View Full Version : Shooting in dark places

12-06-2010, 04:40 AM
Dear All,
I tried last weekend to shoot a band in a bar with my 28-135 (3.5-5.6) lens but I couldn't find enough light. Obviously, I needed a faster lens which I don't have now. This triggered a question in my mind, which focal length gives me the maximum aperture. I only tried in the bar to shoot at 28mm in order to utilize the f3.5 and increased the ISO. The increase in ISO caused too much noise, so that was not any help. I didn't want to use flash for fearing it wouldn't show the dark ambience. Any advice in shooting in dark places is highly appreciated.

Anyways, coming to the point, my understanding so far is that dividing the focal length with the fstop gives the aperture size. For example 28/3.5 = 8, 135/5.6 = 24, 300/5.6= 53.6.

Hence, am I right to assume, it would have been better to use larger focal length to get more light into the camera? Would that be one solution?

12-06-2010, 03:56 PM
fstop=focal length/aperture diameter

"A 100 mm focal length lens with an aperture setting of f/4 will have a pupil diameter of 25 mm. A 135 mm focal length lens with a setting of f/4 will have a pupil diameter of about 33.8 mm. The 135 mm lens' f/4 opening is larger than that of the 100 mm lens but both will produce the same illuminance in the focal plane when imaging an object of a given luminance." (from wikipeda)

With a lens that has a varied max F-stop at different focal lengths it's best to shot wide and have the aperture wide open, but then you need to try and get the camera as close to the action as possible. I've had some success at a recent (lit) concert, shooting with a kit lens at ISO1600 and an off camera speed-light dialed a couple of stops under ambient. The shots were a little noisy, but since I wasn't wanting to print massive they were acceptable.(software noise reduction tools are pretty good).

12-07-2010, 01:42 AM
Thanks Richard.

fstop=focal length/aperture diameter

I've had some success at a recent (lit) concert, shooting with a kit lens at ISO1600 and an off camera speed-light dialed a couple of stops under ambient.

Can you please tell me, how to setup an off camera flash? Can I do it with only one flash? I have 550EX.
On the exposure, I was thinking of using like -1 on the exposure to give it a dark look. As per your setup does it mean that I have to dial down my flash to -3 or -2?

Thanks a lot for your support.

12-07-2010, 04:18 AM
To use your 550EX off camera you would need a some kind of remote trigger. (I use RF602s which are pretty cheap and work well, but they only work with manual flash control and do a bit more chimping.) If you want to maintain TTL its a bit more expensive, ie pocket wizards etc. you could use your 550EX as a master on camera and then use a cheaper TTL slave flash off camera.

I think I dialled my flash compensation down to -2, you can read more about my set-up on my blog here:

Rich Image: Photographing bands (http://richimage.blogspot.com/2010/11/photographing-bands.html)

12-07-2010, 05:07 AM
Thanks a lot Richard.
The photos in your blog are very nice. The setup seems kind of similar to what I am intending to do.
Thatz a lot of help

12-07-2010, 05:40 AM
cool. :D

good luck Yisehaq.

12-07-2010, 08:52 AM
AFAIK - For variable aperture zoom lenses of all kinds, the lens will be at its fastest at its shortest focal length. In this case, at 28mm.

But for concert shots this is a bad lens. many places will not allow you to use flash. You are MUCH better off getting an F-1.8 50mm lens which should be very cheap and fast versus this lens in concerts where you cannot use flash. (In general this is not be the best concert lens - but you mentioned your budget and this lens is fast, sharp and cheap in my experience.) That F3.5 is just too slow and if you wanted to zoom you'd be closer to F5.6.
hope that helps - Marko

12-07-2010, 01:16 PM
Thanks Marko!