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Old Jun 28, 2006, 11:18 AM   #1
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Hello, last week I visited a museum that presents scenes of animal life that are behind glasses. The scenes get lit when the guide explains what they are. We are alowed to take photos preferably without flash but we can use the flash if necessary. I missed most of my shots. Most are blurred. Some taken with the flash are OK but they are not work of art. I used the 18-55 kit lens. I shot in Auto mode, P mode, boosted up the IS0 to 400 and even 800 but still I could not have a good result. OK, I know it's me...The week before, I wanted to buy the 50mm 1.8 lens but didn't do it. Would I've been beter served with this lens in such a dark environment? Is there a special "recipe" to take photos in dark places like a museum? I am ery sad that most of my photos came out blurred. Thanks for your hep and hints. Germain[img]/forums/images/emoticons/icon_sad.gif[/img]
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 12:31 PM   #2
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Karmin wrote:
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I wanted to buy the 50mm 1.8 lens but didn't do it. Would I've been beter served with this lens in such a dark environment?
Yes. It's a much brighter lens than a kit lens, especially if you zoom in any with the kit lens.

Your kit lens has a largest available aperture of f/5.6 zoomed into 55mm. That's very dim for existing light use indoors without a tripod.

f/1.8 (largest available aperture with the 50mm f/1.8 ) is around 10 times as bright. But, keep in mind that depth of field will be shallower at larger apertures (smaller f/stop numbers). So, you don't want to use a larger aperture than needed (and you can easily stop down the aperture in Aperture Priority Mode if you don't want to shoot with the aperture wide open in low light).

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Is there a special "recipe" to take photos in dark places like a museum?
Use a tripod or monopod. ;-)

The "rule of thumb" for hand holding a camera is that shutter speeds should be 1/focal length or faster. For example, if shooting at 50mm, use 1/50 sxecond or faster, if shooting at 100mm, use 1/100 second or faster, etc. With your DSLR, you should probably use 35mm equivalent focal lengths for the math (multiply by 1.5).

But, with a dim lens, getting shutter speeds that fast is not always possible (hence, a tripod or monopod).

Note that this is only a "rule of thumb", as some people can hold a camera steadier compared to others, and some people may require even faster shutter speeds to reduce blur from camera shake.

Practicing your breathing and "trigger finger" technique (think smooth) can also help reduce blur from camera shake.

With your kit lens, you lose a lot of light as you zoom in more (it's about 3 times as bright on it's widest zoom setting at f/3.5 versus it's longest zoom setting at f/5.6). So, don't zoom in any more than necessary.

Zooming in to longer focal lengths with your kit lens will require slower shutter speeds for the same lighting and ISO speed, *and* it will increase blur from camera shake because of a longer focal length (camera shake is magnified as more optical zoom is used, which is why we have a 1/focal length rule of thumb).

Keep an eye on your shutter speeds, and if they're too slow, increase your ISO speed. Each time you double the ISO speed, a camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same aperture and lighting. You may have needed ISO 1600 to get more keepers with less blur unless you had something to brace yourself on to reduce camera shake.

Taking photos in bursts can help, too (sometimes pressing the shutter button can cause some camera shake that won't be in the following image after you keep the shutter button depressed).



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Old Jun 28, 2006, 1:36 PM   #3
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My suggestions, use ISO 1600 if necessary; if the shutter speed is till too slow set -1EV and boost it back in post processing. A fast lens would be good but I usually find in such circumstances you want a wide lens not a telephoto, so a 50mm f1.8 is probably not the answer.

Keith.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 4:30 PM   #4
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The trick with shooting through a glass is to put your lens up against the glass. That'll cut down on reflections from the glass. Of course you should avoid using flash as well, as that'll get reflected as well.
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Old Jun 28, 2006, 8:06 PM   #5
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Would a polarizing filter help in this situation? I purchased one for my 18-55mm kit lens for a trip to the Covington Aquarium.
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Old Jun 29, 2006, 1:35 AM   #6
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A polariser would not help at all. I concur with the comment above about the 50mm f1.8 lens too - it just won't cut the cake indoors since you actually have the field of view of a 75mm lens. For such indoor work the 12/24 Tamron would be a much better bet than the Nikon 50mm and isn't much different in price. Putting your camera against the glass would probably be far too close to the subject matter even for the 12/24.
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Old Jun 29, 2006, 2:34 PM   #7
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er.. Tamron 12/24 is like $500 isn't it? 50mm 1.8 is $100. Not that close in price
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Old Jun 29, 2006, 6:29 PM   #8
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Nice shot Keith.

Thank you for the good information.

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Old Jun 30, 2006, 2:37 AM   #9
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Thanks. I forgot to mention, that shot was using ISO1600 -1EV then boosted back in post processing (as well as correcting barrel distortion). Shutter speed was 1/25s. f3.5, 18-55 kit lens at 18mm.

And if anyone worries about noise at ISO1600, here is a 100% crop from the original.

Keith.
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Old Jun 30, 2006, 8:00 AM   #10
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Yup, I know there is that difference in price, but $100 wasted is wasted, whereas $500 invested is different. I wouldn't buy a chocolate saucepan, would you? Not quite built for the purpose. Far better to wait until the funds are available than buy something inappropriate. a 50mm lens indoors is basically useless on a digital camera, and 12/24 should be considered the norm for that at least. But you are of course right in quoting the price differential - sorry for that.
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