Handheld shutter speeds with Canon 20mm f/2.8 and 800 film

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by j._d._mcgee, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. I plan to do a lot of low natural light photography with my most
    recent purchase, the Canon 20 f/2.8. I was wondering what are the
    slowest shutter speed I could hand hold my Elan 7 with the 20mm using
    800 speed film and still get sharp pictures.

    I have not used super wide angle lenses of the 20mm variety, my
    widest lens before was a 24mm. I use Kodak 800 and Fujipress 800
    (yes, film, remember that) every now and again for low light
    situations. I can only assume the inverse "rule" of 1/20 sec. would
    be as low as I could go but I was hoping to get 1/10 sec. Is this
    out of the question?

    Thanks, J.D.
  2. 1/10 of a second could probably be possible if you are a really relaxed person. Forget it if you take some cofee beforehand tough, you'd have to bump that speed up to 1/40... It all depends on you and your hands, you need to make a few tests and see if it works out!
  3. with a steady hand 1/10 should be fine.
  4. Be careful - I have that lens. The image quality is not horrible, but not really outstanding below f 5.6

    It's not great at all wide open. Avoid wide open unless you have no choice. I really wish it was better wide open.
  5. 1/10s really is marginal. Keep the shutter pressed for several frames in a row, that will increase chances that one of them is acceptable. Or get yourself a monopod. I bought a Manfrotto 679 for low-light photography and now I get consistently sharp photos at 1/6s with my 24mm f/2.8, on good days I can even do 1/4s - that's three stops more than the focal-length rule would dictate. Of course, our definitions of "acceptable" may differ. I usually don't enlarge beyond 20x30cm, with occasional 30x45cm and few 40x60cm prints. Alexander
  6. Of course, the monopod also allows longer exposures with my longer lenses. Here's one with the 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM:
  7. I did some shots with my 24/2.8 @1/30 sec, wide-open to f/4, using NPZ800 and NPH400(push+1) in some very low-light conditions - tungsten lamps + candles (80B - subtract 1 more step here), or fluorescent lamps corrected with FLW attached (-1 step again), and some other shots to Provia 400, wide-open and f/3.5.
    The light falloff in corners isn't horrible even on a projection screen, but the lens becomes very limitied in close-up photo, and generally i had have only TWO options possible: close-focus with a very, very small DOF, and hyperfocal for any object that are located between 2.75m and farther.
    Before buying the lens i have made some "comparition" shots between 20/2.8 USM and 24/2.8; on a 24 lens, only a very slight vignetting is visible, and for a 20mm it's nearly horrible. Two lens become ~indistinguishable after f/5.6, and @f/8 i see no difference at all (except for a viewing angle). But f/8 is NOT a low-light option, unless you're carrying a tripod.
    24mm lacks a USM drive, but it seems to be a very popular lens for low-light photography.
    P.S. Please do not forget for the bokeh! 20mm's background blur is UGLY!
  8. "24mm lacks a USM drive, but it seems to be a very popular lens for low-light photography."

    I would argue that USM is a little less important on wide angle lenses. Yes they are quiter, but the main attraction of usm (to me) is the FTM, which I haven't really needed on my wide angle range. For me USM is great when you need to adjust the AF quickly or you may lose the shot - I haven't been in those situations with wide angle.
  9. Helen, for what I want to use it for I need the lens to be as wide as possible. 20mm instead of 24 seemed only reasonable to me as I have viewed both through my camera. I have heard some good things about the 20 which led me to choose it, besides I was comparing it to the Sigma 20 f/1.8 which I heard yeilded poor picture quality at f/2.8 compared to the Canon at the same aperture. Though I am sure the Canon 24mm is a nice lens I wanted one even wider than that even though I may sacrafice a little picture quality. I don't really care if the lens has USM or not, that was not a factor in my purchase.

    Also, reading over my original text I realized I was talking about film speed (it was late, I dunno). I know film speed has nothing to do with how low a speed you can handhold a lens at but rather just how much available light you can do it in.

    Regards, J.D.

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