View Full Version : How can I improve my Low Lighting Shots
09-19-2010, 09:36 AM
I have an Olympus E-520 and mainly use a a 70-300 lense.
I know Olympus is not the best for low light.
Without buying Expensive Glass
The bird was shot at ISO 800 shutter 1250 A Sunny Day.
( I forgot to re set my ISO from the previous day )
The Squirrel was shot ISO Shutter 250 Very cloudy day
Both at 300 mm and croped 100 %
IMO they are OK , just looking for improvments mainly in IQ. at ISO 100 on a sunny day they are much better.
Thanks in advance
10-22-2010, 07:19 AM
Hey, Fred. Others may have more useful information but I'll make a couple of suggestions as if these were in the critique thread since you seem to be specifically looking for feedback. These are not really low-light shots, low-light shots would be normally be found in doors or just before sunrise or at the end of sunset.
Let's take a look at each shot individually. First the bird. You've already pointed out the ISO 800 mistake (I really don't want to admit how many times I've done that :headslap: ) which has actually over-exposed the bird's breast. You've captured a very nice post here and even have a catchlight in his eye which is excellent, however, he's a little soft. I'd suggest that you may have missed the focus a bit. You should always focus on the eyes.
Secondly, the squirrel. Not a bad shot though it looks like he's got a nail sticking out of his butt ;) Again, the issue here seems that the focus is a little off. If you were at 300mm and 1/250 of a second that may have come from camera shake. The general rule for handheld shots is 1/focal length so you should have been at least 1/300 to minimize any camera shake.
I hope this helps!
10-22-2010, 08:09 AM
You never said if you used a tripod with these images. Using a mono/tripod (or anything to put the camera on to stabilize it such as an available fencepost...which I've used on many occasions) in these shots would also help a great deal , especially when at the longer end of the focal length. :)
10-22-2010, 08:30 AM
Hi fellow Olympus user. Given your parameters I'd have to say proper exposure is your first weapon against noise if that's perceived as a problem. Iguanasan is right about that on the bird and is probably also right on the rodent - focus is critical. I know from other examples that even though the 70-300 is a slow/dark lens as compared to some, it is also sharp. I think casil's comment about a tripod will also help. In film days we always counseled people to select a shutter speed at least as fast as the focal length of the lens being used. So in the case of this zoom, I'd choose at least 1/250 if not higher. It's not a small lens and at that magnification any camera shake is going to look monumental.
Practice with that lens a lot if you want to improve, that's all I can say. I have an old, manual OM 65-200mm zoom and I'm really hit or miss with it and it's mostly because I don't use it often. If I did, I'd get better results more consistently.
As a last resort you can try noise reduction in post processing. I'm not especially bothered by noise as I used to shoot film where grain is prized not shunned, but when I think it overwhelms a shot, I use Lightroom's noise reduction module and it works pretty well. You have to be sure you have enough fine detail in the photo to begin with though...if the focus is off, or if I've got camera shake showing it just muddies things up.
Anyway, I hope my rambling reply helps.
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