Author Topic: A77: shooting indoor with low light  (Read 1400 times)

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Offline Deewe

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A77: shooting indoor with low light
« on: May 19, 2017, 04:42:33 PM »
Hello,

would appreciate if someone could provide some help in choosing the right setting(s) for shooting a schools play.

Long story short story I have an this camera which I have no clues how to set up to get decent pictures of both kids who are going to sing/play music being still and others are going to dance or perform gymnastic/martial arts and it's now my responsibility. :(

  • The equipment is A77, lens 18-270mm F/3.5-6.3
  • Event will be indoors with low light, no flashes allowed.
  • I should be standing in the back of the room not to disturb people
  • I have a tripod I can use

So is there any kind of semi-automatic setting/mode I can use and then say adjust a couple of parameters?


Otherwise
What focus mode should I use too : MF/C/A/S...?
Should go with P/A/S/M mode?
What ISO?
Speed?
Drive mode?
Etc...

Tried to search the topics though I'm totally new here and quite lost, to be honest.

Thanks a lot for the help!

« Last Edit: May 19, 2017, 04:47:28 PM by Deewe »

Online Gordon McGeachie

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2017, 05:05:02 PM »
I would suggest as a starting point the following.

As low an ISO as you can safely handhold at, tripods may be a no no.

Aperture priority, (A mode), and the aperture wide open so ensure your focussing is spot on.

Continuous drive would be best for the gymnastics, but you should be okay with single shot for the singing etc, but you can use continuous drive too.

You can fine tune these to suits your own methods.

hope this helps
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Offline Deewe

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2017, 06:14:20 PM »
Will look into it, thanks a lot.

Very much appreciated!

Offline CHOLLY

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2017, 06:48:36 AM »
Aside from the excellent advice Gordon gave you, here is a suggestion;

http://www.friedmanarchives.com/alpha77/index.htm

Gary Friedman is THE best writer of 3rd party owners manuals in the business. His books are EXCELLENT.

He covers each and every feature of your camera in GREAT detail, explaining all the functions and capability in easy to understand language. His books are equally suitable for the beginning photographer AND the seasoned professional.

He gives you suggested settings for various situations and explains his reasoning. AND he offers a 2 week satisfaction or your money back guarantee.

Check it out... and welcome aboard.
There are people who actually think LENS stabilization is better than sensor shifting!

Offline Faldrax

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2017, 10:17:45 AM »
I would actually take a different approach to Gordon, your biggest issue (I suspect) will be having a fast enough shutter to avoid blur from movement of the children.

I would use shutter priority, and Auto ISO - probably letting it go as high as 3200, a slightly noisy picture is better than one with the children blurry.

If the children (or anyone else) is on stage before the actual performance then take a few test shots to judge how fast a shutter you need to get them sharp - I would start around 1/200, but check as you go - if you can drop to 1/150 it will allow a lower ISO (or wider aperture).

When they are doing dance, etc you will need it higher, though a small amount of motion blur on arms or legs can actually work quite well, as it shows they are moving.

Once you have taken the shots, if some appear too noisy you may find for that converting to black and white works well.

Of course, if you find the light is stronger than expected, and you are easily getting decent shutter speeds without higher ISO, then it's time to limit the ISO and switch to aperture priority.

It is difficult to explain to white mice that black cats are lucky...

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Offline CHOLLY

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2017, 05:07:57 PM »
Faldrax is also correct.

I would suggest getting there EARLY and taking a few test shots to see where you can reasonably get away with acceptable image quality and high enough ISO to freeze the movement to your liking.
There are people who actually think LENS stabilization is better than sensor shifting!

Offline chappo1

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2017, 11:47:53 PM »
I also agree with Faldrax and Cholly makes an excellent suggestion with Gary Friedman's book.  I have them for all the Sony's I have owned and they are worth the money.
When your children are not moving, you may be able to get away with 1/60 sec as shutter speed, but for dance you will need higher.  I would also let ISO go higher if needed.
An image with a bit of grain is far better than a blurry image. ISO is easy to change on the fly so you can change it quickly and test.  Tripod is not going to help you much and I would not bother.  Good if you and the camera are moving but useless if the subject is moving so no need to be up the back.  A front row seat would be good as no heads in front of you.

What are you going to do with the images?  If you are going to get 6x4 prints then any noise in the image will not be a problem.  If you are going to blow them up on screen or for prints then you may need to deal with it  in post production.
Set you camera to RAW pus jpeg.  You may not know how to deal with raw images but further down the track you will wish you had a raw image to adjust.

Finally from me- welcome to the forum and please post a few of your images from the concert for folks to suggest any improvements for the next one.....john
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Hector Berlioz

Offline BrianNZ

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2017, 06:32:03 AM »
i can vouch for the Gary Friedman books,  they are great
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Offline Deewe

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2017, 07:22:36 PM »
Hi guys,

So the Aperture mode was finally a no go as whatever the ISO and the aperture the exposure time was too long (0.6 to 15+secs) so would have given me blurry images, especially for the dancing. Guess I had some wrong settings somewhere but was unable to find which ones.

The Shutter mode was indeed more appropriate, as I needed speed to get the moving kids!

For the singing ones I just used the Auto + mode as there was lots of light on their faces and I was able to get like 6-10 feet away from them. Maybe not the best way, but it did the job and compensated for my truly beginner skills.

I'll certainly look into the book and wanted to thank the great community there.

Appreciated.

Offline Deewe

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 07:31:18 PM »
Hi guys,

any suggestions to where posting sample pics?

BTW noticed I shot most of the dancing at 1/40-1/60 sec f/5-5.6 60-250mm @1600ISO

Guess I needed a bit more speed as I get a bit too much blur.
Also on the group pictures I needed more depth.

Was was really difficult was the light intensity was changing a lot. Also not knowing beforehand the dances/demos I had to try to adapt on the fly zooming in and out to get both the dance and couple of closeups of the kids.

Thanks again for the help!

Offline Faldrax

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2017, 09:47:43 AM »
You need to get them available somewhere on the internet first.

One of the simplest options is to get a free Flickr account.

This allows you to host a huge number of photos, and you can link to them here (there is information on how to do so in the 'Images to Share' section of the forum - any problems, just ask).

It is difficult to explain to white mice that black cats are lucky...

2 x A900/VG, A6000
CZ 16-35 f/2.8, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 HSM, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di USD, Sony 70-300G,
Tamron 150-600, Sony 50 f1.4, Minolta 85 f1.4 G RS, Sony 100 f2.8 Macro
Manfrotto 055CXPro3 + 410 Junior Geared head,
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/36503683@N08/

Offline Deewe

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2017, 10:07:34 PM »
So here the least worst pictures I took... ;)

Pics

Offline chappo1

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2017, 01:30:08 AM »
Most of the images you have linked are great shots.  If you have the raws, the hot spots from the lighting can be minimised.  The ones where you have movement are always going to be tricky.....john
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Hector Berlioz

Offline CHOLLY

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2017, 03:54:16 AM »
I agree with John 100%; you did an EXCELLENT job with these images.

You caught the right moments, you got the angles right, and these will make great keepsakes.

Kudos... ESPECIALLY considering how long you have had the camera. GOOD JOB.
There are people who actually think LENS stabilization is better than sensor shifting!

Offline Deewe

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Re: A77: shooting indoor with low light
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2017, 11:35:17 PM »
*blushes*

Honestly...  thanks a lot for the kind comments, really appreciated.

Don't have the .RAW totally forgot to set my camera to this mode!
Time to buy the book and dig into it for sure.

Again thanks a lot for the help and the advice.