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  1. #1
    Spamminator Grandpaw's Avatar
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    A low light photo tip

    I was reading some photography tips and thought this might be of some help to many people on the forum. Below I will give you the link so you can read it for yourself. When you are taking pictures and get to where you need to raise the ISO setting to the point that noise is a problem this may be another option you can try. I have used it and it worked well for me. This is only meant to give you an additional way to circumvent a problem.

    A faster pro lens or better camera would be a preferred option but some of us have to work with the equipment and budget that we have. Take a look and try it out and see for yourself if it is something that may be of interest. You do need to shoot in RAW for this to work. Take a look and let me know what you think, Jeff

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    All images posted by me anywhere are Copyrighted by Federal Law and may not be copied or used in ANY FORM without my personal written permission. Jeff Impey
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  2. #2
    project forum co-moderator Frog's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    I've saved a few that way but thought it was cheating. Wasn't sure if an expert would notice either but I won't be so nervous about trying it.
    Frankly, I usually end up with over exposed and drop the exposure in photoshop.
    Always,(almost), shoot in raw.
    Keep Shooting!

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  3. #3
    Spamminator Grandpaw's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    To me it isn't any different than changing anything else in PP. I was at a festival this weekend and a lady came up to me and ask if my photos were straight out of the camera or if I had done anything to them. I in turn ask her the question...... If you have to ask does it really matter. I think the objective is to get it the best I can in the camera but always reserve the right to make any adjustments later that I feel necessary to improve a shot.. For me the best final product I can produce is what I am after, Jeff

    I personally value photographic skills much higher that I do PS skills.
    Check out my website Here
    My Nikon D7000 Tips thread is HERE

    All images posted by me anywhere are Copyrighted by Federal Law and may not be copied or used in ANY FORM without my personal written permission. Jeff Impey
    "I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days... Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days I just refuse to have Bad Ones!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

  4. #4
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    I do this on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time photographing little kids, and sometimes you just really need that extra bit of speed. And I've got the expensive glass, so a faster lens isn't going to help.

    Here's how I use it....

    If said child (or not child, or could be a grownup) is wearing white I underexpose intentionally, not a whole two stops, but some. I go back after in LightRoom and adjust the exposure, lightroom also has a feature for pulling the highlights back, so they don't blow.

    Also, if we are in a lowlight area, and everything else is working, I'll underexpose knowing I can bump it up later. It's easy to adjust the exposure comp. quickly. And I'd rather have to adjust it a bit after than miss it all together.

    I also do this frequently at the end of wedding receptions, when the dj has thier funky lights out. Except I'm not at iso 100, I'm at 1600. I set it to under expose, and then work off the strobes they are using. It gives me the speed I need, and I love the results.

    Same general technique, different uses. Yeah, ideally, we'd all have perfect light, and enough of it, but sometimes we don't. And because I heavily push the "natural light"thing for work, I need to be able to work around there not being much of it.

    Just another possible tool. For me, generally, I've embraced the noise, and love it. But this is a good tip, and has worked for me in the past.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  5. #5
    Member frleal70's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    adina
    I also do this frequently at the end of wedding receptions, when the dj has thier funky lights out. Except I'm not at iso 100, I'm at 1600. I set it to under expose, and then work off the strobes they are using. It gives me the speed I need, and I love the results.
    Great tip! What lens would you use for this type of shot?, f/stop?

    I never thought about underexposing and fixing in post.

  6. #6
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    I have been practicing this technique for years. Some of it has even been intentional!
    Mike

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  7. #7
    Princess of the OT adina's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Quote Originally Posted by frleal70
    Great tip! What lens would you use for this type of shot?, f/stop?

    I never thought about underexposing and fixing in post.
    Usually the 28-70 f/2.8L. Sometimes the 50 f/1.8, but rarely. The dj lights are bright enough, but the darkness of the rest of the room throws off the meter, and the camera trys to compensate for it. By underexposing, it counters the cameas efforts to balance the bright light spots and the dark of the rest of the room.
    I sleep, but I don't rest.

  8. #8
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    My thoughts regarding this technique as the author described using it in this circumstance, I disagree with. His point was to keep the quality of a 100 iso image while getting a faster shutter speed by underexposing and pulling the exposure back up in Post processing, using a RAW file. ( one should always be shooting in RAW if your concerned with getting the most out of your images).
    Whenever you under expose (especially by as much as 2 stops) and then pull your exposure back in post processing, you introduce noise and image degradation. Period.
    So, your 100 iso quality image is no longer the quality you expect from a 100 iso image.
    A correctly exposed 400 iso image will give you better quality than a 2 stop under exposed 100 iso image that has been pulled back in PP. Especially with the quality of todays cameras and sensors, a 400 iso image will yield nice results.
    Here are a few examples of Benny the Polar bear taken in 100 iso correctly exposed, 400 iso correctly exposed, and 100 iso under exposed 2 stops and pulled back in LightRoom 2.1 (LR 2.1, finally the anticipated update!!)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A low light photo tip-benny-bear-100.jpg   A low light photo tip-benny-bear-101.jpg   A low light photo tip-benny-bear-102.jpg  
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  9. #9
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    And here are the close up crops of Benny, where you can really see the difference in quality and the effect of pulling exposure that much, even to a RAW file.
    Pulling up exposure to that degree in PP introduces alot of undesired effects. The highlights pull up moreso than the shadows and so you have a more contrasty image, less shadow detail, more noise, and also some unusual color shifts begin to occur.

    I am not saying that using the under exposing technique is bad, as a matter of fact I use it at times for various things. I might use it if I were already at a higher ISO and I had no other way of getting a faster shutter speed. . .then I would underexpose as much as I needed to tweak that extra speed out.
    i only do not agree with the particular application the author suggested as an example. In the situation he described, the shooter would have been better off simply switching to 400 iso. the point of the authors claim was to achieve the high quality of the 100 iso image while having a faster shutter speed. Can't get something for nothin, and in this case the correctly exposed 400 iso would yield a better quality image.

    These test examples were done with a Canon XTi. I chose that over the 5D because most shooters out there most likely have a camera compatible with the XTi quality.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A low light photo tip-benny-bearcrop-100.jpg   A low light photo tip-benny-bearcrop-101.jpg   A low light photo tip-benny-bearcrop-102.jpg  
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  10. #10
    Learning more with every "click" mjs1973's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Thanks for the sample images Gary. I was going to mention the noise factor when trying to brighten up an image in post, but didn't have time. I really think this technique is kind of a wash. You either end up with noise due to the high ISO, or you end up with noise do to the processing. Either way, the end result is noise. Is one better than the other, I don't know...
    Mike

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  11. #11
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Quote Originally Posted by mjs1973
    Either way, the end result is noise. Is one better than the other, I don't know...
    Absolutely, the better choice would be the 400 iso correctly exposed. It had better image quality than the 100 pulled.

    I would only use this technique when shutter speed was needed and I had no other means of achieving.

    BTW, i have no problem with noise, and it some cases desire it in my images. I am only disagreeing with the authors claims of maintaining 100 iso quality in doing this. It won't happen
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  12. #12
    Captain of the Ship Photo-John's Avatar
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    No such thing as cheating

    Quote Originally Posted by Frog
    I've saved a few that way but thought it was cheating.
    I do this all the time. And as the article points out, we used to do it all the time with film. I would regularly push ISO 400 film to 800 or ISO 1600 to 3200. Use all the tools you have at your disposal. There's no such thing as cheating. In my opinion, there's no honor is puttng the label, "No Photoshop," next to a photo. That just means you let a camera engineer decide how your photo looks.
    Photo-John

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  13. #13
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: No such thing as cheating

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo-John
    I do this all the time. And as the article points out, we used to do it all the time with film. I would regularly push ISO 400 film to 800 or ISO 1600 to 3200. Use all the tools you have at your disposal. There's no such thing as cheating. In my opinion, there's no honor is puttng the label, "No Photoshop," next to a photo. That just means you let a camera engineer decide how your photo looks.
    Exactly, your only "cheating" yourself by not using the tools available to us.
    As for the push and pull techniques, these were very useful in the days of film where you could not switch to a higher iso when the light went down. you had to have a bunch of cameras around your shoulder with different iso film in each.
    One of the greatest advantages of digital is ISO on the fly. When the light goes down, switch up to a higher iso. The sensors and cameras today offer great results at high iso. When you look through the images on your screen, you can then adjust the exposure to perfection with especially good results in RAW.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  14. #14
    A picture is a present you give yourself shootme's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Gary I'm with you, thanks for sharing the example, I could have been swayed to leave the ISO at 100. I often use ISO as a means to sneak more light, but then I always shoot in Raw. One point though, if your going to want noise in the shot then it's not a bad idea to leave the ISO at 100.
    :thumbsup: Shootme...

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  15. #15
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Quote Originally Posted by shootme
    Gary I'm with you, thanks for sharing the example, I could have been swayed to leave the ISO at 100. I often use ISO as a means to sneak more light, but then I always shoot in Raw. One point though, if your going to want noise in the shot then it's not a bad idea to leave the ISO at 100.
    Yep, the only thing though is if I want the noise in a particular shot, I would rather have the high ISO noise than the noise achieved by pulling the exposure up later in software.
    The noise I get at 1600 or 3200 ISO out of the 5D really has a nice fine way about it.
    The noise from pulling the exposure up in LR gives more of a muddy,blotchy noise with artifacts.
    I would just switch to a higher iso and close the aperture, or there are some pretty neat filters available to add realistic noise and grain later in PP.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  16. #16
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Gary makes a very excellent, and spot-on accurate, point. Underexposing, even in RAW, means you're using much less than 100% of the dynamic range of the sensor by cramming all the detail into the shadows, which due to gamma adjustment already only get 10-20% of the data the sensor is capable of. Any post adjustment just brings out the noise and artifacts not only inherent in the sensor, but also due to the greatly reduced amount of usable data. In contrast, shooting at a higher ISO gives you much more data to work with with typically more controlled noise.
    -Seb

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  17. #17
    A picture is a present you give yourself shootme's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Quote Originally Posted by gahspidy
    ...The noise I get at 1600 or 3200 ISO out of the 5D really has a nice fine way about it.
    The noise from pulling the exposure up in LR gives more of a muddy,blotchy noise with artifacts.
    I would just switch to a higher iso and close the aperture, or there are some pretty neat filters available to add realistic noise and grain later in PP.
    Gary, never tried a high an ISO as that, best I've been is about 800. I'll have to give it a try. Thanks for the tip.
    :thumbsup: Shootme...

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  18. #18
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    Quote Originally Posted by Sebastian
    Gary makes a very excellent, and spot-on accurate, point.
    I'll have to mark this day on my calendar :thumbsup:
    please do not edit and repost my photos


    gary


  19. #19
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    I agree with Gary. Pushing ISO 100 two stops is not better than shooting at ISO 400. It works, but it's not better. However, my XSi only goes to 1600 ISO, so when I need more speed, I push it to 3200 ISO and get reasonably good results. Makes me wonder why they didn't offer it in-camera, because I'm sure it would be even better. Stupid marketing department.

    Paul

  20. #20
    Senior Member mn shutterbug's Avatar
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    Re: A low light photo tip

    I have found that the most common reason for noise in my photos is from underexposing.
    Mike
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    Canon 30D X 2, Canon 100-400L, Thrift Fifty, Canon 18-55 IS 3rd generation lens plus 430 EX II flash and Better Beamer. :thumbsup:

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