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ISO vs F-Stop

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bigpaulsmall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bigpaulsmall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: ISO vs F-Stop
    Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 5:54pm
I shoot a lot in low light situations. What do you think is more important for getting nice clear pictures in low light? Should I try to keep my ISO at 100 or lower or keep my F-Stop at 11 or higher? I usually use a tripod, but sometimes I'm not thrilled with my results. Any other suggestions would be helpful Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Quote rockandrollfreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 7:08pm
Always shoot at 100 ISO or the lowest your camera will allow. In my freakish opinion
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driverv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 10:39pm
Some of the newer cameras won't penalize you in quality as high as 6400 ISO. Mine goes south after 800. I try to keep it below there and work the shutter speed to get the light. Only problem with a nice wide aperture is your depth of field massively decreases. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote canadavey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 10:42pm
Clear how?  Clear as in no noise / grain, or clear as in focus?

The short answer is;

ISO no higher than 800 (for most cameras) and F-stop wide open (when possible).  


Explanations:

Going higher than ISO 800 on most cameras will be the introductory point for sensor noise (grain). On higher end cameras, this number can be a lot higher, but on most entry level DSLR cameras (Canon Rebel series and Nikon DXXXX series) ISO 800 is the max I would go unless I actually wanted noise in the shot for artistic reasons.  Usually, it's best to keep your ISO as low as possible and keep your shutter speed shorter than 30 secs.  

Shutting down your aperture to F/11 or higher is going to yield a longer shutter time to allow more light into the sensor to expose the picture.  It's good that you use a tripod as it's needed for shutter speeds slower than what your focal length is (that's the general rule to prevent camera shake).  Any ways, back to F-stops.  You can use whatever F-stop you'd like, it depends what you're aiming for.  Are you aiming for background blur or more to be in focus?  If you want background blur, shoot wide open (F-stop as low as it can go for the lens, f/2.8, f/4.5, f/5.6 for example) or if you want more to be in focus shoot at a higher F-stop.  The higher the F-stop, the more that the background will be in focus.

I mentioned up above about camera shake and focal length...  The way that works is that to ensure a sharp photo your shutter speed shouldn't be any less than the current focal length of your lens.  Example, if you're using a zoom lens at 250mm, you would want your shutter speed to be at LEAST 1/250 sec.  If you were shooting at 10mm, you would want your shutter speed to be at least 1/10 sec.  The only time that varies is when you're using a lens that has image stabilization.  Most lenses with this offer a four stop correction on camera shake.  Meaning, if you were shooting with a lens at 250mm and it had stabilization, you should be able to get a sharp image if your shutter speed was set to 1/15 sec and not 1/250 sec like you would on a lens without stabilization.

Using a tripod is the best bet in any situation.  I've found that using one aids in composition greatly and I get the shot how I want it every time.   As for using a tripod and still getting unsatisfactory pictures, try setting your camera to delay opening the shutter after you've pressed the shutter button.  On Canons you can have a 2 second delay after you've pressed the button in order to take your paws of the camera so there is as little movement as possible from the camera which ensures a clearer picture.

Aren't you glad you asked now? :)


Originally posted by bigpaulsmall bigpaulsmall wrote:

I shoot a lot in low light situations. What do you think is more important for getting nice clear pictures in low light? Should I try to keep my ISO at 100 or lower or keep my F-Stop at 11 or higher? I usually use a tripod, but sometimes I'm not thrilled with my results. Any other suggestions would be helpful Smile
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bigpaulsmall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote bigpaulsmall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Dec 2013 at 11:45pm
Wow! Lots of good info here, I don't have a DSLR, but my Sony point and shoot does pretty good, it has lots of settings that I play around with. I find that ISO over 400 introduces graininess which I don't want so I sacrifice with longer exposures and low F_Stops. But I want to get most of the rooms I shoot in focus so I need higher F-Stops. I need to upgrade to DSLR someday. Anybody out there have a used one for sale, cheap?
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driverv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 12:03am
Two things - firstly when you look for a camera, the ISO is of higher quality due to a larger sensor, not Mega pixels. Secondly, you don't want a DSLR. You want what I am drooling over lol. DSLR are a dying breed, most pros and others are switching over to APSC sensor EVIL. Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable lens. Also called 'mirrorless.' 
Check it. These will be the end of the DSLR in a few years.

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driverv View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 12:04am
You like sony? Their Nex 5 and 6 are of great quality. Under 1000 for a kit, highly regarded with more glass on the way. ISO up to the tens of thousands (probably useful till about 6400)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 12:04am
By the way - I checked your Flickr - you're already taking amazing shots. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Finz519 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 6:32am
With low light I use long exposure. I can still have a low ISO and the aperture can still be quite open still get deep depth of field.
This was a place we visited at the summer meet. So, you know how dark it is in there.

Settings:
Exposure = 30 sec.
Aperture  = f4.0
ISO = 100

http://www.flickr.com/photos/97508610@N05/9470203567/

I also use a remote and 2 sec. delay to reduce shake.
IDK I can't get it to embed the pic.

This one had a little more light.

Exposure = 20 sec.
Aperture  = 4.0
ISO = 100

http://www.flickr.com/photos/97508610@N05/9576561008/

I shoot with a Nikon D5200 and used the kit lens for the shots.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote f.o.s. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 6:42pm
All great ideas, but if you really want clarity and detail in low light, it's all about the sensor.  That's where it starts and ends  in compact cameras. The sensor is what catches the light and brings it right in without imagining what the scene should look like, and therefore creating a digital image based on that little info.  Cameras that  sacrifice on the sensor make up for it in the software that extrapolates info based on algorithms (fake detail).  As well, when you're shooting HDR, ghosting can take away from clarity you may want to retain. Ghosting is the milky white effect that can happen when there are dynamic things in your scene, such as wind blowing around trees or grass, snow falling, etc.  When you take 3 or 4 shots of that scene, each one will be a little different, so when they are merged, the dynamic things will look blurry.  Photoshop has great HDR ghosting removal, and I'm sure Lightroom has something comparable as well.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote canadavey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 9:25pm
I know a lot of pros (and by that I mean people that actually earn their living doing photography) and none of them are switching to APS-C.  They use full frame cameras and show no signs of ditching their current cameras and switching to a mirror-less.  


Originally posted by driverv driverv wrote:

Two things - firstly when you look for a camera, the ISO is of higher quality due to a larger sensor, not Mega pixels. Secondly, you don't want a DSLR. You want what I am drooling over lol. DSLR are a dying breed, most pros and others are switching over to APSC sensor EVIL. Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable lens. Also called 'mirrorless.' 
Check it. These will be the end of the DSLR in a few years.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 10:37pm
@Canadavey - the switch is occurring. Mirrorless is smaller and lighter. Sony and fuji are leading the way and rumor has it they are planning on releasing full frame mirrorless within the next year or two. The x pro, xe and x100 by fuji are all outstanding cameras. Considering the cost saving they present, and the portability they give, it's a matter of time before DSLR are gone for good. Fuji's xtrans sensor is far better the average bayer, and it's the future. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Dec 2013 at 10:39pm
As technology increases you will see the advantages that the DSLR possesses will continue to die. The DSLR is by no means dead, but it's requiem is being sung. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Dave Summer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2013 at 10:51am
BPS   In my opinion f11 is too high. For a tripod shot ISO 100, f6.3 or f7.1 and 3-5 sec shutter delay. Adjust shutter speed for good exposure. It usually takes several shots to get the exposure I want. Try to keep the f stop in the sweet spot of the lens.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote driverv Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2013 at 12:35pm
Since I'm relatively new to manual shooting, more then once I shot glass wide open and got a way smaller depth of field then I wanted. Am just not training myself to shoot longer shutter speed so that I get the sharpness that I want. On my camera anything over ISO 800 goes grainy super fast too, since it's a bit older. I hear the new ones are shooting clear to ISO 6000 or above. 
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Post Options Post Options   Quote quiksilver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Dec 2013 at 5:01pm
BPS,  I do a lot of night time photography, northern lights etc.  I use as low an ISO as I can with my Aperture as wide as I can and tune in the shutter speed from there and then adjust aperture and ISO settings further to fine tune everything.  No matter what you're using for F-stop, ISO, shutter speeds, unless you're using a quick snap shutter speed you need to use a remote or cable release.  even the slightest jiggle of your camera when you're doing a longer exposure will ruin it.  The worst is looking at a photo on your camera and thinking it's fine then looking at it on your computer and seeing the little tracers in the fine details.

I think your photography is fantastic man, keep up the good work.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote drunkenmunky420 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Dec 2013 at 7:21pm
You don't need to but a remote or cable release for long exposure either if you just set the timer on your camera to the shortest time. That should give it lots of time to steady its self after clicking the button. Saves you buying or finding a remote that works. But I agree your photography is already great, in my opinion one of the best on this site but if you want to try some new things definitely lowest ISO and lowest Aperture your camera can do for dark shots of a room or a house.  If your trying to get close ups you may have to play with the aperture to get the depth of field your looking for.
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