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DSRL Issues

burntheladleburntheladle Registered User regular
edited October 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm having a really hard time getting a decent response from my dslr (an Olympus e300) in "low" lighting situations.

By "low" lighting situations, I mean in a large livingroom in the middle of the day, with a big open window and an overhead light on. My camera was producing unworkably dark images until I set it to speed: 1/30, f5.0 , which seems unreasonable in these lighting conditions. Especially since my little point and shoot can cope (without the flash).

This is very frustrating, and swapping out my lenses produces no real difference. I would like to be able to take photographs inside my own house without needing the tripod.

What am I doing wrong? I'm pretty new to using a dslr, and I'm pretty much just muddling along working issues out as they crop up. This issue has me pretty much stumped, though. I have set the apature to as wide as the lens/camera will allow me to, but it still requires a very long exposure time - much longer than I would think is reasonable.



In a related issue, has anyone had success using a nikon/canon lens adapter with an olympus camera? I am getting very frustrated with Olympus - the above issue, mainly, and also the fact that their range of lenses seems to be fairly limited and quite expensive - both Nikon and Canon have a f1.8 prime for about $150; but the nearest olympus lens is either the pancake with a f2.8 for $350 or one of their pro range ones for about $900! I don't have the money to buy a new body right now (yay, uni), but I'm dubious about building up a collection of Olympus lenses, when Nikon and Canon both seem to have much better options. Any advice?

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Posts

  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    What ISO is your camera set to? What mode are you using? What lens are you using? Is it a zoom lens? A prime lens?

    We can't really help until we know the details. :)

    Inside of my house during the day with my 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 I generally have to bump up my ISO considerably to shoot at 1/60th or 1/80th of a second. If you want to be able to shoot in "low light" situations (read: not outside) you generally need a 2.8. The 50mm 1.8 is nice but keep in mind you sacrifice a lot of DOF by shooting at 1.8, which you may not want. If you start to close the aperture you're going to begin to decrease your shutter speed. It's good for portraits but not for "around the house".

    ps; I shoot w/ a Nikon and I wouldn't give it up for anything. If I were you, I really wouldn't consider anything but a Nikon or Canon if I'm looking to get serious with the hobby.

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  • Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Pick up a book (I didn't mind Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson) that explains the basics of photography and how ISO, shutter speed and aperture are related. Everything will be mildly confusing until you understand how it's all connected.

    A shutter speed of 1/30th at f/5 seems an entirely plausible exposure for indoors in the daytime if you're shooting at around ISO100-200. Your little point and shoot is probably cranking its ISO and opening its aperture up wide, which is what you should be doing with your DSLR as well if you want to shoot indoors with handholdable shutter speeds. If you want higher shutter speeds, either open up your aperture or up your ISO. Given the itty-bitty sensor on Olympus DLSRs, the former is probably preferable to the latter unless you've got depth of field issues at larger apertures.

    Edit: Don't listen to Aunt Susan, moving to Nikon or Canon if you've already built an Olympus lens collection and own a body would be silly and is not at all required to take good photographs or "get serious" with the hobby.

    Dark Moon on
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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    Dark Moon wrote: »
    Edit: Don't listen to Aunt Susan, moving to Nikon or Canon if you've already built an Olympus lens collection and own a body would be silly and is not at all required to take good photographs or "get serious" with the hobby.

    No, no. I don't mean sell and buy a Canon or a Nikon. I mean if I were new coming into it, I wouldn't buy a Pentax, Sony or Olympus for the simple fact that the availability of variety of lenses is much greater for less money in Canon or Nikon. All other SLR's are just as good, it's simply that selection is limited. From what it sounds like, he doesn't have an extensive collection of lenses for the Olympus and as such, doesn't have as much invested in it making the switch easier if he chooses to do so. Having a Nikon or Canon doesn't = good photographer.

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  • burntheladleburntheladle Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    What ISO is your camera set to? What mode are you using? What lens are you using? Is it a zoom lens? A prime lens?

    I have been trying to shoot in manual mode, so that I'm experiementing with what works and what doesn't. I did switch it into "night mode" to see what the camera tried to do, and it went down to 1/2.5 f4 .. I am a little confused, as sometimes the camera doesn't seem to want to go past f5.6 (as in, I scroll the wheel but the number on this display doesn't change) I don't know what's going on there, but I just tried it again and it is letting me.

    I'm using a zoom lens - 14-45mm. I also have a telephoto lens (something to -150mm).
    Inside of my house during the day with my 18-70mm 3.5-4.5 I generally have to bump up my ISO considerably to shoot at 1/60th or 1/80th of a second. If you want to be able to shoot in "low light" situations (read: not outside) you generally need a 2.8. The 50mm 1.8 is nice but keep in mind you sacrifice a lot of DOF by shooting at 1.8, which you may not want. If you start to close the aperture you're going to begin to decrease your shutter speed. It's good for portraits but not for "around the house".


    I am a little torn about the 1.8/2.8 issue. I've used a friends canon with his 1.8/50mm lens before, and really enjoyed it, and I would like to experiement with portraiture at some point, but a 1.8 is fairly unattainable without changing camera brands, and a 2.8 is certainly not out of the question.


    I guess I should clarify what I use the camera for. I'm a digital arts student focusing mainly on animation/web composition, so the photography side of things is supplementary but incredibly useful (as well as being something that I'm really starting to enjoy). I spend a lot of time wandering around taking photographs of interesting things to build up my own photo library - a lot of things qualify as interesting and so far my two lenses have served me pretty well, but I haven't really tried photographing much indoors before.

    This issue has just come up because I am doing some work compositing a model into other images, and I was trying to photograph the model indoors where I could control the lighting situation. It's not a big deal, and I got around it by setting up the tripod, but in the future I would like to be able to work indoors without a tripod. I didn't realise how much of a difference in lighting there is between a well lit room and outdoors, I guess my eyes just adapt so quickly I don't notice.



    Dark Moon wrote: »
    Pick up a book (I didn't mind Understanding Exposure by Brian Peterson) that explains the basics of photography and how ISO, shutter speed and aperture are related. Everything will be mildly confusing until you understand how it's all connected.

    I have been looking for a good one on and off, and I will see if the uni library/local borders has a copy of that one.

    I have a vague understanding, as we're taught some of this stuff in our film class, but we haven't covered ISO. My camera appears to allow 100, 200, 400 and AUTO as ISO settings - although I get the impression that it should cover a much greater range. I will try and find the manual and see what it says (I prefer to check it when I need to find out something specific, reading manuals straight through tends to turn it into gobbledegook.).


    Dark Moon wrote: »
    Edit: Don't listen to Aunt Susan, moving to Nikon or Canon if you've already built an Olympus lens collection and own a body would be silly and is not at all required to take good photographs or "get serious" with the hobby.

    No, no. I don't mean sell and buy a Canon or a Nikon. I mean if I were new coming into it, I wouldn't buy a Pentax, Sony or Olympus for the simple fact that the availability of variety of lenses is much greater for less money in Canon or Nikon. All other SLR's are just as good, it's simply that selection is limited. From what it sounds like, he doesn't have an extensive collection of lenses for the Olympus and as such, doesn't have as much invested in it making the switch easier if he chooses to do so. Having a Nikon or Canon doesn't = good photographer.


    I only have two lenses at the moment, and the e300 body. I bought it second hand from my father when he upgraded, so it was AU$400 (mates rates, much). I don't have a massive amount "invested" in it yet, which is why I am hesitant about purchasing more lenses. I doubt my father would be massively offended if I moved to Nikon or Canon. At any rate, that is a long term option since broke student /=/ major purchases.

    burntheladle on
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  • YourFatAuntSusanYourFatAuntSusan Registered User regular
    edited October 2008
    What ISO is your camera set to? What mode are you using? What lens are you using? Is it a zoom lens? A prime lens?

    I have been trying to shoot in manual mode, so that I'm experiementing with what works and what doesn't. I did switch it into "night mode" to see what the camera tried to do, and it went down to 1/2.5 f4 .. I am a little confused, as sometimes the camera doesn't seem to want to go past f5.6 (as in, I scroll the wheel but the number on this display doesn't change) I don't know what's going on there, but I just tried it again and it is letting me.

    I'm using a zoom lens - 14-45mm. I also have a telephoto lens (something to -150mm).

    The reason your shutter speed dropped to 1/2.5th of a second in night mode is because the camera is making an assumption it's now attached to a tripod. You need the long shutter speed at night to get anything more than a black exposure.

    The reason your aperture isn't changing is because it depends on your zoom. Your lens is the (assuming) 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 which means that its widest aperture is at its shortest zoom, 14mm. At 45mm it's only able to stop down to f5.6. The longer the lens/zoom, the longer the shutter speed.

    I am a little torn about the 1.8/2.8 issue. I've used a friends canon with his 1.8/50mm lens before, and really enjoyed it, and I would like to experiement with portraiture at some point, but a 1.8 is fairly unattainable without changing camera brands, and a 2.8 is certainly not out of the question.

    I love my 50mm 2.8. It was cheap as dirt and it's sharp. It really does allow for some creative options. This lens should be in every camera bag.
    I have a vague understanding, as we're taught some of this stuff in our film class, but we haven't covered ISO. My camera appears to allow 100, 200, 400 and AUTO as ISO settings - although I get the impression that it should cover a much greater range. I will try and find the manual and see what it says (I prefer to check it when I need to find out something specific, reading manuals straight through tends to turn it into gobbledegook.).

    ISO is essentially how "light sensitive" your sensor or film are. They allow for a faster shutter speed in less light, however the compromise is that a higher ISO creates a noisier image.

    An easy way to understand aperture (excluding DOF) is like this. The camera is like your eye. A wide aperture (low number such as f1.8 or f2.8) is the same as if the pupil of your eye is dilated. It's open much more and allows more light in. Because it's allowing more light in, it takes less light to properly expose a photo and as such the shutter speed is fast. As you stop down the camera (f5, f8, f12 etc) the pupil gets smaller and allows less light in which requires a longer shutter speed to properly expose the photo. In a low light situation you need a wide aperture (eg; f2.8) to have a faster shutter speed. A faster shutter speed keeps photos from blurring.

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