Seeking advice in low light conditions.


Bakagomi

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#1
Hello,

I'm seeking advice on taking photos on the go in low light conditions. I recently went to AFA which was held at the Suntec Convention Halls. As it was my first time using a Nikon D80 with 14-24mm f/2.8 lens, which my friend lent me without even advising me on anything, I happily went around shooting photos like a compact =_=''' Initially there wasn't much problem in the main hall due to the sufficient lighting but matters got alot worse when I ventured outside to take photos of the cosplayers. Due to the poor lighting I decided to use the in built flash which cause alot of harsh lights on the subject and not the mention due to the massive lens hood I ended up with a shadow patch at the bottom of the photo D: Learning that mistake, I decided not to use flash and noticed that quite a few photos I took came out blurry due to low shutter speed.

Recently I purchased a Nikon D7000 with the same lens (14-24mm f/2.8), and I'm interested in getting a speedlight. Would the SB700 be enough ? Or should I go for the bigger SB900 ? Since I'm anticipating I will be having the same issues as I faced in AFA, is the diffuser and bounce card sufficient(in cases where I can't find a suitable wall or ceiling to bounce) ? Considering I need to be mobile without too many accessories to lug me down, not to mention limited movement due to the huge amount of photographers around.


Has anyone used the orbis ringflash ? Is it any good ? Though I am worried it might not fit with the lens I have at the moment.

Any feedback or advice will be appreciated. Thank you.
 

bonrya

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2010
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In a mobile cage
#2
I think the SB700 should be enough. All you need is a proper diffuser for it. And the ringlight is huge! :bigeyes: I've seen people using it but I think I won't... Unless you're lucky enough to have your own model posing for you. Usually there's a wall of photogs at events like these, and you wouldn't wanna piss off the other photogs if you know what I mean. :bsmilie:

Even a small flash will do the job actually. Just not the pop up flash. :)

Or u can try the nissin 622mkii first. It's cheap and good. :)
 

Bakagomi

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#3
Haha tell me about it. The pop up flash was totally a failure :(

I had a look at the nissin 622mkii. Interface looks easy to use. Good for a noob like me :bsmilie:
 

SkyStrike

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Staff member
Nov 29, 2010
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#4
Yongnuo also have quite good flash at cost possibly cheaper than Nissin. But please note that some YN flash does not have ETTL.
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
3,660
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#5
For what you are shooting, you're better off with a prime, add a flash if need be.

i'm not sure why you choose the 14-24, f2.8 is fast but not fast enough and the wide focal length means you gotta go up really close to your subjects for the shots, unless you don't mind cluttered backgrounds and unwanted people in your photos. being too upfront means you'll be blocking other people(photographers) who wanna take photos of the cosplayers. when you get up close, you'll risk magnifying(and distorting) their body parts due to the characteristics of wide angle lenses. f2.8 at wide angle also doesn't possess too much subject isolation.

for the flash option, i always advise people to go for the top tier series, that's SB900 for Nikon.

anyhow, if the above mentioned issues is your style of photography, then just do what you think is right.
 

Bakagomi

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#6
Initially I was thinking of using a prime too. Either the 35mm or 50mm f/1.8. Than I realized I have a tab problem. As some cosplayers has costumes with props(which can be huge, wide and long), and also sometimes I am stuck in a certain spot with limited movement, I found having a wide angle zoom lens to be more convenient. I also found out that it is much easier getting close to the subject than moving away from the subject and sometimes due to the tight spaces the wide angle lens can be a blessing.

I'm glad to say the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 lens has slight distortion and all the photos I have taken with them has yet to suffer from any noticeable distortions.

I was considering the SB900. I was only worried about it's sheer size :eek:

Thank you for everyone's input so far :D
 

coolthought

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2008
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#7
for you to get the 14-24/2.8.... getting a 35/1.4G or 24/1.4G shouldn't be a problem.... there are 2 full stops of light difference between f2.8 and and f1.4. together with your D7000 natural high iso, you might just do without a flash.... it depends lah.... and probably just a SB700 with a "nice" diffuser will do nicely.
 

David Kwok

Senior Member
Aug 23, 2008
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#8
A mount on flash will solve your problem, probably. Even the best camera today will not give you that luxury to function properly under low-light condition. In any case, your subjects will appreciate a well lit composure versus looking like a bear hiding inside safari. Hence larger aperture lens will not justify versus pouring adequate light on your subject.

I find an enormous amount of posts and threads keep on asking and mentioning about how good a camera will perform under low-light conditions and how a good large aperture lens may save the night. I find it fundamentally flawed and also unrealistic for the following reason.

1) While large aperture lens works to a certain extent, it is not the life saver to a low-light scenario. Opening the aperture large introduce shallow DOF and also normally less contrasty image which may or may not be what you like or want.
2) The key is always getting sufficient light as and when possible. If light is insufficient, it's insufficient. Better camera with more sensitive sensor and larger opening of the aperture for more light intake helps, but when the night falls, it's mostly helpless
3) Unsufficient light also affect auto-focusing. A mount on flash may comes with an infra-red guide that helps with the AF of your subject for faster and better focusing.
4) When used properly, choosing the right angle to exposure your subjects, right amount of light poured and right amount of diffusion using the right kind of external diffusor, you can light up the subject nicely without looking like a spot light.

Without sufficient light, you are often back to tripod and stationary subjects. That is still the expectation in this era, until someone comes up with a new technology to harness more light from a dim scenario. Even so, I still encourage artificial lighting to lit up the subject properly, seeking a balance between ambient light and key light.

If you have no walls for bouncing, bouncing more lights off a large card which at the same time also diffuse the light will be helpful. At least your flash wouldn't need to work so hard in the dim lightning condition and can recharge faster.

Read this to see if it helps you
http://photo.net/equipment/nikon/guide-to-ttl-flashes/
 

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Bakagomi

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#9
Yes. I do agree that a mount on flash is the best possible solution. No matter how good the camera or how large an aperture a lens can go I doubt it can ever beat having proper lighting. That was the reason why I was tossing between the SB700 and SB900 and possibly the orbis ringflash.

Call me a noob but I am quite intimidated by the size of the orbis ringflash and the power of the SB900. Feels like my camera will be dwarfed by the lens and and flash units ;p
 

ondoy

New Member
Apr 26, 2011
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#10
i have the sb700 and is good enough for any night shoot or low light, am using d7k.
once you get the flash try to explore nikons cls system.
 

tecnica

Senior Member
Dec 26, 2004
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#11
The SB900 is not that big luh, since you already have the behemoth 14-24.

If you really want a smaller one, then get the SB700. But remember this, there is no replacement for displacement.
 

jnet6

Senior Member
Apr 21, 2004
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#12
You need a low light camera like D3s to pair with 14-24, the results u see will amaze you on why am i still using D80.

Jokes aside, Under any low light condition, if situation allows, always use flash. Else last thing u can do is increase your ISO to 25k, which D3s is capable of doing it and give you some viewable pictures. (i mean pictures, you can show something where other camera without flash and with big aperture lens can't do. Else you only get a very dark shot, depending on the lighting situation)
 

daredevil123

Moderator
Staff member
Oct 25, 2005
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#13
Can the 14-24 fit in the hole of the Orbis?? Hmmm....

And why did you get the 14-24 for D7000, May I ask?
 

bonrya

Senior Member
Dec 16, 2010
2,632
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#14
daredevil123 said:
Can the 14-24 fit in the hole of the Orbis?? Hmmm....

And why did you get the 14-24 for D7000, May I ask?
Cos he can? :bsmilie: :bsmilie:
 

Bakagomi

New Member
Nov 19, 2011
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#18
Hahaha sad to say but it's true. I got poisoned :( I just found the wide angle lens to be much more flexible than the prime. My friend did let me try his 50mm lens too and I found it a less flexible lens to use in the environment and condition I was in. Also the image quality from the 14-24mm was beautiful :)

The lens can't fit into the orbs hole unless I fit the orbis onto the lens before the camera. Another option is fitting it onto the sb700 facing vertical. Does the sb700 locks upright ?

I am looking into some prime lens too. Namely the 35mm, 50mm and 85mm. Also looking at the 70-200mm VR II. But these will probably come later. All these lens and accessories aren't cheap D:
 

rhino123

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Staff member
Sep 1, 2006
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#19
Well... to further poison TS...

You should get the 24-70mm f2.8, and the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II. With that two lens you have complete your set... from wide to tele. :devil:

Anyway, I really don't think you need an orbis. Try to read up on flash techniques and stuff like that. Use softbox, ceiling and walls to soften your lights and to create a bigger light source.
 

coolthought

Senior Member
Jun 23, 2008
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#20
agree... since you have the 14-24/2.8, what other lenses you need are the 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 VRII
This will more or less complete the range of lenses you probably need. From uwa (just barely) to telephoto.
If you have the chance to shoot those cosplay character outdoor, you will be amazed at the photo taken at 200mm at f2.8..... or at least in the beginning....

for flash, you can get a TTL remote cord or a wireless one. Shoot with either holding the camera with one hand and the other holding the flash away from you or get a flash bracket or a friend to hold it for you.
 

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