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Old 30-03-2006, 14:26   #1 (permalink)
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Simple (?) Questions

A couple of bits I'm looking for some advice on - the first extremely simple, I've just got a mental block about the logic of it, and the second a little more complex I think.....

1) Taking pictures of people, in near darkness, using flash of course. Firstly fairly close in, then a large group from a little further away......can anyone enlighten me as to what ISO setting would give the best results please?!

2) Can anyone offer any reliable tips for taking pics in a smoky environment? Whilst on holiday in a couple of weeks time we intend to visit the Blackhouse Museum on the Island of Lewis. Been there before, and loved it, but at the time was using an ancient Canon SureShot ZoomXL which was not quite up to the challenge. I figure the EOS D30 should be, so want to get some pictures inside the blackhouse. Problem is the constantly burning Peat fire makes the inside very smoky, and it's also fairly dimly lit. (Just the lihgt from a few oil lamps and the fire). Obviously I can't use flash as I realise it would simply bounce back at me off the smoke, and there is obviously no white ceiling or walls to bounce off. Any hints or tips? Someone has suggested I shoot in RAW but I'm not sure how I go about the processing side afterwards as I've always stuck to JPG until now. What are the advantages to RAW? Simply higher quality or more than that?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 30-03-2006, 17:13   #2 (permalink)
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More important would be to find out what range your flash is capable of reaching successfully. However basically the further away your subjects the faster the iso setting you are likely to need to compensate for light fall off. Google for it as there's a ton of info out there on flash range/film speed/ distance etc. or RTM
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Old 30-03-2006, 17:17   #3 (permalink)
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RAW is like an unprocessed film. You take your shots and then convert the RAW file into an image, because RAW is not a picture you can make various adjustments to it before saving it as a jpg. The advantage is you always have the RAW file to go back to to try a different approach to the picture.
RAW files take up more space on your card so make sure you have plenty memory to spare but by all mean use that format as it will/could get you a useable image where shooting in jpg directly may not.
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Old 30-03-2006, 17:28   #4 (permalink)
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Are you using the onboard flash or do you have a flashgun? If the onboard flash for the 30D works the same as the 20D it will strobe in darkness to give the AF some light to focus with. Once focus is achieved it takes the picture and flashes for the shot.

Problem with that is if you are shooting people their expressions change to 'what the hell is that' by the time you get the picture.

I have a 580Ex flashgun. That has infra red focus assistance - so it projects red lines to help focusing not flashes..... makes all the difference.
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Old 30-03-2006, 23:05   #5 (permalink)
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Robert - I'm using a flashgun - a 550EX. The onboard flash on the D30 doesn't work too happily with the autofocus (the situation I'm in I have no choice but to use the AF - manual would be a little too slow) hence the investment in the speedlite. In theory there is an AF assist light on the camera for low light conditions, but at any sort of distance of course it's ineffective.

Steep - Thanks for the information on RAW - I may well try that then. I have my nice handy new Kingston 1gig CF card as recommended on the other thread now so lots of spare capacity!
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Old 31-03-2006, 08:54   #6 (permalink)
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With the 550ex you have no real problem getting the range (55mtrs at iso 100)

You say D30, is that the older model as in D30 or are you getting the new model 30D back to front? If the older model, I'd go with the slowest ISO it can do, in fact either way I'd keep it simple and give yourself the best chance at a good image, stick with ISO100 and let the camera work out the exposure.
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Old 31-03-2006, 13:09   #7 (permalink)
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Definately the older model I'm afraid! The new 30D will simply have to wait a while for me to be able to do more than drool over it in Jessops window! Thanks for the advice on that anyway.

Anyone got any suggestions re the smoky atmosphere thing?
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Old 01-04-2006, 17:51   #8 (permalink)
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If you can - try with a very high ISO 1600+ if possible either with a 'pod or propped up against something and without flash. It captures the atmosphere and although it may be grainy and even a slight shake, these shots may give more of the "feel" of the smokey atmosphere. Flash has a habit of bouncing back of of smoke so can give some strange results.
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Old 01-04-2006, 19:29   #9 (permalink)
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Excellent - thanks for the Fangman - I'll give that a try. I knew about the flash bouncing back so was aware that I'd probably not be able to use it, but was unsure whether cranking up the ISO or going for a slow shutter speed was the best way forward.
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