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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:00 pm 
Hello everyone,

I'm a newbie in DSLR and I've encountered a problem when I was shooting at a dancing party (low-light) yesterday. I did not know what went wrong, hope you guys can give me some advice.

I'm using Canon 400D or Rebel Xti with 18-55mm kit lens and a Canon EX430 Speedlite.

When I shoot people with dark dress such as black shirt, the photo came out every nice with all the brightness, shadow and background. But when I shoot people with bright dress such as white or yellow shirt, the subject and background appeared to be dark.

I use the same setting all night which is in Manual Mode, 1/60s, aperture between 3.5-5.6 (as I zoom in and out all the time), ISO 400, Auto White Balance and a Speedlite on default setting. The flash was on all the time and I'm sure the flash was working every single time.

Settings were the same as I'm using Potrait Mode. Since I need to use the AI SERVO focusing mode because my subjects are moving all the time (dancing), I switch to Manual Mode (Potrait Mode doesn't allow me to use AI SERVO).

Does it have anything to do with the White Balance setting? I just saw a setting called "Flash".

Hope you guys can help me here. Thanks a lot.


Last edited by juin on Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:53 pm 
Hello juin!

Welcome to the friendly Camera Labs community :D

Hmm..I suspect metering problems.

Instead of evaluative(aka multi-segment) metering, why not try spot metering on the dresses or the faces.

Theres this little button with a crosshair on the 400D (check Manual for metering specifics), which represents metering. Metering will determine how much a photo is exposed. If your camera meters on a dark surface or colour, it will think the image is dark and decrease the shutter speed to brighten the image. This may result in overexposure.

In your case, i think the metering locked onto the bright clothing, and underexposed the image.

Try spot metering on the skin for suitably-best exposure.

Don't forget to ask the CL community when you are in doubt! We will definitely try our best to answer you.

SnS 8)

Edit- P.S.: I think the metering exposed correctly for the dark coloured clothes because it was a low-light scenario.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:32 am 
Hello SCREAMnSHOUT,

Thanks for your reply.

I tried to change the metering mode to Partial metering and Center-weighted average metering (instead of Evaluative metering), but the outcome is most likely the same. The subject still appeared dark. I wonder why.

I google about spot metering on Canon 400D and most of the results said it doesn't have it.

Or is this regarding exposure compensation? On the Manual Mode, the exposure compensation kept blinking at -2. I'll need to change my shutter speed to about 1/4s so the exposure compensation will go back to 0. But the shutter speed is too slow to capture the fast moving dancers.

I'm so new in the DSLR world so I did not know what to do now. :(


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:57 pm 
If the flash cannot supply enough light and you need to capture low-light scenes, you might want to consider getting a 'fast' lens if you take such scenes often.

'Fast' lenses are so called because of their ability to absorb light faster due to their larger apertures. In the lens, the aperture is the hole where light reaches the sensor.

The aperture controls both the brightness of the image(along with the shutter speed and ISO), and the depth of field of the image.

When the aperture is thrown wide open(thus letting more light reach the camera in the same period of time), the image is brighter but has a shallower depth of field. Depth of field is how much of an image which remains sharp. The deeper it is, the more in-focus an image is.

Although more of the image will be 'blur' if the aperture is opened wider, you can use this to interesting creative effects.

An example of a 'fast' lens is a 50mm f1.8 lens. Note that many of such lenses have images of slightly lower quality at too wide apertures.

Ask if you have any question, and the CL community will do its best to answer :)

SnS 8)


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