1/8 or 1/4, second curtain flash

obviously it depends on the venue, but these are the settings i use in most of the clubs,bars and pubs i work in/have worked in.

Sometimes exposures need to be fixed up in lightroom from using the flash on manual, but yeah, thats an easy job.

« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 12:46:31 PM by squidgyg »

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #12 on: October 06, 2012, 12:35:31 PM »

shadowsatnight

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2012, 07:17:25 PM »
Wouldn't you want faster shutter speeds than these for handheld shooting? Not only for your own tiny movements holding the camera, but also the fact as pointed out -- these people are often crocked and moving  as well?

As mentioned, the flash freezes motion in the foreground, so you can set the shutter speed to more or less what you like.  I find 1 or 2 seconds works quite well if people're glowsticking, for instance as you get them frozen but a nice glow trail where they've moved.

As long as no-one from Melbourne steals my tips (and my business :P ) then here's how I shoot.

My equipment: T2i, 15-85mm lens, 580 exII (with stofen or Bounce card depending on venue)
this setup is fine for clubs, honestly, only full-frame could look better

Full Manual.
Shutter: 1/10
Aperture: f/4.0 (but set larger for big groups)
ISO: anywhere between ISO 200-800 (big groups sometimes 1600)
Flash either on ETTL, but I mostly shoot manual flash 1/8 or 1/4, second curtain flash

obviously it depends on the venue, but these are the settings i use in most of the clubs,bars and pubs i work in/have worked in.

Sometimes exposures need to be fixed up in lightroom from using the flash on manual, but yeah, thats an easy job.

more or less what i used to run (7D rather than 550D, but same sensor).  Towards the end of last season i started using the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 instead though, as i found it let the camera pull focus out of the near dark.  Still take the actual pictures around f/4 though.

Looking forward to trying the 5d3 out for halloween though - i figure some near flashless shots will really pull out the fluorescent in people's outfits :-)

Also, i'm impressed at how together the people in your photos look... guess you must party in classier places than i do!

-Evie


Steven_urwin

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2012, 07:02:33 AM »
Wouldn't you want faster shutter speeds than these for handheld shooting? Not only for your own tiny movements holding the camera, but also the fact as pointed out -- these people are often crocked and moving  as well?

As mentioned, the flash freezes motion in the foreground, so you can set the shutter speed to more or less what you like.  I find 1 or 2 seconds works quite well if people're glowsticking, for instance as you get them frozen but a nice glow trail where they've moved.

As long as no-one from Melbourne steals my tips (and my business :P ) then here's how I shoot.

My equipment: T2i, 15-85mm lens, 580 exII (with stofen or Bounce card depending on venue)
this setup is fine for clubs, honestly, only full-frame could look better

Full Manual.
Shutter: 1/10
Aperture: f/4.0 (but set larger for big groups)
ISO: anywhere between ISO 200-800 (big groups sometimes 1600)
Flash either on ETTL, but I mostly shoot manual flash 1/8 or 1/4, second curtain flash

obviously it depends on the venue, but these are the settings i use in most of the clubs,bars and pubs i work in/have worked in.

Sometimes exposures need to be fixed up in lightroom from using the flash on manual, but yeah, thats an easy job.

more or less what i used to run (7D rather than 550D, but same sensor).  Towards the end of last season i started using the Sigma 20mm f/1.8 instead though, as i found it let the camera pull focus out of the near dark.  Still take the actual pictures around f/4 though.

Looking forward to trying the 5d3 out for halloween though - i figure some near flashless shots will really pull out the fluorescent in people's outfits :-)

Also, i'm impressed at how together the people in your photos look... guess you must party in classier places than i do!

-Evie

Hi Evie,

Here are some UV shots from my 5D3 with 580 EX2...

You can really pull out the fluorescent quite well :)
5DIII, 7D Backup, 16-35L 2.8 MKII, 24-70L 2.8 MKII, 70-200L 2.8 MKII, 580EXII, 550EX Plus Elinchrom Studio Lights :)

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Re: Can someone help me with low light settings
« Reply #14 on: October 07, 2012, 07:02:33 AM »