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Thread started 15 Nov 2007 (Thursday) 08:39
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Shutter Speed in Rebel XTi

 
asadikhan
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Nov 15, 2007 08:39 |  #1

So I have been playing around with my new XTi (yes another noob) - and my question has to do with the shutter speed.

The other day I took my XTi to my wife's graduation. It was a fairly well lit convocation hall, though it was night time and this was all inside. I was mostly taking pictures in AV mode. I had kept the aperture settings to the wide open end mostly around f4.5. This is supposed to give me the best exposure possible. What I ended up getting were pictures that did have good exposure, however, they were all quite blurry! When I researched a bit more I found out that the shutter speed that XTi had set for the correct exposure in AV mode was around 1/10 or 1/13. This is what caused the pictures to be blurry.

So I was testing the camera in my basement at night, which was probably similar light to the convocation hall. And what I noticed was that in AV mode I simply could not get the shutter speed to be any better than 1/10 or 1/13. If I did switch over to M mode and try setting a faster shutter speed, I would end up with basically just a black picture or severely underexposed pictures. I even tried switching to TV mode and went at it from the other end, which is I set the exposure setting to 1/200 and tried taking pictures thinking the camera will set the appropriate aperture, but the aperture setting kept flashing, and it won't stop flashing unless I dropped down to 1/10 or 1/13.

So at this point what I know is that I am unable to take pictures in better than 1/10 shutter speed if I'm in a room with reasonable (not natural) light at night. There has to be a way around this, without wanting to use flash? Even with flash, I was unable to set moderately high shutter speed.

So what I'm considering my options to be at this point are:

1) Get a faster lens, maybe something like 50mm f1.4 or f1.8 prime lens. I have heard this is supposed to help taking pictures at night or in dark, but I don't know how much it would help. Right now I am using the kit lens which is a zoom with f3.6-f5.0 and it ain't doing wonders for me.

2) Maybe I need to play with the exposure settings? There has to be a way you can take decent shots without the blur and set a moderately high shutter speed, preferably without flash. Again I am not taking pictures inside a cave. These are pretty well lit rooms.

3) Maybe I should try playing with the metering settings, and set it to partial metering. Not sure if it would help.

If anyone can help me understand what I can do to get better shutter speeds inside a well lit room at night, I'd really appreciate it.


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Hermeto
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Nov 15, 2007 08:50 |  #2
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Did you try higher ISO?
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elysium
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Nov 15, 2007 09:01 |  #3

I have to agree with Hermeto here.

In low light conditions, there are two things which can really help, higher ISO and a wider lens. 50mm f/1.8 is ideal for low light for cheap but there are other primes which can also do the job.


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asadikhan
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Nov 15, 2007 09:11 |  #4

Yes I was shooting in ISO1600. But I don't think that's the point. ISO settings help shoot in low light. They don't necessarily will help me set the shutter faster.

In any case, yes I was shooting with ISO1600 and ISO800 and the best shutter speed I could get in a well lit room at night was 1/10. Is that normal for everyone else?

Any other ideas?


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rabidcow
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Nov 15, 2007 09:18 |  #5

asadikhan wrote in post #4320086 (external link)
ISO settings help shoot in low light. They don't necessarily will help me set the shutter faster.


Any other ideas?

A higher ISO will yield a faster shutter speed if your aperture remains constant.

If your ISO was at 1600, and you were as wide open on the lens as possible then the solution is a faster lens.

A 50mm 1.8 is pretty fast, and cheap and might give you the results that you desire.

But do not expect wonders in most gyms. I have been shooting HS sports for years now and I still struggle to obtain the best ISO/aperture/shutter speed combination required to give me the results I need. No two gyms are alike, and different events demand different exposure settings.


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gjl711
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Nov 15, 2007 09:18 |  #6

Posting a pic with exif data would help. ISO1600 f/3.5 should yield a fairly decent shutter speed assuming a lite room.


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asadikhan
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Nov 15, 2007 09:20 |  #7

Ok I'll post the picture in a bit as I don't have it here. BTW, what about the metering and exposure settings? Should they help?


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liquefied
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Nov 15, 2007 09:22 |  #8

asadikhan wrote in post #4320086 (external link)
Yes I was shooting in ISO1600. But I don't think that's the point. ISO settings help shoot in low light. They don't necessarily will help me set the shutter faster.

In any case, yes I was shooting with ISO1600 and ISO800 and the best shutter speed I could get in a well lit room at night was 1/10. Is that normal for everyone else?

Any other ideas?

ISO most definitely helps with getting a faster shutter speed. In fact, that's pretty much its only function, meaning it increases the light gathering capacity of the sensor. (As well as for getting slower shutter speeds at lower ISO). Most likely what's going on here is you're simply shooting in too dark a room. A well-lit room in your opinion is probably a very dark room in photographic terms.

Like elysium said, there are a couple things that can help you. One is a wider aperture on your lens which means buying a new lens because you're probably using the kit lens. Something with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 or f/1.8 will help you significantly. An aperture of f/1.8 will actually get you to around 1/60th shutter speed in the light you're describing.



  
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gjl711
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Nov 15, 2007 09:27 |  #9

asadikhan wrote in post #4320131 (external link)
Ok I'll post the picture in a bit as I don't have it here. BTW, what about the metering and exposure settings? Should they help?

Don't "save for web" and the exif data will contain all that info.


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Nov 15, 2007 09:32 |  #10

asadikhan,

Welcome to this challenging new experience!

As far as how to approach your attempt at available light shooting, I emphasize, and the solutions are kind of an "all of the above" approach.

Your kit lens will definitely not be well-suited for such attempts because it's limited in how fast it will allow the shutter to work. But you boost your speed capabilities by upping your ISO. You're battling less with your camera as much as with your lens and your environment here.

If you want to find out what possible variety of settings you can work with, try going to P mode and half-click, note what aperture and shutter speed combination the camera suggests when it "meters" the room, then "program shift" to some different settings (your manual will tell you how to do this). There should be several sets of aperture/shutter settings that will work with your lens.This is a way to get familiar with exposure settings for your camera.

The flash is a good way of getting off a low-light shot, but the built-in flash is limited -- if you want to do a lot of indoor photography, look at getting an external flash that you can either mount on your camera or, with a cable, move around for better effect.

While you're experimenting, try using a tripod or other means of keeping your camera stable. Your really can get sharp pictures indoors, but you have to learn to work with the environment, and learning to keep your camera stable is a biggy!

I would definitely spring for a faster lens. The "nifty fifty" is a good place to start, because it's very sharp and so darn cheap. There is a lens that I'd seriously consider saving nickels and dimes for, though: the EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS, at about $1k, is IMO the greatest lens for your camera class that they are making these days. I've taken indoor shots at f/4 at 1/10 sec, hand-held, and they've come out nice, because this lens has a great image stabilization system, and it replaces your kit lens, and it's sharp.

Hey, have fun!


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asadikhan
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Nov 15, 2007 09:56 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #11

Alright, thanks for all this input. I'm liking this forum a lot. Not an hour since the post, and I already have some great advice from so many folks. Thanks again.

I'll post the image with EXIF data later today.


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rkkwan
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Nov 15, 2007 13:02 as a reply to  @ asadikhan's post |  #12

When you've bumped the ISO to the max, and open up to the largest aperture with your "fastest" lens, there's not much else you can do.

The other night I was shooting some friends at a dimly-lit restaurant. Used the flash for a couple of shots but that was way too disturbing to the other diners. I had my 50/1.4 with me, but it was too long on my 40D in that situation. So, it had to be my 17-55IS at 2.8, ISO 3200. If I use AV with no compensation, I'll get motion blur from the people I'm shooting (IS will prevent shake for background, but not the people's movement).

So, I set to M and shoot at around 1/25sec, which is about 1 2/3 stops under. (Same result if I dial in -1 2/3 stops exposure compensation). And then "push" it in post processing.

ISO 3200 with that much push means very noisy pictures, but everything's sharp. At least they're usable. Sometimes that's all you can do. [Actually, I don't really like the way the pics look, so I convert them to black-and-white, with a "documentary" feel with the noise and all.]


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asadikhan
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Nov 15, 2007 16:17 |  #13

Interesting - except I don't understand the "1 2/3 stops under" bit.

I was speaking to someone else the other day, and they said they usually end up shooting in B/W and that way there is no noise. So I am wondering, if you had decided to go B/W at camera level, as opposed to going B/W in post, would you have gotten decent picture albeit without color, but without noise as well? Or would you still get the noise?


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elysium
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Nov 15, 2007 16:33 |  #14

Sorry correct me if im wrong anyone

If you have a look on your camera screen, there is a bar such as -2...1...0...1...+2 and that is how you measure your exposure. There will be a marker which tells you if you will end up over or under exposing. That will explain the "1 2/3 stops under"


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JeffreyG
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Nov 15, 2007 17:29 |  #15

ISO 3200 with that much push means very noisy pictures, but everything's sharp. At least they're usable. Sometimes that's all you can do. [Actually, I don't really like the way the pics look, so I convert them to black-and-white, with a "documentary" feel with the noise and all.

Underexposure at high ISO makes for images that are too noisy to use really. I suppose your solution to convert to B&W and pass the noise off as an artisitc effect is occasionably workable but not often.

When I am working at high ISO I usually try to overexpose slightly and push the histogram to the right. This creates very clean images.

To the OP, if you are getting ISO1600, f/4 and 1/10 shutter speed you can easily calculate where you will end up by changing things.

Every doubling of the ISO doubles the shutter speed and vice-versa. So If you dropped the ISO from 1600 to 800 the shutter speed would be 1/5. If you went from ISO 1600 to 3200 (on a 30D for instance) the shutter speed would go to 1/20.

Similarly if you change the aperture to one full stop higher you cut the shutter speed in half and if you go one stop lower you double it. So going from f/4 to f/2.8 (if you had it) would yield 1/20 and f/2 would yield 1/40.

Full aperture stops FYI are 1, 1.4, 2, 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8, 11, 16, 22, 32

So the fastest reasonable shutter speed you could get is with an XXD body at ISO3200 (doubles it) and with an f/1.4 prime lens (doubles it again twice).

So 1/10 => 1/20 => 1/40 => 1/80. That's about it.


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Shutter Speed in Rebel XTi
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