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Old 11-28-2013   #81
Stdon
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The trouble at weddings, very few church services allow flash during the actual ceremony. So one needs to reset afterwards. Or like me just use a D700 or D800, fast glass and you're set.
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Four years on: current best for low-light social photography?
Old 06-12-2017   #82
SimonPJ
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Four years on: current best for low-light social photography?

Four years ago I started this thread with the message below.

What's changed since then? Is a digital M still the best tool for sitting amongst the social action and capturing great moments? Or have other cameras changed the game for unobtrusively capturing the moment whilst life goes on around you in a low light social setting? (For me, it's now an M240P with 35 Lux Asph - but I'm curious about whether that's still the best way to deal with the challenges of capturing fleeting social moments in low light.)

Cheers,

Simon


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Originally Posted by SimonPJ View Post
In the 25 plus years that I've been using Leicas one of my main uses for them has been documenting social or work events that I'm participating in - usually when I'm sitting amongst the people I'm photographing, and often in very poor light because it's indoors, or late in the day. I know this is a familiar situation for many on RFF.

Until the M8, for me this usually meant a film M loaded with 800 ISO colour neg film, and more often than not a 35 'Lux wide open, or nearly so, shot at 1/30 or even 1/15. This can work fine - as long as you're able to juggle shallow depth of field and shoot when your subjects aren't getting too animated and moving around too much!

The M8 wasn't too much of a step up from film M's in handling these situations - and though the M9 is better, it's still in the same ballpark when it comes to dealing with real low light. You're having to really keep on your toes to make shallow depth of field and low shutter speeds work.

So, I've been wondering whether there are any interesting alternatives to try that would work better - or at least, differently - in these low light social situations.

I know there are plenty of cameras that can do a bit - maybe quite a bit - better than the M9 in low light.

But I know also that lots of them have problems focusing in low light.

So, if I want to try something that might be an interesting alternative to the M9 for this kind of photography, what should I try?

It needs to have significantly better high ISO performance than the M9 to open up the possibility of smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds.

It needs to be able to focus reliably and quickly on people's faces -preferably their eyes - in challengingly low light (all M's do this exceptionally well).

It needs to allow a good view of the subject for quick and responsive composition.

And it needs to be unobtrusive, quiet and easy to hold and pack - to make it easy to keep participating in the social situation.

So, what would this be? Fuji x100s? Any DSLR's? It always seems to me that there isn't anything out there which really nails all of the above features to make it an alternative to the M9. But I'd love to hear that I'm wrong.

Cheers,

Simon
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Old 06-12-2017   #83
Darthfeeble
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Best Low Light camera ever has to be the original X100. ISO 6400 is quite useable.
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Old 06-12-2017   #84
Phil_F_NM
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I'd say the very best low light social camera would be the Konica Hexar. Not the RF, the original AF one. I didn't see anything in the thread that said it was limited to digital cameras though it has concentrated on digital. Anyway, NOTHING focuses better in low light or complete darkness, better than the Hexar. It can focus better than any other rangefinder or contrast detection system due to active infrared. The lens is one of the very best 35mm lenses ever made. Stick some Delta 3200 in there and the combination can't be beat.

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Old 06-12-2017   #85
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Nikon df (D4 sensor) and a 50mm f1.4, secondhand cheaper than a 35mm Summicron I don't believe even the latest Leica sensor is as good in low light.
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Old 06-12-2017   #86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Darthfeeble View Post
Best Low Light camera ever has to be the original X100. ISO 6400 is quite useable.
But it does not (auto) focus that well in low light. The latest one, the X100F, is way better in this regard. At this point, there are many low light cameras...

Fujifilm X-T2 (-3EV and 12800 ISO)
Nikon D750
Sony A7S
etc
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Old 06-12-2017   #87
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Canon 6D is most effective on high ISO and price with 50 1.8 modern lens, which is under $200. IMO. Weight is going to be less than M240 and ASPH Lux. Weight by all means. My social life under low light is FED-2 with J-3, at f1.5 and 1/30 it well balanced. By all means. With small DSLR, pancake lens and tiny flash I'm already the nerd among popular kids at the school.
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Old 06-12-2017   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonPJ View Post
Four years ago I started this thread with the message below.

What's changed since then? Is a digital M still the best tool for sitting amongst the social action and capturing great moments? Or have other cameras changed the game for unobtrusively capturing the moment whilst life goes on around you in a low light social setting? (For me, it's now an M240P with 35 Lux Asph - but I'm curious about whether that's still the best way to deal with the challenges of capturing fleeting social moments in low light.)

Cheers,

Simon
As others have mentioned -- and this was true 4 years ago as well -- the Fuji X100 is a small and and excellent low-light camera with virtually silent operation. I don't have the X100F, but I'm sure it's even better.

For a Leica M, I think there are better options now than the M240, which doesn't have the quietest shutter in the range. Unless your environment isn't very quiet, the M262 might be a better choice for what you're describing.
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Old 06-12-2017   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
But it does not (auto) focus that well in low light. The latest one, the X100F, is way better in this regard. At this point, there are many low light cameras...

Fujifilm X-T2 (-3EV and 12800 ISO)
Nikon D750
Sony A7S
etc
You are right on the AF, I was thinking of the image quality. I rely on the MF and hope that I've set it right for focusing in a really low light situation.
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Old 06-12-2017   #90
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A7s...w/silent shutter..
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Old 06-12-2017   #91
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Leica M10

Fuji X-Pro2
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Old 06-12-2017   #92
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What kind of lighting is in the room where you want to photograph? Describe it as per type, quality, intensity and direction.
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Old 06-13-2017   #93
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What kind of lighting is in the room where you want to photograph? Describe it as per type, quality, intensity and direction.
The lighting varies - but the key challenges of the situation are consistent. I'm talking about a very broad category of photography - but one which I'm sure is a very common one - especially among the rangefinder-style photography community.

Typically this would be sitting amongst family or friends in a café, or bar, or at the dinner table - or similar situations with work colleagues, plus other work situations, which might include workshops and meetings.

Lighting varies widely, of course, though the main thing is that it's constantly changing from front- to side- to back-lit as the conversation or action develops, and it's very often far from ideal in terms of colour temp or brightness.

Motion blur and shallow focus plane are perpetual challenges that you can often make work for you, but do lead to lost images. And it does seem that active photographing with a camera has become more noticeable and intrusive now that using a smartphone for photos has become taken-for-granted and 'invisible'.

I'm wondering whether waistlevel shooting with, say, a Sony A7s and a 28/2 lens might have advantages. Guess I'll have to try!
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Old 06-13-2017   #94
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I had a Sony a7s for a while. Wonderful in low light and takes the lenses you already have. But. The user interface really leaves you speechless if you are used to a Leica. Endless menus, small buttons and a too small frame (and I have Trump-sized hands...) resulted in me selling the camera after a while. It was fun to shoot at 25k iso, but in those conditions I found it rare that the light was worth recording...
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Old 06-13-2017   #95
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Quote:
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It was fun to shoot at 25k iso, but in those conditions I found it rare that the light was worth recording...
Exactly. I suppose journalists might need that kind of low light performance, but bad light generally results in unappealing images. I find adding my own light is needed to get the image I want even though I have DSLRs that shoot at astronomical ISOs.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #96
harold bishop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marko.oja View Post
I had a Sony a7s for a while. Wonderful in low light and takes the lenses you already have. But. The user interface really leaves you speechless if you are used to a Leica. Endless menus, small buttons and a too small frame (and I have Trump-sized hands...) resulted in me selling the camera after a while. It was fun to shoot at 25k iso, but in those conditions I found it rare that the light was worth recording...
I use the A7S in low light with my M mount lenses. Strictly manual. In this mode it is excellent but once past iso 5000, the quality falls off. it's breeze to focus fast primes, wide open; the same primes you can use on your rangefinder.

I have read many posts criticising the Sony menu and people selling the camera because of it. I really don't get this. In manual mode, I probably only want access to a few settings and all are accessed from a single button. The other 90% of the functions I never use.

And yes, the A7S has silent shutter which is very useful. The A7S is getting on a bit now (in Sony terms!) but a great companion to Leica M cameras or indeed the Epson R-D1.

With a bit of practice using Lightroom, the image colours and warmth from the rangefinders can be closely achieved.
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