The Keys to Great Low-Light Photographs

Jul 10, 2013

The Keys to Great Low-Light Photographs

Birthday parties, indoor sporting events, concerts—so many of the moments we want to capture take place in low light. Learn the keys to preserving your dimly lit memories as crisply and vibrantly as possible. With the brightest lens on the compact market, the Samsung Smart Camera EX2F can help.

It’s frustrating when once-in-a-lifetime moments—your child blowing out her birthday candles, the amazing concert performance, your favorite team’s championship game—don’t come through clearly in your photographs. The difference between capturing special memories and taking throw-away shots can often be attributed to your camera’s performance in low-light situations: in the dark, indoors, or in no-flash zones.

If you want to get great digital photos in less-than-bright light, here are some key factors to consider.

Flash and Other Lights

If you’re figuring you’ll just use your flash in low light, don’t act too fast. A flash photo won’t retain the mood of that romantic, candlelit dinner table—or help you capture a game-winning shot way down at the other end of the court. When you’re shooting an indoor subject that’s not moving, you can illuminate it by moving lamps around. But if your goal is to get as natural a shot as possible, look to your camera’s features and settings before you introduce other light sources.

Manual Adjustment Capability

To get optimum control in low-light situations, you’ll need a camera that lets you manually adjust key settings. Ideally, your camera should offer automatic settings, aperture or shutter priority (where you set the aperture or shutter, and the camera automatically sets the rest), and full manual mode. The Samsung Smart Camera EX2F provides all those options in a sleek, compact, durable magnesium-alloy body that’s nearly as convenient to keep with you as your phone. And Wi-Fi capability makes it easy to share pictures straight from the EX2F via email, social media, or the cloud.

Whether you choose to experiment with settings yourself or let the camera do it for you, critical camera features for low light include:

Fast lens: A fast, bright lens, as indicated by a low f-stop number, is critical to great low-light photography. The smaller the f-stop, the wider the aperture; the wider the aperture, the more light a camera can take in and the better resolution the photo will have. Slower lenses typically have a maximum aperture of f/3.5 or f/4.5; the Samsung EX2F has a high-quality Schneider Kreuznach lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 for exceptional picture clarity in low-light situations. In fact, the EX2F has the brightest lens in its class.

High ISO: In digital photography, ISO is a measurement of how sensitive the camera’s image sensor is to light. The higher the ISO, the less light you need. For the best shooting in low light, your camera should have a wide range (for example, the EX2F goes from ISO 80 up to ISO 12800). The quality of the image sensor is also important. The 1/1.7-inch BSI CMOS sensor on the EX2F offers exceptional sensitivity, another factor in getting ultra-vivid, natural-looking photos in low light.

Variety of shutter speeds: The slower the shutter speed, the longer the camera shutter remains open to let light in. So for low light, you (or your camera) will opt for the slow end of the spectrum. However, any movement when using a slow shutter speed will result in blurry images, so it’s essential that your camera be as steady as possible, which brings us to …

Camera Stabilization

The same factors that allow light to hit the image sensor—wide aperture, slow shutter speed—also make your image more susceptible to blurriness at the slightest movement. Digital cameras usually have some kind of internal stabilization mechanism. The Smart Camera EX2F has two: Dual Image Stabilization combines the Optical Image Stabilization mechanism with the advanced algorithms of Digital Image Stabilization to minimize image shakiness and ensure picture clarity, whatever the lighting conditions.

A tripod is an effective, adjustable means of stabilizing the camera. If you don’t have a tripod, look for a stable surface that’s the right height for your photo. Use your camera’s timer to avoid jostling it. Better yet, use the EX2F’s remote viewing option to control the camera right from your smartphone.

Ability to View Your Shot

You’ll want to know beforehand what your shot looks like, so the camera’s display is critical. The Smart Camera EX2F’s large 3.0-inch Swivel AMOLED display reveals your shot setup swiftly, at any angle that’s convenient for you, and with high contrast. The Smart Panel user interface lets you make adjustments right from the display. And the display consumes very little battery power, so you can shoot longer, whatever light you’re in.

The more you know about low-light photography, the better you’ll be at preserving your most cherished memories. With a bit of practice and the Smart Camera EX2F, you’ll be taking great photographs in any lighting situation, in no time.