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bp1222 Dec 16, 2009 10:50 AM

Low light, concert flashes
Hi all,

I'm coming to ask for recommendations on a lowerend (price) flash for shooting in a dark bar for live music. Or, for that matter, just darker places. I'm getting by now shooting with no flash (cause the directional built in is awful) at 1/10 F5 and iso1600.

I have a rebel xti. Suggestions?


JimC Dec 17, 2009 9:33 AM

I'd try a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM on it and see what you get without a flash. If you shoot at f/1.4, you'll get shutter speeds around 16 times as fast as a typical zoom at f/5.6 for the same lighting and iso speed. With the aperture set down a stop at f/2 (where it's going to be a bit sharper with a bit more Depth of Field), you'll still get shutter speeds around 8 times as fast as you'd get with a typical kit lens zoomed in much (since most are down to a widest aperture of around f/5.6 when zoomed in much, and f/2 is 8 times as bright as f/5.6).

Chances are, you're overexposing them a bit, too (which will cause slower shutter speeds), since a lot of dark areas in a photo (areas where the lights are not shining) will usually throw off a camera's metering shooting in dimmer bars, so you'll probably need to use a -EV setting with exposure compensation for a bit darker exposure (or, just use manual exposure if the lights are relatively consistent).

If you want a longer focal length, I'd probably look at a 50mm or 85mm lens (like the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM).

If you'd rather use a flash, I'd probably get a Canon 430 EX II or Metz 48 AF-1.

bp1222 Dec 17, 2009 10:40 AM

Thanks man. That's some really awesome advice. I'll have to give them a whirl. Though at such a low f/1.2 how can I try and compensate for a sever loss of focus ability?

Mark1616 Dec 17, 2009 12:09 PM

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Originally Posted by bp1222 (Post 1028949)
Thanks man. That's some really awesome advice. I'll have to give them a whirl. Though at such a low f/1.2 how can I try and compensate for a sever loss of focus ability?

Actually the focus ability is much better as you have far more light getting to the AF system, what you lose is the depth of field of shooting at narrower apertures.

Using a fast lens is always better than flash in these sort of situations as you work with the ambient light which generally is more artistic etc. Take this photo as an example. If I had shot with flash then likely it would have lost the majority of the lighting behind so most of the feel would be gone.

bp1222 Dec 17, 2009 1:42 PM

does having an ef-s camera and an ef lens change anything relating to the lens speed? i mean the canon f/1.8 you had up there, would that change anything?

Mark1616 Dec 17, 2009 5:55 PM

The f1.8 refers to the maximum aperture available, which is how much light you are letting into the camera, so the smaller the number the better making it easier to get a high shutter speed, easier to get focus, lower ISO is needed so you get less noisy shots etc.

Here are a couple of links that might help. The 2nd could take a bit of time to run through, for first you will find part way through where it talks about aperture.

Hope that helps but feel free to ask for clarification.

bp1222 Dec 18, 2009 6:56 AM

Sorry I kinda worded it wrong, i guess. I think what I mean to ask is, what is the difference between EF-S and EF. I was reading somewhere that because the -S sits further back in the camera it's closer to the image sensor, where as the EF doesn't. Would this effect focus, or since the EF is further away I assume that the light from it isn't centred on the sensor, which is why I asked if it artificially increases the f-stop, since less light is centred on the sensor.

Mark1616 Dec 18, 2009 7:01 AM

EF and EF-S lenses have no effect on focus or aperture, the difference is that EF-S are designed for APS-C size sensors such as you find in the xxxD and xxD series cameras. Also the 7D fits into this category. If you are using a full frame sensor such as a 5D or 1Ds then you will suffer vignetting badly.

bp1222 Dec 18, 2009 7:28 AM

Granted this comes from wikipedia, but is it still true in your findings?

In 2003, Canon introduced the EF-S lens mount, a derivative of the EF mount that is strictly for digital EOS cameras with a 1.6x crop released after 2003. EF lenses can be mounted on EF-S bodies, albeit with cropped image, while EF-S lenses cannot be mounted on EF bodies.

JimC Jan 18, 2010 4:24 PM

Yes, that's still true. All Canon dSLR models made after 2003 with APS-C size sensors (like your XTi) can use EF-S or EF Mount Lenses. Note that Canon dSLR models with APS-C size sensors made prior to 2003 cannot use Canon's EF-S mount lenses. The Canon 10D is one example of a camera like that.

The main difference is that EF mount lenses project a larger image circle in order to cover larger 35mm size film or sensors. Note that some newer Canon camera models have sensors larger than APS-C (including models with sensors the same size as 35mm film, so these will only work with EF mount lenses, not EF-S mount lenses).

Because a model with an APS-C size sensor doesn't use the entire image circle projected by an EF mount lens designed to cover larger 35mm size film or sensors (only the center portion of it is used by a model with a smaller APS-C size sensor), an EF Mount lens can still work on them.

IOW, for your camera model, you can use either lens type. The main advantage of an EF-S mount lens is that they can be made smaller and lighter for a given focal length and brightness (because the image circle they project doesn't have to be large enough to cover larger sensor or film sizes). But, if you were to upgrade to a model using a larger sensor later (for example, a Canon EOS-5D Mark II), you would not be able to use EF-S mount lenses on it.

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