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Photography Lens Help Needed  
User currently offlineLHMark From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 47
Posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1394 times:

A quick question to any photographers that might be kicking around...

I need to take pictures of beer, both in bottles and glasses, for my website. I'm usually trying to get a close-up shot with a blurred out background effect. The problem is, I'm mostly shooting in dimly-lit bars or restaurants.

I'm using a Canon Digital Rebel XTI with the kit lens,, and have been borrowing a friend's Canon 50mm f/1.8 for the close-up work. It's fantastic in good light, but even the 1.8 doesn't always cut it in barroom light.

I'm thinking of buying a Canon 50mm f/1.4. Is this the most appropriate lens for my stated task?

Thanks.


"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1386 times:

I'm no pro photographer, only taken a few classes at a local college, so I'm hardly any authority on the matter, but...would selecting an appropriate ISO level for the light conditions and increasing your exposure time achieve the desired effect?

User currently offlineLHMARK From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 47
Reply 2, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1384 times:

I've been having problems with that. Here's a shot taken at F/1.8 at ISO 800 with a 30 second exposure. As you can see, it still sucks, even after lightening in P-shop.



It's harder to tell with the photo resized this small, but there's still visible noise on the beer bottle and the black beer from the high ISO.



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineIFEMaster From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1379 times:

Good taste in stout  Smile

Yeah, I'm about as amateur as a photographer gets. We have the same camera though, and I've had some success with low light using an ISO of 800 and a long exposure (15 - 30 seconds). I found that if I needed more 'light', I moved away from the subject and cropped around my subject. Only thing is that I end up with a crop rather than a full size image.


User currently offlineAirPortugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3556 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1370 times:

You might get some more help in the Aviation Photography thread...

but im sure you thought of that  Wink



A,G,A...nobody rides for free
User currently offlineHickoryShampoo From Djibouti, joined Dec 2007, 144 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1365 times:

If you're shooting handheld, you should try a sturdy tabletop tripod and some longer exposures. You can get one on the cheap online.


This place is cashed, so I'm out. Someone PM me when A.net comes back.
User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5667 posts, RR: 45
Reply 6, posted (6 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 1365 times:
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Quoting IFEMaster (Reply 3):
Only thing is that I end up with a crop rather than a full size image.

This is not an issue, or shouldn't be, how big an image do you need for a website, I would say 1024px wide max so cropping a 3888 wide image should not hurt.



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11607 posts, RR: 60
Reply 7, posted (6 years 5 months 8 hours ago) and read 1361 times:

One trick which I sometimes use with longer exposures is to 'paint' light onto the subject using a small light whilst the shutter is open. It's less intense than a camera flash and if using something like a torch, then you can direct it in such a way that the light only casts on one particular object, such as the bottle not the glass, or visa versa. I made a few hoods up out of card for a little pocket torch and it works surprisingly well. You can also do the same outdoors on a much lager scale with powerful lights, making certain objects like trees brighter.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7935 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (6 years 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 1348 times:

Best would certainly be a macro lens, but those are expensive. Extender or converters are cheaper but they steal light.
If I were you, I'd simply use Photoshop or similar, replace colors and play around with levels and contrast (which I have forgotten to do in this case).


Big version: Width: 432 Height: 288 File size: 42kb



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3294 posts, RR: 30
Reply 9, posted (6 years 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 1337 times:



Quoting LHMARK (Reply 2):
I've been having problems with that. Here's a shot taken at F/1.8 at ISO 800 with a 30 second exposure. As you can see, it still sucks, even after lightening in P-shop.

Quick solution, get a remote shutter button, and set the exposure length on "bulb" (the last notch past 30 seconds). This setting allows you to "hold" the shutter open as long as you need, whether 1 minute, 2 minutes, etc...All while keeping the ISO on 100 for the lowest noise:



It also has a "locking" mechanism, where you don't have to physically hold the button down for the entire length, by pushing it down and sliding it forward. You keep track of the exposure with a stopwatch or a second hand, and slide it back when the time's up.

$49.95 at B&H: RS_80N3, or if there's a local Ritz Camera in your area, they usually have them on stock. Works like a charm.

(If you'd rather not have to time it yourself, and you feel like spending the big bucks, you can get one with a timer built into it for $132.95: TC_80N3) I don't believe Ritz keeps them on regular stock.



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11607 posts, RR: 60
Reply 10, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1291 times:



Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 9):
Quick solution, get a remote shutter button, and set the exposure length on "bulb" (the last notch past 30 seconds). This setting allows you to "hold" the shutter open as long as you need, whether 1 minute, 2 minutes, etc...All while keeping the ISO on 100 for the lowest noise:

You can also use an elastic band instead of buying the release. It might sound odd, but it works perfectly and I've used it for exposures of several hours. Basically, get yourself an average sized elastic band, about an eighth of an inch wide, and wrap it around the base of the camera, then bring it up over the shutter release button - it has to have exactly the right tension over this button so that it doesn't press it down, but when pressed down, it doesn't let it back up. You can change this by adjusting the stretch of the band along the base, very effective, and elastic bands are ten a penny so it's pretty much free as well.


Dan  Smile



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7935 posts, RR: 12
Reply 11, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1280 times:



Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 9):
Quick solution, get a remote shutter button,

Good idea, but those light bulbs always emit a reddish/yellowish light (as opposed to neon [green] or halogen [blue]. And a TV will add some more blue light to the scene. Thus, I believe Mark will always have to adjust colors, no matter how well exposed the pictures are.

Mark could also try mapping an HDR image, merged from three exposures ( - 0.5, 0, +1 EV). This would bring out details a lot better than a longer exposure time alone.



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlineLHMARK From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 47
Reply 12, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1275 times:

I'm picturing it now. "Hi, I can't come to the phone right now. I'm mapping an HDR image, merged from three exposures ( - 0.5, 0, +1 EV)."

But Norbert's right about the light. Setting the WB to tungsetn helps a little, but shooting under low light in bars means orange to yellow. It's not really a big deal to correct in P-shop.

I bought the F/1.4 50 mm lens and tested it out a bit last night. Noticeably better results than I've been getting. The cable release and mini tripod help. My next purchase will be a decent flash. It'll be obtrusive, but I've never minded drawing attention to myself in public places.



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineKFLLCFII From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 3294 posts, RR: 30
Reply 13, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 1267 times:



Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 10):
You can also use an elastic band instead of buying the release. It might sound odd, but it works perfectly and I've used it for exposures of several hours. Basically, get yourself an average sized elastic band, about an eighth of an inch wide, and wrap it around the base of the camera, then bring it up over the shutter release button - it has to have exactly the right tension over this button so that it doesn't press it down, but when pressed down, it doesn't let it back up. You can change this by adjusting the stretch of the band along the base, very effective, and elastic bands are ten a penny so it's pretty much free as well.

It's a good idea...My concern, though, would be accidentally "shaking" the camera while trying to "undo" the shutter button, especially with my rickety tripod. Big grin At least the remote button keeps everything "hands off" of the camera, removing any doubt. But that's just me.

Quoting LHMARK (Reply 12):
But Norbert's right about the light. Setting the WB to tungsten helps a little, but shooting under low light in bars means orange to yellow. It's not really a big deal to correct in P-shop.

True. Have you tried using the "AWB" (Auto White Balance) setting? I had never used it before until recently, and I'm pretty amazed at how well it works.



"About the only way to look at it, just a pity you are not POTUS KFLLCFII, seems as if we would all be better off."
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7935 posts, RR: 12
Reply 14, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1264 times:



Quoting LHMARK (Reply 12):
"Hi, I can't come to the phone right now. I'm mapping an HDR image, merged from three exposures ( - 0.5, 0, +1 EV)."

You could let your computer do the work. (The mapping, not answering the phone. Big grin )

BTW, did you ever write a column on "Bernard Bernstein Czech Lager"? I ask, because I have never heard of it and bought a bottle today. If yes, would that be one of Friday's most overrated beers?



I support the right to arm bears
User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11607 posts, RR: 60
Reply 15, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 1260 times:



Quoting KFLLCFII (Reply 13):
It's a good idea...My concern, though, would be accidentally "shaking" the camera while trying to "undo" the shutter button, especially with my rickety tripod. At least the remote button keeps everything "hands off" of the camera, removing any doubt. But that's just me.

It was a problem, but I found a way of just 'flicking' the band off in less than a second which, when I've had the shutter open for say 60 minutes, is neither here nor there as to whether it shakes or not. The most annoying thing about such long exposures is when you get to the end and find that a bug has decided to land on the glass, so you have a nice big blur on your photograph.



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineLHMARK From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 7255 posts, RR: 47
Reply 16, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1255 times:



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 14):

BTW, did you ever write a column on "Bernard Bernstein Czech Lager"? I ask, because I have never heard of it and bought a bottle today. If yes, would that be one of Friday's most overrated beers?

I've never tried it, and have never seen it here. Did you find it overrated? If so, PM me and you can do a guest review  Smile



"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
User currently offlineNoUFO From Germany, joined Apr 2001, 7935 posts, RR: 12
Reply 17, posted (6 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 1249 times:

Seems they have won an award in America the other day:

http://www.bernard.cz/sub_page.php?page=150&parent=147

I'll try it later this night, and if I don't like it, I still have a bottle of Jever in my fridge.



I support the right to arm bears
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