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Indoor shots without flash. Advice please!
I want to be able to take indoor shots without flash and without tripod to get more natural looking photos of the kids (who are too active for tripod shots and I would like to be able to just grab shots at a moments notice)..

At present they come out great colour but not sharp enough..

Can someone explain how I do this with shutter speeds ISO and focal length etc. (In easy to understand terms - it's all new to me!!) I have a Canon 400D with kit lens (28-55mm).

ThanksClaire..

Comments (11)

In Tv (shutter priority) mode put the ISO to 400 and try setting the shutter speed to, say, 1/60th. Then half press the shutter release to check the exposure. If the aperture setting flashes it means that there isn't enough light for these settings. Put the ISO up to 800 and then 1600 and try again..

If your images are still blurry try increasing the shutter speed to, say, 1/100th..

If this doesn't work you need to wait for better light or get a faster lens - one with a large maximum aperture. The best lens to get is the Canon 50mm f1.8 which costs about $75. On the 400D it is a little "long" but cannot be beaten for value for money for an indoor lens..

You could also get an external flash like the Canon 430EX. If used correctly (bounced off the ceiling) this can give very natural shots.Chris R..

Comment #1

Just noticed that you are in the UK. You should be able to get a 50mm f1.8 for about 75 on line.Chris R..

Comment #2

You need to up the ISO&try; 800 (this will degrade the image quality but you have no choice) &you; need too use a shutter speed of 125 or higher&you; need enough light to make those settings work(open shades, blinds)..

You should also try using an attached to camera flash with some type of diffuser or one that can tilt up so you can bounce the light off the ceiling. Using a flash in this way will produce a softer light that may be the answer to why you may not like using a flash: harsh lighting...

Comment #3

Wow quick reply thanks Chris..

Will try what you have suggested and see how I go..

I am new to the camera (and to SLRs in general) so still feeling out what extra I need..

What sort of lens would be best as a 2nd lens - presumably the 50mm you suggest is great for a particular type of shot but not necessarily multi use? Would you suggest lens or bouncable flash as a priority?.

50% of shots are currently indoor of kids, 25% are outdoor of kids (possibly a bit further away - up to 20 ft) and 25% are holiday type shots..

Having said that, I am already realising this photography stuff is addictive and have been trying to take shots for challenges and finding that I am enjoying taking much more varied subejects than I thought I would be so I can see the camera leading me into more landscapes and/or macro shots too..

Obviously the ideal would be to but a full range of lenses and an assistant to carry it all for me and pay for it! In reality though, where should I start? Children shots will still be my priority as they will grow up - the landscapes will still be there in yeaars to come..

Thanks for your helpClaire..

Comment #4

Have been using up to ISO1600 right near large windows. Have been using P setting and set ISO but left camera to sort out everything else - should I be setting something else on this P settig for these photos. (Even using P was a step forwards for me!! ). Is IQ always going to be low? Do I need expensive lens to get this type of shot with good IQ?.

Have posed a few follow up qns in light of advice - see my reply to Chris abovethanks for helpClaire..

Comment #5

50mm focal length is a great general purpose lens on a film camera because it approximates the view that you get with your eyes, i.e. no magnification. Also it is posssible to make 50mm lenses very cheaply that are excellent optically..

However, on your camera 50mm is slightly too long - try setting your kit lens to 50mm and look through the viewfinder to see what I mean. It is very good for head and shoulders shots but not for full length shots. I have a 50mm and mainly use it for taking indoor pictures of our cats, but I have also used it for taking shots in a church when I couldn't use flash. It is by far the cheapest entry to indoor photography without flash..

An external flash that can be bounced is extremely useful but takes some practice to get used to it. Bouncing off the ceiling avoids the harsh glare that you get from a direct flash. Canon DSLRs don't work quite as you would expect with flash so you may need to get some additional advice on the Canon 400D forum..

I would get both the 50mm lens and the flash if you can afford it.Chris R..

Comment #6

Image quality is relative... your camera will do a very good job at ISO 1600; if you make big prints you will notice the 'speckle' (digital noise) but it is only obvious close-up and is much better than using too low a shutter speed and getting a blurred shot..

When I shoot low light pics indoors I prefer to use aperture priority mode (Av) and set the lens wide open to it's maximum aperture (somewhere between f/3.5 and f/5.6 on your kit lens depending on where you are in the zoom range). Then the shutter speed chosen by the camera is the fastest you can get under those conditions. As Chris explained above you can approach this in a different way if you prefer..

Bounced flash is great and gives very natural looking shots without that 'rabbits caught in a headlight' look. if you go this route make sure you get a unit that bounces (tilts up and down) and swivels (sideways)... so that when you hold the camera in 'portrait' mode (turned around 90 degrees) you can still use the 'swivel' to bounce the flash off the ceiling..

Best wishesMike..

Comment #7

Kids are moving quickly, especially if your wish to capture them during play. Thus, shutter longer than 1/100th is probably too slow, unless the kids are (unnaturally) still..

1/60th may make it or it may notit depends..

Kit lens is probably not bright enough to give you these shutter speeds, not even with ISO 1600. I've been using a relatively cheap Canon 35mm f/2.0 to some success. At f/2.0, with ISO 1600. Price I paid was around 200 EUR, about twice of the 50mm f/1.8. So, not too expensive, but not a zoom, either..

Just for information, 17-55mm f/2.8 needed ISO 3200 to get the shutter bearably fast. 400D does not offer that ISO...

Comment #8

Kit lens is probably not bright enough to give you these shutterspeeds, not even with ISO 1600. I've been using a relatively cheapCanon 35mm f/2.0 to some success. At f/2.0, with ISO 1600. Price Ipaid was around 200 EUR, about twice of the 50mm f/1.8. So, not tooexpensive, but not a zoom, either..

Just for information, 17-55mm f/2.8 needed ISO 3200 to get theshutter bearably fast. 400D does not offer that ISO..

Depends on the rightness of the room (obviously). I regularly use 1/60 at f/4.5 and ISO800, in a room with a big window where the natural light is good, so kid pics are possible with the kit lens on my camera with ISO800 where the image quality is still good. of course mine are just old enough to sit still for a second, if they were bouncing around it would be different....

Best wishesMike..

Comment #9

Clairet wrote:.

I want to be able to take indoor shots without flash and withouttripod to get more natural looking photos of the kids (who are tooactive for tripod shots and I would like to be able to just grabshots at a moments notice)..

At present they come out great colour but not sharp enough..

Can someone explain how I do this with shutter speeds ISO and focallength etc. (In easy to understand terms - it's all new to me!!) Ihave a Canon 400D with kit lens (28-55mm).

ThanksClaire.

Hi.

As others have said, put the ISO at 1600. Put the zoom at the wide end for the faster f stop...zoom in as long as the lens is still at it's fastest (not a Canon user ...is that 3.5?) and as I saw recently in another thread, replace a light or two with a brighter light if necessary.If none of that works, you will need a faster lens,.

Neil..

Comment #10

Clairet wrote:.

50% of shots are currently indoor of kids, 25% are outdoor of kids(possibly a bit further away - up to 20 ft) and 25% are holiday typeshots..

I'd stay with the (kit?) lens that you already have. Its all a matter of light..

If you or the kids are moving, anything sort of 1/500th for shutter speed will be to slow. Of course, unless your home is as bright as a professional kitchen or photography studio, even with the kit lens wide open (F3.5), your pictures are going to be under exposed..

In my house, the kitchen and bathroom are the brightest rooms. Try some test pictures in the brightest room(s) of your house to get an idea how much lighting you need to get a good exposure at 1/500th second shutter speed..

I have cats at home. While they hate my flash, I've found that using a flash is the only way I can capture those cute moments that otherwise would be lost, by using my flash..

This is what I do: Set ISO to 100 or 200, set for [M]anual mode, set shutter for 1/500th of a second and set F-Stop to F8 (sometimes I use F6) turn on the flash and start shooting..

I finally decided that for me, getting any photo at all (even with the flash) was better than not getting anything. Then again, thats just me..

Technologist @ Large- Mark0..

Comment #11

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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