Ways to take picture in low light without flash..


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siron

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#1
As some might know I just got a Sony A100. I am playing with the camera everyday! ;) Lovei t! Well thought wanna ask experts here.

What is the best way to take pictures in low lights without FLASH? Beside setting to ISO 800 (I dun like ISO 1600, too grainy).

My lens is the kit lens. 3.5 18-70mm. Does the lens makes a lot of diff for low lighting?

Thanks....
 

night86mare

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#2
...

Ok think of a well-exposed picture as a container to hold water. Light is the water.

You have many things to play with with regards to filling this container - the aperture is the hole in which the water flows through, the shutter speed is the time for which the tap is on, and the ISO is the adjustable depth of the container.

When you're talking about exposure these are the three things you can play with other than introduction of new light (i.e. flash). Underexpose and you get an insufficiently filled container and a dark photograph. Overexpose and the water spills and you can't really get it back because your highlights are blown due to overexposure.

There are many ways to take pictures in low light - the trouble is what sort. If you wish to take it handheld and want to limit the ISO to 800, then you probably want to make the aperture as big as possible (i.e. a small f-stop number) so that you will avoid handshake by not having to use a long shutter speed.

If you can take it with a tripod - then whatever you want is fine. You can even shoot at ISO 100 or 200. The trouble is - what is your subject? If you shoot people I don't think they are going to be able to keep still for say, 8 seconds. Unless you want blurred people.

It would help if you could be more specific! =)

Lens does not make a difference for low light, though if you get a FASTER lens, i.e. a lens with a smaller minimum f-stop number, e.g. 50 mm f/1.4 versus 50 mm f/1.7 - first one will be FASTER.. Then you can open the aperture even more of course, albeit at more cost when buying the lens (usually) and loss of depth of field.

Cheers!
 

#3
What do you want to take in low light?
If it's static objects then your Anti shake mechanism should give you a slight advantage in hand holding it at lower shutter speeds, so you may not have to up your ISO so much.

Two of the best ways for taking pictures in low light are using a tripod and using a large aperture lens. If money is no object, you can buy a f2.8 zoom lens. If money is a problem then you're left with buying a prime lens, the cheapest of which is the 50mm prime.
 

siron

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#4
Sorry did not make myself clear...

Usually I take picture using M mode. And always set at F4 or so...trying to get as much light as possible. Shutter I can go too slow as I usually pictures of moving objects. Best I think for my hand to stay still and not casuing so much blur is at 1/20 there abt.

So I should get a len with high aperture?? Is that the way to go?
 

night86mare

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#5
Sorry did not make myself clear...

Usually I take picture using M mode. And always set at F4 or so...trying to get as much light as possible. Shutter I can go too slow as I usually pictures of moving objects. Best I think for my hand to stay still and not casuing so much blur is at 1/20 there abt.

So I should get a len with high aperture?? Is that the way to go?
What is the reason why you do not want to use a flash?

Lens with large maximum aperture size are expensive, usually.
 

night86mare

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#7
Well sometimes its not right to use flash... also my flash is built in one!! haha. Cannot make it.
Got flash better than no flash la.

Well you get flash = all your lenses still can use. Whereas I don't think you'd want to get a dedicated "low light" lens just for that reason - doesn't seem very pragmatic to do so, don't you think?

For moving objects and low light you probably need a flash, but it depends on what you're shooting - still not specific enough! People?
 

siron

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#8
Got flash better than no flash la.

Well you get flash = all your lenses still can use. Whereas I don't think you'd want to get a dedicated "low light" lens just for that reason - doesn't seem very pragmatic to do so, don't you think?

For moving objects and low light you probably need a flash, but it depends on what you're shooting - still not specific enough! People?
When I got my Alpha, I should buy the flash together. now buy seperate will be EX. wasted.
Anyway I need a lens too...,...using kit lens now. Wanna get a good lens of cuz within my budget.

I like picture without flash , I feel it nicer...or maybe I do not know hoe to take a good shot with flash
 

cantaresg

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#9
This is a rather weird question. What is your desired effect? Perhaps you can try to do panning since you mentioned that you are usually taking moving objects? Or just take the motion blur? These can create good pictures too.
 

siron

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#10
This is a rather weird question. What is your desired effect? Perhaps you can try to do panning since you mentioned that you are usually taking moving objects? Or just take the motion blur? These can create good pictures too.
Moving not as in cars lah or runners... I mean like people talking? Dancing? not panning sorta pictures.... or even baby?? They can't keep still ! hahah...

I can use flash, I just wanna find out the ways to go about without flash. :)
 

night86mare

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#11
When I got my Alpha, I should buy the flash together. now buy seperate will be EX. wasted.
Anyway I need a lens too...,...using kit lens now. Wanna get a good lens of cuz within my budget.

I like picture without flash , I feel it nicer...or maybe I do not know hoe to take a good shot with flash
Not necessary leh, most of the camera shops I know will not cut much even if you buy package.

More natural? There are ways to make usage of flash look more natural - diffuser or bounce, etc. I know what you mean, but it is not a problem - I'm quite sure most of the people in P&P use flashes when they take their shots though I can't say for sure. It looks natural though, right?

Moving not as in cars lah or runners... I mean like people talking? Dancing? not panning sorta pictures.... or even baby?? They can't keep still ! hahah...

I can use flash, I just wanna find out the ways to go about without flash. :)
Pretty limited.. =) There is only so much you can do if you want to freeze action - thereby requiring high shutter speed.
 

cantaresg

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#12
Then a wide angle with a large aperture and high iso seems to be the only solution. Since essentially you need to increase the shuttle speed to capture a good image. Sometimes what I'd do is I will delibrately take a seriously underexposed image, maybe ev -1.5 or 2, and pp to push the brightness.
 

siron

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#13
Thanks guys... Alot more to learn. Yeah I need high shutter speed to take most shots...especially baby. Sometime you wish they'll hold still long enough!! haha...

Seems like now I have a decision to make...invest in a FLASH or a lens with large aperture.

Hmmmmmmm
 

theRBK

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#14
Then a wide angle with a large aperture and high iso seems to be the only solution. Since essentially you need to increase the shuttle speed to capture a good image. Sometimes what I'd do is I will delibrately take a seriously underexposed image, maybe ev -1.5 or 2, and pp to push the brightness.
actually if you seriously underexpose and then push it in post, you end up with alot of noise as well, like if you shot it with higher ISO... try it out... it has to do with the fact that imaging chips capture more noise in darker areas than in the lighter areas within the same shot...
 

cantaresg

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#15
I've taken several shots this way, the result turns out to be quite acceptable, except that if you push the exposure too much, the colour in the picture may look posterised or unnatural. But features in the shadows are pretty well retained. BTW, this is done in RAW.
 

noobie

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Jan 29, 2007
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#16
Sorry did not make myself clear...

Usually I take picture using M mode. And always set at F4 or so...trying to get as much light as possible. Shutter I can go too slow as I usually pictures of moving objects. Best I think for my hand to stay still and not casuing so much blur is at 1/20 there abt.

So I should get a len with high aperture?? Is that the way to go?
1/20sec? How do you know you can always hand held at 1/20sec? Hand holdable shutter speed varies according to the focal length of your lens too. Let me ask you, are you able to hand hold at 1/20 sec with a 200mm lens? Rule of thumb of hand holdable timing is to take the reciprocal of your focal length of the effective focal length.
 

raincool2005

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#17
first of all, welcome to sony club.

so u want to take pics without flash using a kit lens.

i tell u .. it is very hard. Becos u need to lower the speed to 13-20 seconds.. which needs a pair of very very steady hands... u may need a monopod or a tripod.

i suggest u get a flash and start saving for a f2.8 lens.

;)
 

lsisaxon

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Nov 29, 2004
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#18
Thanks guys... Alot more to learn. Yeah I need high shutter speed to take most shots...especially baby. Sometime you wish they'll hold still long enough!! haha...

Seems like now I have a decision to make...invest in a FLASH or a lens with large aperture.

Hmmmmmmm
You're not supposed to use flash on a baby, so, you're only left with the faster lens option. ;p Sigma 24/1.8.
 

kelccm

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#19
IMO for low light, to shoot still life and landscape, use a good and sturdy tripod.

To shoot low light portraits, use an external flash and a tripod. Or go to a studio:sticktong

To shoot low light moving portraits or candids or events, get a constant f/2.8 zoom lens or a large aperture prime, with an external flash and increase your ISO.

To shoot low light portraits of babies and people without flash, get a large aperture lens and increase your ISO. Or else, get a Canon 1DsmkII together with EF50 f1.2L:sticktong :bsmilie: (Just joking;) )
 

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