Question about Nikon D40 Digital Camera with G-II 18-55mm Lens
Although your eyes can adapt to see well in low light, the camera needs a lot more light to take good photos than your eye needs to see in low light. Taking photos of a play or other indoor performance is a very difficult situation.
1) You need a fast lens, one that shoots at aperture f/2.8 or faster (i.e. f/2.0, f/1.8, or f/1.4). Your 18-55 lens is f/3.5-5.6, which is not a fast lens. When you zoom to 55mm, you can only shoot at f/5.6 which is 1/4 the light gathered at f/2.8, so the shutter speed needs to be 4 times longer, which means 4 times slower.
2) Set the camera to use the highest ISO it offers. Look in your manual for instructions on how to change the ISO. Don't forget to set it back when you are done!
3) Use the shooting mode that lets you specify the aperture. The camera will select the shutter. I'm not familar with the mode name for Nikon cameras - for a Canon camera this is the AV mode (for Aperture Value).
4) You may want to dial in some -EV - this means a "minus" value in the Exposure Compensation. I usually set this to -1/2 or -1 for low light shots. The photos come out just a tiny bit darker than normal, but the trade-off is that I get a faster shutter speed.
5) Even with all the settings above, the shutter speed is likely to still be quite slow. You must hold the camera very still. A monopod or tripod is usually necessary. In addition it helps if your lens has VR (vibration reduction) to minimize camera shake. Finally, no matter how still you hold the camera, if the subject is moving then the image will be blurry. So only shoot when the subject (person on stage) is relatively still.
If you don't have your camera manual let me know, and I'll look for it online and give you a link to the pages that detail the settings you need to change.
Posted on Dec 28, 2008
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