Photo tips for churches

Old Apr 6th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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Photo tips for churches

I'm looking forward to a return trip to Italy where I was fascinated by the opulence of the great churches and cathedrals. Last time, my pics were ok but it's hard with low lighting. Any tips? Tripods really aren't practical.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 07:40 PM
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In the old, pre-digital days we used high speed film to compensate for low light when flash was not permitted. On your digital camera there may be a setting for such conditions - check your user's guide.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 07:47 PM
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Without the use of manual functions I find that simply turning off the flash and finding a place to lean my camera against (pillar, wall or top of chair) to keep it absolutely still turns out pretty good photos. This is inferior to adjusting the settings manually, but this is a simple way to get decent photos with an auto point and shoot.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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A few tips
1) If you have not already purchased, buy a camera with the widest angle lens at the short end, for example 28-65mm, will be better than 35-80mm. Not sure what the digital equivalents are , but if you go to a half decent camera shop they will know the difference.


2) If using the camera handheld you have 3 choices to improve the sharpness of the image 1) brace your arms to steady the camera or place the camera on a solid surface like a pew;even lean against a post for portrait style shots 2) use the IS (image stabilisation) function on your camera to steady the image 3) increase the ISO setting on the camera, this will increase the shutter speed when the camera is set to aperture priority mode, and increase the images sharpness. Note- a wide angle image is easier to steady then an image taken at the long end of the zoom range.
A combination of the 3 points above may be required, depending on camera settings and available light.

A little practice with the flash turned off inside your house before your trip should improve your images.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 11:07 PM
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Another point to keep in mind; increasing the ISO setting on your camera will increase noise levels, and the image wil start to appear grainy at higher settings. The quality of the image at higher ISO settings is different for each camera , so make sure you check the quality of your images at the higher iso settings prior to your trip.
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Old Apr 6th, 2007, 11:49 PM
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navgator, you seem like a photography afficionado. may i ask you a question re: choice of 32mm films. when would you use 100 speed vs 200 or 400 speed films (let's just assume they're all priced the same)? what camera do you use when you're travelling? thanks !
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 02:24 AM
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Get a Fujifilm digital compact F30, F31fd or F40fd. They take great indoor pictures without flash, with up to ISO 1600 speed with little noise. I've taken many great shots inside churches if there's enough light to see with naked eyes.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 06:58 AM
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If you're still using film for travel, 400 is a good "compromise" ISO that's fast enough for some indoor shots while not too grainy. If you know you'll be taking a lot of interior shots on your trip, then maybe 800.

1600 film are usually too grainy.

Or you can get two cameras, or learn how to change films mid-roll. Or shoot whole roll inside a church, then change film and shot slower film outside.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 07:02 AM
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Many new Fuji cameras have excellent low-light high-ISO performance. But they also don't have IS.

If one's only taking static interior shots, then IS is as effective as high ISO. But high-ISO is much better if you need to take action/movement shots in the dark, as the high ISO setting allows you to use a faster shutter speed to capture the movements.

Different take, different purpose. Of course, if Fuji will put IS on their compact cameras, they'd be a killer.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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I should have said a faster shutter speed will allow one to "stop" the movement.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 07:23 AM
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No flash photography.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 08:37 AM
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My trick with my digital camera is to use the self timer in low light settings.
I find that hard as I try to hold still, just depressing the shutter shakes the camera.
If I use the self timer (mine gives the option for a 3 or 10 second delay) and then hold still, I get a better photo.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 10:14 AM
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rkkwan,
thanks for your detailed reply. yes, i still use my 35mm camera on occasion. i agree, the 400 ISO is good compromise. re: changing films midroll, how do you do that? thanks for your reply !
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Has anybody tried the Panasonic Lumix with the Leica lens and Image Stabilization? I've just started trying to read up on this digital camera.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 11:53 AM
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I have been using a
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX07 since last fall and find it very good in bright lighting conditions,but lees so in low light.The image stabilization only works up to ISO 200 and if you bump up the ISO setting to anything over 400 image quality noticeably deteriorates.

What it does have that is nice is a 28mm wide angle lens.Good for those tight interior shots.

I have now replaced this camera with a Cannon SD 800IS which also has a 28mm lens but does a much better job than the Panasonic in low light conditions.

Here are some shots from my trip to Germany/Austria taken last December.They were almost all taken with the Panasonic FX07

http://tinyurl.com/2jbe9t
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 12:46 PM
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My husband is very steady and takes pretty good photos our digital in low light situations (often with the help of holding the camera against a pillar, wall, bridge, bench, etc.).

However I find that I can improve the quality of these photos in Photoshop after I return from the trip. I've learned to never delete what I think might be a bad photo until I've had the chance to try all the tricks in Photoshop to make it better.

I'm sure there are other photo editing programs that could also help with this problem.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 01:11 PM
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There are lots of stuff one can fix in post-processing, including exposure and noise. But in general, it's very hard or impossible to fix shake.

Exposure is especially easy if one's shooting in RAW format.

In difficult situation, I always always review - zooming in - the picture immediately after shooting. If there's shake, reshoot. If still not good, bump up the shutter speed, even if it may result in an underexposed picture.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 01:24 PM
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I do the same as Kristina. I use the self timer function to eliminate the camera shake that results from you pressing down the button. I thought of the idea last year and a friend poo-poohed it but I tried some samples with and without the timer anyway. It's not perfect but it definitely helped. I've also stabilized the camera on my husband's head. It's pretty hard ;-:
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 01:37 PM
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Or if all else fails, give a little money to the church and take some of their postcards with spectacular interior shots.
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Old Apr 7th, 2007, 01:46 PM
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And don't forget that in many Italian churches - Rome in particular - there are coin-operated spot lights on many of the famous art works. They usually take €0.5 coins - make a huge difference!
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