I'm Terrible At Low Light Photography! (Any Help Appreciated)

Welcome to the New Sony Alpha Shooters Community
Our community was only launched in August 2020 but is already thriving thanks to many amazing and helpful members. We'd love to welcome you on board too!
Join Now

Bryan Carroll

Active Member
Original poster
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
0
25
8
Aug 18, 2020
Lately I have had some things pop up where I need to shoot in low light situations (like tonight was a homecoming-type situation). And I have discovered I'm not the best at low light photography!

I usually use an a6500 (waiting on the a74 to get released at some point), which I already know the crop sensor does not help in low light situations. I also don't have any super fast lenses that are native to Sony (I have a Canon 50mm 1.8 w/ adapter (super slow with autofocus), Tamron 70-180 f2.8, Sony 16-35mm f4) which I know probably isn't helping the situation out either.

I usually don't like shooting over about 800 iso because on the crop sensor the noise starts to become much more noticeable. But with people moving around, and super low light I was trying to shoot around 6000 iso just to see what would happen. The problem is, the autofocus would not focus on anything, and would just hunt like crazy. When it was hunting, I could never actually snap a photo.

Is this just a problem with not having the right equipment, needing a full frame sensor with fast lenses, etc, or just being a terrible photographer in these type of situations....šŸ˜‚ Any thoughts?
 

Ade

Active Member
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
0
48
23
Oct 22, 2020
Name
Ade
Country
United Kingdom
City/State
West Yorkshire
Have you tried manual focusing at a set distance? I know a lot of people use this with street photography.
Not ideal with people moving quickly but it might help a bit.
 

Bryan Carroll

Active Member
Original poster
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
0
25
8
Aug 18, 2020
Have you tried manual focusing at a set distance? I know a lot of people use this with street photography.
Not ideal with people moving quickly but it might help a bit.
I did end up switching over to manual focus for some of it, which did seem to work better. But yes you have to work fast when people are moving around so it was good practice with manual focus!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ade

grahamgorilla

Newcomer
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
0
14
3
Nov 6, 2020
Name
Graham SExton
Have you tried taking multiple shots (continuous shooting)? Hopefully one of the series of shots might have a good focus...
 

tcoquelin

Active Member
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
0
Following
0
38
29
Aug 29, 2020
I'd stick to the 50f1.8 and rely on IBIS or tripod or anything to get the longest exposure I can.
I also shoot RAW and only remove chroma part of noise in post. This leaves a much less distracting noise while saving most of the details.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bryan Carroll

FowlersFreeTime

Well Known Member
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
12
Following
3
568
308
Nov 19, 2020
Name
Chris Fowler
Country
United States
City/State
Pembroke Pines/FL
I am really bad at low light photography too! Last year I took some pictures at a friend's wedding with my a6000 and kit lens and half were crap because the rain forced us inside a dark dining hall (not dark really, but more mood lighting than picture lighting haha).
If I had to do it all over again, I would lower the shutter speed to the lowest speed I can get clear pics handheld (which could be 1/100 or 1/150 if you are a bit shaky like me), aperture at the widest value possible, and leave the ISO in automatic (but set the limit so you know the ISO will be between 1000 and 4000 for example). However, there is a limit to some gear, and I wish I had rented a faster lens for that event, a Sony 50mm f1.8 would have been great, a Sigma 56mm f1.4 would have been even better. Live and learn!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bryan Carroll

Timothy Mayo

Admin
Pro Member
Pro Member
Followers
85
Following
24
920
575
Mar 1, 2020
Name
Tim
Country
United Kingdom
City/State
Malvern
It depends on what you are wanting to shoot but the Sigma trio of F1.4 lenses (16mm, 30mm, 56mm) are very good for the price.

I stumbled across this video yesterday that I really enjoyed, although he's shooting with the a7III + 85mm F1.8

 
  • Like
Reactions: Bryan Carroll

Pro Membership Upgrade

  • If you'd like to support this community you can easily do so by becoming a Pro Member and unlocking the following benefits:

    ✓ No Adverts in the Forums
    ✓ Pro Member Competitions
    ✓ Sell Items in the Marketplace
    ✓ Unlimited Gallery Uploads
    ✓ Higher Resolution Gallery Uploads
    ✓ Forum Profile Signature
    ✓ Custom Profile Cover Photo
    ✓ Advertise Your Photography Workshops

    Pro Member Upgrade

Shopping Links

You can also support this site by purchasing gear through the following affiliate links:
Although I would recommend supporting your local camera store if you have one.

User Menu

alpha shooters text logo

Ā© 2020 Alpha Shooters. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Alpha Shooters is an independently run website and is not affiliated with Sony.com
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.