Approve the Cookies
This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read More.
OK
Index  •   • New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
New posts  •   • RTAT  •   • 'Best of'  •   • Gallery  •   • Gear  •   • Reviews
Register to forums    Log in

 
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk
Thread started 30 Oct 2016 (Sunday) 14:15
Prev/next
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

Night/low light photography

 
Meanie
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Post has been edited 11 months ago by Meanie.
Oct 30, 2016 14:15 |  #1

I am a PI who uses my 60D for surveillance. Occasionally, we use another person, who is a professional photographer, to do some nighttime surveillance for us because her system is capable of capturing great shots in low light. I've asked her what she uses and realize the equipment is what offers the capture of nighttime photos. She uses a Nikon and a Sony (unsure of model) with a zoom Nikon 1.8 lens. I recall her saying the camera is capable of 24,000 ISO but I attribute the lens as the main reason for better night shots. Anyway, I would like to achieve the same with my camera, though, after continuous playing around, I don't think it's capable along with the lenses I have which are the EF 100-400 (great for my daytime shots), the EFS 50-250 cheapy (came with camera) and the EFS 18-135. Playing around with ISO and white balance, I can achieve some decent shots in lower light but nowhere near what the photographer can do and obviously, I can't use flash. Therefore, I'm seeking advice/suggestions of how I can get those better nighttime shots, which I know will involve spending some money for a better lens and/or camera.

Thank you for any help you can give.




LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)
MalVeauX
"Looks rough and well used"
MalVeauX's Avatar
Joined Feb 2013
Florida
Oct 30, 2016 15:08 |  #2

Heya,

Well, night shooting is another technique of exposure. But if you want it to be easier for you, look into a Sony A7S or Sony A7SII. It's really top shelf for high ISO right now. You can shoot ISO 12,800 and 25,600 right away without even thinking about it, and you can get even higher and still get clean workable images with proper exposure techniques. Take a look at reviews with it shooting at the highest ISO possible compared to other modern cameras. It wins.

Very best,


My Flickr (external link) :: My Astrobin (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
Meanie
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Nov 08, 2016 14:22 as a reply to MalVeauX's post |  #3

Thank you. It's safe to assume it's more about the camera than it is the lens.




LOG IN TO REPLY
peeaanuut
Goldmember
peeaanuut's Avatar
Joined Feb 2011
Nov 08, 2016 14:29 as a reply to Meanie's post |  #4

Its a combination. If you have an f5.6 lens then you have to really go super high on the ISO which means you need the best high ISO camera out there. If you can find a lens with a lower f-stop then you dont need a camera that goes super duper high in the ISO. The higher the ISO the higher the noise in the image. In your case I would go for the camera that handles the highest ISO as low f lenses can get really expensive and really big.


Stuff
http://joetakesphotos.​com/external link : | : https://www.facebook.c​om/JKlingPhotosexternal link : | : https://twitter.com/jk​lingphotosexternal link
airbutchie - Joe was definitely right about adding contrast...
:)

LOG IN TO REPLY
jcolman
Goldmember
Joined Mar 2008
North Carolina
Post has been edited 11 months ago by jcolman.
Nov 10, 2016 10:33 |  #5

Your camera is capable of shooting at ISO 12800 which "should" be enough to capture night time shots with a fast lens. By "fast" lens I mean one with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The 70-200 lens is your best choice.

You could go up to a newer camera like the 1Dx which is capable of shooting at an astonishing high ISO of 204,800 and keep your current lenses. But the success of the photo still depends on how much ambient light you have to work with. Photographing someone who is in deep shadow in the middle of the night is a difficult task for any camera.


www.jimcolmanphotograp​hy.comexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
DesolateMirror
Senior Member
DesolateMirror's Avatar
Joined Oct 2015
Post has been edited 11 months ago by DesolateMirror.
Nov 10, 2016 21:41 |  #6

Since you already have contact with the photographer you work with you, could copy their setup and ask for a class on using it, of course it depends on the nature of the relationship, or make friends with a sports/wildlife photographer :P

Technique, camera body and lens all contribute to good low light shots.

Practice your handheld technique (plenty of youtube vids with tips), find something to lean against, do you have the option of using a monopod? Learning how to set your camera up helps - eg. Knowing and setting the lowest shutter speed and aperture for your situation (freeze action/handheld/long focal length/lens with or without IS).

The camera bodies MalVeauX mentioned will give you more room for error with the high iso capabilities. More room for error is always welcome when you need a critical shot.

Ideally you want a fast lens with image stabilization. Is 200mm long enough? Do you need 400mm? More? They get exponentially more expensive the lower the f-stop and longer the focal length. The f/5.6 on the 100-400 isn't ideal for low light work as you've probably experienced.

Probably the most important question: What are your budget restrictions?




LOG IN TO REPLY
Deardorff
Member
104 posts
Joined Oct 2016
Nov 11, 2016 16:09 |  #7

Meanie wrote in post #18179418 (external link)
Thank you. It's safe to assume it's more about the camera than it is the lens.

Nope.

Shooting with wide aperture lenses at night - coupled with a body that gives clean images at higher ISO settings is the key.

Any camera that can shoot higher ISO settings with good quality will give you better results when shooting with a wider aperture.

Take the 200mm f/2 lens compared to anything at f/2.8 - you can shoot one full ISO setting lower with the faster lens. This translates to better detail in the subject. It also means you can shoot at the same ISO as the slower lens one full shutter speed faster which helps freeze subject movement.

Big fast glass and newer bodies capable of very good high ISO quality are what you want.

Slow zooms in low light are killers no matter what camera body you use. Yes, you can compensate somwhat with very high ISO settings but faster apertures coupled with higher shutter speeds and lower ISO will get better results as well as giving you more leeway in shooting under low light conditions.

Don't forget RAW images as they give you more leeway than Jpegs. RAW conversion from low light images will give you more in the final image than Jpegs will and this gives you an edge in the field and an advantage once you start processing the images.


"I've been a procrastinator all my life. I keep meaning to do something about that."

LOG IN TO REPLY
Meanie
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Nov 19, 2016 12:49 |  #8

peeaanuut wrote in post #18179423 (external link)
Its a combination. If you have an f5.6 lens then you have to really go super high on the ISO which means you need the best high ISO camera out there. If you can find a lens with a lower f-stop then you dont need a camera that goes super duper high in the ISO. The higher the ISO the higher the noise in the image. In your case I would go for the camera that handles the highest ISO as low f lenses can get really expensive and really big.

Exactly my thought. I love the 100-400 zoom as it takes great photos in the day. After viewing some lower f-stop lenses and the thought of selling my car to buy one, it would be advantageous to opt for a high ISO camera such as the Sony, which is rated a great camera with one of the highest ISOs available. The price is cheaper than a low f-stop lens.




LOG IN TO REPLY
Meanie
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Nov 19, 2016 12:56 |  #9

jcolman wrote in post #18180846 (external link)
Your camera is capable of shooting at ISO 12800 which "should" be enough to capture night time shots with a fast lens. By "fast" lens I mean one with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. The 70-200 lens is your best choice.

You could go up to a newer camera like the 1Dx which is capable of shooting at an astonishing high ISO of 204,800 and keep your current lenses. But the success of the photo still depends on how much ambient light you have to work with. Photographing someone who is in deep shadow in the middle of the night is a difficult task for any camera.

I have it set at 12000 but I don't have a low f-stop lens and as I replied above, they are more expensive than buying a high ISO camera, though, I compare it to my 100-400. Anything equivalent to that with a low f-stop will require an equity loan on the house. I like the 400 range cause I can remain at a good distance unnoticed yet still get close. Also I like a zoom since it allows me to choose the objects I need in the frame with the subject from varying distances.




LOG IN TO REPLY
Meanie
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Nov 19, 2016 13:07 |  #10

DesolateMirror wrote in post #18181348 (external link)
Since you already have contact with the photographer you work with you, could copy their setup and ask for a class on using it, of course it depends on the nature of the relationship, or make friends with a sports/wildlife photographer :P

Technique, camera body and lens all contribute to good low light shots.

Practice your handheld technique (plenty of youtube vids with tips), find something to lean against, do you have the option of using a monopod? Learning how to set your camera up helps - eg. Knowing and setting the lowest shutter speed and aperture for your situation (freeze action/handheld/long focal length/lens with or without IS).

The camera bodies MalVeauX mentioned will give you more room for error with the high iso capabilities. More room for error is always welcome when you need a critical shot.

Ideally you want a fast lens with image stabilization. Is 200mm long enough? Do you need 400mm? More? They get exponentially more expensive the lower the f-stop and longer the focal length. The f/5.6 on the 100-400 isn't ideal for low light work as you've probably experienced.

Probably the most important question: What are your budget restrictions?

We've worked together and talk photography during some surveillance. I always pick her brain which is how I learned of her equipment. She's a wedding photographer and I have offered my services to help her for free in order to learn more, even though wedding photography isn't my thing but it is associated more so with lighting and people so it won't hurt to learn. I have also looked for any photographer who is willing to take me along on one of their ventures in order to learn more about the ropes as well.

I've become accustomed to the settings of my camera and do have a tripod and monopod I keep in my car. I have used the tripod for a few surveillance jobs when I simply need to keep record of a subjects movement within the area. The camera remains aimed and I use my remote to snap away without having to move and re-focus and such.

Viewing the price of the Sony a7ii, it's more probable than a low f-stop lens. I may consider it but I'll also want to consider cost of Canon adapters for my lens amongst other helpful accessories for that camera.




LOG IN TO REPLY
Meanie
THREAD ­ STARTER
Member
102 posts
Joined Jul 2011
North Detroit Subs
Nov 19, 2016 13:11 |  #11

Deardorff wrote in post #18181979 (external link)
Nope.

Shooting with wide aperture lenses at night - coupled with a body that gives clean images at higher ISO settings is the key.

Any camera that can shoot higher ISO settings with good quality will give you better results when shooting with a wider aperture.

Take the 200mm f/2 lens compared to anything at f/2.8 - you can shoot one full ISO setting lower with the faster lens. This translates to better detail in the subject. It also means you can shoot at the same ISO as the slower lens one full shutter speed faster which helps freeze subject movement.

Big fast glass and newer bodies capable of very good high ISO quality are what you want.

Slow zooms in low light are killers no matter what camera body you use. Yes, you can compensate somwhat with very high ISO settings but faster apertures coupled with higher shutter speeds and lower ISO will get better results as well as giving you more leeway in shooting under low light conditions.

Don't forget RAW images as they give you more leeway than Jpegs. RAW conversion from low light images will give you more in the final image than Jpegs will and this gives you an edge in the field and an advantage once you start processing the images.

Yes, I'm learning that more so now. Thanks.

I like the idea of a higher ISO camera per reasons I explained in above replies but thinking more about it, it would also be helpful if I wanted to use a teleconverter. Knowing I will lose f-stop, the higher ISO will help compensate for that, at least that's what I would believe.

Will try RAW, Thanks for that tip.




LOG IN TO REPLY
Alveric
Goldmember
Alveric's Avatar
Joined Jan 2011
Canada
Post has been last edited 11 months ago by Alveric. 3 edits done in total.
Nov 19, 2016 15:39 |  #12

Also bear in mind that wide apertures are not necessarily a guarantee of success here. Sure, they might allow you to use lower ISOs and faster shutter speeds, but you might end up with blurry portions of the picture due to them falling outside the focus plane. With 200mm and 400mm focal lengths and shooting wide open (f/5.6) I've found blurriness even across 1 ft distances (say, shooting from a certain height, the top of the head is sharp but the shoulder is already blurry).

Depending on your subjects, this might or might not be an important factor.

Bottom line is, and I hate to say this as I am inimical to shooting at ISOs higher than 800, in your line of work you do need a camera that can deliver usable images at very high ISO speeds at apertures of f/8 or even smaller.


'The success of the second-rate is deplorable in itself; but it is more deplorable in that it very often obscures the genuine masterpiece. If the crowd runs after the false, it must neglect the true.' —Arthur Machen
Why 'The Histogram' Sux (external link)

LOG IN TO REPLY
mathogre
Goldmember
mathogre's Avatar
Joined Mar 2009
Oakton, VA USA
Nov 19, 2016 16:18 |  #13

I would certainly recommend you consider the 5DM3.

I have both a 60D and a 5DM3, and have used them for low light work. I've found the 60D to produce a decent image at ISO 6400, and the 5DM3 to produce even better images at ISO 12,800. Below is a link to a set of soccer photos taken with the 5DM3 and the 100-400 (original lens), all shot at 1/500s and f/5.6. ISO ranged from 10,000 to 16,000. All were shot RAW. If you look at individual images and click on "Info" on the right, you can see the actual settings. All of these were taken using single shooting (vs continuous). Post processing was in Lightroom.

http://grahamglover.ze​nfolio.com/p380696282 (external link)

I find the 100-400 focusses quickly and reliably on the 5DM3, and while I'd love to get the 5DM4, there's little compelling reason for me to spend the money for a bit more performance. I do a lot of photography for our high school marching band, mostly at night, and typically with the 24-105 f/4, 70-200 f/4, and the 100-400 f/4.5-5.6, almost always at f/5.6 to get the depth of field I need. In the bleachers and behind the scenes, I'm shooting at 1/250s; on the field it's 1/500s. Between marching band and sports, I shoot on a lit field where we have decent lighting. Focus is quick, accurate, and reliable.

The first photo below is one of the marching band photos in the bleachers where the lighting is awful, hence the ISO 25,600. The area is lit with the spill-off stadium lighting. The second photo was under a street lamp where the students were warming up for a competition. This was a real low light situation. I have no problem pushing the ISO on my camera, and have almost never felt limited by my 5DM3.

I hope this helps!

IMAGE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18227148/2016/GKG03385.jpg

IMAGE: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18227148/2016/GKG00905.jpg

Graham
Canon A BIG ONE A Small One An itty bitty one
My Zenfolio Collectionexternal link

LOG IN TO REPLY
kf095
Cream of the Crop
kf095's Avatar
Joined Dec 2009
Canada, Ontario, Milton
Nov 24, 2016 11:18 |  #14

Surveillance is kind of broad subject. Do you need one spot to be in focus and this is fixed spot? Adding faster lens might help.
But if you are moving and subject is moving then f1.4 and 1.8 might become hit an miss to focus or to provide enough DoF to be suitable as the visible fact, not artistic bokeh.
I suggest to look at camera with capable ISO 12500 and higher and zoom lens with f2.8-5.6, with stabilization still involved in camera/lens.


Old Site (external link). M-E and ME blog (external link). Film Flickr (external link). my DigitaL and AnaLog Gear.

LOG IN TO REPLY
SJTrance
Member
58 posts
Joined Nov 2006
Manhattan, NY
Jun 01, 2017 16:47 |  #15

Also consider the battery life. In a website that I saw, when comparing the Canon 6D vs Sony A7II, the Canon took 1090 shots while the Sony took only 350 shots. I'm sure you're bringing other batteries, but each time you take the time to change the battery out, you're risking loosing a critical shot. A battery grip would solve this issue, but it's still something to consider.




LOG IN TO REPLY
sponsored links
(this ad will go away when you log in as registered member)

5,018 views & 0 likes for this thread
Night/low light photography
FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre People Talk


Not a member yet? Click here to register to the forums.
Registered members get all the features: search, following threads, own gear list and ratings, likes, more forums, private messaging, thread follow, notifications, own gallery, settings, view hosted photos, own reviews and more...


AAA

Send feedback to staff    •   Jump to forum...    •   Rules    •   Index    •   New posts    •   RTAT    •   'Best of'    •   Gallery    •   Gear    •   Reviews    •   Polls

COOKIES DISCLAIMER: This website uses cookies to improve your user experience. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy policy and cookie usage info.

POWERED BY AMASS 1.4version 1.4
made in Finland
by Pekka Saarinen
for photography-on-the.net
Spent 0.00122 for 6 database queries.
PAGE COMPLETED IN 0.05s
Latest registered member is Sxnwphotography
826 guests, 330 members online
Simultaneous users record so far is 6106, that happened on Jun 09, 2016