What lens is good at Night?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by shawn_nguyen, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. I have a canon 50d + 28-135mm USM lens. I went to Vegas last weekend and I'm not really happy with the way it turn out with my picture while taking them at night in Vegas. Even though, there are alot of lights but somehow the pictures turn out weird. It even didn't help when I put on the canon speedlite 430 EX II. Every pictures with the flash on has a bright area around the faces, what I really want is to see the light and the area of the background.
    What is the best lens for taking picture at night?
  2. Its probably your technique not so much the lens. Did you expose for the background? What do you mean weird? over exposed? underexposed? do you have some samples you can show?
  3. post sample please
  4. I will post some samples when I get home from work.
    In the mean time, what is the right setting for shooting at night?
    Thank you
  5. I think part of the problem is that most of your shooting is at night, and flash is not always your best friend. What shutter speeds did you use? I am guessing that some images are blurry, some underexposed. In low-light situations you almost have to use a tripod or up your ISO, to achieve decent shutter speeds.
  6. [[what is the right setting for shooting at night?]]
    Any answer depends entirely on what you're trying to do.
    If you're trying to expose the faces of people with a flash while also seeing the lights of Las Vegas at night in the background that's one set of parameters. If you're just trying to photograph the lights, that's an entirely different set of parameters. If you're trying to keep both foreground and background in focus, that's another set of parameters, etc., etc., etc.
  7. Yes, what I want is to capture the foreground of the facial and the background area including the light.
  8. Put flash on camera.
    Go to shooting modes, select "Night Portrait".
    Take shots. The subject will be properly exposed by the flash, the background will show. Of course, when you have the camera do this for you, the results will be generic. If you want more indivuated results, you will have to learn to do this on your own.
  9. Depends on what you are shooting. If there's no motion blur problem, and you have a tripod and cable release, say shooting streets/vistas, any lens is fine. You will get trails from cars, but that can be a nice effect.
    For handheld and low light candids of people without flash, something like the 35mm f2.0 (near-normal) or 50mm f1.4 (slightly telephoto) will help. Bump your ISO up as well: 800 is a good compromise that avoids too much noise increase, 1600 if you have to.
  10. For background you need to set a lower shutter speed. Youll need to use either a tripod, or a great holding technique (IS helps). Just toss the camera in manual, for a single person try using at least 6.3 for aperture, and set the shutter speed anywhere from 1 sec to 1/15 depending on available light. You speedlight when set to ETTL will automatically adjust the flash output needed for your subject. Also try bumping up your ISO to at least 400-800.
    Example: ISO 400, at 1/8th of a sec
  11. Lemme guess, you shot P or full-auto with low iso. It'll keep the shutterspeed way down and underexpose background.
    Best lens is 17-55/2.8 IS, or any prime 50 mm or less. Set AV or M, 800 iso or so, lens wide open, meter for background. Turn on the flash, set FEC to -1. Focus on the face and fire away. City lights look very cool when defocused.
  12. Is the aperture a main factor for the night shot? I was thinking if the lower the aperture the better it is, am I right?
  13. ISO, Aperture and shutter speed work in concert together, all three have to work in proper balance to achieve the right exposure. If you raise the ISO one stop (i.e. iso 400 to iso 800) then you need to either close your aperture one stop (i.e. f5.6 to f8) or speed up your shutter speed by one stop (i.e. 1/400 to 1/800). This allows the same exposure.
    Now then, in people at night you need to maximize how fast of a shutter speed you can use, something like 1/60th or greater. Make sense?
  14. "Is the aperture a main factor for the night shot? I was thinking if the lower the aperture the better it is, am I right?"
    Shawn when it comes to portraits with flash, there is a simple method of understanding. Shutter speed for background and aperture for exposing your subject with flash.
  15. The simple way is to expose the background and use your flash to fill the main subject (the people). Set your camera on AV mode and make sure your aperture and ISO level combination allows you to have adequate shutter speed in order to eliminate or minimize camera shake. You need to take a few test shots to figure out the right amount of flash you need to fill the subject without under or overexpose the image. BTW flashes have limited range, make sure you're not too far away from the subject.
  16. Hi Shawn,
    Canon flash system is designed completely different from Nikon's and here it is: When in any semi-automatic mode (Av, Tv) the camera will always always try to make the background the "right" exposure level. As a result, if you don't like the background or ambient exposure level, you're going to have to use manual mode to get the right background lighting. Since you're on digital, this is easy, take a few test shots with your camera at some desired shutter/aperture and iso setting and see what you get. Keep in mind that aperture and iso are the two main factor affecting the max output of your speedlight. (Shutter does not play a role until you exceed the max X-sync rating of your camera body.) There is no "right" exposure level for the background, it's done entirely to taste.
    Once you have the right background exposure, it's time to let the flash do it's thing via ETTL and light up the foreground to what the camera thinks it's right. If the camera starts blowing out features that you would like to keep, use flash exposure compensation (not exposure compensation) to dial it down or up as the situation requires. You can access FEC via the speedlight or the camera body.
    Finally, please take a look at Neil van Niekerk's website for excellent tips on flash photography.
    PS: Depending on the exposure mode, the camera might have even tried to light the entire scene. Check your speedlight and see if you saw the green light turn on. If it doesn't and the flash takes long to recharge, it means the camera wanted more power than the speedlight can put out. And if features of your subject are already blown out, then the camera is trying to exposure for the wrong thing and/or you're at the wrong flash compensation.
  17. Shawn, you might benefit from browsing this link: http://www.photo.net/beginner-photography-questions-forum/
    It looks like you want to run before you can crawl. You really need to get to grips with the basics of photography - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. before you embark on trying to capture images in environs that can prove tricky even to more seasoned photographers. I would strongly suggest you get a good book, read up on these basics and then experiment with your 50D.
    Well-executed night photography cannot be learned simply by reading others' answers to your post on this forum. Especially if, as is the case here, you don't have a handle on the very fundamentals of photography.
  18. In a nut shell....although it takes some thinking to get it right....your aperture and shutterspeed control the exposure of the background (but you have to remember to keep the shutterspeed at or slower than your flash sync speed...which is 1/250th of a second on your camera....you can go slower, but not faster), and your flash controls the exposure of your foreground (ie....notice I said foreground, and not subject....so make your subject the closest thing in the pic to you)
    so, keeping in mind your maximum flash sync speed of 1/250:
    aperture & shutterspeed = background exposure
    flash = subject (foreground)
    I find it best to set the actual camera to Manual exposure, pick my shutterspeed and aperture for how I want the background to look, and put the flash itself on automatic and if too bright or dark, adjust FLASH exposure compensation accordingly (ie....your cam also has exposure compensation....I'm not talking about that one in this case.....see your manual to find the flash exp comp adjustment)
  19. This?
    I'd rather a Leica Noctilux f1, or even better the stunning new Noctilux f0.95, but they of course are for another camera.

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