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Old Nov 30, 2004, 6:44 AM   #1
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I thought i was proficient with my camera - a d70 with an sb800 flash. That is until i had to shoot in a nightclub. What resulted was a lot of grainy shots, and me being somewhat distraught.

Could you chaps possibly give me some tips on how i can get a properly exposed image in these low light conditions? The problem is that i frequently shoot people in the foreground, and need a fast shutter speed due to the amount of movement in the background.

I've a feeling i'm mucking something up with the aperture... don't quite now how to rectify if though

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Old Nov 30, 2004, 7:50 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
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I'll move this down to the Nikon DSLR forum, so you'll get better informed responses from users of this camera/flash combination.

However, to me, it sounds like you've got the ISO speed set too high.

Keep in mind that you really don't need a fast shutter speed to freeze action with a flash. In most lighting conditions requiring a flash, the subject is not exposed well enough by ambient light to get any motion blur.

This is because the flash burst itself is very short (around 1/1000 to 1/10000 second, depending on the flash). So, the flash has the impact of freezing the action.

But, if you have your exposure set to allow more light with flash (i.e., wide open aperture or higher ISO speed), then you can sometimes get exposure from ambient light sources, and as a result, get some motion blur if shutter speeds are not fast enough.

So, unless you need the extra range a higher ISO speed provides (each time you double the ISO speed, your flash range increases by 1.4x), you're probably better off keeping your ISO speed set lower (to keep noise/grain down), and not opening up the aperture as much (keeping flash range in mind, since larger apertures give more range).

In other words, you're doing the opposite of what you'd expect to do (not letting as much light in, so that ambient light doesn't contribute to the exposure enough to see any motion blur if shutter speeds are not fast enough to stop action). You let the short flash burst stop the action instead.


Since you mentioned having the SB800, my response assumed that you're using it in the Nightclubs. If not, then you'll need to do the opposite. Use Av (Aperture Priority Mode), and shoot with a larger aperture (represented by smaller f/stop number). This will allow the camera to use the fastest shutter speeds possible. On the downside, you'll have a shallower depth of field.

Youwill also want to invest in a brighter lens if you don't have one. If you really don't need the zoom, you can pick up a 50mm f/1.8 for around $100.00 or less at most dealers now.

You'll probably still need to increase ISO speeds some without a flash (but not nearly as much as you would with a slower lens). To help reduce the appearance of noise in your photos, there are some pretty good tools. Here are a few:

Neat Image: http://www.neatimage.com

Noise Ninja: http://www.picturecode.com

Noiseware: http://www.imagenomic.com

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