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Forums DSLR Video 550D low light capabilities

  • 550D low light capabilities

     Stephen Knox updated 11 years ago 7 Members · 23 Posts
  • Michael Lorushe

    November 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    I’m new to the world of DSLR video and after countless hours researching on blogs, forums, youtube, vimeo etc…I decided to purchased a 550d/T2i with a Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens.

    Today I tested it outside and I’m pleased with the results. However I’m at a loss as to why I can’t seem to get decent looking video indoors. I’m shooting at 1080p, 25fps, iris wide open, 1/30 shutter, ISO 800 and yet my footage looks washed out, underexposed and noisy. I’ve reduced the contrast and saturation in one of the picture styles to increase dynamic range but is still looks crappy.

    Am i missing something? I was under the impression that DSLRs had better low light capabilities than normal video cameras, yet I can get a much better result with my EX1…even at -3db gain. I know that a faster lens would help but I thought that f2.8 would be sufficient, at least for now…which is why I chose the Tamron lens over the standard kit lens.

    Please help! Thanks in advanced.

    Michael Folorunsho – Videographer & Editor
    http://www.mikedoesmedia.com

  • Darrell Boeck

    November 17, 2010 at 2:22 am

    Hi Michael,

    Something is wrong. I have an EX1 and the T2i, but the Canon 17-55 2.8 lens. My Canon is significantly better in low light. I’m not sure what you could be doing wrong…

  • Steve Crow

    November 17, 2010 at 3:34 am

    Something is definitely off. Try resetting the camera to default settings. Keep the shutter speed to 1/50 which is the ideal setting for filming 24/25fps video.

    Are you absolutely sure that your lens aperture is set to wide open?

    That lens should be plenty fast enough. 800 ISO is really the maximum you want to go…is this a decently lit room (like could you easily read a book in the available light?)

  • Michael Sacci

    November 17, 2010 at 4:02 am

    [Michael Folorunsho] “1/30 shutter”
    That is not the recommended shutter speed, it would be better to use 1/50, less motion blur and is similar to a 180 degree shutter.

    Why not post a frame. But are you shooting side by side?

  • Michael Lorushe

    November 17, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Thanks for your replies…

    I tried resetting the camera…no change.

    I get the whole 1/50 shutter thing, just wanted to maximize the amount of light coming into the camera for now.

    Okay I’ve attached some screen shots of the results I’m getting. Note that all the frames have the following settings: Shutter 1/50, aperture f2.8. The difference between each frame is the ISO which I have specified:

    ISO: 100

    ISO: 200

    ISO: 400

    ISO: 800

    ISO: 1600

    ISO: 3200

    ISO: 6400

    Michael Folorunsho – Videographer & Editor
    http://www.mikedoesmedia.com

  • Michael Lorushe

    November 17, 2010 at 6:16 am

    And yes, the aperture is definitely at its widest and this room is definitely bright enough to read a book in.

    Any ideas? Thanks again.

    Michael Folorunsho – Videographer & Editor
    http://www.mikedoesmedia.com

  • Steve Crow

    November 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Something is seriously F*#!ed Up with either your camera or your lens, either that or you are just messing with us.

    Send it back – the lens, the camera, both whatever. You might borrow a Canon lens from someone just to test out but there is no way things should be this dark.

  • Michael Sacci

    November 17, 2010 at 7:02 am

    My guess is the camera. But take a look at the front of the lens as you are moving the f-stop setting, you should be able to see the aperture change. In normal still mode (not live view) the aperture will always be wide open.

    If you can find a buddy with a canon camera you can test the lens on his camera and their lens on your camera and it would help to figure out which is the problem.

    Pictures are helpful 🙂

  • Steve Crow

    November 17, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Oh, one more thing….you are filming in FULL manual mode yes?…check your menu settings. If you are not, the camera is taking control of some of the exposure settings which could be causing your issue in theory.

    When you are looking through the viewfinder or using Liveview you should see THREE sets of numbers at the bottom left that you can control….shutter speed, aperture and ISO

    For a decently lit room, settings of 50 2.4 200 should give you a nice exposure with a shallow depth of field. If it’s too dark raise the ISO one more notch but leave the other two settings alone for this test.

  • Ben Holmes

    November 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    Don’t want to rain on your parade, but – seems about right to me. “Well lit room” is a very subjective term, and it looks like yours is lit by no more than a couple of tungsten bulbs, right? That’s actually pretty low light, darker than being under a streetlight most probably.

    You’ve got an F2.8 lens on your camera, which will probably require an ISO of around 1600 to be acceptable – much as you’re seeing, and pretty noisy with all that H.264 compression. This is analogous to a fair bit of ‘gain’ in your video camera, but the 550D doesn’t do such a good job of noise reduction.

    Using Canon’s own (dirt cheap) F1.8 50mm prime lens in a room with 3x60w light sources, I need to use ISO800 to get a decent exposure.

    You can’t use a cheap lens and get great results with something like the 550D – as excellent as it is. All the example videos you see on Vimeo are either shot with expensive, fast lenses, or focus on a light source, like a candle. A lit room, with areas of light and dark, is quite different…

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