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Thread started 01 Oct 2013 (Tuesday) 07:38
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Canon 60D low light options

 
bratkinson
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Oct 03, 2013 01:46 |  #16

I spent several years attempting available light only indoor shooting at church events with varying success. As is well understood, there just isn't enough light to shoot with all 'keeper' exposures.

The first battle is to hold the camera steady for the 1/30th and slower shutter speeds needed for reasonably 'good enough' exposure. As a tripod is too big to lug around in church, I settled on a monopod with a ball head, and my leaning against a pillar or wall or seated while taking my shots. That helps tremendously.

I soon discovered that I needed faster lenses...f2.8 and faster. Image Stabilization is very desireable, too, to reduce/eliminate my less-than-steady hands from causing blurred pictures at slow exposures, even on a monopod. At f2.8 and faster, I could keep the ISO down to 1600 on my 60D. But there were times I had to use 3200 to get anything reasonable. 'Chimping' almost every photo is a must, to verify you at least have an image that is reasonably exposed and adjusting as needed.

Of course, shooting wide open on fast lenses results in an incredibly thin depth of field. So perfect or very nearly perfect focusing is an absolute requirement. Using AI Servo is critical for keeping sharp focus. Trying to get a group of people all within the DOF is close to impossible. Still at the slower shutter speeds, subject motion is still an issue. So I tried to take my pictures when I expected them to be generally stationary. My in-focus, not motion blurred keeper rate shots was about 15-20%. Not great, but acceptable. It just meant I had to do a lot of 'spray and pray' shooting to get enough keepers.

The 'ultimate' solution was upgrading to a 5D mark iii. ISO 6400 with little noise, and still acceptable noise at 8000. That, combined with fast lenses, I can keep my shutter speeds at 1/125th and faster, pretty much stopping subject motion (and mine!) for most of my shots. My keeper rate is now closer to 75% for exposure-related issues. So I'm more than satisfied.


"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity." General George S Patton, Jr 1885-1945

  
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TeamSpeed
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Oct 05, 2013 17:36 |  #17

BrickR wrote in post #16338893 (external link)
I rented the Sigma 30 1.4 Art. Really impressed with that lens. Compact but has a little heft to it. The 35 1.4 Art is bigger and heavier, but not sure if the extra cost is warranted if using a crop camera.
I rented the SL1 and really believe ISO 6400 on it was better than 6400 on my 60d. Got me thinking the crop cameras with the Digic 5 processor are better at ISO than the Digic 4's.

Your SL1 was be better than mine, or my 7D is better than your 60D, my SL1 is visibly worse than my 7D at high ISOs, the luminescent noise is very noticeable.

I have taken side by side, post processed identically, etc. No go...

Here is what I do with the 7D at 12800 indoors with really low light, one shot AF almost didn't get a lock. I was going to do one of my mini-reviews, but I got a bit depressed as I started into it. It works for the kids though. And this isn't my best 7D copy either, one of our fellow POTNers is running around with my best 7D.

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mike929
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Oct 07, 2013 14:50 |  #18

bratkinson wrote in post #16342600 (external link)
I spent several years attempting available light only indoor shooting at church events with varying success. As is well understood, there just isn't enough light to shoot with all 'keeper' exposures.

The first battle is to hold the camera steady for the 1/30th and slower shutter speeds needed for reasonably 'good enough' exposure. As a tripod is too big to lug around in church, I settled on a monopod with a ball head, and my leaning against a pillar or wall or seated while taking my shots. That helps tremendously.

I soon discovered that I needed faster lenses...f2.8 and faster. Image Stabilization is very desireable, too, to reduce/eliminate my less-than-steady hands from causing blurred pictures at slow exposures, even on a monopod. At f2.8 and faster, I could keep the ISO down to 1600 on my 60D. But there were times I had to use 3200 to get anything reasonable. 'Chimping' almost every photo is a must, to verify you at least have an image that is reasonably exposed and adjusting as needed.

Of course, shooting wide open on fast lenses results in an incredibly thin depth of field. So perfect or very nearly perfect focusing is an absolute requirement. Using AI Servo is critical for keeping sharp focus. Trying to get a group of people all within the DOF is close to impossible. Still at the slower shutter speeds, subject motion is still an issue. So I tried to take my pictures when I expected them to be generally stationary. My in-focus, not motion blurred keeper rate shots was about 15-20%. Not great, but acceptable. It just meant I had to do a lot of 'spray and pray' shooting to get enough keepers.

The 'ultimate' solution was upgrading to a 5D mark iii. ISO 6400 with little noise, and still acceptable noise at 8000. That, combined with fast lenses, I can keep my shutter speeds at 1/125th and faster, pretty much stopping subject motion (and mine!) for most of my shots. My keeper rate is now closer to 75% for exposure-related issues. So I'm more than satisfied.


thanks for the informative post.....in the end MKIII is what I get out of it..hahaha
I understand what you are saying
Maybe one day...MKIII or 70D


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mike929
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Oct 07, 2013 14:51 |  #19

TeamSpeed wrote in post #16348652 (external link)
Your SL1 was be better than mine, or my 7D is better than your 60D, my SL1 is visibly worse than my 7D at high ISOs, the luminescent noise is very noticeable.

I have taken side by side, post processed identically, etc. No go...

Here is what I do with the 7D at 12800 indoors with really low light, one shot AF almost didn't get a lock. I was going to do one of my mini-reviews, but I got a bit depressed as I started into it. It works for the kids though. And this isn't my best 7D copy either, one of our fellow POTNers is running around with my best 7D.

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]

nice picture..must be low light..her pupils are really dilated


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TeamSpeed
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Oct 07, 2013 14:53 as a reply to  @ mike929's post |  #20

It was, most people are pretty comfortable around understanding light levels using ISO 3200 as an example. So that shot would be a 1/3 at ISO 3200 at f2.8 as an equivalent exposure, something just about nobody would really shoot in, unless night landscapes or astrophotography.


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Canon 60D low light options
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