slow indoor exposures

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rlconzatti, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. I've got a xti with 17-85 IS 4-5.6 and a 70-300 Is 4-5.6. We just got a new
    puppy and trying to get some quick indoor shots. I am using the onboard flash
    having most of the lights on (floresent) have changed ISO to 1600 and taken
    off the red eye ( seems to speed up with it off, have set it for jpeg large
    instead of raw but the exposures are still running around 1/20 to 1/30 way to
    slow. I know that the lenses are on the slow side and the onboard flash is
    inadequate. My question is do I get a 50mm 1.8 or upgrade the flash and if so
    what flash to get.

  2. First things first: setting the camera to JPG instead of RAW has absolutely nothing to do with your shutter speed. Shutter speed is a reflection of the amount of light needed to be gathered in order to make a proper exposure.

    Second, what mode are you shooting in? It sounds like perhaps you're using Av, which means the camera is going to use the onboard flash as a fill light and not the primary light source. Try setting the camera to P mode and shooting with the flash. Shooting at ISO 1600 with the flash should be fine.

    If you want to buy an external flash, the Canon 430EX is the perfect companion for your XTi. Having a 50mm f/1.8 is a no-brainer given the high quality and low cost of the lens. But be aware that with large apertures comes shallow depth of field and accurate focusing become far more critical.
  3. Actually yes I am using Av mode. ( coming from a pentax k1000 which I have had for a great number of years loved it but it was time to move on ) I reside in Canada and was recently down in Cleveland they had a backlog of people wanting the 50mm.

    thanks for the info I did not realize that on Av mode it was just a fill in flash. Will give it a try tonight.

  4. Actually, you just need to change the flash-shuttle custom function (I don't have Xti and don't which #)to a fixed shuttle speed (1/200 on 5D and 1/250 on 20D).
  5. As they say above, but getting a 50mm f/1.8 is only going to cost you $50-75, so I highly recommend it anyway. It's good for low light, a very nice portrait short telephoto (on the XTi), and has really good image quality (IQ) for the price.
  6. I have the xti with the kit lens. I went with the 430EX flash. It has helped a lot. But faster lenses would also help.
  7. Rob: I have the Xti and the 17-85 (among other lenses including the 50mm 1.8). You should have no problem getting good indoor shots with the 17-85 and the built-in flash. And you should not have to go up to 1600 ISO. As an experiment, try either the P, Auto, or Portrait settings. On the P setting, try 400 ISO with your built-in flash (on the Auto setting the XTi will determine whether to turn on the flash and will set the aperture and shutter speed for you. See what you get.) I bet you will be fine. Take note of the settings that worked (i.e. see what the Auto setting gave you in the way of ISO, aperture and shutter speed) then go back to your AV and use those settings. If none of this works, it's not a better flash you need, it's something else. Also, as an alternate, turn up the amount of flash you are getting from the built-in flash.

    The Xti and the 17-85 is a great package, though, of course, it's easier outdoors in the sunshine...

    The 50 1.8 is a wonderful lens but you will be standing a good bit further back to take the indoor photo and trying to focus might frustrate you early on as well.
  8. One problem you can have with the 17-85mm indoors is getting the AF to lock in low light. The lenses acquire focus with the lens wide open (i.e. at f/4 to f/5.6). Get the 50mm f/1.8 - it's great fun and very sharp.
  9. Once you start shooting with the 50mm f/1.8 you won't like your picture quality with the 17-85 4-5.6 or 70-300 4-5.6 even with the flash indoors. Although those lens are fine in decent light for most.
  10. Oops I forgot, you are taking pictures of the puppy who will, I trust, be moving around quickly. OK. A faster lens would be good and the 50mm would be a good start. And, yes you probably will end up with 1600 ISO on the Xti with the 17-85 to get a decent shutter speed. You should get at least 1/60 though - but I realize that even that may not be fast enough.

    Note, as to the idea of an external flash solving the problem (more so than the onboard flash), I have not found there to be much of a difference produced by the external flash for the type of photos you describe. I have the 420EX and I see very little improvement indoors particularly when it's one person in the photo and not a large group of people and not from quite far away. (i.e. your close-ups of the puppy will not, IMHO, be substantially improved with the 420ex, 430ex or better flashes - short of a semi-professional two flash set-up etc.)
  11. [[I have the 420EX and I see very little improvement indoors]]

    Have you tried bouncing the flash?
  12. Hey Rob B. Thanks for your question and it's a good one. Yes, I have bounced the flash but for the question posed (close-ups of a person or pet etc.) I still don't find much difference. Maybe with the red-eye reduction. I'm actually pretty happy with the onboard flash - even for the situation described by the post. I use the stofen with the 420ex also. I really expected much more difference with the 420ex. Admittedly, I have only used it about two months and sparingly at that. I'll make an effort to do some more testing. I hope your comment implies that it really can produce better results.
  13. I recently abandoned my stofen for bouncing and have found it, when angled correctly, to produce a more pleasing look. The 420EX will certainly give you more control and more power when using the flash.

    You say you're more pleased with the onboard flash, which makes me think you're pointing the 420EX directly at your subjects. Aside from being able to project the light further, if you do nothing else to your exposure settings, you're not likely to see much difference between the two. Aiming a bigger light directly at someone will not suddenly change how the light behaves. Physics still applies.

    You should also experiment with the flash and how it works in M, Av, Tv, and P.
  14. Thanks Rob B. I will try this some more. Perhaps I have not given it enough of a chance. Your suggestions are appreciated.
  15. I used a 420 for quite a while until I got a 580 and it made a HUGE difference. Flash can be a tricky thing with Canon until you fully understand it, or at least get a better grip on it. Read the EOS flash bible, that always helps.
  16. I've found the 420EX on the XT more useful after i dialed in +1/3 flash exposure compensation. I'm sure the extra power from the 580EX would be welcome, but pushing a little more out from the 420EX has certainly helped improve things.

    For the most part I shoot M and ISO 800 with this setup. But my family members all seem to have too little light in their homes.
  17. Wait until the dog falls asleep then take as many shots as possible using available light. Save your money to replace the carpeting your dog will definetly rip to shreds.

    Or buy the 50mm 1.8 like everyone else. Fast lens, great pictures,
    low price.
  18. And while you're waiting for the 50mm f/1.8 to arrive, get a camping torch and point it at the dog - mine goes nuts and chase the beam across the furniture - so I can't really tell you if this fixed light solution improves your photos (but it does work well with macros).

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