SONY NEX-3N -Tips and settings shooting indoors with low light

Started Jan 4, 2014 | Questions thread
keeponkeepingon Senior Member • Posts: 1,383
Re: SONY NEX-3N -Tips and settings shooting indoors with low light

My process:

  • manual mode
  • optimize aperture for your lens,
  • set a shutter speed that negates motion blur from your hand shake or subject (start with 1/(2*focal length) for stationary people/objects (some folks recommend 1/focal length but I find that too slow)
  • keep an eye on the auto ISO, if it gets too high increase the aperture (decrease the number), then once you are wide open decrease the speed, if you start getting motion blur back off and live with the high ISO or get a flash/better lighting.
  • review review review. Everything looks good at on the LCD, then you get home and DOH. Zoom in and make sure you are getting the results you want, if not start fidling.

At least that's what I do on my canon.
Unfortunately my 3N does not have auto ISO in full manual (what I call manual on training wheels) so you are left either juggling everything (not good for stuff like kids, ok for a vase or bowl of fruit or someone who has patience and can sit still) or using a semi auto mode.
Of the semi auto modes I'd pick "S" as motion blur is the one thing that's almost impossible to fix in post processing and it's what my 3n so often gets so wrong. In "S" mode start with 1/(focal length * 2), check for motion blur, then if there is none, scope out what the camera is doing with the other parameters, if those are not OK (say ISO over 400 or 800 depending on your standards) slow down the shutter speed a bit but when you start getting motion blur you've basically hit the limits of the 3N and need to resort to flash or live with the bad IQ.
If you are on a tripod disable any IS and set a 2 second timer (can you do this on the 3n, I think you can do a 2 second timer but am too lazy to get up and check it).

If you want to put your faith in the AI and maximize the capabilities of the camera pick "Superior Auto" instead of "Intelligent Auto" as the later can do the multi exposure trickery.

Regarding focusing, if you are shooting handheld make sure your fingers are not covering the AF assist lamp. Sony positions that lamp so it's easy to cover when you grip the camera. Also make sure it's on if you have subjects that are fairly close. For far away subjects or if you can't use the af assist lamp you may need to resort to MF which is a PITA with the small screen on the 3n (yes focus peaking helps but it's not a cure for the small screen is).
Regarding flash, I just love the way you can use a finger to angle the built in flash to bounce off the ceiling or a wall. Give that a try if you are not happy with the look of flash images.
I just got the camera this xmas so if I am missing anything (fill flash mode?) I'd love to learn more about my new toy!

 keeponkeepingon's gear list:keeponkeepingon's gear list
Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS M Sony a6000
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