Sometimes it is dark. And yet you need to make it look light, like this, from last weekend’s christening shoot:

Church (Photo: Michael Willems)

I shot that with a 50mm f/1.2 lens, at these settings:

  • RAW
  • 1600 ISO, f/1.4, 1/100th second
  • And then I had to push it in post-processing (and remove the resulting noise)

So imagine. At f/2.0 that would have been 1/50th sec, and at f/2.8 barely 1/30th second. Which is too slow to avoid motion blur. And worse, many of them I had to shoot at 1/30th second. That would have been 1/8th sec at f/2.8 – not doable at al.

The lesson: some situations are really really dark, and if you cannot use flash (either because you cannot bounce, or because you are not allowed to use it) you have to either go to very high ISO values (like 3200 and above), or use very fast lenses, or push process. Only fast lenses and flash do not affect quality.

Affect quality:

  • Push processing
  • High ISO (1600 and beyond, depending on the camera)

Do not affect quality:

  • Flash (except light quality)
  • Fast lenses (except depth of field)

So… I love fast prime lenses, and now you know why.


1 thought on “Dark

  1. This is fairly timely as we just attended Nuit Blanche. I find 50 mm on APS-C to be a little long so I was shooting 24 mm at f/1.4 and ISO 800. Many shots were still only 1/10th. If I concentrate I can hold it still enough to get a sharp shot but pedestrians walking tend to blur, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Grip is important as a tripod at an event like that would present a tripping hazard.

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