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View Full Version : Help please for night shots!


undertheseas
05-20-2011, 11:41 PM
I still have not learned to use my manual settings on my Canon Rebel. :headache: Any hints on getting some great night shots? Specifically I'm interested in WWoHP since we're only going to be there a couple of hours at night and there are so many shop windows that I want to capture and the castle tour. Just to make it more complicated, I'm going to be trying to amuse a 2 year old in a stroller. :eek:

Any help with be much appreciated!

photo_chick
05-21-2011, 12:01 AM
You really need fast lenses for hand held night shots. What lenses do you have?

I tend to shoot in Tv (shutter priority) when I'm shooting in low light. I set it to the minnimum I need. The aperture often ends up wide open since I tend to favor a lower ISO over stopping down.

Gianna'sPapa
05-21-2011, 08:37 AM
As photo_chick alluded to, its all about the photographic triangle of shutter speed, aperture and ISO. With the right equipment and technique these shots are not any more difficult than daytime shots and IMO more spectacular. For photographing stationary objects, if you have slower glass, ie, kit lenses, then a tripod is normally required (a shutter remote is also helpful) because you will need longer shutter speeds which correlates to blur. For moving or handheld, then the faster glass is recommended. Again the goal is to get more light to the sensor at a faster shutter speed. The other factor is the ISO setting. That is the sensitivity of the sensor to light. The higher the setting the faster you can set your shutter speed (and/or aperture), but the downside is that it introduces noise, those little colored blotches, into the image. You mention you have a Rebel, which one? I have the faster glass, tripod, etc, but my limiting factor is my camera body. I have a max of ISO 1600 and at that setting it introduces a lot of noise. The flipside is that at ISO 100 it produces some of the best images, at least the best I have ever shot. The goal should be to learn all the "sweet" spots when your equipment produces its best images. Since it appears you will be shooting handheld, I have to agree with photo_chick, the way to go is with faster glass unless your camera is able to produce usable high ISO images (6400-12,800).

undertheseas
05-21-2011, 10:24 PM
Thank you so much for the help!

It's a Rebel Tsi. I know they make bigger and better now but until I learn this one I can't justify the expense when this one is working just fine.

photo_chick
05-21-2011, 11:24 PM
Thank you so much for the help!

It's a Rebel Tsi. I know they make bigger and better now but until I learn this one I can't justify the expense when this one is working just fine.

Actually more often than not lenses will help you out more than a new camera will. Really, I still use my old Rebel XT with a fast prime on it all the time for things.

This was taken with a Rebel XT using a 50mm f/1.8 (the lens runs arond $100). Hand held, ISO 1600. If I remember right the shutter speed was around 1/60.
And forgive me that it's not actually a Disney shot. LOL
http://photo-chick.smugmug.com/Other/parade/20090811-IMG3694/622000401_qGHSf-S.jpg

ChiSoxKeith
05-21-2011, 11:50 PM
I have one of the first Canon DSLRs, only 6.3MP. But it can take great shots at night with a 50mm f/1.4.

The 1.4 is a bit pricey ($450). But you can pick up the 50mm f/1.8 for only ~$130. Sure it's only one focal length but a 50mm f/1.8 will do nicely.

You could also rent a lens or too online. www.borrowlenses.com or www.lensrentals.com would work.

You could pick up the 70-200 f/2.8 for your trip.

Gianna'sPapa
05-22-2011, 12:40 AM
Thank you so much for the help!

It's a Rebel Tsi. I know they make bigger and better now but until I learn this one I can't justify the expense when this one is working just fine.

I'm not a Canon shooter, so I'm not totally versed in the Canon designations, but I can't find a Rebel Tsi. Is there another designation or number or something?

ukcatfan
05-22-2011, 12:59 AM
I'm not a Canon shooter, so I'm not totally versed in the Canon designations, but I can't find a Rebel Tsi. Is there another designation or number or something?

Probably a typo and is a XSi. If so, then the max ISO is 1600.

bob100
05-22-2011, 07:31 AM
Probably a typo and is a XSi.

or it could be a typo and a T1i

so many confusing camera names!

Gianna'sPapa
05-22-2011, 08:02 AM
These manufacturers do make it confusing! Mine goes backwards, K10-K20-K7-K5! Then the entry level, Km-Kx-kr. And then throw in the K100 & 200. I have a hard time keeping track of a small company like Pentax. When it comes to the bigger companies, forget it! Anyway back to the OP's request. If you have a camera with a high of 1600 ISO, which I do, then the faster glass is definitely the way to go. Depending on your budget, photo_chick has some very good suggestions. With a Canon APS-C camera the 50mm becomes an 80mm and for inside work that sometimes will be a little long. You may have to rely on the old foot-zoom. Another option, if the budget allows, is something in the range of 30-35mm. A lens that fits that criteria would be the Sigma 30 1.4 for $489. Canon's glass in that range is their well regarded "L" glass and at over $1400 is definitely out of my range.:rotfl2: Also you may want to invest in a noise reduction software. I use Photoshop Elements 8 with a Topaz Labs Denoise 5 add-on that works well. There are others out there, but I don't know enough about them to make a recommendation. This should give you some options. If your budget is tight, as mine usually is, then the recommendation made by photo_chick for the Canon 50 1.8 is probably your best option. I just researched that lens and at B & H, its going for $125. If any additional purchases are not in the cards then the best way is crank up the ISO and hold very still. You may be able to get some shots. Better to have a little noise than a totally blurry image. I don't recall that you listed what lenses you have.

photo_chick
05-22-2011, 09:52 AM
They do make the names confusing. I just figured it was a typo on the camera name. And whichever Rebel it is, it can get the shots with the right glass. As a frame of reference for the non-Canon users, my old XT is the 8MP Rebel. It was the second camera produced in the digital Rebel line.

50mm can get tight for some people indoors. I love the focal length on a crop body and the only time I ever ran into the problem was in a cave. But I know a lot of people don't like the focal length on a crop in general. It's yet another of those personal taste things though that I don't think you can really know until you have it on your camera for a bit if you're unaccustomed to using primes.

Gianna'sPapa
05-22-2011, 10:40 AM
You're exactly right. I would love to have a new camera body that has the high usable ISO's that are being touted (aka Pentax K5). Unfortunately, the budget isn't allowing for that. I have a M 50mm 1.4 for our Pentax LX film camera and it will mount on our current cameras except as a manual lens. Without changing the focus screen, I find it hard to get a real sharp focus. I guess the eyes aren't what they used to be!:rotfl2: There is a trade-off for the Kats-eye (sp?) split focus screen that I wasn't willing to deal with, but I don't recall what that was exactly. Since I loved the FF 50mm focal length, I have decided to go with the Sigma 30 for my indoor lowlight shooting (AKA Disney dark rides!). I am obsessed with getting some good shots inside Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion and others. With my ISO being limited to 1600 (remember when that was great?), when I am able to upgrade then I will be able to shoot in TOTAL darkness!:rotfl:

ukcatfan
05-22-2011, 11:35 AM
You're exactly right. I would love to have a new camera body that has the high usable ISO's that are being touted (aka Pentax K5). Unfortunately, the budget isn't allowing for that. I have a M 50mm 1.4 for our Pentax LX film camera and it will mount on our current cameras except as a manual lens. Without changing the focus screen, I find it hard to get a real sharp focus. I guess the eyes aren't what they used to be!:rotfl2: There is a trade-off for the Kats-eye (sp?) split focus screen that I wasn't willing to deal with, but I don't recall what that was exactly. Since I loved the FF 50mm focal length, I have decided to go with the Sigma 30 for my indoor lowlight shooting (AKA Disney dark rides!). I am obsessed with getting some good shots inside Peter Pan, Haunted Mansion and others. With my ISO being limited to 1600 (remember when that was great?), when I am able to upgrade then I will be able to shoot in TOTAL darkness!:rotfl:

Have you tried the trick where you leave the AF on and it will at least tell you if you got the focus correct?

Gianna'sPapa
05-22-2011, 01:13 PM
Yes, between being jostled on the rides, pushing the green button to obtain the metering, then holding down the shutter while focusing, I'm past the part I want to photograph! I just snapped this. I do love the lens if I can ever get my fingers working quickly enough to get a shot while moving!:rotfl:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2718/5746813371_1b500f7168_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45097427@N02/5746813371/)
Yellow Flowers All (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45097427@N02/5746813371/) by Gianna'sPapa (http://www.flickr.com/people/45097427@N02/), on Flickr

Sorry undertheseas for hijacking your post!

undertheseas
05-22-2011, 02:24 PM
Oops that is a typo! T1i. I do have the 50mm f/1.8, I will definitely have to try it! Thank you guys! :worship: Now does anyone want to go and be a second shooter for me? :laughing:

Gianna'sPapa
05-22-2011, 07:50 PM
You should be set. You have a pretty good range of usable ISO with that camera and with the 50mm f1.8, you should have no problems shooting lowlight handheld. Use a combination of aperture and ISO settings to ensure a fast shutter speed to reduce blur and enough light to properly expose an image. Have fun.

ThurlFan
05-22-2011, 11:31 PM
I've had the best luck with my XSi and 50mm 1.8 shooting on shutter priority between 1/30 and 1/50 depending on the speed of the ride (and it only works on relatively slow moving rides like PoC and HM. Spaceship Earth is a challenge because the field of view is narrow and you are close enough to the scenes that it's hard to get a full scene in the frame.

SrisonS
05-23-2011, 10:24 AM
Here are a few shots I took at WWoHP with my Canon T1i and my Sigma 30mm f/1.4. Of course, your settings will be a little different; but this will give you some idea of what to do. And if you use your 50mm inside the castle, you're gonna have to get pretty creative though. You'll be wanting/needing to go a little wider in there. And there's not much room to back-up.


1/80 sec, f/1.4, ISO 800
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5259/5465365414_971cb77a07_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5465365414/)
Late Night Sweet Tooth (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5465365414/) by Scott Smith (SRisonS) (http://www.flickr.com/people/scottrsmith/), on Flickr


1/60 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5012/5470796853_f20ac24f51_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5470796853/)
Which Wand Will Choose You??? (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5470796853/) by Scott Smith (SRisonS) (http://www.flickr.com/people/scottrsmith/), on Flickr


1/50 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1600
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5255/5474178650_1ebdc59fa5_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5474178650/)
Dogweed And Deathcap: Exotic Plants & Flowers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottrsmith/5474178650/) by Scott Smith (SRisonS) (http://www.flickr.com/people/scottrsmith/), on Flickr

undertheseas
05-23-2011, 10:21 PM
Wow, what great photos! That is exactly what I want to get! :thumbsup2

DueyDooDah
05-25-2011, 12:09 AM
If you have a tripod, you have all the camera you need for night shots. They are a pain to carry but well worth it for those window shots (or really, ant night shot).

That said, I shoot nearly exclusively with a 50mm prime, f/1.4. Love it. Gets most anything as long as it's not moving or not moving much.

Here are some general starting points though (bracket for best results). These settings assume an ISO setting of 400. Anything longer than 1/60th of a second you'll want a tripod or beanbag:

Fireworks: f/11 at various shutter speeds, ranging from 1/2 sec to four seconds

Floodlit buildings: 1/4 sec @ f/5.6

Spotlighted performances: 1/125 sec @ f/2.8

Stage shows, general illumination: 1/125 sec @ f/5.6

Street scenes, brightly lit: 1/60 sec @ f/4