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Thread: Low light: faster lens or flash?

  1. #1
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    Default Low light: faster lens or flash?

    Hi hi!
    I am going to race in thailand next month and the race track will be indoors, with the surrounding area letting in light, as in the picture below:


    This is in singapore btw, in chua chu kang community center. It's rather bright because the CC has the shutters to the right of the picture fully open. The track in thailand shares the same lighting stance, but the track area is much larger, so the insides of the track the light will not be as strong.

    Question is, I am using a minolta dynax 5, film slr. Will it be better to acquire a fast lens (e.g. 3rd party F2.8 28-70) with higher speed film (400 to 800) or invest in a external flash and use it with my kit 28-80 (F3.5-5.6) lens? I want to expose the frame with minimal blur.

    Thanks!

    ~Alvin

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    Is flash actually allowed for the competition - during the races? i doubt it, but if it allowed, it's your cheapest option.

    Can even try the flash extender from Sulhan.


    If flash not allowed, you can try fast film, but you have to accept the grain that comes with it.

    Fast lens - esp fast telephoto lens - are expensive. The two second hand 300/2.8 (sorry Canon - i'm wasn't looking out for Minolta.) i see in the shops now are ~4k. The new ones ard $8k. You might want to try rental if you're really hardcore into getting good pictures.

    BTW, you going to race or shoot? Why don't you just concentrate on winning?

  3. #3

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    Many times they do not allow flash in low light, concerts for example. I dont know the photography rules for the race, if they allow flash then its good. If not then need a fast lens. Like ST1100 mentioned fast film is a cheap alternative. This is what I do for concert photography because I have some very slow lens

  4. #4

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    as far as possible, try not to use flash. flash is hard to control and will ruin the mood of the picture. get faster lenses and high speed film.

  5. #5
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    Hi guys!
    Thanks for the advice! Then I'll check whether flash is allowed, though I'll guess it's probably disallowed... didn't think about this. Last I went was outdoors!

    In any case guys, what kind of film do you use in low light? And what shutter speeds/apertures? I don't intend to use telefocal; my 28-80mm has apeture (F3.5-5.6).

    ST1100: The race i'm attending has an very structured time table. So whilst I'm not on the stand I'll be snapping shots of my team mates and the other competitors

    Thanks!

    ~Alvin

  6. #6

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    a faster lens will only offer you 1-2 stops more light, which might not be enough even with faster film. if the light is really low, getting the camera to AF may be difficult at best.

    a flash however, will give you the exposure you need provided the subject is within the flash's output. furthermore, it will give you balanced white light, what sort of lighting will be used at your event? i'm not sure about minolta but i believe some nikon/canon cams can take advantage of the extra sensors on an external flash to aid AF.

    as an alternative you might want to consider a digital camera with a suitably fast ISO setting and a fast lens. white balance will help you restore neutral color temp.

  7. #7

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    i'd recommend the Fuji Superia 1600 or its professional equivalent. you can even push both by a stop if necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lennier
    if the light is really low, getting the camera to AF may be difficult at best.
    i don't think indoor racing condition is the 'unable to AF' type of low light. Quite scary, people racing around in semi-darkness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lennier
    i'm not sure about minolta but i believe some nikon/canon cams can take advantage of the extra sensors on an external flash to aid AF.
    The AF assist beam on cameras would be the same reason why flash is not allowed - they distract by emitting pulses of red or white light to illuminate the subject for focussing. A pulsating light from the audience stand will not bode well with the competition authorities. i speak for Canon stuff - don't know if Nikon has those 'extra sensors'.

    All the best Alvin. Come back with some gold medals and great pictures.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    The AF assist beam on cameras would be the same reason why flash is not allowed - they distract by emitting pulses of red or white light to illuminate the subject for focussing. A pulsating light from the audience stand will not bode well with the competition authorities. i speak for Canon stuff - don't know if Nikon has those 'extra sensors'.
    Both Nikon and Minolta flashes has the red "near-IR" AF assist illuminators as well. These are not as distracting as those white AF assist lamps and should generally be tolerated.
    However, the AF solely relies on the camera body itself, the flash only provides the AF light, the sensor is still the one in the camera.

    That said, I would agree that sheltered racing conditions in daylight shouldn't pose a problem for AF on any decent body with just a mid-range zoom.

    A film like Fuji Superia 800 or Press 800 when coupled with a 50mm or 85mm f1.8 would easily give shutter speeds in excess of 1/500-1/1000 in such conditions. When used with a consumer zoom, it should still give relatively decent 1/250 or so shutter speeds.

    This is more than enough for good sharp shots with a little panning.

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    Hi Alvin,
    Just a little idea to add. Since you have access to an area similar to the light conditions in Thailand, you can try to manually adjust your ISO settings of your camera, and with aperture priority, see what sort of shutter speeds you can obtain with each setting you have. Just half-press your shutter button and see what values you can get. Remember to use the lens you think you will be carrying over to Thailand. I usually use this trick in unfamiliar conditions before I even load my film Hope this helps. Good Luck!

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    Good day everyone!
    Lennier: Push ISO 1600 film? Do you mean like use ISO1600 but set my iso setting manually to 3200? What is the effect? Super film newb here BTW, are you a B5 fan?

    ST1000:
    ST1100
    Quite scary, people racing around in semi-darkness.
    Lol. There are times at Taman Jurong where the lights go off late in the night, but we still play. Really is running around in semi-darkness And thanks, I will try to do my best. There will be 4 others representing Singapore. And we're up against the best from the country that produced the current world champion, Thailand!

    Zerstorer: Thanks for the lens advice! I didn't think of primes. I'll consider the 50mm since i can also use for normal usage ard singapore!

    Date: That's a nice idea! I'll use that if I can find a place like that.

    Thanks everyone!

    Regards,
    Alvin

  12. #12
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    I found an article about film push/pull here, though i'd share with other visitors: http://www.usefilm.com/photo_article...h_or_Pull.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by alvin
    There will be 4 others representing Singapore. And we're up against the best from the country that produced the current world champion, Thailand!
    What event is this? When and where? Maybe some clubsnapper might be interested to pop by Thailand for a shoot? You'd never know. Anyway, don't go down also can support if it's on TV.

  14. #14
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    Wah that'll be best liao! pro photogs! It's the Tamiya Asia Cup. Quite a few countries participating this year, though I think e.g. Philipines not going 'cause of the SARS that happened earlier. The event will be held at Radio Control Siam (RCS) in Bangkok, on the 27th and 28th of August, 2003.

    There are several classes to shoot, GT (pro class), Rally (Most action! Jumps and bumps. See R32's photos in galleries), Stock, Formula 1 etc. The winner of each class gets a ticket to race in Japan!!!! Singapore having one rep each for each class. I'm with Stock class. Newbie =) Malaysia also sending 1 representative, but I am not sure who he is.

    Remember guys, Thailand has EXCELLENT FOOD at highly affordable prices.

    I think we spent less than S$30 on this lot. And the photo doesn't show the food I was eating Oh btw, the images at this URL that show the location where the drivers are sitting, that is the kind of lighting expected.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by alvin
    Good day everyone!
    Lennier: Push ISO 1600 film? Do you mean like use ISO1600 but set my iso setting manually to 3200? What is the effect? Super film newb here BTW, are you a B5 fan?

    Regards,
    Alvin
    With ISO1600 film loaded, you set your camera's ISO dial to ISO3200 to push by a stop. Pushing usually brings out more grain, higher contrast and some color shift.

    Good luck with the shoot

    yeah nick came from B5... still disappointed they canceled the spinoffs.

  16. #16
    andylee
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    Did you practise your panning??

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    Lennier: Thanks! I'm not a serious fan, but I really enjoyed the series. I think I watched till very messed up with all the time travel things. Remember watching till after after the shadows lost their planet.

    Andy: Ya got. I shot ard half a roll on F1 panning.... but i think the lens can't focus fast enough leh. Perhaps I bring the pics to show u...

  18. #18
    andylee
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    Quote Originally Posted by alvin
    Lennier: Thanks! I'm not a serious fan, but I really enjoyed the series. I think I watched till very messed up with all the time travel things. Remember watching till after after the shadows lost their planet.

    Andy: Ya got. I shot ard half a roll on F1 panning.... but i think the lens can't focus fast enough leh. Perhaps I bring the pics to show u...
    Yes please, I dun know how to explain here lah.

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