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Photography Question 
Beth E. De Simon

Indoor Photos Too Dark

I have a Canon 30D with a 17-85 EFS Lens only. All photos I take inside church or indoor sports come out too dark and blurry even at ISO 1600. Are there any settings that would capture the inside church/sports images without me having to purchase a new lens? If not, which lens would you recommend and why?

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3/22/2010 8:50:05 AM

R K Stephenson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/5/2007
  It is possible that the camera is including bright areas (e.g., windows) in its exposure calculation. You can try excluding those areas from what the viewfinder sees when you meter the shot, then recompose. Also, the exposure setting in the camera (i.e., spot, evaluative, center weighted) can affect the overall exposure. Evaluative, for example, tends to underexpose an image if there is a bright source somewhere in the composition. If none of this helps, you can upload an example for further comment.

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3/22/2010 9:10:12 AM

Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  You could try moving the Exposure Compensation dial more positive; e.g., +2 or +3. Then check the histogram to see if the "mountain" is moving more to the right...

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3/22/2010 11:25:00 AM

Bunny Snow
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
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  Try capturing images on a tripod, which will not only stabilize the camera, but allow you the time to channelize your efforts in focusing and metering, locking the focus, and then, recomposing.

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3/23/2010 6:46:03 AM

Stanley C. Sims   First off, are you using a tripod? If not, you should. I have started taking photos inside a church recently, as I am building up my files for HDR. I shoot at ISO 100/200 @ F16-22 with a 17-28mm lens. At these F-Stop, the exposures are very long. I use a remote or cable release to do this. My exposures run anywhere from 10sec. to 90sec. To do this, you have to shoot in B mode. Most cameras omly allow a maxium of 30 second exposures in any other mode. Check your histogram often, and if need be, keep adding time until it looks okay. Hope this helps.

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3/23/2010 1:26:52 PM

Lynn R. Powers   Beth,

If your indoor church shots are strictly for recording the church itself you should follow the advice of Stanley S. If you are shooting people inside the church a new lens is necessary and for indoor sports a new lens is definitely necessary. You are forgetting that when the lens is extended beyond the 17mm mark the maximum f stop becomes smaller. At about 60mm it is down to f5.6.

Depending on where you are shooting indoor sports, baseline or the nose bleed seats, will determine which lens you should use. If you are at the baseline or first row the Canon f1.8 lens would help you immensley. It would also be better for taking photos of people inside the church. If in the nosebleed seats you will need a longer lens, preferably a zoom, in the 70-200mm f2.8 range. Your shutterspeed should stay at 1/250" or faster. High ISO is needed.


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3/23/2010 2:52:13 PM

Ken B.   Hi Beth, I also have the 30D and EF-S 17-85 combo. I have the exact same problem. Here's how I approach it. First, go to the custom function page and enable ISO expansion (CFn 8 = 1). This will let you use ISO 3200 - it will show up as H in the LCD window when you change ISO. Second, get a 430EX or 580EX. I use the 580EX and would be lost without it. I know some places don't allow flash but I use it if I can (I use a bounce card to keep the harsh shadows minimized). Then, shoot in manual (M) mode (or Av or Tv). If you shoot in P or Auto, the camera defaults to too fast of a shutter speed when you use flash. Set the shutter speed slow enough that you can get some of the ambient light to balance the flash. I can get good shots down to 1/20 or so - the IS works great on this lense. You can use second curtain sync with low shutter speeds and flash to get some neat effects with moving people. These settings work pretty well for most shots except for sports in a dark gym. I have been lucky that I could use flash for most of the sports my kids were in. After the pictures are taken, the next step is to set the lighting levels with whatever viewing tool you use. I have good results from Picasa and Photoshop Elements. Usually, I just use Picasa and use the fill light tool.
Hope this helps. Keep practicing different combinations. I have been trying for years now to get "good" shots in low light with slow lenses. I would love a faster lense, but it's not in the budget yet. Ken

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3/26/2010 8:46:54 AM

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