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Shooting under low-light conditions...
Folks, here's the scenario - this enthusiast, squarely-amateurish shutterbug went to a really magnificent structure, a Cathedral in fact, to take photos of it's splendid architecture..

Unfortunately, while the Cathedral remained open, it's lights were off, except for the altar in front. Not wanting to waste the trip, this aspiring photo-nut took shots from the center aisle, wanting to capture part of the dome and the altar's intricate architecture. At ISO 100 and external flash at max, f/3 and 1/20, the shots were dark enough to make it look like a photo with gray ink spilled all over it. I went for 1/10 and it was a bit better. I pumped up ISO to 400 and it was much better. At ISO 800, it was almost over-exposed.



Knowing that noise gets to be more pronounced at higher ISO, would you recommend:.

1 Slow down shutter speed a bit more (0.5 to 1 second), use a tripod, and adjust Flash setting accordingly, staying at ISO 100/200 range?.

2 Go for ISO 800 or 1600, maintain shutter at 1/5 or 1/10 and play with Flash settings (which I did)?.

Thanks in advance for your tips .

Noogy..

Comments (9)

I would assume #1 is your best option..

I'm still VERY much a beginner, but I'd treat that situation like a night-shooting situation. (i.e. Tripod is basically mandatory)..

Depending on your camera, ISO 400/800 might still be ok, but I'd say try and stick with 100/200 ISO, f/8 ish, and a tripod..

Comment #1

If there is no movement in the shot and you're able to use a tripod, just use 100 ISO and aperture priority. The camera will choose the appropriatte shutter speed. Mirror lockup and remote cable release (or timer) of course, with the tripod. Then check your result and apply exposure compensation if necessary.Alternately use M and change shutter speed if needed after revewing...

Comment #2

It might help if you told us which camera.Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #3

Darn, apologies... forgot to mention it's a Canon 400D..

Chris Elliott wrote:.

It might help if you told us which camera.Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/.

Noogy..

Comment #4

WIth a small sensor compact I would advise keeping the iso at 100 or 200 and using a tripod..

With your camera you should be able to get a decent shot at iso 400 or 800 assuming the shutter speed is high enough to not show camera shake..

One point is that raising the iso increases the noise you see and limits how large you can print or view the photo. On a DSLR 400 or 800 is good. On a compact it probably isn't, the noise reduction software built in to the camera will smear the detail as it removes the noise..

The other point is that at 1/15 sec I'd recommend a tripod, mirror lockup, remote release if you can use one there. If not a tripod a monopod. If not a monopod a lens or body based stabilization system would help given the subject isn't moving..

Since you'd be using a tripod anyhow you might as well shoot at iso 100 or 200 and a slower shutter speed. In this way you've reduced blur due to camera shake by using a tripod, and using a low iso to minimize noise..

ISO, Shutter speed, and aperture are the ingredients that determine your exposure. You can adjust them in many ways to reach the same exposure. ISO is the sensitivity to light (less sensitive, less noise). Shutter speed determines the amount of camera shake or subject movement you'll see in your photo (higher shutter speed means less camera shake and subject movement blur). Aperture determines your depth of field, how much of the front to back distance around the spot you focused on is acceptably in focus. It's your job to find the right balance for a particular photograph..

Hope this helps...

Comment #5

Use a slow shutter speed, and a steady tripod..

As for flash, while it may be fine for photographing certain architectural details of the cathedral, it's not the way to go if you're photographing a sweeping vista of the cathedral's interior space. Your flash is woefully inadequate for illuminating anything nearly that big, so you may as well shut it off and save the batteries..

FWIW, I'd long wanted to photograph the interior of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, in Baltimore, MD, USA. What with one thing or another, I'd never really gotten around to it, until one day a few months ago. I'd checked ahead of time to make sure there were no restrictive rules against photography, and I tried to time my visit so as to minimize disruption of religious services, wedding rehearsals, etc. All in all, I had around 90 minutes to take some pictures..

Among the results is this pano, with which I'm reasonably pleased (even if a little more attention in Photoshop would probably be worth it)..

The camera used was my Pentax K10D. Lens was the 18-55mm "kit lens," at 18mm, and an aperture of f/9. (At f/9, depth of field was more than enough to keep everything sharp, so stopping down any further would just have unnecessarily lengthened exposure times, and past f/11 or so a decline in image quality can be an issue.) The camera was mounted on a Bogen 3001 tripod, and triggered by remote. (The remote was a Pentax Wireless Remote Control C, recently purchased from Ace Photo Digital, via amazon.com, for under 4 bucks. See, I use only the finest, most expensive, camera gear.) Captured as RAW files (.DNG). Then converted to 16-bit per channel .tif format..

ISO 100. And since the interior fo the cathedral was somewhat dim, exposure times were well into the multiple second range. Well, it's not like the cathedral was in rapid motion, after all..

Camera orientation was vertical. And as I like a lot of overlap between images that are to be stitched together into a pano, I took 20+ "slices", covering over 180 degrees..

Really though, many of the "slices" consist of a digitally blended set of two or three exposures. One at the nominally correct exposure, one 2 stops over, and one 2 stops under. Since this was the only way to get both some color in the stained glass windows, and some detail in the shadows. Just too much range there to manage it all in a single exposure..

And yeah, the result of all these .tif files was a honkin' big final panorama. Several hundred megs in size. Fortunately, I recently purchased a new computer, with a quad-core processor, lots of RAM, fast hard drives, etc. Even so, don't go to thinking that putting together a pano this large, or manipulating it in Photoshop, happens instantaneously. My computer needed some minutes to get the job done. I don't even want to think about how annoying it would've been doing the work with a sluggish processor and skimpy RAM..

The image presented here is a .jpg of the final pano. Shrunk way down in size, and compressed some. Because sharing an uncompressed .tif that's 12500 x 4600 pixels in size on this forum would be crazy..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #6

Wow! It was well worth the preparation indeed!.

Thanks for the tip  Very insightful..

123Michael321 wrote:.

Use a slow shutter speed, and a steady tripod..

As for flash, while it may be fine for photographing certainarchitectural details of the cathedral, it's not the way to go ifyou're photographing a sweeping vista of the cathedral's interiorspace. Your flash is woefully inadequate for illuminating anythingnearly that big, so you may as well shut it off and save thebatteries..

FWIW, I'd long wanted to photograph the interior of the Cathedral ofMary Our Queen, in Baltimore, MD, USA. What with one thing oranother, I'd never really gotten around to it, until one day a fewmonths ago. I'd checked ahead of time to make sure there were norestrictive rules against photography, and I tried to time my visitso as to minimize disruption of religious services, weddingrehearsals, etc. All in all, I had around 90 minutes to take somepictures..

Among the results is this pano, with which I'm reasonably pleased(even if a little more attention in Photoshop would probably be worthit)..

The camera used was my Pentax K10D. Lens was the 18-55mm "kit lens,"at 18mm, and an aperture of f/9. (At f/9, depth of field was morethan enough to keep everything sharp, so stopping down any furtherwould just have unnecessarily lengthened exposure times, and pastf/11 or so a decline in image quality can be an issue.) The camerawas mounted on a Bogen 3001 tripod, and triggered by remote. (Theremote was a Pentax Wireless Remote Control C, recently purchasedfrom Ace Photo Digital, via amazon.com, for under 4 bucks. See, I useonly the finest, most expensive, camera gear.) Captured as RAW files(.DNG). Then converted to 16-bit per channel .tif format..

ISO 100. And since the interior fo the cathedral was somewhat dim,exposure times were well into the multiple second range. Well, it'snot like the cathedral was in rapid motion, after all..

Camera orientation was vertical. And as I like a lot of overlapbetween images that are to be stitched together into a pano, I took20+ "slices", covering over 180 degrees..

Really though, many of the "slices" consist of a digitally blendedset of two or three exposures. One at the nominally correct exposure,one 2 stops over, and one 2 stops under. Since this was the only wayto get both some color in the stained glass windows, and some detailin the shadows. Just too much range there to manage it all in asingle exposure..

And yeah, the result of all these .tif files was a honkin' big finalpanorama. Several hundred megs in size. Fortunately, I recentlypurchased a new computer, with a quad-core processor, lots of RAM,fast hard drives, etc. Even so, don't go to thinking that puttingtogether a pano this large, or manipulating it in Photoshop, happensinstantaneously. My computer needed some minutes to get the job done.I don't even want to think about how annoying it would've been doingthe work with a sluggish processor and skimpy RAM..

The image presented here is a .jpg of the final pano. Shrunk way downin size, and compressed some. Because sharing an uncompressed .tifthat's 12500 x 4600 pixels in size on this forum would be crazy..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Noogy..

Comment #7

A tripod would be ideal and you will either need HDR or a flash..

Tripods are often not allowed in cathedrals so bring a flash..

Use your flash and then drag the shutter (leave the shutter open for something like 1/30 or even slower) to capture ambient light as well as the light from the flash..

Natural exposures will likely blow out the window light or make the surrounding areas too dark, hence the need for hdr (or the flash)..

A tripod is definitely useful but modern stitching/hdr software can create them from images that don't line up perfectly, they're pretty good at lining up images...

Comment #8

Noogy wrote:.

Darn, apologies... forgot to mention it's a Canon 400D..

I don't think flash is going to work. Use ISO 1600 and 800 and RAW and set your exposure for the windows then bring up the shadows in PP..

Expose to ther right and bracket a bit to slightly overexpose. you should be able to recover a bit in PP and the shadow detail will be far easier to PP.Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #9

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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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