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Camera question

Started by niemi, May 12, 2008, 07:25:26 PM

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I am hoping one of you camera geniuses could help  ;)
I just got a new camera (yippy!) ~Canon EOS Rebel 350D Digital SLR.  My daughter has a band concert tomorrow night in our school theater.  If anyone is familiar with this camera- could you suggest what setting to use?   ???  Dim light/theater/probably sitting a distance away.  (I have the 300 zoom lense also) I'd like to get some decent shots that aren't all dark.  She a drummer, so she's in the back. 


Are you allowed to use a flash? 300mm zoom lens w/o a flash in a dim auditorium makes for blurred photos..
~Coffee Wench~
God Save the Bean!


I don't see my reply here..... ???
Yes- I can use a flash.  I will also have my tripod.


You don't have a big enough flash to use at that distance. Built-in flashes only have a range of about 10 feet. Use your tripod and hope nobody moves very much
Malcolm Abernethy
Knight Commander, Order of the Blue Ribbon
IBRSC #1272
1608 Society
"Be the best you can be... considering."


They kept the lights up, and I got a front seat~ all worked out  ;)

Lord Finger

I might be a bit late for this, but I thought I'd offer my 2 cents in case you find yourself in a dim or dark setting again. Here are a few things to try when you're taking pictures in a dim or dark setting and flash is not an option (too far away, etc.).

1) Most DSLRs will have a Night or Night Portrait setting that will maximize available light.

2) Try a Fireworks setting if you're trying to freeze motion in a dim or dark setting.

3) Manually change the ISO setting to the highest level and disable the flash. I tried this at a wedding last weekend, shooting from a bright area into a reception hall lit more and more dimly as distance increased. I was able to grab some great shots with a 150mm lens at full zoom. I just got an Olympus E-510 about 4 months ago and I think that was the first thing I tried that actually worked!


Mandrake Von Sets

This is definitely late, but perhaps useful for future reference. 

Use the tripod and a high ISO.  You might also consider using the timer or a wired remote  to eliminate even subtle camera shake.


Another tip, use a "fast" lens, that is a lens that is f/2.8 or wider full-open.  It's another way to get shutter speed in low-light situations. 

High ISO (1600 or 3200 depending on your noise tolerance.) 

Aperture priority with f/<smallest-number-your-lens-allows>, and if your background is dark (e.g. shooting dancers that are against a very dark background) exposure compensation -1 stop to keep from blowing the subject's skin tones [also will increase your shutter speed.]

Now I actually have an incident light meter, so I take a meter reading from stage before the performance starts and then shoot in (M)anual.   But I use Av if I don't have permission to go on stage.

I only use flash as a last resort.  And sometimes it's so dim, I have to break out the flash.



Considering there are other responses, and that this is probably a little late...

First of all, you will need to get very familiar with your camera: Shutter, Aperture, ISO.  You will need to understand the effect of each on how your photos will come out.  I am not going to go into detail, since this is something you can do on your own, but I will say that the Rebel is notoriously noisy when you go above 800 ISO.  It is just a function of the chip they use in the camera.  Dont get me wrong, I am no bashing it.  I own 2 Canon cameras myself (20d and 1D Mark II).  Also, Aperture is less a function of the camera and more of a function dictated by the Lens.

The "lower" the aperture number, the more light is let into the lens.  I could go into how the "lower" the number, the larger the aperture value, but doesnt matter here...  Also, the "lower" the number, the narrower the Depth of Field (amount of subject in focus from foreground to background.)  Keep that in mind, since it will matter where you focus for the composition of the photo.

Typical low light settings will require high ISO, slower shutter speed and wider aperture (lower number).  All of the shots here ( were taken without a flash.  No flash allowed.  I was shooting at ISO 3200 and averaged around 1/60 sec handheld with aperture ratings varrying.  I got the shots, but had to work afterwards to lessen the noise from the high ISO.  the 1D Mark II handles noise well, and I did not have to work too hard.

If you have a flash, and are allowed to use it, do so.  Especially if it will take advantage of ETTL or ETTL2.  Once you get used to how the flash operates and how to pull the harshness of the light back, you will be very suprised and happy with the results.  I generally always have a bounce attachment on my flash to soften the light and the shadows caused by the explosive white light.

Shoot in RAW mode - that way you can change your exposure settings after the fact without hurting the photos.  There are a lot of other things you can do with RAW photos that you cannot with JPGs.  Learn this and you will really start liking your camera more and more.

Long lenses and low light do not make for a good photo, even with a tripod.  You will get motion blur, depending on the settings.  Unluss you have spent a lot of money on the lenses, you will have a tough time finding a 300mm lens with less than a f/5.6 or f/4.  With the exception of my 50mm prime (f/1.4) my lenses are all f/2.8, including my long zoom.  It was more than $2k new.  Use a flash that will reach and you dont have to spend that kind of money...

Besides, at the end of the day, what matters is you get a useable shot.  With or without flash, long lens or wide; it comes down to getting the shutter to fire and recording the scene.  For every person who comes here and responds, there will be variations of what to do and what not to do.  There is no "wrong" answer if you achieve your goal, just different ways to get there.

Dont be afraid to use the flash.  Just learn how it will affect the scene and learn how to compensate.  I remember once not having my bounce screen, and created one with a rubber band and a paper plate.

I have rambled enough.  If you have more specific questions, throw them out.


Thank you all for all the camera tips~ I've actually had the chance to 'experiment' in 3 theatrical settings, and about 80% turned out clear and light enough!  (vs. almost none turning out with the old camera) Having fun trying all your ideas!  Hope to get lots of great fest pics to post this summer!