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Forums Lobby GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA & MASTER IT Nikon D5300/D5200/D5100/D5000/D3300/D3200/D3100/D3000 (Public) topic #9753
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Subject: "D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8" Previous topic | Next topic
lostfan Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2014Thu 29-May-14 10:50 AM
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"D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"


SG
          

Hi guys. This is my second thread after my first one in New to Photography. As I mentioned, I faced some problems during my photo-taking so I hope you could shed some light.

If I understand correctly, prime lenses let in more light, so you can use them at a faster shutter speed, and they are sharper than kit lenses etc. However, I found that in low light, for example in a restaurant, I have to push up the ISO to over a 1000,maybe even 1600, to get good shots. If I use the on-camera flash, pictures of food turn out not that nice. Any tips on how I can improve in this situation?

Also, shooting wide open makes the plane of focus very thin. If I stop down, then I need to push up the ISO even further. So what is the benefit of a prime lens in this situation then? Because if I shoot at 1.8, it's too shallow to get the whole dish in focus. And if I use flash, it looks very artificial. What can I work on to improve my shots? Thanks in advance!

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit.
29th May 2014
1
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
lostfan Silver Member
29th May 2014
3
     Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit.
29th May 2014
8
          Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
PBlais Silver Member
30th May 2014
9
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
sl01
29th May 2014
2
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
lostfan Silver Member
29th May 2014
4
     Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
aolander Silver Member
29th May 2014
5
     Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
lostfan Silver Member
29th May 2014
6
          Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
aolander Silver Member
30th May 2014
10
               Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
lostfan Silver Member
01st Jun 2014
11
     Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
sl01
29th May 2014
7
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
CPR Silver Member
07th Jun 2014
12
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
dclarhorn Moderator In depth knowledge and high level skills in a variety of areas including landscape
19th Jun 2014
13
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit.
21st Jun 2014
14
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire”
23rd Jun 2014
15
Reply message RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8
buffumjr
08th Jul 2014
16

JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Thu 29-May-14 11:52 AM
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#1. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 0


Seattle, WA, US
          

>If I understand correctly, prime lenses let in more light, so
>you can use them at a faster shutter speed,

Maybe, maybe not. "Prime" means one unchanging focal length unlike a zoom lens that has a range of focal lengths. "Let in more light" comes from wider apertures. Prime lenses often have these at f/1.x (but some do not). Pro-level zooms often have them, too, to an extent (f/2.8).

>and they are sharper than kit lenses etc.

Most often, yes.

>However, I found that in low
>light, for example in a restaurant, I have to push up the ISO
>to over a 1000,maybe even 1600, to get good shots.

Yes. This is due to most indoor places having poor light levels. Lucky for you, your camera goes that high. I grew up with 100-400 ISO film; modern DSLRs are great for the high ISOs!

>If I use
>the on-camera flash, pictures of food turn out not that nice.
>Any tips on how I can improve in this situation?

Using an external flash, like the sb700, will make a difference instead of using the popup flash. Using the flash off-camera can help, too.

Table-top tripods are helpful, too.

>Also, shooting wide open makes the plane of focus very thin.
>If I stop down, then I need to push up the ISO even further.
>So what is the benefit of a prime lens in this situation then?

In this case, the prime lens has no advantage except that it might be sharper than your slower zoom lens. Since the shot you want requires a deep depth of field, the large apertures of the lens do not help you.

The advantage of the large apertures comes in when you either want a shallow depth of field or want a faster shutter speed without caring that the depth of field goes really shallow.

Quite often everything in photography is a compromise. Aperture vs shutter speed vs ISO: Pick the one that is more important to your shot and suffer the results with the two others.

---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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lostfan Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2014Thu 29-May-14 04:24 PM
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#3. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 1


SG
          

Thanks for your reply Joseph!
>
>Maybe, maybe not. "Prime" means one unchanging
>focal length unlike a zoom lens that has a range of focal
>lengths. "Let in more light" comes from wider
>apertures. Prime lenses often have these at f/1.x (but some
>do not). Pro-level zooms often have them, too, to an extent
>(f/2.8).


Yes I mean as a result of the wider aperture, they are able to let in more light. Not because they are fixed focal length.

>Yes. This is due to most indoor places having poor light
>levels. Lucky for you, your camera goes that high. I grew up
>with 100-400 ISO film; modern DSLRs are great for the high
>ISOs!

I'm worried about the noise levels though. I always try to keep my noise to a minimum and try not to shoot above ISO 800. To be honest, I haven't really properly processed any shots that I have taken so far, as I'm unsure how exactly to do it. I have lightroom and photoshop cs6, and sure I have imported my photos using LR5, but apart from playing around with the sliders in the Develop module in LR5, I haven't actually processed a photo and thought wow, this is it. Are you saying that the noise at high levels can be removed using these software, and still not affect image detail too much?

>>If I use
>>the on-camera flash, pictures of food turn out not that
>nice.
>>Any tips on how I can improve in this situation?
>
>Using an external flash, like the sb700, will make a
>difference instead of using the popup flash. Using the flash
>off-camera can help, too.
>
>Table-top tripods are helpful, too.

I'll take that into consideration, though at this point I'm trying to curb my spending! Lol

>
>In this case, the prime lens has no advantage except that it
>might be sharper than your slower zoom lens. Since the shot
>you want requires a deep depth of field, the large apertures
>of the lens do not help you.
>
>The advantage of the large apertures comes in when you either
>want a shallow depth of field or want a faster shutter speed
>without caring that the depth of field goes really shallow.
>
>Quite often everything in photography is a compromise.
>Aperture vs shutter speed vs ISO: Pick the one that is more
>important to your shot and suffer the results with the two others.

I understand what you mean. The concept of the exposure triangle. I find that when I focus and recompose, the focus tends to be affected at wide open apertures. I'm thinking this is because of the focus plane shift right? For example, I'm focusing on one eye, and when I focus and recompose, the other eye goes out of focus when I view my pics on the computer screen. Is this inevitable with wide apertures, and the only way is to stop down? Of course, if it's down to practice, then I'm willing to work on it. Just need to know what exactly to do.

  

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JosephK Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his excellent and frequent contributions and sharing his in-depth knowledge and experience with the community in the Nikonians spirit. Nikonian since 17th Apr 2006Thu 29-May-14 09:51 PM
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#8. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 3


Seattle, WA, US
          

>I'm worried about the noise levels though. I always try to
>keep my noise to a minimum and try not to shoot above ISO 800.

Your D5300 will easily do better than ISO 800 with good results. Just do not underexpose the images as that will bring out the noise. One of the things that I do to help reduce the digital noise is to dial in +0.3 EV compensation when I am shooting at ISO 1600 and higher. I picked up this habit when shooting my D200, but the newer sensors are great for handling noise.

>To be honest, I haven't really properly processed any shots
>that I have taken so far, as I'm unsure how exactly to do it.
>I have lightroom and photoshop cs6, and sure I have imported
>my photos using LR5, but apart from playing around with the
>sliders in the Develop module in LR5, I haven't actually
>processed a photo and thought wow, this is it. Are you saying
>that the noise at high levels can be removed using these
>software, and still not affect image detail too much?

You do need a light touch when doing the processing, but the current software from Adobe, Nikon, and others work wonders at removing noise. Keep in mind that the amount of noise reduction needed depends on your use of the photo. If you are just printing 4x6 prints or posting 800x600 pictures to the web, the size reduction of the image will naturally eat a lot of the noise just to start with.

>I find that when I focus and recompose, the focus
>tends to be affected at wide open apertures. I'm thinking this
>is because of the focus plane shift right? For example, I'm
>focusing on one eye, and when I focus and recompose, the other
>eye goes out of focus when I view my pics on the computer
>screen. Is this inevitable with wide apertures, and the only
>way is to stop down? Of course, if it's down to practice, then
>I'm willing to work on it. Just need to know what exactly to
>do.

Focus and recompose is often a problem when using really shallow depths of field due to focal plane shift. This is where picking a different focus point can help.

If you are using a really shallow depth of field you can get the eyes in focus while the ears and nose are out of focus. If the face is turned slightly, you can easily end up with only one eye in focus. If this is what you want, great. If not, you need to stop down the lens to get the desired deeper depth of field.

---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+
Joseph K
Seattle, WA, USA

D700, D200, D70S, 24-70mm f/2.8, VR 70-200mm f/2.8 II, TC20e3,
50mm f/1.4 D, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5 DX

  

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PBlais Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Jan 2014Fri 30-May-14 01:15 AM
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#9. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 8
Fri 30-May-14 01:17 AM by PBlais

Hayes, US
          

At F/1.8 an eye and a tip of a nose is pretty much it for depth of field shooting across the table. Maybe 2 inches DOF is what you should expect and maybe a tad less. The 35mm f/1.8 is actually a very sharp lens! It can be wonderful. You always need at least one eye in good focus to pull off a people shot. At f/4.0 you can get a whole face. Pushing the ISO maybe the answer. Shutter speed down to 1/60th should hold well with practice and 1/30th when lucky (lucky still counts). The D5300 should be fine above iso 800. Next time prove it! Try a high ISO at least to 1600 and then try 3200 on the next shot. You can also push in post one stop in low light shooting RAW. Underexposed is a whole lot easier to handle in post.

In low light you need to work all the limits hand held. So push both ISO and shutter speed. F/1.8 requires some practice to get it right so you nail the DOF. Zooming in live view can help. But this isn't easy! F/4.0 would be easier for you now. Even f/2.0 might have been better. You don't have DOF preview like the bigger Nikons so you need to work from experience or zoom live view. The 35mm as well as the 50mm f/1.8 are great lenses and have been my favorites to shoot with on my D5200 and my prior D3100. Working at F/1.8 takes experience but can yield good results but you can't ever beat bad exposure no matter what you do. Pushing it to the limit will work many times though.

You are trying to shoot out on the edge so you need to take on the tricks to do so. I wouldn't be shy about it. Just try other options and you'll find something comfortable then you can venture out into deeper waters.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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sl01 Registered since 07th Jan 2014Thu 29-May-14 02:53 PM
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#2. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 0


PL
          

>Also, shooting wide open makes the plane of focus very thin.

That's why many people like primes. Shallow depth of focus lets you pull your subject out from the backgound, even if the background is "ugly". Mastering DOF is part of the art.


>If I stop down, then I need to push up the ISO even further.
>So what is the benefit of a prime lens in this situation then?

In that case a zoom lens may be better choice if it has VR.

  

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lostfan Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2014Thu 29-May-14 04:33 PM
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#4. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 2


SG
          

Thanks for your reply sl01!

>That's why many people like primes. Shallow depth of focus
>lets you pull your subject out from the backgound, even if the
>background is "ugly". Mastering DOF is part of the
>art.

Yeah that's why I wanted to get the prime, for the isolation capabilities and the bokeh. However, like I mentioned in my reply to Joseph, I find that I have a problem at wide open apertures, where a slight movement from the original focus will render other parts out of focus. For example, shooting a portrait, part of the face gets blur. Or if I'm shooting a food dish, like a few slices of cake, the front part is in focus but the back isn't , so I got to use a smaller aperture in that case, right? And it mostly happens with focus and recompose. How do I do that( focus and recompose) and still make sure every part of my subject is in focus?

  

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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Thu 29-May-14 04:54 PM
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#5. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 4
Thu 29-May-14 04:57 PM by aolander

Nevis, US
          

"How do I do that( focus and recompose) and still make sure every part of my subject is in focus?"

Move the focus point to the eye you want in focus so you don't have to recompose. Or use manual focus. But most of the subject will still be out of focus because of the shallow DOF at wide apertures. The eye will be in focus, though.

Alan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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lostfan Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2014Thu 29-May-14 05:00 PM
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#6. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 5
Thu 29-May-14 05:01 PM by lostfan

SG
          

Thanks Alan! So what you are saying is, if I want more of the subject in focus, I gotta use a smaller aperture right? And as for the exact aperture to use, it depends on the situation and I have to trial and error to find the most suitable one?

  

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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Fri 30-May-14 02:39 AM
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#10. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 6


Nevis, US
          

Yes, you would need to use a smaller aperture. The aperture, shutter speed, ISO all depend upon the light available and what you need/want to do.

Alan

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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lostfan Silver Member Nikonian since 11th Apr 2014Sun 01-Jun-14 09:39 AM
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#11. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 10


SG
          

Wow. Thanks for all your replies guys. Really appreciate all the constructive comments. They give me lots of ways to improve. I shall keep all these in mind when I am faced with a similar situation in future.

  

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sl01 Registered since 07th Jan 2014Thu 29-May-14 06:49 PM
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#7. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 4
Thu 29-May-14 06:58 PM by sl01

PL
          

>For example, shooting a
>portrait, part of the face gets blur.
That´s not uncommon dilemma if you shoot at wide aperture: which part of the face should be in focus?
Prime lens is not magic. It´s just a lens. 35mm 1,8 in particular gives your camera´s sensor about 4 times more light than a standard zoom. But when it´s very dark, it´s still dark. And in addition, it has it´s cost - shallow DOF.

Fortunately, shooting at iso 1000-1600 shouldn´t be a problem for d5300. Try shooting jpeg+nef. When carefuly developed, nefs should let you obtain good results even at higher iso levels than 1600.

  

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CPR Silver Member Nikonian since 02nd May 2014Sat 07-Jun-14 01:31 AM
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#12. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 0


Crystal River, US
          

All solid techniques for dealing with low light but don't get too hung up on dealing with the low light until you've exhausted ways to get more light on the subject. An external flash bounced off nearby objects or the ceiling or perhaps a reflector(the waiters trey?) An open paper napkin over the built in flash can help with the look of the subject?

  

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dclarhorn Moderator In depth knowledge and high level skills in a variety of areas including landscape Nikonian since 31st Mar 2002Thu 19-Jun-14 10:18 PM
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#13. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 0


Berwyn Heights, US
          

You've received some good advice here. The basic thing to know is that you can't underestimate how much dimmer indoor light is. The camera can't see the way you do and indoor light has a much lower Kelvin rating than outdoor light. What may seem bright enough for you indoors isn't for the camera. That why you're finding that high ISO's are a necessity if you're not using flash. I've had to shoot events without flash and, in order to get anything, I had to use ISO 3200 or higher sometimes. Yes, the noise increases as you the ISO number goes up but today's cameras are so much better in that regard. Also, noise will show up in underexposed shots or areas of the frame so make sure to get a good exposure. There are also some very good noise reduction software programs out there that can help clean up an image.

Dan L.
http://www.danlarussophotography.com/

  

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RRRoger Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for his long history of demonstrated excellence and helping other members with equipment, technique and DSLR video in the true Nikonians spirit. Charter MemberSat 21-Jun-14 04:25 AM
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#14. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 13
Sat 21-Jun-14 04:30 AM by RRRoger

Monterey Bay, US
          

I used to have a 35 f/1.8. It was a great lens.
I got rid of all my DX stuff when I got a D800.

Now I have a D5300 because it shoots great 1080 P60 video at ISO 12,800
Yes, I have my camera set at Auto ISO 12,800.
I think it is the Expeed 4 Processor that allows Nikon to tweek these abilities out of the D5300.
Don't be afraid to try higher ISO because there are much better post processing software available now also.
I think I would try f/4.0 and set my camera for Auto ISO.
If you have a TriPod, you could also lower the shutter speed.

You did not list your lens or other equipment but only the D5300 body in your profile.
When shopping for a low light lens speed (f stop) is important
but I found the size of the glass is even more so,
especially the glass next to the camera which is seldom shown in pictures.
Your 35 f/1.8 may do everything you need, but check out the Pro FX Nikkors.
They are expensive but a worthwile investment that does not loose value like a camera body.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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coolmom42 Silver Member Awarded for her enthusiastic support of the community and exemplifying the Nikonian mission “Share, Learn and Inspire” Nikonian since 01st Dec 2011Mon 23-Jun-14 04:18 AM
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#15. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 0


McEwen, US
          

>Hi guys. This is my second thread after my first one in New
>to Photography. As I mentioned, I faced some problems during
>my photo-taking so I hope you could shed some light.
>
>If I understand correctly, prime lenses let in more light, so
>you can use them at a faster shutter speed, and they are
>sharper than kit lenses etc. However, I found that in low
>light, for example in a restaurant, I have to push up the ISO
>to over a 1000,maybe even 1600, to get good shots. If I use
>the on-camera flash, pictures of food turn out not that nice.
>Any tips on how I can improve in this situation?
>
>Also, shooting wide open makes the plane of focus very thin.
>If I stop down, then I need to push up the ISO even further.
>So what is the benefit of a prime lens in this situation then?
>Because if I shoot at 1.8, it's too shallow to get the whole
>dish in focus. And if I use flash, it looks very artificial.
>What can I work on to improve my shots? Thanks in advance!

If you are doing photos of food, it will be stationary for you. A tabletop tripod & long exposure will let you stop down, stick with a moderate ISO, avoid flash, and get correct exposure.

Also given the mixed lighting you are likely to have, a gray card shot for white balance adjustment in post, or before shooting your subject, is a good idea.

working on it in Middle TN
Nikon D3100

35 mm 1.8 Nikkor
18-55 mm Nikkor VR
55-200 mm Nikkor VR
55-300 mm Nikkor VR
150-500 mm Sigma OS
Feisol CT3471 & Markins M20 ballhead

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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buffumjr Registered since 05th Jun 2013Tue 08-Jul-14 01:05 PM
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#16. "RE: D5300 Shooting indoors/low light with 35mm f/1.8"
In response to Reply # 15


US
          

Thank you for this thread! I am strongly considering that lens! Mine is a d5100.

I haven't done food shots, yet, but I have done lots of indoor gadget shots.

Read the magazines. There are lots of good ones out there. A little gem in each. Worth the money at your friendly neighborhood bookstore.

From what I have seen, and am using, in the mags, is auxiliary lighting, or light boxes. The pros don't just sit down, be served, and shoot. They have frosted plastic mini-stages, they have speedlights on stands, they have professional studio lights, mirrors, white cardboard panels. All the toys.

Do you have a speedlight? Even just one may improve your shots. Doesn't hafta be a pricey one. Experiment with its settings, its bounce cards, gels.

Your camera's flash has a parallax angle. At a distance, the angle approaches zero asymptotically. Close up, the angle produces shadows that may not be complimentary to the subject. I found that when shooting tiny mechanisms. The speedlight, and experiment with the placement, works wonders. Most speedlights have infrared sensors to fire when your camera's flash does.

Just a few ideas.

  

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