Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-23-2013, 12:24 AM   #1
Junior Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 46
taking photos with built in flash in extremely low light

Can anyone advise what settings to use with the camera to take photos with the 18-55 DA lens where the subject (an animal or bird) is in almost complete darkness, and at an unknown distance within say a 3-10 metre range (i.e. there is not enough light coming through the viewfinder to see anything other than a vague shape)? I assume in this situation it is too dim for auto focus to work, or does the TTL preflash allow the lens to focus?

The user manual is little or no help.

Thanks

09-23-2013, 01:25 AM   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: GMT +10
Photos: Albums
Posts: 10,576
Well, the on-camera AF assist light (if it is turned on) will probably kick in before any pre-flash. If it doesn't the preflash should do the job. Try it out in a dark area of your bedroom or something.

Then just set the camera to P and fire away, or go to M and set your aperture to suit the DOF you need (using the 18-55, so you should probably go with wide open), set the shutter to 1/180, put a limit on how high you want the ISO to go (ISO 800 with the built-in flash will let you shoot to about 7 metres at f5.6, ISO 1600 just under 10m), and let the PTTL do the rest.
09-23-2013, 02:01 AM   #3
Pentaxian
Digitalis's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Adelaide.
Posts: 8,534
are you attempting to photograph bats or something?
09-23-2013, 04:20 AM   #4
Junior Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 46
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Well, the on-camera AF assist light (if it is turned on) will probably kick in before any pre-flash. If it doesn't the preflash should do the job. Try it out in a dark area of your bedroom or something.

Then just set the camera to P and fire away, or go to M and set your aperture to suit the DOF you need (using the 18-55, so you should probably go with wide open), set the shutter to 1/180, put a limit on how high you want the ISO to go (ISO 800 with the built-in flash will let you shoot to about 7 metres at f5.6, ISO 1600 just under 10m), and let the PTTL do the rest.
Thanks, I am beginning to understand this now - the AF assist function is extremely hit and miss in the dark.

With P mode, flash mode set to flash on, the flash popped up, ISO 1600, and with the AF assist lamp on and confirmed to be working, the camera struggles to focus unless there is very high contrast / definition in the subject and the subject is within 3 or 4 metres. If it can't find these conditions, it refuses to focus, and won't release the shutter.

Is this other people's experience, or is there something else I need to do?

09-23-2013, 04:42 AM   #5
Site Supporter
mattt's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Niagara
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,658
It can be frustrating in low light when the camera tells you it cant take a photo. I suggest to change AF-S to Release priority instead of the defaul focus priority in the options menu (Options menu C3 / 15) . When shooting street fair at dusk I make this change, so even if I don't nail focus, I still have a shot to decide whether it is usable or not in post.
09-23-2013, 04:48 AM   #6
Pentaxian
Fogel70's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,737
It sound like you might have to use manual focus, and maybe stop down the lens to get focus to be within depth of field.
09-23-2013, 06:27 AM   #7
Site Supporter




Join Date: Sep 2012
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,728
QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Crouch Quote
Thanks, I am beginning to understand this now - the AF assist function is extremely hit and miss in the dark.

With P mode, flash mode set to flash on, the flash popped up, ISO 1600, and with the AF assist lamp on and confirmed to be working, the camera struggles to focus unless there is very high contrast / definition in the subject and the subject is within 3 or 4 metres. If it can't find these conditions, it refuses to focus, and won't release the shutter.

Is this other people's experience, or is there something else I need to do?
Are you trying to shoot using Live View? That will make focusing harder in very low light.
09-23-2013, 08:23 AM   #8
Pentaxian
carrrlangas's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Cottbus (Berlin)
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,738
Iīd switch to manual focus, select f/5.6, f/8 or f/11 depending on focal length. Keep focal length below 28mm and prefocus at hiperfocal distance. Adjust flash output with FEC. and shoot.
No need to focus, everything from 3m on will be in focus and the shot will be iluminated only by the flash.

09-23-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
Junior Member




Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 46
Original Poster
Thanks all for the tips (all good ones) - I'll try the combination manual focus preset to hyperfocal distance, aperture stopped down, release priority
09-23-2013, 03:48 PM   #10
Pentaxian
carrrlangas's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Cottbus (Berlin)
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,738
QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Crouch Quote
Thanks all for the tips (all good ones) - I'll try the combination manual focus preset to hyperfocal distance, aperture stopped down, release priority
Use Manual mode. When lighting with the flash only, shutter speed isnīt important. Keep it as low as possible to avoid motion or shake blur. 1/60 for example. But donīt be afraid to take it all the way up to 1/180 (max sync speed for flash) if needed
09-23-2013, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #11
Veteran Member
ChrisJ's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Eckington, Derbyshire UK
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 316
Simple, use a torch (flashlight), I have a small, but powerful, Cree LED torch, far more range than is required for the built in flash, works every time.

I use it for 'painting with light' also works for auto focus - sample.

[
]

Chris
02-19-2014, 12:48 PM   #12
Loyal Site Supporter
narual's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: South Bend (Notre Dame), Indiana
Posts: 1,934
Or if a flashlight would cause a problem, you can use a laser pointer, at least to help focus. I picked up a cheap (<$20 on ebay) green laser pointer (easier to see and brighter at lower power) with front lens attachments that split the beam into assorted shapes. I use the grid shape mostly, but if you're trying not to disturb the subject much, there was one that just spreads the beam out to maybe 2-3 inches wide by the time it's 10-15 feet out. That can give you a good basis for autofocus (especially with the grid shape)… focus with that, then set it to manual and turn the laser off.

If you're trying wildlife photography, you might want to look at using a laser or sound trigger:
https://www.facebook.com/HSFTRIGGERS
https://triggertrap.com

You can set up a laser trigger near a salt lick to catch deer, or a bird feeder or nesting site to catch birds. The HSF-triggers guy puts his micro triggers on sale dirt cheap sometimes (I got a set on Black Friday for 90% off and my wife bought me a second set plus the very handy delay box for 70% off), and since the trigger cable is basically an audio mono cable, you can add additional length to it very inexpensively, and with the right adapter you can use it to fire off the flash instead of the camera (not that big a deal for a deer, but much easier to freeze a hummingbird or a water balloon popping).
02-20-2014, 12:10 AM   #13
Moderator
Racer X 69's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The Great Pacific Northwet
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 8,800
QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Crouch Quote
Can anyone advise what settings to use with the camera to take photos with the 18-55 DA lens where the subject (an animal or bird) is in almost complete darkness, and at an unknown distance within say a 3-10 metre range (i.e. there is not enough light coming through the viewfinder to see anything other than a vague shape)? I assume in this situation it is too dim for auto focus to work, or does the TTL preflash allow the lens to focus?
I have had the best luck using the on camera flash with the camera on manual. It took me some time and practice, but I eventually got pretty good at guessing the settings needed for each situation.

QuoteOriginally posted by Andrew Crouch Quote
The user manual is little or no help.
It takes some getting used to, the user manuals can be quite cryptic. I have finally gotten used to the indirect and confusing nature of the Pentax user manuals.



QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisJ Quote
I use it for 'painting with light' also works for auto focus - sample.

[
]

Chris
That is such a cool picture!
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
auto, camera, da lens, dslr, focus, k-5, k-5 ii, k-5 iis, k5, lens, light, pentax k-5, photos, user
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
issues with K-01 built-in flash dstructor Pentax K-01 11 03-30-2013 11:52 AM
K-5 IIs hangs with built-in flash! Alizarine Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 3 01-20-2013 08:22 AM
Using Built in Flash in Wireless mode with External Flash i.e AF-360fgz disco_owner Flashes, Lighting, and Studio 7 05-16-2012 07:41 AM
K200D Black photos in low light freshshoots Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 12 06-22-2011 06:47 PM
Help-Taking Candid Pictures of People in Low Light trickashay Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 13 11-22-2009 04:22 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:20 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top