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Pictures in Delivery Room (Low Light)

Connie Simon , Dec 16, 2007; 02:29 p.m.

Can someone help me out with this question since I will be in a delivery room taking pictures some time this next week.

We have a Canon EOS Digital Rebel 300 body and have been trying to take pictures in low light to prepare. They are coming out blurry since the shutter speed is very slow and they are yellow. I have set the camera on the Program setting and taken the ISO as high as 1600 with no success. I have three lenses 1) 75- 300mm 1.5m/4.9ft 1:4-5.6 2) Ultrasonic 35-135mm 1:4-5.6 3) EFS 18-55mm .28m/.9ft.

I am not an expert at the digital camera and was wondering if there are any settings to we need to find to help make this happen, or if I have to go back to my film Canon Rebel and by high speed film.




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Hakon Soreide , Dec 16, 2007; 02:43 p.m.

What were your shutter speeds at full open apertures at ISO 1600. From that you can calculate whether for instance getting a f1.8, f1.4 or even a f1.2 lens might be what you need to get the shots... If the images include subject movement, which I assume it does since you're probably not taking pictures just of the room but of the people in it, that might be the only way to go.

If you need to push it even further, you can add exposure compensation to underexpose by one or two stops as necessary - it will give you noisier pictures as you bring the exposure up in post-processing, but it is still a lot better than blurry shots, and noise reduction can get rid of the worst of it.

High speed film might potentially turn out a lot more grainy than turning up the ISO in a digital camera...

Puppy Face , Dec 16, 2007; 03:48 p.m.

The largest aperture of your zooms is F4. That's really slow for available light without a tripod. You should consider buying or renting a fast prime, e.g., EF 35 2.0 or EF 50 1.8. If you demand a zoom, a fast zoom such as an EF-S 17-55 2.8 IS USM would gain you a stop and steady your hand with IS. I've used that lens to shoot in murky bars and casinos and got many amazingly sharp pics.

As for the yellow color, that's simply a matter of WB. You can set it manually. Personally I'd shoot RAW and mess with WB later. RAW also makes it easier to add EC if the pics are too dark.

Bob S , Dec 16, 2007; 03:48 p.m.

I'd think about picking up a fast 50(1.4) and/or 85(1.8).

Rana Tahir , Dec 16, 2007; 03:51 p.m.

Use your shutter speeds around 30 or less at full open apertures at ISO 1600 and put your camera on tripod. ;)

Emre Safak , Dec 16, 2007; 03:53 p.m.

I wonder how one would use an 85mm lens on a 1.6x crop body in a delivery room. Lots of options: Go wide and shoot high ISO. Lean against the wall. Get a monopod. Rent a better camera like the 5D.

Steve Parrott , Dec 16, 2007; 04:15 p.m.

A *dark* delivery room? I would think of all places a delivery room would be quite bright? We are talking about a hospital delivery room right? And it is dark? I would think 1600 ISO would be plenty of speed under those conditions, even without a very fast lens. I agree, shoot RAW and work with white balance later. There should be plenty of white in the delivery room to target when adjusting the WB in post processing. Definitely get OUT of the PROGRAM mode. I would use TV priority, (shutter speed priority) and set a speed of around 125. Again, with the high ISO I would think this would give you enough light under the conditions, unless they are delivering babies in dark rooms now.

Bob S , Dec 16, 2007; 04:16 p.m.

Okay. It must be nitpick Sunday. How about just looking into a fast, inexpensive prime in an appropriate focal length for size of the room and the crop factor that you're dealing with. It appears that a ~$250-400 investment would do it.

A. Taner , Dec 16, 2007; 05:58 p.m.

85mm, or even the 50mm will be a recipe for heartbreak...

This one is from the days of film - Rebel G, EF 28mm/2.8 with Ilford XP2 400 film exposed at ISO 800:

Try 35mm or wider, and you should rule out anything slower than f/2.8.

EF 28/2.8 is probably your cheapest bet in terms of buying. Renting an L series wide f/1.4 lens (either the 24 or the 35) is probably the ideal solution.

Good luck - with everything!

Richard Cochran , Dec 16, 2007; 07:18 p.m.

A *dark* delivery room? I would think of all places a delivery room would be quite bright?

They vary, but many have quite subdued lighting. It can be downright dark during parts of the labor process. In most hospitals, there will be very bright "operating room" style lights which the doctors can turn on if and when needed, but otherwise, it can be fairly dim.

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