Low light action photos: Anyone got tips?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Tom Watson, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. Tom Watson

    Tom Watson Guest

    Subject says it all: Low light action photons: Anyone got tips?

    There have been a number of times when I wanted to take photos of parties,
    etc that occur on the street. I'd rather not use flash to get the natural
    lighting. My camera is a Canon EOS10D.... though I'm sure what works for one
    camera will work for another! I mention it in case some one had specifics...

    Tom Watson, Dec 6, 2003
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  2. Tom Watson

    Joe Fox Guest

    Fast lens, high ISO setting, monopod ;-)
    Joe Fox, Dec 6, 2003
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  3. Tom Watson

    JK Guest

    Get some fast lenses. The cheapest fast lens is a 50mm f1.8. If you
    want to splurge, get a 50mm f1.4. You might also want to consider
    an 85mm f2 lens, or even a 135mm f2 lens if you have a large budget.
    Zoom lenses aren't typically faster than f2.8. Some pros use a few
    camera bodies. Perhaps one might have a 50mm f1.4 on one, while
    another might have a 135 f2 on it.
    JK, Dec 6, 2003
  4. Tom Watson

    Lionel Guest

    I also have a 10D, & I do a lot of low light candid photography. The
    most important tip is to leave your zoom lenses at home & just use fast
    primes. I do 90% of my candid portraits with the EF 50mm/f1.8 & wider
    shots with my EF 28mm/f1.8. These lenses give me excellent results at
    ISO 800 or faster under typical indoor or street lighting. Those sizes
    are a good match for me, because I'm usually shooting quite close to the
    subject. (The 50/f1.8 is perfect for portraits on the 10D, with f2.5
    or so giving perfect DoF for most peoples' faces.) If you've got a bit
    of room to work in, you might find an 85mm/f1.8 or 135mm/f1.8 useful
    Depending on the light, I'll often shoot as slow as 1/25th, but you need
    steady hands (or brace your camera against something solid, such as a
    wall or signpost) & a near-motionless subject. Do some experimenting at
    ISOs from 800 to 3200 & 1/20th to 1/60th, & you should be able to find a
    compromise between noise & blur that suits your preferences. Under poor
    lighting, you need as much exposure lattitude as possible, so I always
    shoot in RAW mode, rather than JPEG. It requires bigger CF cards, & is
    more work to process, but the results are well worth it.
    Lionel, Dec 7, 2003
  5. Tom Watson

    DJ Guest


    Sounds like sound advice ... which is why I'm asking Santa for the 50/1.8 for
    xmas to go with my 300D :)
    DJ, Dec 7, 2003
  6. Tom Watson

    Mark Johnson Guest

    Whether the 10D or anything else, I can't see there's any alternative
    to getting a wider shutter, and the fastest speed. If it's just people
    milling slowing around, that's one thing. But if it's fast action in
    an indoor arena, and you're thirty feet away, and there are
    'particulates' and haze and fog or smoke, or what have you, it might
    be difficult without a stabilized zoom, of some sort, to pan with the
    subject. And you still might need a lot of noise reduction work,
    balance and saturation, in PS.
    Mark Johnson, Dec 8, 2003
  7. Tom Watson

    gr Guest


    Why not shoot with a slow-sync flash? You get the action frozen, and yet the
    ambient light will still illuminate the scene.
    gr, Dec 9, 2003
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