Recommend a (canon) body for low light shooting

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by -kk-, May 28, 2007.

  1. -kk-

    -kk- Member

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    Hi all,

    1st post here. Ive been a digital canon user for a few years now, switching completely from the very old minolta system i had from ~ 70s.

    Im currently looking for a film camera for b/w work, usually in low light and also street candids etc, and would like to get some recommendations.

    I have a reasonable local offer for the EOS30/ Elan, but understand that low light forcussing is not its forte.

    SIze wize, Id prefer a small portable unit hence the slight interest in rangefinders too..thoughId like to be able to use my current lens lineup to 'share' the cost.

    any suggestions would be graeatly appreciated. thanks

    kelvin
     
  2. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Kelvin,

    7S rangefinder -- though the f/1.8 is a better lens than the f/1.2. Or put a current 50/1.5 Sonnar on the front.

    Reflexes? Well, why bother...

    (Sorry: couldn't resist)

    Cheers,

    Roger (author, with my wife Frances Schultz, of 'Rangefinder...' GMC Publications 2004, ISBN 1-86108-330-0)
     
  3. -kk-

    -kk- Member

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    Roger,

    OUCH!

    ive been seriously considering one of the new bessa's as well actually, likely the R3A/M with nokton 40/1.4.

    re Sonnar, Im a little irked by the focus shift complaints, especially given the price! will see how it works out, but i think either a R3/nokton or R2/color skopar 35/2 may be the ticket.

    Cant really make a decision until I see/feel one in person, which will likely not be the case for another 2-3 weeks. in the mean time, looking at other available options.
     
  4. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear kk,

    Yes, the Sonnar does have focus shift -- a consequence of using a lightly modified 70-year-old design. The RF coupling for current lenses is at f/1.5 and the result of the focus shift is effectively that as you stop down, d-o-f increases behind the point of focus much faster than in front, which is pretty weird. Early lenses were set for f/2.8 but can be modified quite easily for f/1.5.

    At least, this is what I understand from my visit to Oberkochen a couple of weeks ago, where we picked up a 50/1.5 (and a 21/4.5), though we haven't developed any film yet from the trip (got back yesterday). My suspicion is that this is all a bit like the Leica M8 complaints: there are those who take pictures, and are perfectly happy, and those who 'test' their cameras and lenses in order to find faults they have read about on the internet.

    The Bessas have a very short RF base, making them marginal with ultra-fast lenses at close distances: we have had mixed results with the 50/1.5 Nokton and no luck at all with the 50/1 Noctilux. The 50/1.2 Canon is so soft and flary at full aperture that you can't tell.

    The 40/1.4 should be a better bet (it's one of the few Voigtlander lenses I haven't used) but of course you'd need a 3-series for the 40 finder. We have however had excellent results with the 35/1.7 Ultron on R, R2 and T and recommend its performance unreservedly -- though I still prefer my 35/1.4 Summilux pre-aspheric because I like the handling better (focusing lug/finger grip instead of collar).

    If you get the chance (and can find the money) look at Zeiss Ikons and Leicas too. A Leica is hellish expensive but amortized over the 25 years since I bought it new, my M4-P doesn't seem too bad. And the 35/2 from Zeiss is nice too...

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  5. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    an a-series canon with a 50mm f/1.4 is actually a pretty swell low-light kit. light, not too noisy, CHEAP, and high quality
     
  6. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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  7. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Or if you've got the budget for a new camera, get an FD body (I like the "New F-1" myself, but if you are used to EOS bodies, the T-90 is a good choice) and spring for the FD 50/1.2L, which seems to be selling for under $500 these days, and then later you can pick up the FD 85/1.2L for around $600.

    Here's a 50/1.2L shot--

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    True, but as one reviewer pointed out, if all three were made by the same manufacturer under the same name, the relative prices would still be about the same: the ZI at twice the Voigtlander, and the Leica at twice the ZI. Voigtlanders are incredibly good value, and superb cameras -- but the others are even better. I'd rather have a Bessa-R2/R2M than any reflex, but I'd rather have an MP than an R2/R2M (not sure about battery-dependent ZIs but my wife prefers them to both the Bessa and the MP).

    When it comes to lenses, of course, the 35/1.2 Nokton is the fastest available from any manufacturer for a lens of that focal length covering full-frame 35mm. But it's BIG. And (from personal experience) Voigtlander lenses need cleaning/servicing/lubricating more often than Leica or Zeiss lenses, where the mounts are all individually hand-lapped.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  9. haris

    haris Guest

    I would not use SLRs, but if you choose them, avoid plastic ones like EOS 500, 500n (Rebel, Rebel G in USA), 50, 30, 33, V300 and like. While EOS 500 and V300 are small sized, they are very light, thus camera movement (camera vibrations) is problem. Unfortunatelly, other Canon SLRs are maybe too big for candid shots, except old A or T series, but as they are SLRs, shutter/mirror noise/shaking can be issue for candids/low light. Try A ot T would you like them.

    I have EOS 500n and EOS 3 and don't use them for street/candids. I use EOS 3 for already arranged/decided particular work, and 500n I just have for no reason at all :smile:. For street/candids and as my everyday kit I use Voightlaender Bessa R2a with 35mmf2,5 and 75mmf2,5. I don't do low light photography much, but when I do, I shoot mostly handheld Olympus OM1 loaded with Delta 3200, that is when I use Delta 3200 I use it only in OM, and when use OM use it only with Delta 3200 (don't ask me why :smile:.)..

    Best choice I think would be one of rangefinders, and others already discussed about them...
     
  10. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    Although I use all Canon SLR equipment (EOS33V, EOS 3 and their 1-series digital bodies), I would go for a RF body like the Voigtlander or Leica for low-light photography since you can technically achieve lower shutter speeds.

    But if you really want to stick with a Canon, I'd go for an EOS 3 or 1V since both bodies have spot-metering and more sensitive center AF point compared to the EOS30/33 bodies, which will be helpful when you need to trust your camera's auto-focus system in really dark environments.

    There is a caveat - you will need Canon EF lenses which are 2.8 and faster in order to make full use of the sensitive center AF point. One of the best low-light lenses in terms of price is the 50mm 1.8, which goes for less than US$80, or if you want to go faster, there's the 50mm 1.4 for US$300 or the 50mm 1.2L for US$1350. Expensive, but hey when you need to shoot at 1.2, you'll have to pay for it.
     
  11. -kk-

    -kk- Member

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    hi all, thanks for the replies. looks like rangefinders are the way to go huh?

    film guy, i do actually have the canon 50/1.4 already and also the 35/1.4 as well (huge lens!). I just cant seem to find a suitable body that can do low light work without the AF hunting or metering wrong.

    if i have to go fully manual, Id much prefer to leave the slr stuff alone, and play around with rangefinders, just because (from the 2 times i handled them) the focussing method seems easier, esp in low light conditions.

    hah! im trying to justify buying new toys!
     
  12. dianna

    dianna Member

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    I like the Canon, too - I use an early model F-1 with a 55mm f/1.2 and the viewfinder is big and bright, great in low-light situations. It's built like a tank, too.

     
  13. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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    If you still have your old minolta system, use it. I very much like the SRT101, 200,201 series.
     
  14. -kk-

    -kk- Member

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    jmdavis, ive been looking for that minolta high and low but its nowherein sight, mustve got somewhere in the move years ago, or hidden somewhere in the house.
     
  15. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I used a Elan 7 for a while and recently picked up a 1V. While I liked the Elan 7, the 1V is pretty awesome for everything. I also use a rangefinder and it is great for certain things, but to be honest, with a smallish prime (50/1.4 or 28/1.8) on the 1V, it's not that much more obtrusive than the M. Sure it takes up more space in the bag, but on the street it really doesn't attract any more attention. Mind you, I don't use a big tele-zoom on it...

    The 1V and the M make a great set in my mind. Wish I had a nice 35 for the M though...
     
  16. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Turn off the AF! It's not that bad to focus these cameras manually.

    An old EOS 620 or 630 would be a great, cheap low-light camera for manual focussing.
     
  17. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Cannon QL 1.7, good fast lens, easy to use in low light, leaf shutter works with flash at all speeds, light weight, a good second body to an SLR. Non interchangable lens, limited meter, and difficult to get serviced or repaired. But for around $40.00 to $70.00 very usable. .
     
  18. mcgrattan

    mcgrattan Member

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    The EOS 600 series aren't too bad to focus in low light. I've used my EOS 650 to take shots in a smoky late night bar using an old M42 mount lens with adapter.
     
  19. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I'm not to keen on SLRs for street work either, A Canonet might be a good choice.
     
  20. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    SLRs are ok for street work, as long as you know the limitations of the SLR, and aren't always obtrusive with a huge lens or camera. It's also depends on how you move around slowly and not "in your face" towards your subject. There's photojournalists out there who're using a professional SLR and wide-angle lens and their subjects don't even pay any attention to them. Watch the documentary, "War Photographer", and you'll know what I'm talking about.
     
  21. 40oz

    40oz Member

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    I was going to suggest a Canonet as well :smile:

    It's not that an SLR is horrible for low light or "street work,", but that no film is EVER fast enough. Any advantage you can get is worth it, and the extra stop or so just from not having the mirror slap is gold. Not to mention the fact that even when people see your camera, a rangefinder conjures a whole different set of emotions than an SLR, so you get conversations and curious subjects rather than "guy with camera" looks.
     
  22. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I had to do some low-light work recently, and decided agains an SLR with 50/1.4 lens. Instead I picked up a Russian Jupiter-9 85mm f:2 and put it on my Bessa-T. Worked great for shooting a wedding in a dim church - f:2, 1/50, Portra 800.

    I'll admit that the pictures I shot outside at f:5.6 were sharper, and even sharper were the ones I shot (also outside) with an Industar-61 L/D at f:5.6.

    But the indoor shots were sharp enough, and way "cleaner" than any of the guests got from their digital compacts. :smile: