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Thread: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

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    spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    I'm new to photography and have only recently bought my first decent camera, a Sony NEX5 w/ the standard 18-55mm lens. I enjoy photographing animals, but have difficulty achieving good exposure. To my surprise, even in bright sunny days shooting fast and often irregularly moving animals seems to require unreasonably high ISO so that a high shutter speed can be used to minimize motion blur. Oftentimes the only way to avoid a completely useless blurry or excessively noisy photo is to severely under-expose the picture. In all cases I was forced to accept the shallowest DOF. Flash not feasible because it scares animals away, not to mention being outright harmful to their eyes. Is this predicament due more to the technical limitations of my camera (49mm of lens diameter too small?), or my own fault?

    Some examples:
    squirrels in the backlit side of a tree looking for food. Moves in rapid bursts and extremely cautious. ISO 1600, aperture F5.6 (maximum), shutter 1/100 sec. The first one captured while the guy's moving and hence useless, the second one although stationary is very noisy because of high ISO. Also am forced to focus manually (hence slowly) because a shallow DOF made any auto focus error prominent. I suspect trouble-free shots are only possible with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 sec.

    Rabbits eating away: Although sometimes stationary, mouth always restless. The headon photo shows how an aperture setting of F4 under bright sun light in the middle of the day led to only a patch of the guy's forehead being in focus... Shutter 1/160, ISO 400. Note this is not a macro shot, is cropped from a much larger original. The group shot showing one light brown and an albino seems good, but upon closer inspection the mouth region is blurry. Shutter 1/200, aperture F6.3, ISO 400.

    Any suggestion is welcomed. Thanks in advance.
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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    What camera are you using? Btw, what is your first name if I may ask?

    Edit: My bad, I did not see the detail on your first paragraph when you said that your camera is a Sony NEX5.

    Usually, when you shoot wildlife or animal photography, you stalk them. You wait until the time you seem to get their habit or routine then you shoot them when they are at ease or stationary. There's no advantage in shooting them when they are on the run unless you really want to showcase that aspect of their activity. I am not familiar with Sony Nex5 so I cannot guide you much but from what I see on your rabbit shots those are OK. It only needs some extra work on the post-processing like sharpening and contrast enhancement to make if work. At times the way you handhold your camera also affects the sharpness of your image if this helps.
    Last edited by jiro; 18th August 2011 at 04:15 AM.

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    spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    What camera are you using? Btw, what is your first name if I may ask?
    I'm using SONY NEX5 camera with the standard 18-55mm kit lens. You can call me Sanders.

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    spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    What camera are you using? Btw, what is your first name if I may ask?

    Edit: My bad, I did not see the detail on your first paragraph when you said that your camera is a Sony NEX5.

    Usually, when you shoot wildlife or animal photography, you stalk them. You wait until the time you seem to get their habit or routine then you shoot them when they are at ease or stationary. There's no advantage in shooting them when they are on the run unless you really want to showcase that aspect of their activity. I am not familiar with Sony Nex5 so I cannot guide you much but from what I see on your rabbit shots those are OK. It only needs some extra work on the post-processing like sharpening and contrast enhancement to make if work. At times the way you handhold your camera also affects the sharpness of your image if this helps.
    Thanks. NEX5 is a relatively high-end consumer digital camera with APS-C sensor and no mirror, but the lens itself is pretty small at 49mm.
    However, even for stationary subjects a poor lighting condition can still force a shallow DOF & high ISO, and I'm not exactly talking about night or dusk shots! The squirrel shots were taken in an overcast day, albiet mid-day, under the shade of a large tree, subject backlit and well camoflaged. Although my eyes can see everything clearly and in sharp focus, all my shots are either blurry or noisy and hence useless. I didn't bring my tripod but I was sitting with camera braced on my lap. How would you cope under such a condition?

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Just a thought, Sanders (I'm fairly new myself so stand by for some more experienced makers to advise why this won't work ). Anyway, to compensate for the animals moving rapidly and unpredictably, maybe try continuous shooting mode (flipping off frames in rapid succession). The chances of one of those frames catching the critter being still would be higher, I would think. Good luck on a solution; I have the same issue myself so I am also interested.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    I just read DPreview.com's article about the NEX line of camera from Sony and the Nex5 model and the common comment about the system is the inability of the camera to focus fairly when the object is moving. The review says it has something to do with the contrast-detection autofocus system. I'm not so sure if this is the real issue with your shots but if your camera is a basic DLSR then we can offer some advice as to how to cope up with this problem.

    I use a technique when I want to photograph them. I put up a bait to where I think the sun would shine nicely on the them and wait patiently until they come out. You have to know that squirrels are smart creatures, very smart if I may say. The simplest way to outwit them is to throw stones on the other side of the tree so you can force them to "hide" on the open side where you expect them to be. Works 100% for me all the time.

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    spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Lon Howard View Post
    Just a thought, Sanders (I'm fairly new myself so stand by for some more experienced makers to advise why this won't work ). Anyway, to compensate for the animals moving rapidly and unpredictably, maybe try continuous shooting mode (flipping off frames in rapid succession). The chances of one of those frames catching the critter being still would be higher, I would think. Good luck on a solution; I have the same issue myself so I am also interested.
    Thanks. The squirrel shots I uploaded were both taken in 'continuous adv.' mode. Although a few of the pictures are not very blurry, such as the second one I uploaded, a high ISO still ruined the quality of the photo, and that's the more serious problem.

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    spetsnaz26's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    I just read DPreview.com's article about the NEX line of camera from Sony and the Nex5 model and the common comment about the system is the inability of the camera to focus fairly when the object is moving. The review says it has something to do with the contrast-detection autofocus system. I'm not so sure if this is the real issue with your shots but if your camera is a basic DLSR then we can offer some advice as to how to cope up with this problem.

    I use a technique when I want to photograph them. I put up a bait to where I think the sun would shine nicely on the them and wait patiently until they come out. You have to know that squirrels are smart creatures, very smart if I may say. The simplest way to outwit them is to throw stones on the other side of the tree so you can force them to "hide" on the open side where you expect them to be. Works 100% for me all the time.
    Thank you for the technique. The autofocus functions faster than previous cameras I owned but indeed not very useful when the subject is moving or has low contrast against the background, and that's the in the 'center' mode. In 'multi' mode the camera almost always focuses on the wrong thing, such as an odd tree branch somewhere off the center or a lone rock on the foreground that has nothing to do with my subject. I almost exclusively use manual focus. I have no idea if the phase based autofocus found on DSLRs are better in this scenario but I would imagine good photographers always do things the 'manual' way?

    It's the fact that my choice of shutter, aperture, and ISO is always very limited that worries me.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by spetsnaz26 View Post
    It's the fact that my choice of shutter, aperture, and ISO is always very limited that worries me.
    Let me ask a stupid question -- do you shoot raw? You should be fine with any of the modern cameras up to ISOs considerably higher than that. I routinely shoot at ISO 2000 when I'm shooting indoors at events that don't allow flash, and am quite content with the results (I have a Nikon D5000, which should be roughly comparable to your camera in this regard). However, I always need to PP. My standard approach is this: First, set your in-camera adjsutments for things like sharpening and shadow preservation to a low level -- you will PP these things, so don't muck up the image in-camera. Once I've adjusted things like WB and EV using the manufacturer's software, I import the photo ( a 16-bit TIFF is a good thing to use for this) into PaintShopPro and use the NeatImage noise reduction plug-in to cut down on noise. Usually, I follow that up with a mild median filtering on the high ISO images (normally 3x3, but a really noisy image will require 5x5). Then, I need to collapse the image down to 8 bits per channel because the sharpening program that I like won't work on 16-bits-per-channel data. I then run it through the Focus Magic plugin. While I really like this program, it tends to oversharpen. I typically back off one step from its recommendation, but sometimes I will back off three or four steps. On very rare occasions, I need to up the sharpening by one step. Anyway, the point is that you need to interact with it to get the results you want -- but, if you do, the plugin will deliver excellent results. If you learn to PP your data, you should have no difficulty getting excellent photos at considerably higher ISO ranges than you are using now. FWIW

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    Let me ask a stupid question -- do you shoot raw? You should be fine with any of the modern cameras up to ISOs considerably higher than that. I routinely shoot at ISO 2000 when I'm shooting indoors at events that don't allow flash, and am quite content with the results (I have a Nikon D5000, which should be roughly comparable to your camera in this regard). However, I always need to PP. My standard approach is this: First, set your in-camera adjsutments for things like sharpening and shadow preservation to a low level -- you will PP these things, so don't muck up the image in-camera. Once I've adjusted things like WB and EV using the manufacturer's software, I import the photo ( a 16-bit TIFF is a good thing to use for this) into PaintShopPro and use the NeatImage noise reduction plug-in to cut down on noise. Usually, I follow that up with a mild median filtering on the high ISO images (normally 3x3, but a really noisy image will require 5x5). Then, I need to collapse the image down to 8 bits per channel because the sharpening program that I like won't work on 16-bits-per-channel data. I then run it through the Focus Magic plugin. While I really like this program, it tends to oversharpen. I typically back off one step from its recommendation, but sometimes I will back off three or four steps. On very rare occasions, I need to up the sharpening by one step. Anyway, the point is that you need to interact with it to get the results you want -- but, if you do, the plugin will deliver excellent results. If you learn to PP your data, you should have no difficulty getting excellent photos at considerably higher ISO ranges than you are using now. FWIW
    Thanks. Actually, that's a good question there because I have only used JPEG. I'd really love to explore post-processing for myself. However I don't yet have any serious post processing software other than the basic image browser that came with the camera package. While researching online for a camera to buy, I remember seeing Sony advertising NEX5's high ISO capability at a whopping ISO 12800. After I experimented with the settings, I wondered why did they bother with anything higher than 1600 since the quality has dropped too much beyond that.

    If you look at the first two squirrel pictures I uploaded, you will notice that at ISO 1600 the noise is already highly visible even though 'High ISO NR' is already activated in-camera. Can you perhaps show me a visual example of what post-processing can do regarding noise-reduction? I'd appreciate it.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by spetsnaz26 View Post
    Can you perhaps show me a visual example of what post-processing can do regarding noise-reduction? I'd appreciate it.
    I don't know if this is exactly what you had in mind, but I shot some photos at the Boston MFA Chihuly exhibit earlier this month that were all done at ISO 2000. I find this website kind of a pain to post photos on, but I have a small gallery of those photos available here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/63...A562A52A73675C You can view the photos at 100% resolution by selecting "Original" on the photos you'd like to see up close and personal. I don't take a lot of animal photos, and don't have any readily available at high ISO. But perhaps the Chihuly photos will give you a sense of what my processing looks like on high ISO images. I don't have any "before" photos uploaded, so it may be hard to get a sense of what was removed without that. If you feel that something like that would help, I should be able to upload one or two that you might want to see "blemishes and all" if you'd let me know which ones to bother with. But, basically, all unprocessed images look pretty much the same when it comes to noise and the like.

    [ETA: I should explain why all the photos were shot at ISO 2000. Some of them could have been shot at a considerably lower ISO. But I am kind of a nervous event shooter, and try to eliminate as many choices as possible for such shoots. I can shoot just about anything at that ISO -- even though some of the really dark images had shutter speeds as low as 1/20s, I could get away with that here. And I just plain screw up too many shots if I am faced with too many degrees of freedom in an anxiety-inducing setting. I didn't want you to think that I was recommending such a high ISO when it wasn't needed -- it was to accomodate my failings, not because it was photographically ideal.]
    Last edited by tclune; 18th August 2011 at 05:10 PM.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    We are fond of saying, "It is the photographer, not the equipment that determines the quality of the image!" This is a truism, but it is not particularly accurate. Additionally, you don't seem to be getting the best out of your camera/lens setup.

    There are some camera/lens combinations which are better suited to the type of photography you were attempting.

    First: IMO, a camera that doesn't have the capability or eye-level viewing is difficult to use to follow moving subjects.

    Additionally, The kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is just not fast nor long enough to capture wildlife (even though squirrels and rabbits are not exactly "wild"). Unfortunately most "kit" lenses have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 at their longest extension.

    Secondly: I am confused about your shooting the rabbit shot using 1/200 @ f/6.3 at ISO 400 in bright sunlight. Using the rule of f/16; the exposure using ISO 400 "should have been" 1/400 @ f/16. You "may" have wanted to increase the exposure to 1/400 second @ f/11to get more detail in the rabbit but that is a LOT LESS exposure than you were giving the shot.

    Along those lines, if your camera has a manual exposure capability; try the following test. Put the controls on manual and shoot a normally lit scene using ISO 400 @ f/16. Then switch the camera into an auto-type exposure mode and shoot the same image. Determine the shutter speed and f/stop the camera has selected. If it varies by any significant degree from 1/400 @ f/16, your camera is off.

    I totally agree with the post-processing comments and in shooting RAW. However, I am inclined to believe that your camera is over exposing the image and thus selecting a shutter speed too slow and/or an aperture too wide. This might be part of your problem. Even with the squirrel shots, your exposure of "ISO 1600, aperture F5.6 (maximum), shutter 1/100 sec" seems way overboard...

    If your camera is overexposing that would be a signiicant reason that you are having problems with your images...

    Try the test I outlined above and let us know the results...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th August 2011 at 11:22 PM.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Thanks, Richard.

    First: IMO, a camera that doesn't have the capability or eye-level viewing is difficult to use to follow moving subjects.
    I am content with doing relatively static animal photography rather than challenging wild life types (can't find no wild life in the cities...). The reason I complain about animals always on the move is linked to the problem of exposure I described above, as you have noted. As a matter of fact, NEX5 with its tiltable LCD screen is quite adequate for my purposes as I often have to put the camera very close to the ground to shoot 'eye-level' (rabbit eyes, that is) pictures. With an optical viewfinder I probably have to lay on the ground, which raises eyebrows considering how infrequent rabbits clean up their place

    The kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is just not fast nor long enough to capture wildlife
    Not long enough, as in zoom capability? I agree. But what does 'fast' mean?

    try the following test
    I did, and the result is not looking good. Shooting out of the window into a expansive outdoor scene under a late afternoon overcast condition, a combination of ISO200, F11 (opened up from F16 to compensate for the weather), and 1/200 shutter speed resulted in an apparently under-exposed photo. The camera's built-in exposure meter kept warning me about under-exposure, and comparing what I see with naked eyes with the photo I do agree it's too dark. Automatic exposure mode chose ISO 200,F7.1, and shutter speed of 1/125, and the brightness does seem to be a lot closer to my own perception. Does this mean my camera has some exposure problem?

    When shooting squirrels (backlit, under the shade of the tree), if anything other than the widest aperature, an ISO of 800+, and a shutter of 1/50 is used, I can barely make out what's going on on the LCD screen.The last photo I uploaded in the attachment shows the case. ISO 400, F5.6, 1/125, way more demanding than what the sunny F16 rule would suggest using, even considering its poorer lighting. Note how brightly lit the background is.
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I don't know if this is exactly what you had in mind, but I shot some photos at the Boston MFA Chihuly exhibit earlier this month that were all done at ISO 2000. I find this website kind of a pain to post photos on, but I have a small gallery of those photos available here: http://www.dpreview.com/galleries/63...A562A52A73675C You can view the photos at 100% resolution by selecting "Original" on the photos you'd like to see up close and personal. I don't take a lot of animal photos, and don't have any readily available at high ISO. But perhaps the Chihuly photos will give you a sense of what my processing looks like on high ISO images. I don't have any "before" photos uploaded, so it may be hard to get a sense of what was removed without that. If you feel that something like that would help, I should be able to upload one or two that you might want to see "blemishes and all" if you'd let me know which ones to bother with. But, basically, all unprocessed images look pretty much the same when it comes to noise and the like.

    [ETA: I should explain why all the photos were shot at ISO 2000. Some of them could have been shot at a considerably lower ISO. But I am kind of a nervous event shooter, and try to eliminate as many choices as possible for such shoots. I can shoot just about anything at that ISO -- even though some of the really dark images had shutter speeds as low as 1/20s, I could get away with that here. And I just plain screw up too many shots if I am faced with too many degrees of freedom in an anxiety-inducing setting. I didn't want you to think that I was recommending such a high ISO when it wasn't needed -- it was to accomodate my failings, not because it was photographically ideal.]
    Thank you. I looked at your photos. Composition and color seem good, but at 100% the details are still quite blurred. I suspect this has to do with the ISO settings you selected. Honestly, my usual photography subjects are not as challenging because I always do daytime outdoor shooting so I expect the quality to be very good even at 100% w/o any noise reduction. That's why I'm worried about using anything above ISO 400. For still photography in dimly lit conditions such as the exhibits you photographed, NEX5 has an attractive feature that combines 6 shots taken consecutively at ISO6400 and comparatively high shutter speed to reduce noise. Quality is acceptable considering the high ISO. If your camera doesn't have this feature, I heard (Sensor Size vs. Depth of Field vs. Exposure Time) this can be done manually using other softwares. I have an example I shot in a very dimly lit museum that doesn't allow flash. Actual quality is better than it appeared in this compressed form.
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Spetsnaz26...

    By the way, what is your given name? It seems easier to communicate with someone if we know their name...

    If your camera is consistantly requiring considerably more exposure for a sunny outdoor image than what you would get if using the "Sunny 16" rule, I would have the camera checked because its exposure system is probably off. The exposure for the shade is also (IMO) too high but, I canot determine exactly what the shade exposure should be. However, since the camera is requiring more exposure than normal for a sunny shot, I am sure that it is also requireing more exposure that normal for a shade shot.

    I shot an image of my dog using your exposure for the rabbit (iso 400, F/4 @ 1/160 SECOND) and the result was an image so over exposed that it was totally white. I then shot my dog using Manual Exposure and the rule of Sunny 16: (ISO 400, f/16 @ 1/400 second) and got this image. I did absolutely no correction to this image.

    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Your camera requiring the exposures that are several stops over what you should be shooting at is at the root of your problem. If you were using ISO 200 outdoors under bright conditions; you should be shooting at an exposure of around 1/200 @ f/16 or 1/400 @ f/11. Both of these exposure combinations would give you plenty of depth of field and a shutter speed which would make hand holding very feasible.

    The shutter speed - f/stop -ISO combinations which your camera is forcing you to shoot are way, way off and are contributing to both the shallow depth of field (because of the wide f/stop at which you are shoooting) and the noise (because of the high ISO at which you are shooting). These squirrel and rabbit shots are very simple and any modern digital camera should be able to accomplish them using auto-focus at a reasonable exposure. However, using an eye level viewfinder such as on a Canon DSLR, I can pinpoint the focus where I want it using auto-focus even when I am shooting with a wide aperture and thus with a narrow depth of field. And, I can do this in the brighest sunlight. In fact, viewing in the brightest sunlight is easiest.

    This is an example of extreme selective focus...

    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    This selective focus is not extreme but still isolates the subjects (the two ladies) as the main point of interest.

    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    I don't think you will be able to solve your shooting problems until you get your camera's exposure working properly.

    Here are two other shots with a fairly narrow depth of field, yet the principle subject (the dog) is in focus.

    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    If you could borrow another camera or shoot alongside a friend who is using a camera that exposes correctly, I think that you would find that the difference in exposure would make your life a lot easier. You would be shooting at a considerably lower ISO and at a smaller f/stop providing less noise and a wider depth of field.

    BTW: in answer to your question regarding my comment: The kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 is just not fast nor long enough to capture wildlife"

    "Not long enough, as in zoom capability? I agree."
    Yes, that is what I meant.
    However animals like squirrels and birds like ducks in city parks are used to humans and a photographer is normally able to approach them pretty closely and thus, you do not need a long zoom lens. Shooting at a more reasonable ISO (100 to 200); you would be able to crop the image somewhat more drastically.


    "But what does 'fast' mean?"
    When we speak of a lens being "fast" or "slow" we are talking about the maximum size of the aperture. A larger aperture (which is a smaller f/number) is said to be faster than a lens with a smaller aperture (larger f/number) because we can use a faster shutter speed with the larger aperture. When a zoom lens is listed as having two f/numbers, such as f/3.5-5.6, that means that the lens has a "variable aperture" and the lens is at the widest aperture (in this case the smaller f/number: f/3.5) when it is at its shortest focal length and its smaller aperture (in this case f/5.6) when it is at its longest focal length.

    The range of "full f/stops" are f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22. Each smaller number lets in twice as much light as the next larger number so you can use a shutter speed that is 1/2 the duration of the larger number.

    Here is an example with all of the shutter speed and f/stop combinations producing the same exposure (by the way, these are all equivalent to the "sunny f/16 rule for ISO 100):

    f/22 @ 1/50 second
    f/16 @ 1/100 second
    f/11 @ 1/200 second
    f/8 @ 1/400 second
    f/5.6 @ 1/800 second
    f/4 @ 1/1,600 second
    f/2.8 @ 1/3,200 second

    All of the above exposure combinations will provide a correct exposure for a normal subject in bright sun. Any camera exposure system or hand held exposure meter which gives you exposures that are significantly different from the above is not working correctly...
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 19th August 2011 at 05:05 PM.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Hi Sanders,

    btw You can put "Sanders" into the Real Name field if you edit your profile (which will stop people asking)

    In trying to understand why your NEX 5 appears to be so insensitive compared to a normal DSLR, can I ask; you haven't got a polarising filter permanently on the lens have you?

    Welcome to the CiC forums from ....

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Thanks, Richard, for the detailed explanation. However, I am confused about the following aspect: when I use the exposure parameters suggested by the camera, I get photos that looked about right. Does this mean that it is not the fault of the in-camera exposure metering system, because at the end of the day it delivers the correct picture, but rather the fault of the optical/sensor part of the camera-lens combination because at any given exposure setting there is always less light registered on the sensor which forces the metering system to ask for more?

    If so, is this a common product quality problem? I believe explaining the "sunny F16 rule" to a Sony after-sale representative is going to be difficult. Before that I'll try to find a friend and compare our cameras.

    I found an additional example of bonifide late-July, sunny day, mid-day shot:F11, 1/250, ISO200. Complete compliance to F16 rule would require a shutter of 1/400, I believe. However there is always some haze over the sea.
    Edit: I examined other outdoor photos taken in sunny days and found that although the parameters selected are always somewhat below what the rule suggests, they are actually not very far off! For example, F11 (the camera seems to be reluctant about using anything smaller than F11), 1/250, ISO 200. Does this mean the problem only manifests itself in conditions other than a 100% sunny day?
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    Last edited by spetsnaz26; 20th August 2011 at 09:47 AM.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    you haven't got a polarising filter permanently on the lens have you
    Hi, Dave. No, I don't have any polarising filter. However, I do have a SONY stock lens protector screwed onto the lens. I took it off just now and found that the exposure problem persisted.

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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    I am confused about your shooting the rabbit shot using 1/200 @ f/6.3 at ISO 400 in bright sunlight. Using the rule of f/16; the exposure using ISO 400 "should have been" 1/400 @ f/16.
    Hi Richard,

    Not sure if this is relevant, but keep in mind that "part B" of the sunny 16 rule adds "for a front-lit subject, and at least 2 hours after sunrise to no more than 2 hours before sunset" -- if the subject isn't being lit directly then one can get at least a 3-Stop under-exposure (or have to compensate to the equivalent).

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Problem with photographing animals in poor lighting conditions

    Quote Originally Posted by spetsnaz26 View Post
    Hi, Dave. No, I don't have any polarising filter. However, I do have a SONY stock lens protector screwed onto the lens. I took it off just now and found that the exposure problem persisted.
    Hi Ronald,

    OK good, put that "protector" (probably a 'UV' or 'Daylight') filter, back on if you haven't already.
    As you've found, that won't be the problem.

    Could be what Colin suggests - i.e. if the subject isn't the standard format sun behind camera shot or the low light stuff is also not front lit.

    There could be a problem with the camera's metering, quite unlikely I'd think, so comparing to another digital camera is the way to go, set identical zoom angle of view, iso and aperture - this should give, within about one stop, the same shutter speed and both, if on Auto and with no EC set, or on manual, give the same exposure to the same subject. You could repeat for a bright and dull scene.

    You might also want to look at metering modes, don't (at this stage) have it set to 'spot', use 'average'/'matrix'/whatever Sony call it.

    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 20th August 2011 at 10:01 AM.

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