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Low light strategy

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by ke7dbx, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. ke7dbx

    ke7dbx Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2011
    With the size of the censor in the four thirds camera. We don't have same ISO range as other units like the Sony Next or regular DSLRs. What is your strategy for low light? Other then aperture and lenses.

    There has to be something out there I don't know. :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  2. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Without artificial light (ie Flash) you're left balancing ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture.
  3. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    • Like Like x 4
  4. Phoque

    Phoque Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 18, 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    With my EP-3, there is a setting in the 'E' menu called 'Anti-shock' which allows to set a delay after the shutter is pressed before it is released. This allows to avoid some camera shake due to pressing the shutter button. Note: I'm not referring to the self-timer feature. I've set this delay to 0.5 sec.

    Other than that:
    - tripod
    - shooting raw and using third party noise reduction software
    - fast lenses, lenses with image stabilisation (if camera doesn't have it or if better than that of camera, activate either one though, not both)
    - leaning against a wall
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mrjoshua

    mrjoshua Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 18, 2011
    Learning to press the shutter release gently.
    Holding the camera properly (if hand-held).
    Using a tripod where possible.
    Using the lowest aperture on a fast lens.
    Raising the ISO (but not too much, unless you like noise).
    Lowering the shutter speed (if using a tripod).

    That's about all I can think of.

    Oh, you could always use a flash, but where's the fun in that? ;) 
  6. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    The E-P1 has this too. It's a hangover from 4/3 dslrs designed to eliminate mirror slap. Us :43: users don't suffer from mirror slap :biggrin:
  7. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    there is nothing you can do ....light is light... if there is no light there isn't a photograph

    what may help is moving to spot metering... measure the light of the bit of the whole picture that interests you and you might find some good pictures.

    almost every photograph taken up to 5 years ago was taken with a maximum of 1600 ISO and was as noisy as heck.

    I have no idea what kind of picture you are wanting to take... but if you can't get close to good at say ISO 1600 with a kit lens then you are doomed no matter how much money you spend

    show me examples of the kind of picture you want to take... and the ones you do take... then maybe there is a discussion

  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Actually, this helps with shutter slap! I've noticed on my setup with focal lengths >1000 mm and heavy gear margianlly stabilized (tripod too light or otherwise wobbly mounts) that the inertia ofthe shutter does actualyl casue motion of the camera. This nifty option does help in these wobbly situations ... not always low light.
  9. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I bought the 45mm f/1.8. I know you said other than lenses, but damnit that cost me a lot of money.
  10. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Works great when my pens connected to my reflector telescope.
  11. ke7dbx

    ke7dbx Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2011
  12. ke7dbx

    ke7dbx Mu-43 Regular

    May 11, 2011
    What tripod is this one?
  13. zerotiu

    zerotiu Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 13, 2011
    my strategy :
    1. technical :
    * (for photo setup) use tripod is possible, using flashlight / street lamp/ other light sources
    * wide open aperture, ISO max 800-3200 , flash (rarely use it), IS on

    2. Software :
    * convert it to black and white. It is more pleasure to look noisy black and white image than the color one..
  14. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
    • Like Like x 2
  15. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO, this is debatable, especially if talking the GH2 or G3.

    That said, you only have aperture, shutter speed, and ISO to play with.

    Aperture is, IMHO, the best way as the downsides are minimal in most circumstances. Wider aperture will result in a smaller DOF, but at reasonable focal distances, we usually have plenty anyway.

    Shutter speed can result in blur. Sometimes thisis desirable, as it shows motion, sometimes it's not. IS or a tripod help minimize blur from the camera moving, but can't do anything about the subject moving.

    ISO can result in noise/grain. Don't believe any review. You need to experiment with higher ISOs and find where YOUR tolerance for noise/detail is.
  16. pinholecam

    pinholecam Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 20, 2011
    I usually do the following :

    1. Bounced Flash
    2. Meter for the subject (often a global -1/3 to -1Ev) if bkgnd is very dark and irrelevant to photo.
    3. High ISO (G3 high ISO is comfortably usable up to 1600 for me; In fact I find 3200 pretty ok as well)
    4. B/W and to hell with grain (ISO at 6400)
  17. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    As everyone else has said, there are 3 things that determine exposure on your camera. To allow a greater exposure for darker situations, there are only three camera settings that you can change:
    -Turn up the ISO
    -Turn down the shutter speed
    -Open up the aperture

    Photography means "painting with light." No light means no paint. Before adjusting any of the above settings on my camera, my favorite things to do, to capture the photo, in this order:
    -Turn on some more lights! This way I don't have to adjust any of the above settings.
    -Use a tripod so that I can take 1/2 second and slower photos without causing shake.
    -Use flash to brighten the subjects

    Actually, it's a feature to eliminate shutter slap. Our cameras, compared to SLRs, have the disadvantage of having to go through two shutter cycles to take a picture. Our shutter is open so that we can compose, meter, and focus. That's why we have an image on our LCD. When we press the shutter button, our shutter has to close, and then it operates like an SLR would, exposing the image for our set shutter speed. After taking the picture, it has to open again to allow us to use our EVF/LCD again. This multiple opening/closing design causes shake, and it's also the reason that our cameras are called "laggy" compared to SLRs. Anti-shock gives a noticeable delay between the first closing of the shutter (to ready position) and the actual taking of the picture.

    I don't think it's debatable. It's very well established and backed up by multitudes of fact and experience online. Nikon's last generation sensor in the D300/D90/D5000 for example handily beats the GH2 and G3 in high ISO performance. Their current flagship sensor, in the D7000/D5100 absolutely stomps our cameras, and most others, at higher ISOs.

    Other than that, tc is completely correct. Honestly, I don't agree the new race for high ISO performance. I feel that it's the same as the megapixel race of a few years ago: yes more is better, but it's only a small part of what makes the camera. If you went back 10 years ago and talked about ISO 6400 and ISO 12800, people would look at you like you're nuts. Whatever happened to opening the blinds, or turning on a light? With my D200, I manage to shoot without having to turn the ISO past 800; where are these people taking pictures?

    I do open my aperture first, when it comes time to start ramping up my low-light capabilities. OP, I know that you didn't want to hear "buying things" as a solution, but if I still have decent enough light, I can use an aperture of f/2.0 instead of f/5.6. I do this by using a good wide open lens, instead of the kit 14-42mm, and voila I now magically have 8 times more light hitting my sensor. There's no getting around the benefits of wide open apertures. But to drive it home again, the more light you have, the better your photography. So a $100 lens with plenty of light will take better pictures than a $1,000 lens with almost no light. Go look at any flickr photo groups with kit lenses to see what it can do.

    Great advice.
  18. VinVin

    VinVin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 7, 2010
    GTA, Canada
    Personally I either use a tripod or balance ISO/Shutter Speed/Aperture or when I know I am going to be shooting in low light situations use a faster lens (As my fastest native lens is the 17mm 2.8, I normally bring my Nikkor 50mm 1.8 with me). As a last priority I use flash but I generally don't like how harsh the light is.

    I was watching some videos on DigitalRev TV and in one of their videos they used flash lights (like the hand held it's dark so I need a flashlight to see where I am going flashlights) and that seemed to help quite a bit. I'm going to try it sometime.
  19. Declan97

    Declan97 Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 3, 2012
    Padang, Indonesia
    i find this interesting, now i also wonder how to perform slightly better with some consideration of economist-dual usage-of my system :

    -D Summilux 25/1.4 or
    -Sigma DC 30/1.4 + Flash

    Noted, i already had some budget tripod
  20. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    Just bought a second hand nissin di466 for £50 - results off-camera are better than I'd hoped after a hundred practice shots or so!
    F9 on the 20mm, di466 bounced off the wall next to Bella:


    Up till that point I've been buying primes that're lovely (14/20/45 set) - but looking at flash-lit portraits I'm thinking more in that direction for proper low-light.
    • Like Like x 1
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