LOW LIGHT (JAZZ CLUBS) WITHOUT FLASH

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by leo_montgomery, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. I shoot a lot of pics in jazz club settings. I need to start shooting without my flash. Will I need to add lens or change my settings? I'm on a low budget.
    thanks,
     
  2. Who knows. I've no idea what lenses you have or what settings you use. The photo.net crystal ball is currently broken and our mind reader is out sick.
     
  3. Welcome to photo.net! I noticed that you just joined. To put what Bob said in a less sarcastic way, you'll have to tell us what you are using before anyone can figure out if you need something else.
     
  4. Unfortunately, low light work without flash requires a fast lens, a body that delivers low noise at high ISO's or, ideally, both. But such lenses and bodies cost more than most restricted budgets allow.
    As Bob and Hector have already said, we'd be in a better postion to advise you if we knew what gear and "settings" you're currently using.
     
  5. As most have said,if you are on a low budget, your going to have problems shooting without a flash,in fact in a darkened
    Jazz club of any sorts ,shooting totally without flash even with a ,low noise camera body and a fast lens, your most surely
    going to have problems.It would help if we new what camera you are using and ,what lens you have available to you at
    present,it would be more possible to guide you into a better direction,and also Are you taking photos of the clients as they
    are seated in the club,or are you shooting the musicians only,there may be an option if you are actually working in one
    area to use modeling lamps for a fairly low investment.The problem is nearly every day or night you work,the lighting in
    the club can or will change,clothing of clients ,may be a factor.The bottom line is in most cases without a lot more to go on
    your probably going to have to start using a faster lens,and that is going to be based on your camera body your using,a
    person can buy a cheap 50mm lens at 1.8 at maybe 150 dollars,but that being a fixed lens and a faster F stop may not
    still focus quickly enough with your lighting issue,if the job pays well enough, you can rent by the week or month, or other
    terms and use a fast ,zoom lens ,with a 2.8 f-stop that can focus fast in low light and quality glass gives quality
    shots,you still have to look at what body of camera you are using to find out what iso you can get away with using even a
    faster lens,we have all been there and its very costly,but if you will give us much more detail maybe we can help you still
    do what you have been doing,many times with low light issues,and a fast lens, I still use two off camera flashes and
    maybe a modeling lamp, I do large wedding indoors with 50foot ceilings ,some churches are nit even allowed to use flash
    at all ,in which case I try to stick with an 85mm prime at 1.2 f-stop,sorry to ramble but low budgets are tough to do your
    job buy when a flash is eliminated and then it is also based on your work experience as well.I wish you well,and would
    like to see some of your work as is,and maybe give us much more info to help you ,solve your issue at least till a budget
    can be fattened.Also I owned a few night clubs in the past and it was always dark except the dance area,and the foyer.
     
  6. The 50/f1.8 is relatively cheap, and at ISO 1600 and 3200, it will allow you to shoot in fairly dark places. I do a lot of shooting in clubs and bars with a 50/f1.4, and I often stop it down a half or full stop.
     
  7. The best low-cost solution I'm aware of to the lack of light in venues is to shoot Raw at high ISO and convert the files in DxO Optics Pro 8 - it has extraordinarily good noise reduction by default, and is capable of something close to miracles on noisy files.
    If Leo isn't using a FF/pro body, the "Standard" version of Optics Pro is every bit as capable as the "Elite" version (in fact the only difference is in which cameras each version can handle) and is surprisingly inexpensive.
     
  8. In addition and speaking from experience, "you get what you pay for". Be careful, be frugal, but don't be cheap! Your shot request is very difficult without VERY GOOD equipment. In fact, it is difficult with VERY GOOD equipment, especially if you want sharpness. And that is the bottom line!
     
  9. You're in the Canon forum, so I think you're asking about what's a good solution with Canon equipment. You say:
    I shoot a lot of pics in jazz club settings.​

    but I think you're planning to; otherwise, why are you asking us?

    A great thing about jazz clubs is that they tend to be small and you can get close. That makes it practical to use fast 35, 40 and 50mm prime lenses. Canon's very best camera in low light is the 1D-X, followed by the 6D, 5D MkIII and 5D MkII. There's quite a price spread between those four cameras, with the 1D-X in a league of its own in both price and performance. If you can afford it, that's the body to get for your purpose; however, you can do fantastic with a 6D or used 5D MkII and some fast lenses.

    Here's a club-like shot, with action, at ISO 6400 with a 5D MkII:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. BTW, I processed the Celtic dancer with DxO Optics Pro 7, back in 2012. I now use v. 8.3 and it's even better.
     
  11. Thanks for all responses. I use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. I usually shoot in full auto.
    I shoot as a hobby only, not trying to sell to anyone. I have no problem in nite clubs that allow the use of a flash. Lately some musicians (while performing) are objecting to flashes.
    I'm usually able to sit within 4-8 feet of the stage. This weekend I will experiment shooting w/o flash in P (program AE) and Av (aperture-priority). If this doesn't work, I'll look into getting some new lens.
     
  12. If you go to Av mode, you want ISO 3200 and close to wide open. I suspect that from that close it'll work reasonably well. To get even better results, a fast 35 or 50mm will be very nice and not too dear for the budget.
     
  13. Thanks for all responses. I use a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT. I usually shoot in full auto.
    I shoot as a hobby only, not trying to sell to anyone. I have no problem in nite clubs that allow the use of a flash. Lately some musicians (while performing) are objecting to flashes.
    I'm usually able to sit within 4-8 feet of the stage. This weekend I will experiment shooting w/o flash in P (program AE) and Av (aperture-priority). If this doesn't work, I'll look into getting some new lens.​
    Useful, but you still haven't told us what lens you have so it's impossible to help you with "Will I need to add lens"
     
  14. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    You only have to ISO1600 as a maximum on an EOS 350D. Use ISO1600. Use Evaluative Metering. If you ONLY have the KIT LENS (EF-S 18 to 55 F/3.5 to 5.6) use it between 18mm and 22mm focal lengths – that will support F/3.5. Use Av Mode and set Av = F/3.5. Try to release the shutter when there is least Subject Movement.
    BUT - It would be still very useful to know what lenses that you do have.
    At 4ft~8ft from the Stage an EF35/2 would be an elegant solution, on a budget, for a useful lens. You could look at one second hand.
    Once you establish the price of that lens, you might look at what second hand 20D or 30D might cost as you can crib both of those to an 'equivalent' of ISO3200 and then also underexpose one stop and still get very reasonable results.
    WW
     
  15. Buy good used equipment from reputable dealers -- you will find them here.
     
  16. Canon 28-90mm 1:4-5.6
    Thanks,
     
  17. As William said, the Digital Rebel XT / 350D only goes up to ISO 1600, and in the in the "Basic Zone Modes" it only goes up to ISO 400 (see the manual, p. 55). My dad has one; ISO 1600 is usable but pretty noisy. So what to do? Get yourself a 50mm f/1.8 for $110. Put the camera in Av mode and set it to f/2 or f/2.8, set it to ISO 1600, and see whether the shutter speeds are fast enough to get reasonably sharp pictures. (Given the typically-dark backgrounds, to get the right exposure, you may need to try setting exposure compensation to -1 stop or something.) If so, you might try backing down to ISO 800, or if you want more depth of field, stopping down to f/4. Based on my limited experience shooting in small clubs, I suspect that at ISO 1600, you will be around 1/30 s at f/2--marginal but maybe just fast enough to get some shots. Good luck.
     
  18. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    "Canon 28-90mm 1:4-5.6"​
    Thanks
    Then you need to shoot at around 28mm to 35mm and set Av at F/4.
    Does that make sense?
    WW
     
  19. Good suggestions already. I'd also suggest a monopod, if they'll let you use one in the club. If you have a table, set your elbows on it, and pretend you're a tripod. Also pop less than $100 for a used 18-55 IS, so that you will have the benefit of its (actually rather good) image stabilizer. Try to shoot when your subjects aren't moving, for instance when they hold a note. All the stabilization in the world won't compensate for a moving subject.
     
  20. Unless it is a surprisingly well-lit club, f4 @ ISO 1600 will result in shutter speeds around 1/15 sec and slower (mostly
    slower). If you want to shoot without flash, you should get a faster lens (as I mentioned before).
     
  21. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Ah! yes, Leo.
    I do not want you to mistake my comments about how best to use the lens that you have - to mean that you do not need another (faster) lens.
    To be clear, I think that you will need another (faster) lens (for example the 50/1.8 or the 35/2) and maybe even a faster camera, too.
    WW
     
  22. Here's a club-like shot, with action, at ISO 6400 with a 5D MkII​
    7D, according to your Flickr page, David.
     
  23. Keith, you're right. Sorry 'bout that. I took the 7D for its flash, which I didn't need!
     
  24. BTW, that night with the 7D, I took one of my all-time favorite portraits at ISO 6400:
    [​IMG]
     
  25. Ain't bad for a cropper, is it?
    Matches my experience of the 7D too - it baffles me when I read people complaining about the 7D being a "noisy" camera: its noise is really easy to deal with; it's fine-grained and unobtrusive anyway; and it doesn't hurt detail, which is the noise deal-breaker for me
     
  26. Where I have trouble with noise and my 7D is shooting wildlife and birds in overcast situations and I need the ISO up at 1600 to get sufficient SS. If the background is complex and the bird (or animal) is dark, even though I ETTR, I get noise in the feathers and it does crush detail if I try to get it out. My 5D MkIII is at least a stop better before noise becomes a problem. Notice that there are no details in the dark area of the picture of my grand daughter. I had the luxury to lower the blacks to wipe out any details in that dark area. The face was perfectly exposed, so no problem there. Her right hand has a bit of noise, but who cares?
    Bottom line, the 7D can work well in low light, but the 5D3 and 6D are a stop or two better, IME. With any of these cameras, ETTR.
     
  27. No question that the newer FF cameras should be better - other things being equal, more sensor real estate whould always equal better low light performance, and much newer sensors should bring technical improvements to the table too.
    Got to say though, I have no qualms about going 1600+ ISO with my 7D in the kind of conditions you describe, David - occasionally I see a bit of more tenacious noise, but generally, no issues at all.
    And I'll happily go 3200 ISO plus to maintain shutter speed when shooting Winter rugby here in the UK. (I didn't need 3200 ISO here - Auto ISO did that - but I'm happy to go there anyway).
     
  28. Well Keith, my own experience is that the 7D can take wonderful pictures at high ISOs. Some people really want to work with a 1.6 crop factor and the 7D is one of the best of that genre, with the new 70D moving the ball forward in terms of high-ISO performance. I'm just saying that the 5D MkIII and 1D X are even better in this regard. The 6D has the same high-ISO a as the 5D3 attribute, but it will not AF at f/8, making it problematic for those that need telephoto reach over 700mm or so. The 1D X is in a league of its own regarding high-ISO performance.
     

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