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Old Dec 21, 2005, 11:25 PM   #1
dlw
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I went to my 8 year old granddaughter's cheerleading class program tonight and took guite a few pictures with my Rebel XT with 28-135 Canon IS lens. I used 800 ISO and bumped the exposure up about halfway to the max. All of the pictures turned outnoisey and hopelessly dark. I used Tv mode with the shutter speed of 125 and my aperture showed a flashing 5.6 (not every shot was set this way, but the majority were). What else should I have done? The lighting was very good for a gymnasium type setting. Any help would be very much appreciated. I got a couple shots halfway decent using Raw Shooter Essentials and Neat Image, but overall very disappointing.
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 12:18 AM   #2
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The flashing f5.6 meantthe lenshad open up all the way and it was insufficient for the lighting to work with the shutter set to 1/125 sec, so you needed to revert to a slower shutter speed with the lighting conditions, but if your shutter speedsare too slow then you have problems stopping action.Your exposurecould have been one stop or3 stops off. You'll not know sincethe lens wasopened as far as it could and had to stop at f5.6. Severe underexposure will make noise worse.

If you can't afford to buy a faster lens, what you're going to have to do is:

1. Goto ISO 1600- really no option here.

2. Do you shoot straight JPEGS or RAW? You can add the equivalent of an additional stop (ISO 3200), by using RAW capture,setting your exposure compensation to -1 when you shoot, then process the RAW file using +1 exposure compensation. This is the equivalent of what people used to do when they "pushed" film (shooting ISO 200 film at ISO 400 instead). The images will look a little dark on your camera's LCD, but once downloaded and with the +1 EC added at the time of processingthey will brighten back up.

You need the faster shutter speeds, but in order to get it you need eitherfaster glass or higher ISO settings.
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Old Dec 22, 2005, 12:20 AM   #3
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the flashing 5.6 meant there wasn't enough light for that shutter speed. it meant you needed to use a slower shutter speed or a larger (smaller number) aperature. next time try using av mode and let the camera set your shutter speed. even though there seems to be eniugh light to your eyes, it doesn't mean the camera has enough light. In that kind of situation I take a bunch of test shots of different areas of the gym or room before the event starts and then make adjustments accordingly.

dennis


edit: i see i was beat to the punch!!!:G:G
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Old Dec 24, 2005, 7:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies. I knew what the flashing meant, I was hoping that someone had some magical solution, ie: winning the lottery to buy more lens! I am obviously new to this but am actually learning. Because I don't have access to the same conditions except the occasional event, it is really hard to have any time to experiment. Can a person go to manual mode and mess withhigher shutter speeds and larger aperatures to any degree? (yes, I will do this myself after Christmas, but would be interested in others experience).

Thanks and happy holidays!
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Old Dec 25, 2005, 10:34 PM   #5
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Sure, absolutely, you can go to manual. Had you done so in the case you described above though, the results would not have been much different as the camera had already maxed the aperture out at f5.6. Had the lens been faster, say maybe f2, you could have used aperture priority, set the lens to f2 because you know you want the fastest possible shutter speed to stop action and let the camera set the correct shutter speed , which I'm guessing would have been somewhere around 1/250 or so at f2, based on the fact that there were some of your images where the f5.6 was not blinking.

Had you used aperture priority and set your lens wide open at f5.6, the camera would have selected a correct shutter speed for that aperture and you'd have known right away if your shutter speeds were not going to be sufficiently fast enough (you probably need at least 1/125 sec, so you were right in setting that speed- your lens just wasn't fast enough). Your images would not have been so underexposed and dark, but the resulting shutter speed would probably not have been fast enough (1/60 sec or so) and you'd have had image blur from movement of the subject. At that point you decide to do the process I described above where you get an equivalent ISO 3200 by going RAW and "pushing" the ISO. The resulting images might be a little grainey, but you get an image you can use.

Everyone can use faster lenses- if only I could afford that 300/f2.8(!), but I know that isn't happening for me, so it's all about getting the best possible shots with the equipment at hand- that's all anyone can do.

I can probably count the times I've used shutter priority exposure mode with the fingers on one hand. I'm probably either in aperture priority or full program mode 80-90% of the time, and in manual mode the rest of the time.
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Old Dec 26, 2005, 9:08 AM   #6
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Thanks Greg! I really appreciate your explanations and most of all your patience. I learn a lot better by doing than from the manuals and it is just very tough to dedicate the needed time to hands-on experimenting. I'm really enjoying the learning process and I feel I'm coming along fine, so hopefully it will all click and let me relax and enjoy it!
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Old Dec 26, 2005, 11:32 PM   #7
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I used 800 ISO "and bumped the exposure up about halfway to the max."

I've been teaching photogtraphy at a local university since 1984 and I am clueless what the last part of that sentence means. So I'll ignore it.

I'm going to be a bit harsh on you, so filter out my aggresion and read for the techniques and useful information I may provide.

Your post is interesting: people exlpained what the flashing 5.6 meant and, up to that point, I felt sorry for you. I thought you would learn a bit from the responces you got but then you replied "I knew what the flashing meant...". Now I want to reach into my monitor and slap you up the side da' head.

Okay, from now on, the flashing doesn't mean "there wasn't enough light for that shutter speed", it means - STOP YOU IDIOT!

Please forgive me, I'll calm down now...

"it is really hard to have any time to experiment." I disagree - as you found out it absolutely necesasary.

"Can a person go to manual mode and mess withÂ*higher shutter speeds and larger apertures to any degree?" I have a better/quicker way to get to a good exposure.

First, when you are in a gym or any situation where you can tell the amount of light is insufficient for a low ISO, set your ISO to 1600 (the noise at that level in the Canon Rebel XT is excellent!) then set your exposure mode to "P". Take a picture of the area where your subject(s) will be, don't wait until the event has started - you're just trying to find a good expousre setting.

Review the picture and look at the ss/f-stop settings the camera used AND take a look at the histogram. What ever SS and f-stop the camera used will be a good place for you to start. Switch to manual mode, put in those settings and then you can always tweak them until you get a good histogram reading.

So get this - you get to the event, get your seat, set your ISO, shoot one photo, reset everything in M mode and you're ready to go. This will take care of "it is just very tough to dedicate the needed time to hands-on experimenting."

Greg's advice on pushing your ISO to 3200 and shooting in RAW then using post processing to 'gain up' the brightness should be avoided if at all possible. It should be a last resort. Even using RAW mode you will increase noise and other artifacts. Just as when photographers used film, the best results will be found when you can get a correct exposure at the time of shooting.

Good luck & keep shootin'
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Old Dec 27, 2005, 8:28 AM   #8
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Just pratice taking shots in your own room at night time. For what we see as normal light at night time, camera will usually require f1.8 or atleast f2.8 lens to give you any decent shutter speed. And that is at high ISO seetings.

Also using Av mode is much better than using Tv. Using Av, you just select the max aperture of the lens which always gives you max. shutter speed for that aperture. Much better IMHO than using Tv where all your shots would be at same ss even in case lighting was good and you could have gotten faster ss.

Buy cheap 50mm f1.8 lens. You need to be up-clode to use it. Another reasonable option is 85mm f1.8 lens. For longer range 135mm f2 and then 70-200f 2.8 IS but they cost more.


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Old Dec 27, 2005, 8:46 PM   #9
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Thank those of you that so patiently helped and answered my questions. I have always been pleased with the help I have gotten on this forum. However, I would like to point out that I am not an idiot and resent being called one. I started and owned my own company for 18 years in the computer industry and retired at the age of 53. I have no desire to be a professional photographer or photography professor. I take pictures to relax and enjoy myself. I suggest that if one feels put out by anyone's questions they should simply ignore them. There, now I've calmed down also.
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Old Dec 28, 2005, 11:18 AM   #10
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Well as a parent who takes a lot of pictures in poorly lit gym's I can certainly share your pain. I resolved this problem, in my situation, by getting a Tamron 28-70mm f/2.8 lens and set the ISO to 1600. I shoot in RAW format and use Raw Shooter Essentials (the free version) to adjust the white balance and tweak the exposure (when needed). I purchased this particular lens because it was the 2.8 lens I could afford that had a decent reputation.

As was suggested I try to take a few test photos before the event starts but sometimes it's not always possible. But you learn from experience that when you are photographing in dark situations that you have to start with certain settings and then adjust from there. Every chance you get stop and look at the last couple of pictures you took looking at the histogram to determine how you exposure is.

I am not a professional nor do I profess to be one. I have learned a lot from forums like this one and from just taking pictures. I've also learned from these forums not to be judgemental in other peoples threads nor get too excited about what is 'said' in a thread I've started.

Hope this helps.






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