Suggested Equipment for Low Light Photography

CanonFanBoy

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photojoern.de said:
Quote: "I should have used a smaller aperature and a slower shutter speed."
I think this summarizes very much it. The light was just too little. If you work with aperture 1.2 and 90% are out of focus, then it´s low light or your technique or your AF settings. But I doubt that there´s a better camera AF system than the 1DXII or 7DII from Canon.
ISO51k is probably pulled too much. Post processing can fix some of that, i.e. nik software collection with lightroom.
Equipment wise I would not worry too much, rather work on focussing settings and technique and try ISO12k, which gives reasonable to good results, in my opinion.
Focus settings or hand held technique would not have helped at all. 50mm @ f/1.2 doomed the whole shoot.

The unfocused images were a depth of field problem, thus, a knowledge problem concerning the effect of f/stop on depth of field. I learned this the hard way too. :)
 

Mt Spokane Photography

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As to your question, the 1DX / 1DX II have a small edge over the 5D MK III in high ISO, the 6D has a even smaller edge.

A Crop camera is not a good choice for super high ISO images, the 1DX series and Nikon D4 / D5 are the cameras optimized for this kind of situation. Right now, the D5 has a edge at extreme high ISO settings.

I'd stick to a f/2.0 max lens, probably a 24-70mm L or 70-200LA 85mm f/1.8 or a 135mm f/2 would be a good choice for high speed shutters in low light sports, but watch your depth of field. I'd be surprised if you could stop the movement of hands at 1/400 sec, or even 1/1000 sec. Of course, the hands stop when they connect, and that's what you want anyway :)


I think any of the recent D series from Nikon or Canon will do well at ISO 25600 and f/2.8. My 5D MK III works at 25600 but its marginal for sure. The D5 will go at least a stop higher, maybe more.

The Sony A7R II does very well at super high ISO's, but its unsuited for sports. Still, it may do a usable job with the right lens.
 
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Mt Spokane Photography said:
As to your question, the 1DX / 1DX II have a small edge over the 5D MK III in high ISO, the 6D has a even smaller edge.

A Crop camera is not a good choice for super high ISO images, the 1DX series and Nikon D4 / D5 are the cameras optimized for this kind of situation. Right now, the D5 has a edge at extreme high ISO settings.

I'd stick to a f/2.0 max lens, probably a 24-70mm L or 70-200LA 85mm f/1.8 or a 135mm f/2 would be a good choice for high speed shutters in low light sports, but watch your depth of field. I'd be surprised if you could stop the movement of hands at 1/400 sec, or even 1/1000 sec. Of course, the hands stop when they connect, and that's what you want anyway :)


I think any of the recent D series from Nikon or Canon will do well at ISO 25600 and f/2.8. My 5D MK III works at 25600 but its marginal for sure. The D5 will go at least a stop higher, maybe more.

The Sony A7R II does very well at super high ISO's, but its unsuited for sports. Still, it may do a usable job with the right lens.
For boxing I would consider even a 200 f2 using a full frame..unless of course you are actually ring side and can clear the obstructions. Otherwise you would have to shoot from a distance with elevation. There are not many choices when you have to shoot from 50ft away.
 

CanonFanBoy

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East Wind Photography said:
Mt Spokane Photography said:
As to your question, the 1DX / 1DX II have a small edge over the 5D MK III in high ISO, the 6D has a even smaller edge.

A Crop camera is not a good choice for super high ISO images, the 1DX series and Nikon D4 / D5 are the cameras optimized for this kind of situation. Right now, the D5 has a edge at extreme high ISO settings.

I'd stick to a f/2.0 max lens, probably a 24-70mm L or 70-200LA 85mm f/1.8 or a 135mm f/2 would be a good choice for high speed shutters in low light sports, but watch your depth of field. I'd be surprised if you could stop the movement of hands at 1/400 sec, or even 1/1000 sec. Of course, the hands stop when they connect, and that's what you want anyway :)


I think any of the recent D series from Nikon or Canon will do well at ISO 25600 and f/2.8. My 5D MK III works at 25600 but its marginal for sure. The D5 will go at least a stop higher, maybe more.

The Sony A7R II does very well at super high ISO's, but its unsuited for sports. Still, it may do a usable job with the right lens.
For boxing I would consider even a 200 f2 using a full frame..unless of course you are actually ring side and can clear the obstructions. Otherwise you would have to shoot from a distance with elevation. There are not many choices when you have to shoot from 50ft away.
Even that, 200mm / 50' from the edge of the ring/ @ f/2 only gives him .29' (less than 3") inside the ropes. f/4 would give him 4.59' just from the edge of the ropes. The ring is 16-20' wide and deep. Each step closer narrows the depth of field.

The 135mm f/2L is a better choice, but the same narrow depth of field problem. It just isn't as bad. Still sucks.

If f/4 on the 16-35mm with that high ISO didn't do it then I don't think anything will help besides more light.

It would be fun to see photos. Maybe this is one of those secret fight clubs. There might be something I'm missing too.

But wait! Mt Spokane mentioned the true winners in this puzzle. So honestly, he is the brains. 85mm set at f/2.8 @50' gives a depth of field of 18.3' in the ring. (least expensive choice.)

50' f/2.8 @65mm = 33.37' depth of field in the ring. That's two winners!

DING! DING! DING! DING!:) :) :) All hail Mt. Spokane! :):):)
 

sulla

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A 7D2 and a 16-35 f/4 zoom do not give the best possible low-light combination.

The 5D3 with the 50 f/1.2 however does. I wonder how close you were to get so many out-of-focus shots, because for full body portraits the DOF should be sufficient to get many in-focus shots.

As a general recommendation for low-light: take an FF body and a fast lens, that's really all you can do. In your situation perhaps a 5D3 + 24-70 2.8 would have been enough. (I would prefer that over the 7D2 + sigma 1.8 zoom.) This combo should give you at least a 2 stop ISO advantage over the 7D2 + f/4 lens. If you can live without zoom, then the 50 1.2 you brought should have been fine, perhaps the cheapish 85 1.8 (due to its faster AF over the 1.2 lens) to accompany it. Also, the 135 f/2 should do well in low light.

I still ponder over why you got so many OOF shots with the 5D3 + 50 1.2? No offense, but with a lot of practice you might get more in-focus shots, perhaps experiment with AF-servo settings of the 5D3?
 

CanonFanBoy

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sulla said:
A 7D2 and a 16-35 f/4 zoom do not give the best possible low-light combination.

The 5D3 with the 50 f/1.2 however does. I wonder how close you were to get so many out-of-focus shots, because for full body portraits the DOF should be sufficient to get many in-focus shots.

As a general recommendation for low-light: take an FF body and a fast lens, that's really all you can do. In your situation perhaps a 5D3 + 24-70 2.8 would have been enough. (I would prefer that over the 7D2 + sigma 1.8 zoom.) This combo should give you at least a 2 stop ISO advantage over the 7D2 + f/4 lens. If you can live without zoom, then the 50 1.2 you brought should have been fine, perhaps the cheapish 85 1.8 (due to its faster AF over the 1.2 lens) to accompany it. Also, the 135 f/2 should do well in low light.

I still ponder over why you got so many OOF shots with the 5D3 + 50 1.2? No offense, but with a lot of practice you might get more in-focus shots, perhaps experiment with AF-servo settings of the 5D3?
I'm of the mind that the 5D mark III @ f/2.8 is the best choice as you and Mr. Spokane mentioned. At least for depth of field is concerned.

There used to be a boxing club in this tiny town I live in. It is closed now, but it would have been great fun. :)

Every year there's MMA fighting at the Casa Blanca Casino (Mayhem in Mesquite), but just try and get close to that. :( I fear I'd be drooling for a 1DX Mark II for that.
 

tpatana

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CanonFanBoy said:
Even that, 200mm / 50' from the edge of the ring/ @ f/2 only gives him .29' (less than 3") inside the ropes.
What/how exactly you're calculating? 200/F2/50' gives >2 feet of focus. So what you mean with the "inside the ropes"?
 

CanonFanBoy

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tpatana said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Even that, 200mm / 50' from the edge of the ring/ @ f/2 only gives him .29' (less than 3") inside the ropes.
What/how exactly you're calculating? 200/F2/50' gives >2 feet of focus. So what you mean with the "inside the ropes"?
Sorry, typo. I should have written 2.29'.

There is a 2' apron around the outside of the ropes. That is a part of the ring.

Inside the ropes is a square measuring 16' on each side to 20' on each side (depending on the ring).

If the photographer is standing 50' from the edge of the apron with a 200mm lens set @ f/2... the in focus part of the image taken starts 48.89' from the sensor, which is just outside the apron on the photographer's side. So focus begins approximately at the outside edge of the apron. Even if he had been standing on the 2' apron, focus would not have begun until the complete other side of the ring. Nothing in the ring would have been in focus in that case either.

The in focus depth of field is only 2.29' deep, which takes us to just inside the ropes. The ring is 20' deep. Nothing in the ring will be in focus.

Sort of like this photo (Belongs to a friend, not me.). Depth of field doesn't just include the back of the photo where we ooo and ahh about OOF and bokeh, but the front too. Notice how everything in front of her is blurred and everything behind her is blurred. She is standing in that very narrow band of focus. You can see that band running across the photo on the road. Pretty cool example.

The same effect would take place in the boxing ring. The OP couldn't stop down because of low light. He shot wide open. narrow depth of field prevented him from getting in focus shots from whatever distance he was from the subject at the time.

Hope that helps.

This shot was taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS, 1/250th, f/2.8, ISO 125, Aperture priority, pattern metering.

Nice effect, I think. Just not one you want in a boxing ring.
 

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Valvebounce

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Hi CanonFanBoy.
I can see where you are coming from here, but if the AF is used rather than setting 50ft on the focus scale or focusing on the edge of the ring, it could focus at say 57ft which would perhaps be the ear of one of the boxers (or another area of nice contrast in a dimly lit arena) giving roughly 1ft in front and 1ft behind the boxers ear meaning a suitable depth of field if I'm not completely misunderstanding the situation.

Cheers, Graham.

CanonFanBoy said:
tpatana said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Even that, 200mm / 50' from the edge of the ring/ @ f/2 only gives him .29' (less than 3") inside the ropes.
What/how exactly you're calculating? 200/F2/50' gives >2 feet of focus. So what you mean with the "inside the ropes"?
Sorry, typo. I should have written 2.29'.

There is a 2' apron around the outside of the ropes. That is a part of the ring.

Inside the ropes is a square measuring 16' on each side to 20' on each side (depending on the ring).

If the photographer is standing 50' from the edge of the apron with a 200mm lens set @ f/2... the in focus part of the image taken starts 48.89' from the sensor, which is just outside the apron on the photographer's side. So focus begins approximately at the outside edge of the apron. Even if he had been standing on the 2' apron, focus would not have begun until the complete other side of the ring. Nothing in the ring would have been in focus in that case either.

The in focus depth of field is only 2.29' deep, which takes us to just inside the ropes. The ring is 20' deep. Nothing in the ring will be in focus.

Sort of like this photo (Belongs to a friend, not me.). Depth of field doesn't just include the back of the photo where we ooo and ahh about OOF and bokeh, but the front too. Notice how everything in front of her is blurred and everything behind her is blurred. She is standing in that very narrow band of focus. You can see that band running across the photo on the road. Pretty cool example.

The same effect would take place in the boxing ring. The OP couldn't stop down because of low light. He shot wide open. narrow depth of field prevented him from getting in focus shots from whatever distance he was from the subject at the time.

Hope that helps.

This shot was taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS, 1/250th, f/2.8, ISO 125, Aperture priority, pattern metering.

Nice effect, I think. Just not one you want in a boxing ring.
 

CanonFanBoy

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Valvebounce said:
Hi CanonFanBoy.
I can see where you are coming from here, but if the AF is used rather than setting 50ft on the focus scale or focusing on the edge of the ring, it could focus at say 57ft which would perhaps be the ear of one of the boxers (or another area of nice contrast in a dimly lit arena) giving roughly 1ft in front and 1ft behind the boxers ear meaning a suitable depth of field if I'm not completely misunderstanding the situation.

Cheers, Graham.

CanonFanBoy said:
tpatana said:
CanonFanBoy said:
Even that, 200mm / 50' from the edge of the ring/ @ f/2 only gives him .29' (less than 3") inside the ropes.
What/how exactly you're calculating? 200/F2/50' gives >2 feet of focus. So what you mean with the "inside the ropes"?
Sorry, typo. I should have written 2.29'.

There is a 2' apron around the outside of the ropes. That is a part of the ring.

Inside the ropes is a square measuring 16' on each side to 20' on each side (depending on the ring).

If the photographer is standing 50' from the edge of the apron with a 200mm lens set @ f/2... the in focus part of the image taken starts 48.89' from the sensor, which is just outside the apron on the photographer's side. So focus begins approximately at the outside edge of the apron. Even if he had been standing on the 2' apron, focus would not have begun until the complete other side of the ring. Nothing in the ring would have been in focus in that case either.

The in focus depth of field is only 2.29' deep, which takes us to just inside the ropes. The ring is 20' deep. Nothing in the ring will be in focus.

Sort of like this photo (Belongs to a friend, not me.). Depth of field doesn't just include the back of the photo where we ooo and ahh about OOF and bokeh, but the front too. Notice how everything in front of her is blurred and everything behind her is blurred. She is standing in that very narrow band of focus. You can see that band running across the photo on the road. Pretty cool example.

The same effect would take place in the boxing ring. The OP couldn't stop down because of low light. He shot wide open. narrow depth of field prevented him from getting in focus shots from whatever distance he was from the subject at the time.

Hope that helps.

This shot was taken with a Canon 5D Mark III, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS, 1/250th, f/2.8, ISO 125, Aperture priority, pattern metering.

Nice effect, I think. Just not one you want in a boxing ring.
Well, I am talking about actually standing 50' from the subject and using AF.

I guess he could have used infinity focus? If so, wouldn't that be manual focus? I could very well be missing something. :)

I take it the OP was using AF because of this post:
Hector1970 said:
I'm curious as to what the 5D IV will bring to the party.
Are there any of the fast medium to wide angle lens quick to focus.
I found the 50 1.2 was slow focusing - I assume because of the weight of glass to move.
I was wondering if a 35mm F2 would be a more usable lens.
He does say he was shooting from under the ropes so I will assume he was right at the edge of the apron with a 50mm set at f/1.2. So if 10' from the boxers the depth of field would be .88' which I think is 7.3" give or take.

I honestly do not know what setting the focus scale in AF would do. Mine moves in AF, so I assume it is for manual focus.

I'm making assumptions too because I am imagining wanting to get both boxer's faces in focus and the stance or punches too with an OOF background. 50mm from 10-20' away certainly doesn't give a closeup. :) I'd love to shoot a boxing match now just to see what the challenges are.

Somebody please take me to the woodshed and beat me if i am on the wrong track. I can take it and would enjoy the education.

Take care,
Charles
 
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To be honest, at the ropes, servo AF should easily handle boxers, even for a 60d with a lens wide open. I would prefer a lens with USM focusing though. I think you all are digging too deep into a DOF issue. I dont know anything about the OP but it could have been an afma issue or he could have been using something other than center af point.

I know if you dont get the afma set correctly, the focus can shift by a large degree, more often.

Also The benefit of using a fast lens is that your camera has more light to use for the AF system. You can still stop it down if conditions warrant but the AF will always do its thing at the wide open aperature.

This is one of the reasons my 85 1.2 is the most accurate lens i own. Though its slow and I would never use it for sports.
 

CanonFanBoy

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East Wind Photography said:
To be honest, at the ropes, servo AF should easily handle boxers, even for a 60d with a lens wide open. I would prefer a lens with USM focusing though. I think you all are digging too deep into a DOF issue. I dont know anything about the OP but it could have been an afma issue or he could have been using something other than center af point.

I know if you dont get the afma set correctly, the focus can shift by a large degree, more often.

Also The benefit of using a fast lens is that your camera has more light to use for the AF system. You can still stop it down if conditions warrant but the AF will always do its thing at the wide open aperature.

This is one of the reasons my 85 1.2 is the most accurate lens i own. Though its slow and I would never use it for sports.
Hi Eastwind,

I completely agree with you about AFMA, and preferring a USM motor. I think everyone with an 85mm f/1.2L would prefer a USM focusing motor. That really isn't the issue here. I'm sure the accuracy of the 85 f/1.2 is top notch too.

The problem is the OP says it was too dark to stop down and had to shoot wide open with a 50mm @f/1.2.

Could you do a test for us? With your 85mm lens set @ 1.2 Get a static subject and pretend you are right on the ropes. Put the subject exactly 9' from your sensor (there is a little mark on the top of the camera) and take a photo using auto focus. Then set the subject just 1.1 feet closer and take a photo using auto focus. (tripod and measuring tape required). Your depth of field at those settings will only be .2' deep. (I assume you are FF).

If you will do that then I will do the same with my 135L f/2 from 10'. My depth of field will be almost exactly what your is... .21'.

That is why the closest eye in the photo below is out of focus. Taken with a 135 f/2L wide open. I was too close so the depth of field was too shallow. What could have been a fantastic photo was ruined because I didn't pay attention to depth of field. I think I was about 13 feet away from her. Had I backed up just 4 more feet... both eyes would have been in focus and I don't think I'd have that awful fringing on the eyelashes either. Or, I could have stopped down a little.

That is what is being said here. At the 50mm focal length, shot wide open at 1.2, we should not be surprised that most everything (90%) was out of focus.

I'll do my test tomorrow, mostly because i want to prove the theory to myself. Pookie taught me this idea and it was a revelation to me. f-stop doesn't just change the ability to gather light, it changes depth of field too. Having a fast lens to compensate for low light might not always be the answer. I don't think it is the answer for a boxing ring. It would be great to see what you or anyone else comes up with too.

In my opinion, the OP desperately needed flash, where it probably wasn't allowed, so that he could stop down and get the depth of field he needed to focus. Then again, I could very well be one real ignorant guy... which is highly possible (I'm being serious).

Thanks buddy,
Charles
 

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Nov 18, 2012
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Yes i see. So the OP should have used a 24mm f1.4. :). The wider angle would have increased the DOF.

I would have just run the ISO up to get a better dof and jus dealt with the noise. Difficult to judge where you will get to shoot from on fight night...short of bringing a suite of lenses you just have to deal with what you are dealt. :)