Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
smallLebowski
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Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
Apr 11, 2013

Hey guys,

In near future I have a trip with my class to national park including 2 nights: campfires, low-light e.t.c. I ordered LA-EA2 adapter and I'm salivating over Sigma 30mm f1.4 (older one) - mainly for it's low light capabilities at wide open f1.4. I know it's soft wide open at corners and that is ok with me for low light.

However, my main concern is that using LA-EA2 I won't have OSS and I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of this lens for low light photography (longer shutter speed/blur due to absence of OSS). I won't be using tripod (don't want to be a "Photographer" while my class will have fun). So what shutter speeds I'm looking at with that lens at f1.4 (is it realistic to get during campfire 1/50 at 3200/6400 ISO) - or should I abandon that idea?

P.S. I have NEX 5R.

Thanks!

Faketastic
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

Hey guys,

In near future I have a trip with my class to national park including 2 nights: campfires, low-light e.t.c. I ordered LA-EA2 adapter and I'm salivating over Sigma 30mm f1.4 (older one) - mainly for it's low light capabilities at wide open f1.4. I know it's soft wide open at corners and that is ok with me for low light.

However, my main concern is that using LA-EA2 I won't have OSS and I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of this lens for low light photography (longer shutter speed/blur due to absence of OSS). I won't be using tripod (don't want to be a "Photographer" while my class will have fun). So what shutter speeds I'm looking at with that lens at f1.4 (is it realistic to get during campfire 1/50 at 3200/6400 ISO) - or should I abandon that idea?

P.S. I have NEX 5R.

Thanks!

I would say that OSS would be a really nice feature to have in those conditions. Remember to use flash together with long shutter speed (this technique seems to be forgotten in the times of OSS).

I would prefer the SAL 35/1.8 instead of the Sigma. But I would use my 24/1.8

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to Faketastic, Apr 11, 2013

Thanks! I like SAL35f18 too, but f1.4 gives more light, no?

P.S. Unfortunately I won't be using flash or I'll be beaten   (just destroys mood around campfire and such).

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Faketastic
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

Thanks! I like SAL35f18 too, but f1.4 gives more light, no?

P.S. Unfortunately I won't be using flash or I'll be beaten   (just destroys mood around campfire and such).

True on both.

But really, I think you should go for the SEL 35/1.8 you have the option- it should come out cheaper as well?

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Mel Snyder
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

Hey guys,

In near future I have a trip with my class to national park including 2 nights: campfires, low-light e.t.c. I ordered LA-EA2 adapter and I'm salivating over Sigma 30mm f1.4 (older one) - mainly for it's low light capabilities at wide open f1.4. I know it's soft wide open at corners and that is ok with me for low light.

However, my main concern is that using LA-EA2 I won't have OSS and I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of this lens for low light photography (longer shutter speed/blur due to absence of OSS). I won't be using tripod (don't want to be a "Photographer" while my class will have fun). So what shutter speeds I'm looking at with that lens at f1.4 (is it realistic to get during campfire 1/50 at 3200/6400 ISO) - or should I abandon that idea?

P.S. I have NEX 5R.

Thanks!

With all due respect I think you are overthinking this. Campfires bright enough to see your friends are plenty bright enough to shoot with the kit lens. People just sitting around a fire are not point guards taking jump shots. ISO 400-800, f4-5.6, 1/4 second should give you fine results. Just start there, and adjust.  You don't need a tripod - God gave us knees and hands for that.

Too many people on the forum think you need to run out and buy expensive new lenses to get some shot. There's almost always a way to get great shots with whatever you own. Take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson or W. Eugene Smith - how DID they get those low-no light level scenes without some whiz-bang f1.4 Sigma and OSS, often at ISO 80?

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Faketastic
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to Mel Snyder, Apr 11, 2013

Mel Snyder wrote:

smallLebowski wrote:

Hey guys,

In near future I have a trip with my class to national park including 2 nights: campfires, low-light e.t.c. I ordered LA-EA2 adapter and I'm salivating over Sigma 30mm f1.4 (older one) - mainly for it's low light capabilities at wide open f1.4. I know it's soft wide open at corners and that is ok with me for low light.

However, my main concern is that using LA-EA2 I won't have OSS and I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of this lens for low light photography (longer shutter speed/blur due to absence of OSS). I won't be using tripod (don't want to be a "Photographer" while my class will have fun). So what shutter speeds I'm looking at with that lens at f1.4 (is it realistic to get during campfire 1/50 at 3200/6400 ISO) - or should I abandon that idea?

P.S. I have NEX 5R.

Thanks!

With all due respect I think you are overthinking this. Campfires bright enough to see your friends are plenty bright enough to shoot with the kit lens. People just sitting around a fire are not point guards taking jump shots. ISO 400-800, f4-5.6, 1/4 second should give you fine results. Just start there, and adjust.  You don't need a tripod - God gave us knees and hands for that.

Too many people on the forum think you need to run out and buy expensive new lenses to get some shot. There's almost always a way to get great shots with whatever you own. Take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson or W. Eugene Smith - how DID they get those low-no light level scenes without some whiz-bang f1.4 Sigma and OSS, often at ISO 80?

Many of our best photographers were also tech-junkies. Bresson shot with a Leica and a fast 50mm most of the time. And he didn't shoot campfires much.

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boardsy
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to Mel Snyder, Apr 11, 2013

Mel Snyder wrote:

smallLebowski wrote:

Hey guys,

In near future I have a trip with my class to national park including 2 nights: campfires, low-light e.t.c. I ordered LA-EA2 adapter and I'm salivating over Sigma 30mm f1.4 (older one) - mainly for it's low light capabilities at wide open f1.4. I know it's soft wide open at corners and that is ok with me for low light.

However, my main concern is that using LA-EA2 I won't have OSS and I was wondering if that would defeat the purpose of this lens for low light photography (longer shutter speed/blur due to absence of OSS). I won't be using tripod (don't want to be a "Photographer" while my class will have fun). So what shutter speeds I'm looking at with that lens at f1.4 (is it realistic to get during campfire 1/50 at 3200/6400 ISO) - or should I abandon that idea?

P.S. I have NEX 5R.

Thanks!

With all due respect I think you are overthinking this. Campfires bright enough to see your friends are plenty bright enough to shoot with the kit lens. People just sitting around a fire are not point guards taking jump shots. ISO 400-800, f4-5.6, 1/4 second should give you fine results. Just start there, and adjust.  You don't need a tripod - God gave us knees and hands for that.

Too many people on the forum think you need to run out and buy expensive new lenses to get some shot. There's almost always a way to get great shots with whatever you own. Take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson or W. Eugene Smith - how DID they get those low-no light level scenes without some whiz-bang f1.4 Sigma and OSS, often at ISO 80?

+1; and OSS doesn't help with moving subjects, just with shaky hands!

Manual Canon FDn 35/2 at f2, ISO 800, 1/40s (on old NEX-5, where over 800 gets mushy - yours will go higher) in pretty dark bar:

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to boardsy, Apr 11, 2013

Wow. Pretty good! Thanks for the heads up.

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to Mel Snyder, Apr 11, 2013

That's my conscious speaking.

I appreciate your info. You are right. As it was mentioned here - SAL35f18 should do just fine or even try kit lens first (at least it has OSS) and go from there.

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to Faketastic, Apr 11, 2013

Faketastic wrote:

Mel Snyder wrote:

With all due respect I think you are overthinking this. Campfires bright enough to see your friends are plenty bright enough to shoot with the kit lens. People just sitting around a fire are not point guards taking jump shots. ISO 400-800, f4-5.6, 1/4 second should give you fine results. Just start there, and adjust.  You don't need a tripod - God gave us knees and hands for that.

Too many people on the forum think you need to run out and buy expensive new lenses to get some shot. There's almost always a way to get great shots with whatever you own. Take a look at the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson or W. Eugene Smith - how DID they get those low-no light level scenes without some whiz-bang f1.4 Sigma and OSS, often at ISO 80?

Many of our best photographers were also tech-junkies. Bresson shot with a Leica and a fast 50mm most of the time. And he didn't shoot campfires much.

Ahh, now we are starting to see the truth behind the great myth. I can only say that I'm not a Bresson (maybe one day) and I don't have a Leica (wish I had have).

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wictred
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

I appreciate your info. You are right. As it was mentioned here - SAL35f18 should do just fine or even try kit lens first (at least it has OSS) and go from there.

The SEL35F18 is an E-Mount lens with OSS. For low light it is a very nice "normal" lens. F1.8 and OSS is not really common, usually ... for moving subjects not important though.

But it is also expensive.

You could also go for a Konica AR 40mm f1.8

That should cost you like 50$-70$ including the adapter and a few extra $ for a good lens hood (the Konica 40mm really lacks contrast if it's wide open without a hood).

It is really a nice lens .... not as sharp as a modern lenses .... and it has quite a bit purple fringing wide open ... a bit longer than the 35mm lenses (eq 50mm) but a good choice if you don't want to dish out a couple hundred for a fast 35mm lens.

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john-photoguy
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

I suspect that the light transmission of the 1.4 on the LA-EA2 with its mirror that directs some of the light to AF sensors will be the same, and might be lower than the 1.8 lens.

Just saying, that not only will you have the OSS, but might just gain a bit of brightness, faster AF and smaller package with lower cost.

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Let just all take more photographs!

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to john-photoguy, Apr 11, 2013

Yes, that's something to consider too. Hmm... i wish there were some comparison tests at low light.

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to wictred, Apr 11, 2013

Thanks! I'll try to read more about Konica 40mm f1.8.

BTW, is there any manual focus lens with adapter that is 1.4 at around FL of 19-40mm? Does it even exists?

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wictred
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

Thanks! I'll try to read more about Konica 40mm f1.8.

BTW, is there any manual focus lens with adapter that is 1.4 at around FL of 19-40mm? Does it even exists?

There are "modern" manual ones which cost a couple hundred $ which are faster than f1.8 - e.g. samyang/rokinon lenses (24mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4) and the Voigtländer Nokton lenses (35mm f1.4, 40mm f1.4 and the even more expensive 35mm f1.2).

But the difference between f1.8 and f1.4 alone isn't worth it imho.

(and with digital cameras you also loose a bit of light with wide angles and fast apertures because of the shallow angle at which the light hits the sensor, so the difference is smaller than expected.)

The Voigtländer Nokton are rangefinder lenses (Leica M) so the lenses and adapter are really compact. But the Konica 40mm is also very compact.

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TiagoReil
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to wictred, Apr 11, 2013

wictred wrote:

smallLebowski wrote:

I appreciate your info. You are right. As it was mentioned here - SAL35f18 should do just fine or even try kit lens first (at least it has OSS) and go from there.

The SEL35F18 is an E-Mount lens with OSS. For low light it is a very nice "normal" lens. F1.8 and OSS is not really common, usually ... for moving subjects not important though.

But it is also expensive.

You could also go for a Konica AR 40mm f1.8

That should cost you like 50$-70$ including the adapter and a few extra $ for a good lens hood (the Konica 40mm really lacks contrast if it's wide open without a hood).

It is really a nice lens .... not as sharp as a modern lenses .... and it has quite a bit purple fringing wide open ... a bit longer than the 35mm lenses (eq 50mm) but a good choice if you don't want to dish out a couple hundred for a fast 35mm lens.

I would go for the SEL3518 too instead of LAEA2 and sigma. The sigma is faster, but but with the translucent mirror the speeds match. you will have a very good lens, small, with good speed and OSS

Of course if you already have the LAEA2 or already have other lenses and a sony alpha camera (DSLR ir DSLT) it makes sense to get the sigma.

Take a small flashlight to focus. you could have it with the same hand you press the shutter, and be able to focus. Both will focus very bad in low light, you need the extra light. the nex is quite bad if you dont have acceptable light. And the DSLRs have an IR assist, that you wont have with the LAEA2. So use the flashlight with the same hand you you hold the grip (have it between the grip and your hand pointing the same as the lens) and use it to focus.

Finally, be intelligent. Dont take a a tripod, but find support. That would be the same as using OSS. Use a chair, use a branch of a tree. Sit down, stabilize your legs and use your knees, take a small bean bag and put sand in it, etc. That will save you a lot of shots. Practice that at home till you get the feeling.

and have fun!!!!

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to TiagoReil, Apr 11, 2013

Thanks for the very good advices!

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

OSS would not help you make shutter speed faster. It could, potentially, make your shutter speed slower as it only address camera shake issues. Besides, I don’t think you will have much issue with ISO under relatively dark conditions. In fact, if you don’t mind shooting RAW with manual mode, you could simply set ISO 800 (you might be able to use even ISO 400), set the shutter speed and aperture as needed. If the lighting conditions did require ISO 3200, you could simply bump up the exposure in RAW by 2-stops. The advantage will be in better dynamic range at ISO 800 compared to 3200. But, you could take a few test shots prior to choosing this setting so you have a benchmark for the conditions.

Alternatively, you could go with aperture priority and manual ISO. If you must leave the lens wide open, you simply increase the ISO to get at least 1/50s. And again, if shooting RAW, you notice getting a good exposure at 1/60s, f/1.4 and ISO 800, but want to freeze action, switch over to shutter priority. Leave the ISO at 800 and increase the shutter speed by 1-2 stops (1/125s-1/250s). The aperture value will blink but ignore it. And then increase the exposure in RAW processing by 2-stops. You won’t have a noticeable benefit in terms of noise compared to ISO 3200 but you will be able to recover highlights better (and color will be better too at lower ISO).

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smallLebowski
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to EinsteinsGhost, Apr 11, 2013

Wow - great info - thank you for teaching such tricks! I need to try that.

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EinsteinsGhost
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Re: Advice on low-light photography (s30f14? no OSS)
In reply to smallLebowski, Apr 11, 2013

smallLebowski wrote:

Wow - great info - thank you for teaching such tricks! I need to try that.

You're welcome. You might want to practice it before trying. There is a downside to it though: review. Since you will be using a lower ISO, the review will render a darker image. But, I used this technique recently at an NBA game. I didn't need to go over ISO 800 and the only reason I chose 800 instead of 400 (most of the time) was to have a brighter review in case I wanted to do that. I was shooting at f/2.8, but also had a 50mm f/1.7 (used at f/2) which allowed me to keep ISO down to 200-400.

With 1.4, you'll have another stop advantage for lower lighting conditions. So, take some trial images and see what you need to do.

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