Question about Canon EOS Rebel XSi Digital Camera

1 Answer

Night and low-light specialty/experimental photography

As a fellow Expert on the site you caught my attention in the Expert's lounge, and I was curious as to what your expertise was on, and found some of your camera related solutions to be of a higher experience level than my own, and while I know a bit on the technical aspects as well as form and function of photography, I only recently bought and started using digital, and before that I did not have a great amount of experience with photography with film anyway.

Anyway, my request is for experience advice that you may have regarding night exposures, specifically with digital cameras (I have a Canon EOS XSi that gives me shivers on how much it outclasses my previous equipment), and also low-light experimental photography (specifically Macro in low light and also using closed apertures to decrease light exposure on shots)

I have three lenses, one is 18-55mm wide-to average perspective zoom EF-S, one is 75-300mm EF telephoto zoom, and the other is a 50mm EF lens.

I was told that due to the fact my camera uses a sensor which is .6 of the area of 35mm film, and the EF lenses were not made for digital cameras with a smaller exposure area, it magnifies the focal length of the EF lenses by .6, making a 75-300 lens into a 120-480. If you know whether or not this is fact or misinformation, please verify as well.

Problem: I have a macro adapter which I wish to use on subjects, and have a narrow field of view, thus a zoom lens is preferable - however, the 18-55 requires a very close subject but provides a decent DOF strictly in focusing terms, while the 75-300 lens allows a more distant subject but highly restricts the focusing depth, AND on top of all that there is very, very little light. While normally this could simply be corrected by using a tripod, increasing the aperture and decreasing the shudder speed, I have to do it by hand - the subjects are either inaccessable for a normal tripod, or require quick-setup to get the shot, meaning by hand and trying to get the correct focus to aperture compromise within five minutes in usually an awkward position, making hand-shake an issue. What would your recommended lens be, going in close and getting the largest area in focus (and hopefully limiting handshake) but also having a larger than desired shot, or using the 75-300 lens for short focus depth but better manuverability, as well as increase in hand-shake problems.

Second problem: getting night-shots to look as if they were at night. To my amazement, every time I do a night-shot and expose for the camera's desired "correct" exposure, it looks like early morning instead of 1AM. To compensate I've been increasing shutter speed, but that only seems to work to a degree. Also, I use the highest ISO speed (1600) in order to produce a grain effect as well as be able to lower the handshake issue even when I increase the shutter speed, since the shutter speed for a very dark exposure is still around 1/25th of a second. What I'm considering is whether or not increasing the aperture instead of increasing the shutter speed would produce better night-shots and just do enough bracketing to compensate for handshake or pack a tripod around to use as a unipod for stability.

Posted by on

  • 1 more comment 
  • Dshack
    Dshack Dec 16, 2008

    I do almost all of my normal photography using manual focus, aperture and shutter speed. Needless to say I don't do much action photography.

    However, for the quick-macro shots (insects, dew drops, rain, paint drying, whatever catches my fancy) I care less about shutter speed and more about the aperture, and use AV - though on everything non-macro I use the lowest aperture setting possible under normal circumstances. It's part of my style, for whatever reason. Thus, I am unfamiliar with the effects it may play in a night-shot.

    As I shoot purely in RAW and make no exceptions I also have to process it - and it seems I'm as lazy about processing RAW files as I was about processing prints, but I believe I can get a few basic, unpolished images to my flickr account for an example.

    Thank you for the info on the sensor ratio multiplier, and also concerning the ring strobe - I've seen them but that was before I began photography and haven't thought of one since, but it would indeed be perfect to add light to a close subject while using a macro adapter/lens in photography.

  • Dshack
    Dshack Dec 16, 2008

    As it is, I only have miscellaneous shots, but the pile waiting on my harddrive is just begging to get some air.

    I dislike serving something before it is suitable, but I may as well, with the notice that I am updating it and currently do not have any exposures of note concerning my interest in this particular thread, but shall in a while.

  • Dshack
    Dshack Dec 16, 2008

    Can you still post a reply, or has my rating the conversation locked/lost the query?


1 Answer

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that gotĀ 5 achievements.


    An expert who has written 50 answers of more than 400 characters.


    An expert whose answer gotĀ voted for 20 times.

  • Expert
  • 121 Answers

Hello, thanks for the compliments!

First, yes, the Digital Rebel series of cameras (my first DSLR was the first Digital Rebel, the 300D model) have a small sensor than a "full frame" sensor, which results in a "multiplicationfactor" or "crop factor" of .6. This is good for telephoto shots (yourtelephoto lens ends up acting like a "longer" and more expensive lens) but bad for wideangle shots.

For Macro, you need very bright light to have enough light to use a small fstop for needed DoF because even at the smallest fstop (largest number) your DoF will still be very small. This typically means you need to use a strobe. The strobe will help freeze the image so you can still shoot hand-held. For hand-held use look for a "ring strobe" that fits around your lens and lights the item in front of your lens.

Focusing is a very tricky matter when you are shooting in macro. Usually you go to manual focus, set the lens to manually focus at either infinity or the closest distance, then you "focus" using the zoom, rather than the focus ring.

For night shots, you need to change to manual exposure and adjust to get the exposure you desire. Your camera's light meter doesn't know how bright or dark the thing you are viewing is - to the light meter everything you point it at is supposed to be exposed to medium gray - an average value. It can't know that you want a dark shot to stay dark.

Here's how I do it. First, I bump up the ISO so I can take a fast shot, and I set the camera to AV mode. Then I set the lens to the widest aperture (smallest number). I let the camera set the shutter speed as I take this test shot, and look at the exposure. Then I determine if I want the shot darker and if so how much. Now I switch to manual mode - same aperture and shutter as the previous shot, and adjust the shutter speed faster to produce a darker image. When I have the right settings, then I adjust the ISO and as I adjust the ISO I have to compensate with the shutter. E.g. if I have a good exposure at ISO 1600 @ f2.8 @ 1/30, to drop to ISO 100 means I have to slow the shutter to 1/2 second. Now, I usually also want a smaller aperture (larger number). To go from ISO 100 @ f2/8 @ 1/2 second to f/16 is 6 stops, which takes the time needed from 1/2 second to 15 seconds. Obviously this means the camera needs to be on a tripod.

I can help more if you can give me a link to some of the photos you have taken so far so I can see what you are shooting, and make suggestions for how I would approach the same subject and situation.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008

  • jcdill
    jcdill Dec 16, 2008

    I'd love to see your photos - can you share your flickr account?

  • jcdill
    jcdill Dec 17, 2008

    I can post a reply, but I only see your first question and my first reply - none of the subsequent replies (yours or mine) which makes it rather hard to build on prior discussions!


Add Your Answer

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add



Related Questions:

1 Answer

I can't find the sub menu if I set menu as scene. How do I find sunset, or night etc

am not an expert but this blog I found might be useful.

Oct 21, 2016 | Digital Cameras

4 Answers

I need instructions on basic usage

you can go to sites most of the Photography sites which give out free tutrials and know how on basic usge and photography tips sites like Digital Photography School (DPS) can be of help

hpe ould be of help

Mar 28, 2011 | Digital Cameras

1 Answer

Night photography. Shutter speed is slow. Don't

this is normal cause of the flash charging and the adjusting it makes has to delay at least 3 sec.

May 02, 2010 | Nikon D90 Body Only Digital Camera

1 Answer

Picture is shaking in low light

Yes, low-light photography is difficult, precisely because there isn't much light. In order for the sensor (or film, for that matter) to record what little light there is, the shutter has to stay open longer. This gives the subject more opportunity to move, resulting in blurring. Worse, this gives the camera more opportunity to move, resulting in more blurring. The situation is much worse in a compact camera such as the S860, which has a much smaller sensor than a dSLR. In order to pack as many pixels into a smaller sensor, each sensor is less sensitive to light.

If the subjects are not too far away, and at more or less the same distance, you can use flash, either on the camera or off. If the subjects are too far away, the flash won't make any difference. If the subjects are at differing distances, nearer ones will be much brighter than the farther ones.

You can raise the ISO to make the sensor more sensitive to light. This also increases digital noise. How much noise is acceptable is your call. You'll have to take the S860 out of Auto mode for this, though, and the results will still not be as good as you'd get out of a dSLR.

The best way to stabilize a camera is to use a tripod. Failing that, you can use a table, railing, window sill, or other steady surface, in conjuction with the self-timer. By using the self-timer, you give the camera an opportunity to quit moving after you pull your hand away.

None of these suggestions will make low-light photography easy, merely less difficult. Entire books have been written on the subject of available-light photography, your local public library may have one or two.

Apr 13, 2010 | Samsung S860 Digital Camera

1 Answer

Black photos at nite with flash

It's very difficult to pinpoint an issue with what you've given here. Particularly since flash photography at night can be hit or miss anyway.

I actually wrote a review for Popular Photography & Imaging on your camera... You can read it here:

And while I really LIKE your camera, it does have its' limitations, particularly with the flash at night. It's small and not very powerful in comparison to a full-size/feature flash unit. Because of this, here's a few things you should keep in mind when you shoot at night with a flash:

Allow the flash enough time to "recycle". In other words, when the flash fires, it needs to replenish power to make another full-power flash exposure. If you're shooting images very quickly, you may not be at full power for each frame. The T10 has a flash-ready indicator, so make sure it's activated before you shoot your images.

Stay close- There's a thing in photography called the "Law of Inverse Square". Basically, this means that when you double your flash-to-subject distance, your light intensity is cut down to ONE QUARTER of your previous distance. The T10 has a very small flash, so this becomes critical for good images.

Be reasonable in your expectations. The T10- or any other camera-mounted flash for that matter, won't light an entire stadium or something that's more than 10 feet with your flash or 50 feet with a full-power/size flash.

If you're following these guidelines, and you're still having issues with dark images, try upping your ISO to a higher setting to add some sensitivity to the sensor. Doubling your ISO cuts the light required to make a good exposure in half. If you've done this and the images are still black, you may want to take the camera to a repair shop for evaluation.

I shot several photos that should be included with the story on POP's web site, so you can see that the camera IS capible of shooting some nice flash image, but again, were done with an understanding of the camera's limitations.

Hope this helps you out!

Jul 14, 2009 | Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10 Digital Camera

1 Answer

So much light on picture

Hi, Mark here see if I can help.

Sound like your camera is set to night photography.
Try resetting it to Auto or sports when shooting in daylight.

Hope this fixed ya! need more help comment back.
Please rate. Good Luck!

Mar 28, 2009 | Canon PowerShot A450 Digital Camera

1 Answer

Night photography - Fireworks

ASA - very high 800, 1600 atleast
f- closest, 3.5,4. not more.
speed (ISO) if you want it to look in action so 1''. (second) if you want it freeze so with it

try use a tripod so it wont look blury

Jul 04, 2008 | Canon Rebel XT / EOS 350D Digital Camera

1 Answer

White images

the place to go is the Samsung Tech Support team This is not a 'self' fixable problem# It is a firmware fault which may be fixable by Samsung Free or for a modest charge - depends on the age of the camera. I the charge is not modest then the next stop is a new camera

Jul 09, 2007 | Samsung Digimax L50 Digital Camera

1 Answer

Blurry Images

If there's not enough light your camera can't invent any. Well, normally it can, which is what a flash does, but as you've said, no flash allowed. Your photos are blury because you're not mounting the camera on a tripod or you are using an ISO value that's too low for the available light. The shutter speed is slow to make up for the lack of light you have. But it's obviously too slow to hand-hold and you're shaking too much when you're taking the photo. Increasing the shutter speed is only going to make your images underexposed. So, pick a higher ISO value or get a tripod or monopod. Oh and read the manual. As for you purchasing the wide angle lens and the telephoto lens, I can not fathom why you would purchase something and have no idea what it is used for. That just boggles my mind. Perhaps a basic photography book is in order? Something to get a few of the fundamentals down? Any photography book with the word "beginner" and probably the word "digital" in it would be a fine start. They're all equally basic.

Sep 13, 2005 | Olympus Camedia C-700 Ultra Zoom Digital...

2 Answers

C-2100UZ and low light

If you don't need a zoom, the best film P & S that you can get for what you described is an Olympus! It is the Olympus Stylus Epic which has a very sharp 35 mm f2.8 lens. The f2.8 lens with an ISO 800 or the new ISO 1600 film should fit your bill for low light, fast shutter speed photography. B & H has it for $80. Popular Photography magazine once called it the biggest bargain of all times for no-flash photography.

Sep 11, 2005 | Olympus Camedia C-2100 Ultra Zoom Digital...

Not finding what you are looking for?
Canon EOS Rebel XSi Digital Camera Logo

138 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top Canon Digital Cameras Experts


Level 2 Expert

246 Answers


Level 3 Expert

2598 Answers


Level 2 Expert

68 Answers

Are you a Canon Digital Camera Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides