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What is 'low-light'
What is low-light? I read many posts that mention "low-light," with comments about various cameras and their ability, or inability, to handle "low-light." Maybe I have missed something, but nobody ever seems to define "low-light." It all seems very vague..

My own standard is fairly simple. When I am at 1/25 sec, f/2.8, with ISO 100, then I consider that to be the threshold of "low-light," That works out to be EV 8, or an overall illumination of about 65 foot-candles. The maximum aperture of my lens is f/2.8, so if the light gets dimmer, I am forced to make a decision, increase my time and use a tripod, or increase the ISO, with the attendantpossibility of increased "noise.".

So what do others think? Can we have a measurable point for "low-light" or is it just a matter for individual judgment?Judy..

Comments (19)

JudyTee wrote:.

So what do others think? Can we have a measurable point for"low-light" or is it just a matter for individual judgment?Judy.

I think you are right. But for me low light means dark streets that require me to use ISO 1600 and wide open aperture..

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Http://www.pbase.com/all86..

Comment #1

There's no hard definition of it. Generally when people talk about low-light, it's any sort of situation (indoors or night) when there is generally not enough light, and you have to do *something* to compensate. This could mean using a tripod, image stabilization, or bumping up to a higher ISO...

Comment #2

For me, low light is when I am at iso 400, < f/2.0 and getting SS of < 1/100.

300D 50 1.4 and 35 1.4.

1/60 @f/2.0 iso 400 (50mm).

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1/50 @f/1.4 iso 800 (50mm).

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1/25 @f1.4 iso 1600 (35mm).

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Don..

Comment #3

Nathan Yan wrote:.

It's any sort of situation (indoors or night) when thereis generally not enough light, and you have to do *something* tocompensate..

I tend to agre with this..

In "normal" photography, we might want to use a small aperture for depth of field, or a fast shutter speed to freeze motion and so on. "Low light" is when such niceties are abandoned in favour of just doing whatever is possible in the limited light available. In other words, the aperture / shutter / ISO are set, not according to aesthetic or technical considerations, but simply to make the most of the light..

But the point at which this occurs may vary depending on the lens in use, whether or not the camera has usable high ISO settings, and the type of subject (e.g. landscape, portrait, sports or still-life).Regards,Peter..

Comment #4

JudyTee wrote:.

What is low-light? I read many posts that mention "low-light," withcomments about various cameras and their ability, or inability, tohandle "low-light." Maybe I have missed something, but nobody everseems to define "low-light." It all seems very vague..

Yes, it is..

My own standard is fairly simple. When I am at 1/25 sec, f/2.8, withISO 100, then I consider that to be the threshold of "low-light,"That works out to be EV 8, or an overall illumination of about 65foot-candles. The maximum aperture of my lens is f/2.8, so if thelight gets dimmer, I am forced to make a decision, increase my timeand use a tripod, or increase the ISO, with the attendantpossibility of increased "noise.".

As your example shows, it's camera specific. If you had a camera with an f/1.4 lens and the lowest sensitivity was 200 and the camera had IS, you might pick EV 3 as where "low light" starts. I like Nathan's take that it's when the light is so low that a problem occurs that you have to "solve"..

So what do others think? Can we have a measurable point for"low-light" or is it just a matter for individual judgment?.

I encourage others to do as you did...specify a LV. We need an on-line calculator for this! Note that LV is actually what we should specify, not EV. They are often used interchangeably, but LV is how bright the light is and EV is what the camera does in that ambient light..

Charlie DavisNikon 5700 & Sony R1HomePage: http://www.1derful.infoBridge Blog: http://www.here-ugo.com/BridgeBlog/..

Comment #5

An EV of zero would make more sense. That's 1 second at f/1 with ISO at 100..

Regards, David..

Comment #6

Dmat wrote:.

For me, low light is when I am at iso 400, < f/2.0 and getting SS of< 1/100.

300D 50 1.4 and 35 1.4.

1/60 @f/2.0 iso 400 (50mm).

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

1/50 @f/1.4 iso 800 (50mm).

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

1/25 @f1.4 iso 1600 (35mm).

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

Don.

Nice shots, I like the first two..

25 years as a freelancer,(news,magazine, wedding photography) camera equip. over the years: Practica MLT, Canon A1, Minolta 9xi, 7xi, Dimage Z1,Fuji 5200,Canon S2,Pentax K100D,Olympus 380(see my Z1 shots at http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v104/Buckl/ the COMMUNITY album was done with the Z1, and most of the photos in the album:Other were w/the Z1)..

Comment #7

JudyTee wrote:.

What is low-light? I read many posts that mention "low-light," withcomments about various cameras and their ability, or inability, tohandle "low-light." Maybe I have missed something, but nobody everseems to define "low-light." It all seems very vague..

My own standard is fairly simple. When I am at 1/25 sec, f/2.8, withISO 100, then I consider that to be the threshold of "low-light,"That works out to be EV 8, or an overall illumination of about 65foot-candles. The maximum aperture of my lens is f/2.8, so if thelight gets dimmer, I am forced to make a decision, increase my timeand use a tripod, or increase the ISO, with the attendantpossibility of increased "noise.".

So what do others think? Can we have a measurable point for"low-light" or is it just a matter for individual judgment?Judy.

-.

You'll know it when you see it..

25 years as a freelancer,(news,magazine, wedding photography) camera equip. over the years: Practica MLT, Canon A1, Minolta 9xi, 7xi, Dimage Z1,Fuji 5200,Canon S2,Pentax K100D,Olympus 380(see my Z1 shots at http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v104/Buckl/ the COMMUNITY album was done with the Z1, and most of the photos in the album:Other were w/the Z1)..

Comment #8

Thanks for the comments....

Yeah, I agree the first two are better shots..

On the third, I had never used iso 1600 before and wanted to see how it looked. It was very dark, my wife was rocking our 3 week old daughter to sleep...very noisy shot...but I'm glad that I took it..

Makes me want a 5D!.

Don..

Comment #9

Dmat wrote:.

1/25 @f1.4 iso 1600 (35mm).

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VERY NICE shot of mom and child! Expressions, graininess, blur of patting hand, and B&W are all working together on this!.

Excellent..

Dpreview & pbase supporterhttp://www.pbase.com/digirob..

Comment #10

What makes the photo really good is that mom has her eyes closed while baby's are open...

Comment #11

This is what I enjoy shooting:.

Http://www.pbase.com/santa/aurora.

Therefore, to me, low light is anything that requires an exposure over 30 seconds at ISO400 f2.8. Below that it's low light. ..

Comment #12

You are just trying to advertise and sell your prints.Judy..

Comment #13

Sheesh, just because someone also happens to sell prints (and if you're a professional or in the business of selling fine art photos, why not include purchasing information in your gallery?) doesn't automatically taint their posts when they try to provide useful information...

Comment #14

Chuxter wrote:.

I encourage others to do as you did...specify a LV. We need anon-line calculator for this! Note that LV is actually what we shouldspecify, not EV. They are often used interchangeably, but LV is howbright the light is and EV is what the camera does in that ambientlight..

While I agree with you in principle, that Exposure Value (EV) is a measure of Light Value (LV) it must be noted that EV relates as well to the whole panoply of aperture and shutter time settings that will result in adequate exposure at a given light level and sensitivity. Virtually all the serious sourses of photographic information use the term "EV." Thanks for your reply, you tried to keep the discourse on an intelligent and helpful plane..

Judy.

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Comment #15

I consider this to be low light..

Sony DSLR-A700, Minolta 100mm f/2 Autofocus Lens at f/2.5, 1/20 second (hand held):.

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I did get away with using a "fast" shutter speed for some of them that night, though. .

Sony DSLR-A700, Minolta 100mm f2 at f/2.5, hand held at 1/40 second, ISO 3200, Tungsten White Balance. Straight from the camera jpeg fine except for downsizing using digiKam 0.9.2.

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JimChttp://www.pbase.com/jcockfield..

Comment #16

I'd say anything F2 or smaller with ISO 800 or higher, shutter speed 1/60th or slower..

Exposure Time = 1/60"F Number = F2ISO Speed Ratings = 800.

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Exposure Time = 1/40"F Number = F1.2ISO Speed Ratings = 3200.

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Exposure Time = 1/50"F Number = F1.2ISO Speed Ratings = 800.

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Http://www.pbase.com/ewhalen.

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Comment #17

I'm still sticking to EV = 0 which is a lot easier to remember (as is 1 second at f/1 at 100 ISO)..

Regards, David.

PS Great photo's from everyone, btw...

Comment #18

Let us make it simpler:.

At the widest aperture of the lens, if correct exposure calls for shutter speed slower than 1/focal-length, than it is considered as Low-Light situation..

JudyTee wrote:.

My own standard is fairly simple. When I am at 1/25 sec, f/2.8, withISO 100, then I consider that to be the threshold of "low-light,".

Best Wishes, Ajayhttp://picasaweb.google.com/ajay0612..

Comment #19

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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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