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TekiusFanatikus Mar 25, 2011 11:25 AM

Low light shooting with tripod
What's the best way to get crisp and nice pictures in such a situation where the subject are inanimate still objects?

I had a session where I set the aperture to 8, ISO to 100, setup a 2 sec shutter release (built in), put the camera on the tripod and just let it go. I would have been getting shutter speeds around <= 1 sec.

Does having the camera on a tripod automagically make good pictures (for still objects)?

Greg Chappell Mar 25, 2011 11:39 AM

It makes getting steady shots easier, but it's not necessarily automatic.

There are variables that could still affect your image sharpness.

1. Wind for outdoor shots.
2. Image stabilization. I don't use my tripod a lot, but when I do I turn IS OFF. I do not think the Olympus IS system should be left on when the camera is mounted on a tripod.
3. Camera shake cause by an unsteady release. Like you, I use the 2 second delay to give myself a chance to press the release in and then let the camera release on it's own. If one were really paranoid about it, you'd also raise the mirror first so it does not even affect steadiness, but that also means having to manually set the exposure before shooting. At 1 second or longer, ANY unsteadiness will affect the overall sharpness of the image.

Most of the time when I am out shooting nature shots and am not using a tripod (which is most of the time), if shutter speeds are getting slow I also will use burst shooting so if the first image is affected by the pressing of the shutter release, the second, third and possibly fourth shots are not and will, hopefully, be sharper.

Steven R Mar 25, 2011 1:46 PM

Excellent advice from Greg.

While I'm also one who rarely has occasion to use my tripod, I would only add in your situation, to use the hook between the tripod legs. Hang your camera bang on it and it will help keep the tripod even steadier during your shots.

zig-123 Mar 25, 2011 1:51 PM

While there are many people who have the capability of anchoring themselves, their camera and breathe correctly to softly engage the shutter and get tack sharp, in focus results I'm not one of them.
I prefer to 'anchor' my camera with the use of a tripod. Not only do you eliminate possible blur, but you can really fine tune the focus to get exactly what you want in focus. This is especially true when I'm taking a series of landscape images with varying exposures that will, in turn be used to produce a 5 frame HDR image.

In your situation, where you want to use an extremely low shutter speed, I would use a tripod, then set the shutter to the desired speed, and also add a 2 second delay on the shutter release. The shutter release delay will allow the camera to stop vibrating if you jiggled the camera while pressing the shutter release.
Just remember to shut off in body image stabilization.


Rriley Mar 25, 2011 9:00 PM

turn off IS as has been noted, and if you are looking for a tripod look at the more stable ones instead of cheapies

Mikefellh Mar 25, 2011 10:52 PM

The quality of the tripod makes a difference, also one designed holding the weight of the lens/camera combination.

For instance an E-5 with a 6kg/13lb Sigma 300-800mm needs to be a lot stronger than if you had an E-420 or an E-PEN with a 25mm pancake lens. But you can't cheap out and go too light duty either as you need a tripod that's stiff and doesn't shift every time the camera vibrates when touched or the shutter is activated.

You have to think of a tripod as a 10-20 year investment (if you buy a good one), so a $200 tripod is only $20-$10 a year. If you cheap out and pay $35 now, and then decide that's too weak and buy a $50 one and that's still too weak, you've almost spent half the price of a decent one.

Also for tripods you can't buy them sight unseen...tripod is something you have to hold, try carrying it (if you intend to hike with it rather than just use it in a studio).

The other tips as already stated including turning IS OFF, using Anti-Shock, and a remote (either wired or wireless) so you don't add shake to the camera by pressing the shutter release.

Scouse Mar 26, 2011 5:40 PM


Originally Posted by Rriley (Post 1212440)
turn off IS as has been noted, and if you are looking for a tripod look at the more stable ones instead of cheapies

Looks like you're still in real estate, these are outstanding shots. I've found that taking better shots results in better business. One sees some crap stuff out there.
Missed your posts for a while and your PM page is turned off. Good to see you posting again.

Is that the 11-22 lens?

HarjTT Mar 26, 2011 7:36 PM

Can't add anything to what the guys have already advised.

Riley, mate looking at those pics esp 1 & 3 those are superbly taken and looking at the lighting thats not an easy thing to do and do well.




TekiusFanatikus Mar 26, 2011 7:43 PM

Rriley, those are nice!

Curious about the lens and aperture if you don't mind.

Rriley Mar 26, 2011 9:42 PM

thank you folks, and too right Scouse

E5 7-14 at f/4 and 9mm in frame 1
shutter 0.8 sec ISO200, two FL50r's in support and a stack of lights chucked in the pool for no effect :(

E3 and 9-18 at 18mm f/6.3 in frame 2
shutter 3.2 secs ISO100, full ambient light

5D and Contax Distagon 18mm at f/11 frame 3
shutter 5 secs ISO100, might have been a Metz 54 MZ3 on it, cant remember

these are all on a Benro tripod and Gitso 3 way head, no idea what model its in the car, but its solid cheap'ish' and adjustable

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