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Low light conditions.

Discussion in 'X-T2, X-T1, X-T20, X-T10' started by Gaston, Apr 19, 2017 at 1:20 PM.

  1. Gaston

    Gaston Premium Member

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    Hello folks. While watching TV tonight decided to test my 23mm f1.4 lens in poor lighting condition (dimmed lights) using my XT-1. Settings were f/1.4, Iso about 1000, speed at 30.
    Didn't use tripod but was holding the camera as steady as possible. After checking my images, noticed that the focus was not that good on all of my images.

    My question is : Would it be theoricaly possible to get sharper images with the XT-2 in similar situation ?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Primes4ever

    Primes4ever Well-Known Member

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    Probably no difference as the blur was likely motion blur. Likely caused by too low a shutter speed.
     
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  3. M41gr8tpic

    M41gr8tpic New Member

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    been trying to solve that sharpness mystery with my xt-2 on low light with no tripods. Shutter speed does help but would need to take multiple shots. As a followup question, will a full frame make better shots handheld on low light or will it be same ?
     
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  4. GregWard

    GregWard Premium Member

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    Not sure why either of you would expect a different camera to make a difference here? Without seeing images it is difficult to judge for sure (and even with an image not certain) but the most obvious causes here are either bad focus or, as @Primes4ever says, motion blur. Neither are issues - directly at least - that the "2" or an FF camera would solve. You don't specify whether the shutter speed (in the OP) was 30 seconds or 1/30th of a second? In most rooms with dim lighting I would have expected somewhere in between. Clearly 30 seconds is a very long exposure - so always going to be problematic on any camera. But hand holding a 23mm at 1/30th should be comparatively easy with decent technique.

    Both the X-T1 and the X-T2 do, however, resort to Contrast Detect AF in lower lighting conditions. Now this is trickier to use if you're not used to it. So that's a possible cause if it is bad focus. Indirectly a DSLR (though not per se an FF camera) could have helped because it would normally use Phase Detect AF. But decent focussing is still possible on an X-T1. Note that with CDAF the camera may well indicate it has focussed (and indeed BE focussed) - just not focussed on what you intended.

    If it is motion blur, on the other hand, then the only technology that would have helped directly would be IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) or using an optically stabilised lens. You could also have aimed for a higher shutter speed by increasing the ISO. Here an FF camera might have helped indirectly since you can typically get reasonable quality at higher ISO values with larger sensors. The "2" might have helped to a very small degree in the same manner as it's sensor is newer and you could downsize the image.

    All that said - this is really about technique and reasonable expectations I would suggest. Not the exact camera.
     
  5. streetsntravel

    streetsntravel Premium Member

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    Wow, there are multiple components to good low light photography. One is the technical aspect; can the equipment perform. A second is the technique used by the photographer. Then there is the interaction of the photographer with the equipment - that's arguably technique.

    To answer your question I think I would need better "laboratory" controls, and additional information especially rudimentary stuff like a sample photo, shutter speed, ISO, etc. But I will stress again, technique is so important.

    The autofocus system on the Fuji cameras isn't particularly good at focusing on contrast delineations, especially in low light. It's more of a "surface" focusing mechanism. It doesn't always do what you think it should, especially if you have previous experience in DSLRs. So IMO, in your situation I think a lot of testing is in order with a wide variety of focusing targets and especially a tripod. Once you know how your camera focuses, you can then work on your low-light hand-holding technique. Try to work on only one thing at a time.

    As I read your original post, the variables in your experiment are questionable pick of focus targets, marginal hand-holding shutter speed, undetermined hand-holding technique, varying lighting conditions (e.g. flicker of the TV), etc. That's not a good way to debug.

    Theoretically a X-T2 might do better, but only in that it would allow you to use a faster shutter speed and possibly there is a tweek or two that would be advantageous in the AF algorithm. However, it also has a higher pixel density, so when pixel peeping you might be fooled into thinking it's worse.

    Best Regards,
    Roger
     
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  6. beakhammer

    beakhammer Premium Member

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    1/30 of a second is often too slow to hand-hold the 23mm/1.4 lens (with any modern digital APSc camera). High resolution digital sensors are less forgiving of motion than film was. Using an even higher-resolution camera would not be an advantage in terms of motion blur. The old rule of thumb would demand 1/35 second minimum speed with a field of view that is "equivalent" to a 35mm lens, but I find that I have to at least double this to 1/60 second unless I have a good way to steady the camera. This also assumes that the subject is motionless and that you have good hand-holding technique and a gentle press of the shutter button.

    Are you underexposing the shot? There may be some conditions where underexposing the shot can hinder auto-focus in low light, depending on settings.

    Try using manual focus so as to confirm that focus is accurate.

    Try using single-point AF for greater precision.

    Try using a tripod and cable release to confirm that motion blur is not the issue.

    Try faster shutter speeds.

    The X-T2 is very unlikely to solve this problem for you.
     
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  7. Gaston

    Gaston Premium Member

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    Wow! Didn't expect so many answers. Learning quite a few things today.
    To make things a little clearer for all of you, I was using a speed of 1/30 sec and not 30 sec. My apologies.

    I should have used a tripod of course and perhaps a delay on the shutter button but I was too lazy to do it.
    It is my believing that the XT-2 should behave better in low light condition because now you can go as high as 12,800 ISO. which could let me use a higher speed but as some of you pointed out, the contrast detection AF might not help very much.

    I will definitely follow all your suggestions to the best I can.

    Thank you all and have a nice day.
     
  8. GregWard

    GregWard Premium Member

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    The old "reciprocal rule" (which was written in the days of 35mm Film cameras) stated that you should be able to handhold at one divided by the focal length. Today we need, of course, to allow for the "crop factor". So the 23mm needs to be "converted" to 34.5mm (ie x 1.5) to be comparable with the old film cameras. So you "should" be able to shoot at 1/34.5th seconds (ie very very close to 1/30th) successfully.

    However, this is really only a guide. Some people can easily beat this (ie can get away with a slower shutter speed) but others need a higher shutter speed. This is especially the case (as @beakhammer pointed out) with digital where we tend to pixel peep. But if you are sitting down (as I assume you might be in a TV room?) and holding the camera with a good technique etc you should be able to get a pretty decent result I think. If not then try bumping the ISO up to 2,000 and using 1/60th and see if that helps?

    But I would wonder if this is more a focussing issue? Assuming you were focussing on something 10 feet away (?) then the depth of field is likely to give reasonable focus about 1.4 feet in front of that point and nearly 2 feet behind - so reasonable but not a huge amount of leeway. If you were trying to focus on something closer then DOF gets very narrow (eg at 4 feet it's around a 1/4 of a foot either side). Now you could see it would be very easy to have focussed on the wrong subject - and the CDAF will do this easily if you're not careful.

    You might want to re-examine your images to see if there are any areas that are sharply in focus?
     
  9. beakhammer

    beakhammer Premium Member

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    Good point, higher ISO will solve your problem by allowing a higher shutter speed.
     
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  10. dem

    dem Premium Member

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    If you were happy with the lens in a good lght, then the softness caused by the large aperture and the shallow DOF are probably not at fault here. Camera shake (NOT motion blur!!!) is the most likely culprit.

    As others said, getting the X-T2 is not going to help. Getting a full frame is going to help because you will be able to double both the ISO and the shutter speed on it while keeping the same noise levels. A tripod might be the most cost effective solution though :)
     
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  11. Gaston

    Gaston Premium Member

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    Yes CregWard, you are right. I was sitting about 10 feet from the wall. There was that little lamp on top a the sound speaker. I focused on it. But the size of the focusing point was covering the whole white lampshade. The resulting image was not bad. It's just that when I check it with the focus assist button, it shows a slightly out of focus lampshade.

    Thanks again guys for all your inputs.
     
  12. Dirk Offringa

    Dirk Offringa Premium Member

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    I was a bit intrigued so tried a similar shot from what you described, but with the 35mm f1.4, same setting. I have no trouble whatsoever getting razorsharp images. So probably camera shake. I manage to shoot sharp images (meaning pixel-peep sharp) with as low as 1/10th of a second handheld with the 35mm if I pay good attention to my technique. With a 23mm it would even be easier.
     
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  13. Gaston

    Gaston Premium Member

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    Congratulations for such steadiness on your part Dirk. I have a 35mm WR but no 1.4. No problem with it hand held in good light anyway. Will try it tonight. I was thinking of buying the 56mm 1.2 this summer but I think I will have to practice, practice and practice if I want my images to be sharp wide open.
     
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  14. Gaston

    Gaston Premium Member

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    Hi-again folks..

    I've been playing with the different options tonight using tripod, higher iso, therefore higher speed etc. All is well. I have no problem with my lens and glad to report that I can do it handheld at 1/30 sec just as well as the tripod. Also tried the 35mm F2 with success although had to crank iso a bit. "Repeat after me... I shouldn't expect the same sharpness in low light than the one I get in good light" That's about it isn't it.

    It can focus well but not as well as my own 72 years old eye of course.
    Truly, when I approach the lamp and look at it as close as I can see with the help of the focus assist button on the camera, I can see it sharper. But I suppose I am asking too much from a lens and also from the tiny tv. from the EVF. After all, nothing can beat a good eye can't it...
     

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