Canon EOS 10D & Autofocus in very low light

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Luuk Houwen, Sep 23, 2003.

  1. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    I recently bought a Fuji S602Z and although I am quite pleased with it on
    the whole, I am severely disappointed at its low light ability. Since a lot
    of what I do involves taking pictures in badly lit churches at a very close
    range (circa 40 cm) I need a camera with an autofocus that can handle that
    well. The Fuji fails me in two respects, its autofocus stops working under
    low light conditions and its electronic view-finder is so dim it shows
    nothing under such conditions, so that I cannot focus manually either.
    I would also like a camera that is a little more sturdy than my Fuji and
    one that allows me to switch lenses. My eye has fallen on the Canon EOS
    10D. I would appreciate comments about its low light abilities from users
    (rather than the reviews: they fooled me once before).

    While I am at it, any recommendations as to a basic set of lenses to get
    with this camera (some idea of price would also help).

    Luuk Houwen
    Luuk Houwen, Sep 23, 2003
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  2. Luuk Houwen

    JPS Guest

    In message <[email protected]>,
    The 10D is much more sensitive to light, and has much less noise than
    the camera that you are used to, but keep in mind that good Canon-mount
    lenses that are fast are generally very expensive, so you will lose some
    of that extra sensitivity to medium or low-priced lenses. There are
    exceptions though, like the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens, which is only about
    $75, and is fairly sharp as well. When you get away from 50mm in either
    direction though, or into zooms, fast lenses can be very expensive.
    JPS, Sep 23, 2003
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  3. I recently obtained a 10D, looking to obtain better high ISO
    performance than the 5mpixel class fixed lens digicams.

    I did a first set of 'at dusk' walk around pictures, which I've posted
    to <>. They were
    taken at ISOs ranging from 400 to 1600 ... Click on the images to see
    the EXIF information. Focusing in those light levels was excellent with
    the 50/1.4 lens: fast and sure.

    My choices for lenses were all targeted to low light shooting so far,
    20/2.8, 50/1.4 and 100/2, while being reasonably priced. Fast zooms and
    fixed focal length teles cost a bundle.

    The kit I've purchased includes the following:

    10D body
    spare battery
    remote release with timer
    20/2.8, 50/1.4, 100/2 lenses with hoods
    battery grip
    speedlite 420EX
    1G Ultra CF card
    CF card reader, FireWire interface

    Altogether, that's about $3500 worth of gear and represents a solid
    starting point to me for low light work at reasonable cost. The 50/1.8
    is one way to save $250. It's a good lens for the money but it is a
    very cheap mount, I wasn't happy with the feel.

    Godfrey DiGiorgi, Sep 23, 2003

  4. Interesting. I looked closely at your ISO 1600 shots and they look good. I
    have a Digital Rebel and my ISO 1600 shots are very noisy ... but taken
    under different conditions. Also, viewing small web pix can be misleading.
    Might be interesting to do a comparison to determine if the two cameras are
    more different than generally believed. However, I am not so motivated as
    to buy a 10D and get really technical! However, I am also interested in
    low-light photography.
    Charles Schuler, Sep 23, 2003
  5. Luuk Houwen

    Gavin Cato Guest

    If you really want good low light ability in the 6mp dslr range, the Nikon
    D100 is the way to go.
    Gavin Cato, Sep 23, 2003
  6. Hmm. Downsampling to fit display requirements for a web page kills most
    of the noise. I think I would hold off on judging comparative quality
    .... I'll see if I can post a few unprocessed snippets at original
    resolution so you can see the actual noise.

    Godfrey DiGiorgi, Sep 23, 2003
  7. Luuk Houwen

    JPS Guest

    In message <230920031445350093%>,
    Would you say that this is more true for the 10D than the F7x7?

    That's what I've been meaning when I called the F7x7 noise "blotchy".
    JPS, Sep 24, 2003
  8. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    Thanks all. Godfrey I had already admired your pictures before. They look
    Luuk Houwen, Sep 24, 2003
  9. Luuk Houwen

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    That's different than what I've noticed. The noise on my F707 tends to
    be wide, pixel-wise. The 10D noise is finer and is destroyed more
    easily by printing small or downsampling.
    Not by much, though. We're talking about 20% or so horizontally, and
    even less vertically.
    JPS, Sep 25, 2003
  10. Luuk Houwen

    Martin Guest

    We use a 10D and have recently been doing commercial low-light work with it
    (actually in churches). It is capable of producing very good quality images
    under these conditions - I would recommend not pushing the ISO setting up
    high - that seems to produce more noise than longer exposures on a low ISO.
    A lot of our work has actually been done with a very mediocre Tamron lens
    stopped right down to get acceptable sharpness. This resulted in exposures
    of up to 30 seconds at ISO 100 but the noise levels were still good on
    prints of 10x8.

    Low-light autofocus in large spaces is always going to be difficult - the
    poor CPU does need some detail to recognize and the built-in AF illuminator
    can't help much at distances of several tens of feet inside a large church
    for example. That said, the number of times we have had to switch to manual
    focus, even in a large cathedral, is very few...

    Martin, Sep 26, 2003
  11. Luuk Houwen

    Luuk Houwen Guest

    Thanks a lot Martin, it is good to know that it can be done. However, there
    is hitch, for my work I cannot use a tripod, so no long exposure times, I
    must hold the thing and use a flash or a light, with a maximum distance to
    the object to be photographed (misericords) of some 50 cm (in extremely
    cramped conditions).
    Luuk Houwen, Sep 26, 2003
  12. On Tue, 23 Sep 2003 16:59:34 -0400, "Charles Schuler"


    Here's some from dpreview...

    The Rebel has slightly more noise than the 10D even though they use
    mostly the same electronics (perhaps caused by the higher sharpening
    on the Rebel). Taking the sharpening parameters into account brings
    the two cameras much closer. Gotta love that website, does a thorough

    Kulvinder Singh Matharu
    Contact details :
    Website :

    "It ain't Coca Cola, it's rice" - The Clash
    Kulvinder Singh Matharu, Sep 27, 2003
  13. Luuk Houwen

    Martin Guest

    If you have to work that close with some form of artificial light in a
    confined space, you probably have no choice but to use a "ring flash" - the
    dedicated Canon unit costs close to £400 but I have seen cheaper aftermarket
    models on sale. Personally, I would still try to use at least a monopod if
    at all possible - I have pretty much given up on trying to produce saleable
    images without some kind of support - perhaps I could have done when I was
    younger, with a steady hand but these days it is a dead loss... :)

    Martin, Sep 29, 2003
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