What does it really mean: “No good for low light”

@TraamisVOS I wish that were the case. But the reality is most bars do not have stage lighting set up. Or a stage for that matter. I’m not pushing cameras to 12,800 iso at f2.8 because that’s the way I want to shoot. Maybe the bars in Australia have properly lit stages. I’ve never shot there. But here, the lighting is crap 90% of the time.
 

mnhoj

gee aahrr
Location
Los Angeles
Real Name
John
The bands in bars may not be a good example of the conversation spoken here but it is one of the few things that I had experience with. And the stages(some without spots) were always better lit than the bar but I’d never call them well.

The JV gyms I shot in was another nightmare altogether. Mixed temps and very flat and dim.
 
Arghhh. As has been said its very much about individual preferences. 12,800 is way way too noisy for my taste (in the cameras I have)

ISO 12,800 is way, way higher than you'd ever need to go, unless you're shooting in near perfect darkness.

Alternatively, ISO 12,800 is completely acceptable if you're shooting with the Sony A7s series whose sensors are capable of producing clean shots at those kinds of ISOs and beyond.

When I used to take my M8 out into the night to shoot my constantly moving cats and dogs, I'd only go up to ISO 320 most of the time. ISO 640 was the most I'd go, ever.

These days with my M10, the vast majority of the time (99% of the time) I'd only go as high as ISO 3200. I might go ISO 6400 but that's if I'm shooting at 'exceptionally' dark circumstances (eg. an unlit street where the closest street light is a fair distance away).

I shot a wedding a couple of years ago, it was the end of a very long day, the wedding party had moved to the club for an afterparty. It was dark in there, and I mean daaaaaark. But I still managed to catch a few choice shots of the guests and this photo of the bride and groom. I haven't got the specs of the photo at hand but I'm sure it would've been ISO 1200 with my M240. I stress again, it was freekin' dark in there.

Somebody's uncle was sporting a full Nikon DSLR kit at that wedding, he was all about the flash at that afterparty. I remember him watching me work throughout the ceremony and reception, then he came up to me and said something along the lines of: "hey, I see you're shooting with a couple of Fuji X100 there... " and then he faltered when he came closer and saw that they were Leicas. :-D :-D :-D

20210309_033740.jpg
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
Somewhat off-topic, but my first film camera (the otherwise saintly Olympus Trip 35) would literally give you the finger if it thought there wasn't enough light for a photo. You'd compose a low-light masterpiece (a lovely sunset perhaps), you'd press the shutter release and nothing would happen except a vulgar red plastic finger would poke up from the bottom of the viewfinder frame. "Nope, not gonna do it," was the message from the camera, and that finger made it loud and clear.

-R
The Trip probably figures if the pic came out bad you would blame the camera, so no picture for you! The finger is nice touch, however. The Trip is available in lots of places (like Etsy) for good prices. I’ve considered it, but have so far abstained. That finger, though . . .
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
A lot of people would argue that the Leica M8 is not good for low light. Well stuff 'em.

I remember that thread! What a great series of shots. I didn’t realize you used an M8 for this. I just quickly looked through the thread but couldn’t find
the camera.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Location
Marlow, UK
The Trip probably figures if the pic came out bad you would blame the camera, so no picture for you! The finger is nice touch, however. The Trip is available in lots of places (like Etsy) for good prices. I’ve considered it, but have so far abstained. That finger, though . . .
To avoid the finger you could tell the Trip you were using a higher ASA film than was actually the case, or you could tell it that you were using flash when you weren't. I suppose you can understand a camera developing a bad attitude when its user pulls those kind of tricks.

In truth, the Trip was a great little camera, so let's be be generous and say that finger was was probably telling me it was time to buy an SLR ...

-R
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
A much larger sensor than the ones I was defending :) Are there people who say “no good for low light” of mu43? I never would! They are just fine!

View attachment 251160
Lots of folks act like mu43 is a small sensor, especially the 12 mp one. The problem was that the 16 mp one that followed was so much better. I used the Olympus E-MX series during many a dark evening at Disney World for many treasured photos. Not perfect but they just looked like it was nighttime and it was good look.
 

drd1135

Zen Snapshooter
Location
SW Virginia
Real Name
Steve
To avoid the finger you could tell the Trip you were using a higher ASA film than was actually the case, or you could tell it that you were using flash when you weren't. I suppose you can understand a camera developing a bad attitude when its user pulls those kind of tricks.

In truth, the Trip was a great little camera, so let's be be generous and say that finger was was probably telling me it was time to buy an SLR ...

-R
I gave look over at Etsy. Many nicely restored ones in the 250-ish USD range. I should have bought one when they were cheaper. One for 98 USD, no fancy re-skinning. Tempting. The seller speaks of a red flag, not a finger.
 
Last edited:

gryphon1911

Hall of Famer
Location
Central Ohio, USA
Real Name
Andrew
Whenever I hear, "no good in low light", my first thought is that this is not what they really mean.

What I translate that to is the characteristics of the camera performance and image quality in shooting at a specific condition set, where the available light is limited in quality and quantity.

1) Most likely the high ISO capability is poor. Meaning that the fine detail retention at say ISO 1600 and above is probably not to the shooters liking. Perhaps too much color shift as the sensor is amped up. m43 is not may favorite to shoot in lower light conditions but I have a specific reason for this - the shadows often get muddy. Fuji has an issue with blurring of fine details at high ISO, which can make images appear cartoony or have that waxy look that has been written about ad nauseum in other places.
2) Auto focus can be less than ideal in non optimal lighting.


Now, depending on what you need to shoot, these 2 things are deal breakers for some. Some of the sports and events I shoot are indoors with poor lighting or sometimes at night and/or outdoors. So having high ISo be as clean as possible is a major benefit to myself and the client. Slow AF makes getting the shots you want more difficult if not impossible, depending on subject.

I used to rely more heavily on primes when I shot my D50 and D300 for sports and events. That was less than ideal because if you have a fast moving event/sport or a dynamic situation, you lose the versatility of a zoom, because at the time - the best zoom you could get was a constant f/2.8 and the ones like that I could afford were pretty terrible at f/2.8.

Now, the f/2.8 zooms are much better at f/2.8 and the high ISO performance of the 135 size sensors are sensational - with me being very happy to shoot at ISO 6400-12800 on my Df, Z6. Even the APS-C D500, I've got no issues using ISO 6400 for most things and if need be up to ISO 10000.

Even with all that being said. Those are my requirements now, based on my needs.

Once I give up the pro photo game - my requirements will be even less. COVID has shown that to me. I've been shooting more with the Fuji, m43 and my instant film camera more than ever....and loving it. I don't feel under gunned or that I'm missing out. Then again, I'm not chasing around pro soccer players or covering massive events.
 
I'd say that the Widelux isn't really a low light camera either. The only way you can really get things in focus is really to stop down with smaller apertures. You cannot rely on the viewfinder either. But famed Widelux photographer, Jeff Bridges,* seems to do well with it in low light nevertheless.

* - he's currently battling lymphoma. :(
 
Nikon Df, ISO 12,800, 1/30th Sec,
Nikkor-O 35mm F2, wide-open.

DSC-1511.jpg


Nikon Df, ISO 12,800, 1/6th second,
Nikkor 85mm F1.8 Ai converted, wide-open.

50849840212_5314db0265_o.jpg
Nikkor 85/1.8, Wide-Open
by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Leica M Monochrom, ISO 10,000, 1/180th sec,
7Artisans 50/1.1, wide-open.

46234101991_ce64118ebb_b.jpg
G1016955
by fiftyonepointsix, on Flickr

Canon P, Kodacolor 400
1955 KMZ Jupiter-3 5cm F1.5, wide-open. Slow shutter speed, around 1/8th.

nikki-nina.jpg


Same roll- a bit faster shutter speed... One of my favorite nightime pictures.
nikki-nina2.jpg


Most cameras are fine in low light. Being able to hold the camera steady and focus on the subject is the trick.
With as many years as I've been shooting in low-light, if anyone told me that me camera was no good in low light, I would suggest that they get more experience at shooting under these conditions. Although- more typically, I've had several people asking me for advice on how to get the shots in the dark with their cameras.
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom