Problems with Digital Rebel XT Low Light Photography!

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Bhargav, May 9, 2005.

  1. Bhargav

    Bhargav Guest

    Hi All,
    I recently got my digital rebel XT and am running into few issues here.

    Equipment Used : Digital Rebel XT, 18-55 Kit Lens, Built-in Flash
    When I take low light photos in events, like a speaker speaking on
    stage or some dance event on stage. There might be few flouroscent
    lights in the auditoium or few stage lights on the stage.
    1. What Kind of camera setting is suited for taking pictures here?
    2. I do not want the foreground only exposore also want the background
    to be exposed, how to achieve that?
    3. Should I use first curtain sync or second curtain sync?
    4. How to determine the right ISO speed?
    Right now I have the following settings.
    1. Max Aperture 3.5 or 5.6 depending on ZOOM, but my depth of field
    suffers.
    2. Second curtain sync - trying to expose background too but the image
    is shaky as the camera freezes movement after a while
    3. Soft pictures
    4. Focus is missing

    :(

    I know its mostly got to do with my photography skills than the camera
    problems, would aprpeciate if anyone can share some tips on how to
    manage this situation. I plan to get a 50 mm 1.8 Lens & a sunpak 383
    flash but its gonna take little time.
    Thanks in advance,
    Sudhindra
     
    Bhargav, May 9, 2005
    #1
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  2. Bhargav

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Automatic, given your state of photo knowledge. These cameras do most
    everything you need without your needing to mess with settings.
    You need either multiple flashes or no flash at all. To shoot with no
    flash you need a wide lens aperture. That means that either the
    foreground or background will be in focus, not both.
    First, but you may not be allowed to use flash at all, especially for
    dance events.
    I think the Rebel XT can set it automatically. Otherwise set it high.
    Those will help.
     
    Paul Rubin, May 9, 2005
    #2
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  3. Bhargav

    Bhargav Guest

    Thanks, but I do not want to use the camera's automatic setting .. This
    is a chance for me to explore & improve my skills so I want to do it
    manually..
    I need tips for that..
     
    Bhargav, May 9, 2005
    #3
  4. Bhargav

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Get the 50/1.8 lens and leave the zoom at home. Don't use the
    on-camera flash. If you use an external flash, bounce the light off
    the white ceiling (if available) or get a bounce gizmo (Lumiquest
    Pocket Bouncer etc). Set camera on aperture priority to control DOF.
    If shooting without flash, shoot wide open. Buy a basic photography
    book for more.
     
    Paul Rubin, May 9, 2005
    #4
  5. Bhargav

    Paiasoloco Guest

    The single most useful 'camera setting' for those situations would be a
    tripod.
     
    Paiasoloco, May 9, 2005
    #5
  6. Bhargav

    John Ortt Guest

    I would really be tempted to use the Night-time portrait mode.
    (and try locking the flash off aswell).
    I have had pleasant success with this automatic mode and it brings out the
    natural colours far better than the standard automatic mode does.

    If you really want to do it yourself try shooting one shot with the
    Night-time portrait mode and looking at the settings it chooses. Then
    switch to M mode and try using the same settings.

    Thuis will give you a benchmark to strive for and hopefully exceed over time
    but if your images don't work out at-least you should have one passable
    photo.

    Hope that helps,

    John
     
    John Ortt, May 9, 2005
    #6
  7. Crank up the ISO until the exposure time is reasonable. Having noise at
    ISO 1600 is much better than having motion blur at ISO 200.

    The fully automatic setting doesn't take advantage of ambient light.
    Set the exposure manually to the widest aperture and longest exposure
    time that gets you a clean picture. A tripod will really help here.
    The flash will add what's missing. This will also protect you somewhat
    from getting a bad light reading on flickering fluorescent lamps.

    Finally, dump the 18-55mm kit lens. Its sloppy focus and mediocre
    optics will never be sharp at f/3.5. A prime lens would be best for
    photographing a stage. You'll get a large aperture and razor sharp
    optics for little money. If you must have a zoom, get one with IS.

    As for depth of field, very shallow can be a good thing. You can stop
    worrying about small distractions in the background. The Rebel XT in AI
    SERVO focusing mode and having an USM autofocus lens can track moving
    people.
     
    Kevin McMurtrie, May 10, 2005
    #7
  8. Then plunk the bucks for Noise Ninja, create a custom profile for your
    Canon at 1600, and get the best 1600s you can get.

    I do this at 3200 for indoor volleyball with my hacked 300D. I'm very
    pleased with the results.
     
    Steve Cutchen, May 10, 2005
    #8
  9. Bhargav

    John Ortt Guest

    </snip>

    How much is Noise Ninja?
     
    John Ortt, May 10, 2005
    #9
  10. I dunno, but you can get the basic version of NeatImage for free (it does
    the same thing).
     
    N H via PhotoKB.com, May 10, 2005
    #10
  11. Home use... $45 for both a stand alone version and a Photoshop plug-in
    version.

    http://www.picturecode.com/
     
    Steve Cutchen, May 11, 2005
    #11
  12. Bhargav

    bj286 Guest

    This would have motion blur if the foreground people is moving, and
    lighted by stage light.
     
    bj286, Jun 4, 2005
    #12
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