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dcuthbert

Your low light tricks

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For what it's worth. I tend to shoot ISO 320 at all times. I try to use as slow a shutter speed as possible and push the exposure in post. ISO 320 pushed creates a more contrasty image than higher ISO values. It leaves the shadows darker and less grainy. And sorry I misunderstood. I wasn't aware that we are talking about advertising and campaigns, I was thinking of photojournalism and certain editorial stories, for which in my opinion grain should not necessarily be an obstacle.

 

The other thing I wanted to mention is that as always, low light daylight photographs much cleaner than tungsten or worst case scenario sodium vapor.

 

I guess the moral of this thread, as I have argued many times in the past, is that Leica should focus on an M9 with cleaner high ISO capabilities instead of a full-frame sensor.

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And sorry I misunderstood. I wasn't aware that we are talking about advertising and campaigns, I was thinking of photojournalism and certain editorial stories, for which in my opinion grain should not necessarily be an obstacle.

 

Sorry - it was me that derailed the thread into that siding. We actually have no idea what sort of purpose the OP was referring to at the moment.

 

I love grain incidentally. And I believe we already had the discussion about the delicious graininess in some of your LA film images in another thread. As for the rather (imo) ugly artifacting of high ISO in the M8 - well that's another matter entirely.

 

And I just don't buy it when some people say it's because the user hasn't exposed correctly. Naturally that takes you a long way. But the M8 simply should be better than it is over 640.

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Wow this has slid a little

 

Just returned from China town and i'm blown away from what the results are. ISO 320, at a max 640 when it's damn near pitch black and exp comp between -1 and +1.

 

This combo worked really well and makes me feel better for when I head up to Burma in a few days.

 

Thanks for al the comments and input

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I find iso 1250 useable for most personal and "artistic" usage but compared to a Nikon D3 - well it's like night and day. Depending on the job I can see the M8 easily getting rejected (they probably didn't check the EXIF - just questioned the photographer about it) whereas the Nikon they wouldn't even give it a second glance. I shoot regularly at 1600 with the D3 and it's like shooting 400 with any other camera.

 

Anyway, best to try the pushing at 320 with the M8 and then opening up the exposure in C1. 640 in C1 is much better than it is in ACR. Just desaturate a bit when pushing unless you want candy colors.

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Wow this has slid a little

 

Just returned from China town and i'm blown away from what the results are. ISO 320, at a max 640 when it's damn near pitch black and exp comp between -1 and +1.

 

This combo worked really well and makes me feel better for when I head up to Burma in a few days.

 

Thanks for al the comments and input

 

That is how this forum should work. It seems to me that he is happy with the low light performance now.

 

Regards

Steve

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{snipped}.

 

And I just don't buy it when some people say it's because the user hasn't exposed correctly. Naturally that takes you a long way. But the M8 simply should be better than it is over 640.

 

Mani--your reaction would be reasonable if there wasn't so much BS about digital exposure, and especially higher ISO digital exposure, floating around.

 

Changing the meter to minus -EV compensation is exactly the WRONG thing to do with digital high ISO shots. Doesn't matter if we're talking M8 or D3 or 5d2.

 

Correction: UNDEREXPOSING is the wrong thing to do. The meter compensation means nothing whatsoever, except that you're not metering carefully enough at the edges of what the camera provides.

 

See, the M8 does extremely well in near total darkness at ISO 640. At 1250, it's also not bad, depending on where you place the shadows. Of course, you need good light (some of it) to create a good shot.

 

You actually want to make sure your shadows aren't clipped, if there's important detail there. You can always trim back exposure in post (and the results will look smoother), but you can't recreate detail where none has been recorded (the noise floor at 1250 and 2500 is absolute--you can't drop the shadows by even 1/3 EV at 2500 and expect to bring them up in post).

 

The trouble for most people is that they preserve speculars in high contrast dark images, instead of blowing them and preserving mid-tones and shadows. I should correct myself again--the METER preserves the speculars by saying they should be middle grey. Well, if you expose your high-contrast lighting at middle grey (instead of clipped) there ain't much room for detail in shadows or midtones without noise.

 

When I get a chance (if I get one--too busy for words!) I'll prove this. But on the whole, if you want to shoot high ISOs with the M8, train yourself to shoot in Manual mode. If that means using an incidence meter till you get the hang of what light is actually falling on the subject, then do it.

 

But there is nothing wrong with the M8 at 640 and precious little wrong at 1250, though you have no leeway for error whatsoever.

 

By contrast, with a D3, I can underexpose at ISO 2000 and still pull the image out of it--that's what's amazing about that system. So much slop-room it ain't funny! But you get the best out of any digitial camera by understanding what happens when you clip shadows--that's where banding comes from.

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Changing the meter to minus -EV compensation is exactly the WRONG thing to do with digital high ISO shots. Doesn't matter if we're talking M8 or D3 or 5d2.

 

Correction: UNDEREXPOSING is the wrong thing to do. The meter compensation means nothing whatsoever, except that you're not metering carefully enough at the edges of what the camera provides.

 

Jamie,

 

please correct me if I got something wrong. I do not understand why you think that minus ev compensation is the wrong approach. You are right that underexposing is the wrong thing to do. But in my point of view minus ev compensation is recommended to achieve correct exposure in dark or low light scenes as otherwise the camera overexposes the shot. Im my experience the camera tends to overexpose rather than to underexpose.

 

Your clarification is appreciated.

 

Regards

Steve

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Guest Chris M

I have a question , I havn't really tried this yet but what are the comparison results off using a tripod and iso 160 with bulb on for long exsposers in very dark lighting situations , verses iso 1250 at 125th of a sec? will the tripod long exsposer create just as much noise as the off hand iso 1250, 125th sec. shot? don't mean to deviate to much off thread.

 

thanks in advance,

 

chris m

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This has been reviewed quite a bit before but ---- With better technique I can get reasonable 640 and sometimes 1250 iso shots for the monitor, but I never get anything that prints to a reasonable size. Degradation in quality seems so much more marked.

 

Is it unrealistic to hope that I could use the M8 to get low light, hand held shots that can be printed A3?

 

Stefan

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Do you have a Noctilux?

I find even ISO 640 is a little noisy for what I want. I do use it, and I am basically happy, but I will be even more happy when the M9 comes out with an ISO 800 which looks like 320 on the M8.

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Long exposure at 160 is a much better image than a short exposure at 1250.

 

All the "ISO" setting does is set the electronics for how much light energy (photons) is collected before the cell is read out. Low "ISO" settings collect a significant amount of energy before "recording" (writing out) the value, so all detectors on the sensor can reach a "good" reading. High "ISO" setting collect less energy, resulting in some of the detectors not having enough energy recorded to accurately represent the scene (in a dark portion of the scene where little energy should be recorded, a few stray photons recording in a green or red cell will be rendered in the image a green or red spots (or blue, but they pretty quickly blend with black) that we call "noise").

 

c.

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Jamie,

 

please correct me if I got something wrong. I do not understand why you think that minus ev compensation is the wrong approach. You are right that underexposing is the wrong thing to do. But in my point of view minus ev compensation is recommended to achieve correct exposure in dark or low light scenes as otherwise the camera overexposes the shot. Im my experience the camera tends to overexpose rather than to underexpose.

 

Your clarification is appreciated.

 

Regards

Steve

 

It is much simpler than that. Expose for the shadows, and don't worry about specular highlights.

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I'm surprised that folks are recommending -1 2/3 exposure compensation @ 1250.

 

I don't do a lot of low-light work, but what experience I've had suggests the opposite: instead of the -2/3 compensation I regularly use, I'd been going UP to 0 @ 1250. The reason is that with lower exposure compensation, noise was invading the midrange.

 

I'll certainly try the other way, just to see. (I have a rather dark-colored cat with whom I can experiment at nightfall.)

 

Kirk

Edited by thompsonkirk
spelung

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My usual approach when shooting in a dark interior is to set the camera to -1 and the ISO to the lowest value that will allow me to handhold the camera. This results is pictures that look much closer to the original scene.

 

I cannot see the point in over exposing the shadows, just to darken them again in Lightroom.

 

Of course as am amateur I have only myself to please.

 

The O.P. did ask about low light tricks, this is mine.

 

Regards

 

John

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Mani--your reaction would be reasonable if there wasn't so much BS about digital exposure, and especially higher ISO digital exposure, floating around.

 

Changing the meter to minus -EV compensation is exactly the WRONG thing to do with digital high ISO shots. Doesn't matter if we're talking M8 or D3 or 5d2.

 

Correction: UNDEREXPOSING is the wrong thing to do. The meter compensation means nothing whatsoever, except that you're not metering carefully enough at the edges of what the camera provides.

 

See, the M8 does extremely well in near total darkness at ISO 640. At 1250, it's also not bad, depending on where you place the shadows. Of course, you need good light (some of it) to create a good shot.

 

You actually want to make sure your shadows aren't clipped, if there's important detail there. You can always trim back exposure in post (and the results will look smoother), but you can't recreate detail where none has been recorded (the noise floor at 1250 and 2500 is absolute--you can't drop the shadows by even 1/3 EV at 2500 and expect to bring them up in post).

 

The trouble for most people is that they preserve speculars in high contrast dark images, instead of blowing them and preserving mid-tones and shadows. I should correct myself again--the METER preserves the speculars by saying they should be middle grey. Well, if you expose your high-contrast lighting at middle grey (instead of clipped) there ain't much room for detail in shadows or midtones without noise.

 

When I get a chance (if I get one--too busy for words!) I'll prove this. But on the whole, if you want to shoot high ISOs with the M8, train yourself to shoot in Manual mode. If that means using an incidence meter till you get the hang of what light is actually falling on the subject, then do it.

 

But there is nothing wrong with the M8 at 640 and precious little wrong at 1250, though you have no leeway for error whatsoever.

 

By contrast, with a D3, I can underexpose at ISO 2000 and still pull the image out of it--that's what's amazing about that system. So much slop-room it ain't funny! But you get the best out of any digitial camera by understanding what happens when you clip shadows--that's where banding comes from.

 

Jamie, I second almost every single word that you wrote, finally I'm happy I'm not the only one.

Thanks for taking the time to write that down.

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I'm loving the M8 but really this sort of 'blame the user' post is simply rubbish in this context.

I don't know about newspapers, but as far as an ad bureau is concerned, the times when it's necessary to use 35mm (not so often admittedly), there's nothing I've seen so far that would come close to being acceptable from the M8 at higher ISOs.

Not interested in seeing some tiny jpeg posted to 'prove' how good it is, either. And naturally editors or ADs can set as high a standard as they wish these days.

 

This situation doesn't in any way interfere with my enjoyment of the camera. But these fantasy posts are just wishful thinking, and hardly spur Leica on to better things.

 

I don't like clashes, and my post was far from what you're tryin' to read.

It was not intended to blame anybody, it was not a "fantasy post", it was not rubbish but my point of view based on mine and other's experiences, and you're free to believe that it's just wishful thinking, as sure as I'm thinking that you should have had somehow a bad day and you didn't want to offend.

 

I won't waste my time in posting pictures to show you what I said. I may just give you a hint for the M8 (since I've been using it for more than 2 years now): when you increase ISO, try to set the EV compensation on + values, you'll find the difference by yourself.

Anyway manual metering will be working as good as it should.

Usually when shadows are not blown, banding and noise are acceptably well controlled by the M8, even when compared to "younger" cameras, matter of fact the declared ISO value of the M8 is one of the most reliable still on the market.

The forum discussed about this many times before, and actually things didn't change since the camera is still the same.

Remember that while my DSLR kits apply medium to strong noise reduction at higher ISOs, the M8 apply low to none noise reduction to his output, and that's not my POV, that's a fact.

Then again Editors and AD could set as high standard as they wish, you're right, but I never found someone rejecting shots from the M8 because of noise on higher iso.

Anyway, take a look at this link International Imaging Industry Association Home

That should be interesting too.

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The last low light trick I had was about $30. I think it was in Long Beach.

 

!!!!

 

Try enlarging that to A3

 

stefan

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I think iso1250 is very usable and able to print A3. Just don't under expose.

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Afraid that the current crop of cameras that are able to shoot at high iso have made that statement incorrect.

 

I don't want to get into an argument, the fact of the matter is that 4 very large publications in the UK and US denied files produced by the M8 at 1250 ISO. Exposure was good, just the noise compared to the 5d/d700 wasn't suitable.

 

Really don't want to turn this into a noise argument, so let's leave it at that huh?

 

5d might look less noise but less sharpness too.

M8 @1250 is not bad. Noise is sharp which is good for enlargement.

I still really like M8 @1250.

 

kitty

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