BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
dean winchell

Lighting and Focus Issues in Low Light

I take many low-light sunset pictures with some success but a lot of failures. My primary camera is a fuji S-5000. I love this camera and will buy a fuji S-9000 soon. I think this problem of focus is from my being newly brouht into the digital feild and I hope my new camera which has image stabilisation. Is a tripod the way to go? Also, what do you think of the new Fuji S-4 (yet to be briught out)? I guess you can tell I am hooked on Fuji. It is the only digital camera I have a good working knowledge of. Thanks for any info you can share with me!

To love this question, log in above
10/25/2006 10:46:47 AM

Jay Kinghorn   Dean,
Thanks for your question. Photographing in low light situations brings a host of new challenges that, with a little practice, you can master and really diversify your photography.
A common cause of disappointment in low-light situations is a blurry picture. Because there is significantly less light at dusk than during the day, the camera selects a slow shutter speed to correctly exposure your picture. Unfortunately, our body's natural movement causes blurry pictures at these slow shutter speeds. The best remedy is, as you mention, a tripod. Using a tripod regularly is the single best way to improve your low light photography.
I haven't had a chance to use the Fuji cameras you mention. You might try posting a Fuji-only question to the forum and see if you can get feedback from other BP members using those cameras.
Enjoy your low-light shooting!

Editor's Note: Jay Kinghorn teaches two excellent courses right here at BetterPhoto: Digital Fundamentals, which begins November 1st, and Night and Low-Light Photography.

To love this comment, log in above
10/25/2006 11:06:03 AM

Fritz Geil   Dean, as Jay said, you (for all practical purposes) MUST use a tripod in low-light situations, even if your camera/lens has image stabilization. The only caveat is that when you use a tripod (unless it is too flimsy, and allows jittering), you need to turn off the I.S. No, that is not a typo, turn it off. When the I.S. is on, the camera/lens assumes that you will be moving, and seeks to correct motion, even if there is none. This will give you the same frustrating/disappointing results you are getting now. The other trick is to use the camera on aperture priority, and use the smallest aperture available with auto exposure. You should generally also focus manually. There is usually not enough contrast in these situations for auto focus to work. If you cannot use auto focus, find an object that is approximately the same distance from you as your subject, but with more contrast, focus lock and recompose. Best of luck to you.

To love this comment, log in above
10/31/2006 1:39:02 PM

Log in to respond or ask your own question.