low light

Discussion in 'Photography' started by ipy2006, Mar 7, 2007.

  1. ipy2006

    ipy2006 Guest

    I have to shoot action photos in low light conditions. What is the
    best DSLR for this purpose?
    ipy2006, Mar 7, 2007
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  2. ipy2006

    ASAAR Guest

    It's never just a matter of getting the best DSLR for the purpose.
    It's a DSLR body + lens combination that must be considered, as well
    as the low light level and specific types of actions you need to
    shoot. Some combinations will be so demanding that there may not be
    a suitable solution. Others may be so easy that almost any DSLR
    will do. If you can determine the minimum gear that will suffice,
    you can save a lot of money buying a body and lens(es). If you
    don't know but have enough money to burn, you could start with a
    Canon 5D and see if that and a typical "kit" lens gets you what you
    need. If not, you might need to spend about $1000 or even several
    thousand dollars getting a better lens if the kit lens proves
    inadequate. If your sports shooting demands long bursts of shots at
    very high frame rates, you might need to get a much more expensive
    body than the 5D, ie, one of the "pro" bodies from Canon or Nikon.

    You gave no information at all as to the kind of action photos
    you'll be shooting or in what kind of low light levels. If you can
    tell us what they are, you might get some concrete examples of what
    kind of DSLR will meet your needs. Which brings up another point.
    You really want to know what kind of cameras will be suitable. You
    don't want to ask what the BEST DSLR is, because the "best" for one
    person won't be the best for another, and the absolute "best" for
    *you* might be $8,000 above your budget, whereas a $1,200 camera
    with kit lens might do everything you're looking for, and would be
    good enough. Care to share which camera(s) you're currently using,
    if any?
    ASAAR, Mar 7, 2007
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  3. ipy2006

    tomm42 Guest

    I'd look at a Canon 30D, about the best for a reason able price, the
    Canon 5D is better but 3X (approx) the price. Canons seem to have a
    heavier in camera noise reduction than the cameras with a Sony sensor.
    Remember you won't get by with a kit lens here. If you are in school
    gyms, swimming pools etc you will neeed at least an f2.8 lens. A
    70-200 f2.8 pushes $2K. If you buy single focal length lenses 85 -
    135mm should cover what you need, just look at lenses that are f1.4-
    f2.8, price escalate dramaticly after 135mm. Some claim they get by
    with a fast 50mm, doesn't seem long enough for me. An 85 f1.8 or a 135
    f2 should be good lenses to look at, depending on the distance of the
    action. Just calculate what f-stop and ISO can get you to a shutter
    speed of at least 1/250 of a second.
    Vibration reduction will be of minimal usefulness you should be at
    shutter speeds that don't need it and the blur will come from the

    tomm42, Mar 7, 2007
  4. ipy2006

    ipy2006 Guest

    Here are some scenarios,
    Indoor shooting of people talking with hand gestures, people walking
    or pacing in the room, kids playing, women cooking in kitchen, or
    groups of people in meeting rooms etc. Sometimes I don't have the
    ability to use lights, I need to depend on flash and high brightness
    setting. Currently, I am using a Sony Digital Camera, Cyber-shot, DSC-
    H2. My budget is $1000 and at the most $1500.

    I read some review that Canon Eos Digital Rebel xTi DSLR is good low
    lighting. Nikon D80 was good but the article said more as a available-
    light camera.

    Please comment.

    ipy2006, Mar 7, 2007
  5. ipy2006

    bworthey Guest

    From what it sounds like with the situations you described there will be
    some sort of lighting source, not like the people are in complete darkness
    or anything or not lights on in the house/room at all. I have teh Canon XTI
    and I have been suprised wtih the situations where I have not had to use the
    flash at all, with just appropriate adjustment with shutter, aperture, and
    white balance I have gotten some really good pictures.

    bworthey, Mar 7, 2007
  6. Not quite. Canon sensors have inherently low noise at low signal
    levels. Noise reduction implies some method of reducing noise,
    and that can only be done by averaging pixels to reduce
    spatial resolution. One can do that in software in post processing.
    It helps to have a good low noise/high signal system to begin with.

    Digital Cameras: Does Pixel Size Matter?
    Factors in Choosing a Digital Camera

    Digital Camera Sensor Performance Summary

    For the OP: choose a camera with the largest pixels and the lowest
    read noise. The two relevant plots on the digital.sensor.performance.summary
    web page are Figure 3 (lower on the plot is better), Figure 6 (higher
    on the plot is better) and Figure 7 (higher = better).
    For indoor action shots, a 50mm f/1.8 lens is very low cost (about %70)
    and very high performance. Remember, on a 1.6x crop camera,
    50 mm is like 80 mm on a full frame camera regarding full field
    of view.

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 7, 2007
  7. What, you don't take pictures of men cooking in the kitchen?
    The rebel xti (400D) has smaller pixels than other rebel cameras,
    5.7 microns) (and smaller than many other DSLRs). I don't have
    data on the xti, but can see on Figure 6 at
    that plotting at 5.7 microns in the gray band, the
    performance would probably be below most other DSLRs on the plot.
    (If you can't see the gray band on the plot, your monitor
    is set too bright/too high contrast.)

    Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark), Mar 7, 2007
  8. ipy2006

    Skip Guest

    Probably the best DSLR for your purpose would be the upcoming Canon 1D
    mkIII, it shoots 10 fps, has a "silent mode," an ISO range up to3200
    expandable to 6400. That being said, a appropriate lens is critical to the
    equation. Depending on what the subject is, a 70-200 f2.8 zoom or a fixed
    focal length lens like the 100 f2, 85 f1.8 or 85 f1.2 could be excellent
    choices. Notice, when you say "best," without saying what you're budget is,
    the best is expensive, the body will probably be in the $4000+ range, the
    70-200 f2.8 is about $1600, and the 85 f1.2 is about $1200.
    Skip, Mar 7, 2007
  9. ipy2006

    DeanB Guest

    This (1.2) would be a lens to save up for in your situation:


    But the 1.4's are about $900 to $1000.
    DeanB, Mar 7, 2007
  10. ipy2006

    ipy2006 Guest

    ipy2006, Mar 7, 2007
  11. ipy2006

    imaphotophan Guest

    I've had about a year with DSLRs after a few years with higher end
    digitals. I made the transition due to similar circumstances - the
    family and friends refused to stay still in bright light while i was

    Here's the best piece of advice I've been told by a coupl eof people
    and experience is confirming this:
    "It's all about the lenses"

    Unlike a lot of consumer electronic devices where the base unit is
    important rather than the peripherals, DSLRs aren't quite the same
    Lens end up being more important because:
    1) The optics determine quality to a large extent. I didn't say all
    or 99% or anything else is trivial. But the glass is a huge factor.
    2) The lenses will outlive the body. Especially digital bodies where
    technology changes and improves so rapidly. Even in the film age, the
    investment ended up in lenses.
    3) Lenses largely determine how much light is needed for a good shot.
    4) You can always start with a lower level body and a great set of
    lenses and get great pics in tough lighting situations immediately.
    Great body but mediocre kit lenses will leave you in the same
    situation as with many point-and-shoot cameras today - just can't do
    it. Kit lenses are rarely good enough to use in low light situations.

    My recommendations, to be taken as a rough and still a bit not fully
    informed opinion... I have a Canon 400D so I'm only going to talk
    about things I have *some* idea about. Again, you are going to have
    to do your own research despite what any of us says.

    Tamron SP AF17-50mm F/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical - for close to normal
    indoor shots, and outdoor shots within talking distance. And the
    everyday, always on default lens.
    Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM - the classic, very good 3-4x-ish
    telephoto lens for low light situations, from portrait to kid sports
    (after the first two and the body, we have:) Canon EF 70 - 300mm
    f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM - for extended telephoto shots

    Start with a good used 300D or 350D. The 350D would be a good choice
    as the 400D is more or less 350D with a couple of extra near-
    superfluous megapixels and a cleaning system (very nice but we're
    trying to conserve dollars here for lenses and accessories).
    Certainly a XTi (400D) is a good choice but I'm concerned about the
    budgetary restraints you gave. Again, invest in lenses - you can swap
    bodies out later. I've done one swap out from a used 300D to a new

    Don;t forget the key essentials.... flash (search for 430EX, vivitar
    flash, sunpak flash), and a good tripod. there's another $200-400!
    But with the flash, you can settle for using cheaper 3rd party items
    at th beginning. But preferable to buy new.
    And a travel case. $25-50.

    Nikon is another good choice to Canon since they have a nice huge
    selection of lenses to choose from - including 3rd parties. Perhaps
    the Nikkoners can provide some detailed recommendations here.
    imaphotophan, Mar 7, 2007
  12. ipy2006

    Rutger Guest

    The one with the biggest sensor. And wit biggest i mean in millimetres, NOT
    in megapixels. The bigger the sensor, the lower the noise, which will
    certainly occur when shooting in low light.

    Rutger, Mar 7, 2007
  13. ipy2006

    ASAAR Guest

    I have no idea what the review meant. I'd take referring to a
    camera as "good low lighting" and "more as a available light camera"
    to be the same thing, both seem to be praising the camera's low
    (available) light ability. Both are good cameras, and well within
    your budget, leaving enough room left over to get a good flash. But
    the cameras that they replaced are probably better from a low light
    standpoint, because these (Canon's 350D and Nikon's D50), using the
    same size sensors, have fewer, larger pixels. This makes them able
    to collect more light and for the same high ISO setting, produce
    less "noise". Canon claims that despite having smaller pixels, the
    400D is no noisier than the 350D, based on using better electronics,
    but I'd guess that the difference is slight, and whatever difference
    there is, the advantage would probably be to the 350D. I think that
    the 350D and D50 do at least as well in low light and perhaps better
    than their newer, more expensive siblings.

    These older models are still available new, and you can get them
    for many hundreds of dollars less than the current models. The
    "kit" lenses for these cameras are usually something like 18mm-55mm
    and are very inexpensive. These lenses would probably be well
    suited for some of the slower activities you mentioned - women
    cooking, people in a meeting room, maybe people walking and pacing,
    etc. With the money saved by not going for the more expensive 400D
    or D80, there's a slim chance that you *might* be able to afford a
    longer, faster, and unfortunately heavier f/2.8 zoom, that would be
    ideal for capturing fast moving pets, children playing, some sports
    activities, etc. B&H has the D50 body in stock for $450 (new) and
    $400 (used). The 350D is $488 (new). Nikon's recent "budget" DSLR,
    the D40 is quite similar to the D50, and it's main limitation
    wouldn't be a limitation for you. It won't autofocus with old Nikon
    lenses. B&H has it for $570, and this includes Nikon's 18-55mm
    f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. Add the same or a similar lens to the D50 or
    350D and the price will be in the same ball park. This would leave
    your budget with just under $1000 remaining. That could be put to
    very good use if these lenses aren't suitable for collecting lots of
    light. You'd be all set if a fixed length lens of about 50mm would
    do, since an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens is fairly inexpensive. If you need
    a longer lens, then you'd want to look for one that has an f/2.8
    aperture, but the prices for these rise rapidly. Longer f/2.8 zoom
    lenses are probably well beyond your budget.
    ASAAR, Mar 7, 2007
  14. ipy2006

    Paul Furman Guest

    For that budget, a Nikon D50 or Canon XTI with a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 lens.
    The fixed focal length gets you faster, wider aperture and that's the
    appropriate normal focal length for home sized rooms indoor groups of
    Paul Furman, Mar 7, 2007
  15. ipy2006

    ray Guest

    I should think the 'best' solution would be a film SLR with high speed
    film. I don't think the practical ISO ranges available on DSLRs yet match
    what is available with film.
    ray, Mar 7, 2007
  16. ipy2006

    Paul Furman Guest

    I think he will need a wider lens for groups of people in a kitchen
    unless it's a huge kitchen. I initially only saw the $1000 budget but
    with $1500 he could get a Nikon D50, Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and 18-70mm
    lenses. I don't know the Canon options as well.
    Paul Furman, Mar 7, 2007
  17. ipy2006

    Guest Guest

    digital is *much* better than film at high iso.
    Guest, Mar 7, 2007
  18. On my film days, I used some 400 ASA film for such an occasion, with my
    Nikkor 50 mm 1.4 (either delta or T-Max).Now I use a P&S, and besides I was
    a Nikon fan, canon cameras are generally very good.
    Tzortzakakis Dimitrios, Mar 7, 2007
  19. Well, any of the Nikon or Canon offerings are going to be significantly
    better than what you're using now (I've read ahead some).

    On the other hand, many of the good choices blow your $1500 max budget
    *before* buying a lens. By a factor of about 5, in some cases. At that
    budget, anything remotely resembling the "best" the market currently has
    to offer is completely off the radar. Some of the lenses you might
    want to buy for this work blow your $1500 budget all by themselves.

    Sounds like you're talking bright home / average office brightness
    levels, rather than really low light levels. And people in normal life,
    rather than high-speed sports and such.

    I would suggest that you'll be best off with a bottom-end DSLR from
    Canon or Nikon plus the best fast lenses you can fit into the budget.
    Nothing slower than f/2.8 need apply. You want at least one at f/1.4 or
    faster, probably either a 50mm or the Sigma 30mm. And you still won't
    be able to get what you really need for $1500. You also need the good
    flash, in Nikon the SB-800, I forget the Canon equivalent model. The
    Nikon flash system is generally thought better than the Canon, the Canon
    noise at high ISOs is generally thought lower than the Nikon in
    comparable cameras. The Canon fast lenses seem to be cheaper, but on
    Nikon you can get cheap manual focus fast lenses and still use them on
    the DSLRs. It's all a bunch of tradeoffs.

    But your $1500 just isn't going to cut it with anything other than
    fairly blatantly compromised equipment.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 7, 2007
  20. In my experience, this is massively wrong. High ISO is where digital
    completely blows film away; there's no comparison. (I've been pushing
    TRI-X since 1969, shooting the Konica 3200 color neg when it was
    available, and oh *man* is digital better than any of that.)
    David Dyer-Bennet, Mar 7, 2007
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