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ISO (dead thread resuscitated)

Christopher Vian-Smith is off-lineSilver Member
05 May 2007 11:27
chrisvs
Photographer
chrisvs
Location
United Kingdom
London
London

I'm a bloke, see, and blokes only ever read the manual as a last resort.

So there I am, about to do a shoot which entailed taking pictures of a dress rehearsal of a play for pictures to put up in the theatre foyer. Now I knew there was going to be little light to work with so I borrowed a fast 50mm Zeiss lens and set it at f2.8.....

So far so good. But the director had used a lot of low, red light 'cos it's a production of Dr Faustus and it's got to look kinda devilish, y' know?

Hmmm... still not enought light. So I goes to set the ISO to something a little faster... like 3200! Previously I had not changed the ISO setting and had assumed it was set on something sensible like 200 or 400 as the default. (This is the not-reading-the-manual bit) and bugger me! You know what? It was set on something called Auto which seems to flit automatically in the range 200 to 800.

So my question (yes, I know you were wondering when I was going to get around to it) is this:

Is this why I was getting totally different results in consecutive shots when the setup and lighting had not discernibly changed? WAS the camera making decisions on my behalf, and if so, what rules was it applying to govern those changes?
www.chrisvs.com


05 May 2007 15:57
scottbalfour
Photographer


You dont say what make of camera you have but when I set the ISO then if I put the camera on auto it desides what Fstop/Shutter speed to take the shot BASED on the ISO.

ISO3200 seems a bit excessive, and I would imagine that the shots would be muddy/grainy in the extreme.

ISO1600 would the max I would push it too, and even then I would pray a lot for a half-decent shot.

You know, some jobs aint worth doing.

Scott Balfour |:| www.keltica-media.co.uk


Tony S is off-line
05 May 2007 17:55
tonys
Photographer
tonys
Location
United Kingdom
West Sussex
Shoreham By Sea

Red light is about the worst for clipping your highlights, I do gig photography and red lighting is the bane of my life (Blue though, is really good and preserves detail incredibly)

Whatever camera you got ISO 3200 is gonna look pretty terrible, I use Nikon bodies and f2.8 lenses I expect no noise upto ISO 400, a bit of grain upto ISO 800 (start thinking about mono conversions here) If I have to go above then I know its gonna be a bad shoot.

Try using a monopod if you can, and lower shutter speed in an effort to keep ISO down

Also, you dont mention what metering you was using? I usually spot meter off the face then re-compose, praying that the berks controlling the lights dont whack the reds up while I`m doing it



Joe Giacomet is off-line
05 May 2007 19:12
joe_giacomet
Photographer
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joe_giacomet
Location
United Kingdom
London
London

i try not to shoot above 400, bounce some flash off the ceiling too add a bit of light.


05 May 2007 21:17
gazl
Photographer


If the shoot is for front of house advertising, can’t you set up some shots with decent lighting and Photoshop them to get the diabolical/hellish colouring? I’m sure the director would appreciate the results and artistic license.


Pict is off-line
06 May 2007 06:53
Pict
Photographer
Pict
Location
United Kingdom
Kent
Rochester

Most cameras have an auto iso setting that is generally used in aperture or shutter priority mode. When either setting falls off the end of the scale the film speed is pumped up to help out. It's not an option I ever use but could affect the quality of image and depending on the lighting arrangements you have it might be the camera is metering for light, adjusting the iso unnescesarily and overexposing when the flash fires


Christopher Vian-Smith is off-lineSilver Member
06 May 2007 08:41
chrisvs
Photographer
chrisvs
Location
United Kingdom
London
London

Y' see? That's one of the good things about this forum. Amidst the carping and sniping there is a place for a plonker like me to get helpful, constructive advice!

In answer to the various points raised, although bear in mind when we got back from the After Show Party this morning, the birdies were singing (chrisvs is a naughty person s) so expect tpying errors...

Camera is a Pentax K110D. The lens it comes with only goes to f4. I borrowed a manual focus, Zeiss 50mm that went to f2.8 and shot in Aperture Priority, keeping the lens wide open.

I shot quite a lot at 1600, but since it was a live rehearsal there was no possibility of going below that as I couldn't ask the actors to stand still in mid-scene. We DID do some set-up publicity shots in advance, which weren't bad, but the Director specifically wanted shots from an actual rehearsal.

Red light? You don't know the half of it: the lighting designer had mixed Halogen lamps with Tungsten lamps, so white balance went right out the window, as you never knew which ones were on!

Anyway, the required prints were only postcard sized and by rattling of a couple of cards of shots, the Director got the photos she wanted.... but I am far from proud of them!

Thanks for all the helpful advice.... going back to bed now, with a very sore head!

www.chrisvs.com


Ian M is off-line
14 May 2007 12:21
iamge
Photographer
iamge
Location
United Kingdom
Derbyshire


I recall reading a thread about auto ISO in a studio setup, the newbie photographer who had just got a 350d couldn’t work out why every shot was either dark or burnt out, took the studio manager half an hour fiddling with the menus to work out what was up and how to fix it. Glad my camera is far simpler than most.


Christopher Vian-Smith is off-lineSilver Member
14 May 2007 12:31
chrisvs
Photographer
chrisvs
Location
United Kingdom
London
London

Gratifying, I suppose, to know there's another plonker out there making the same mistakes as me!
www.chrisvs.com


Richard James is off-line
16 May 2007 12:55
timestudio
Photographer
timestudio
Location
United Kingdom
Edinburgh
Edinburgh

I had the same prob recently with some ballet dancers in really dark conditions, I always keep ISO on manual so you have one less variable but for the main shot on my page was shooting at 600 or 800 but with a very fast lens (1.4).

You can see the grain at that so Im not sure how 3200 will turn out - Ive never used that high.



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