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Shooting in low light

edited December 2015 Posted in » Nikon D5200 Forum
I want to take some pictures of our Christmas Eve get together with the 18-55mm lens. What should the settings be? It will be at night with not much light, only Christmas lights.


  • Assuming you don't want to open everything up with flash, you may be rather limited in choices. You'll need to keep the lens at maximum aperture, and probably best to keep auto ISO on. But to keep noise from getting too bad, I'd go to the menu, and set the maximum for auto ISO at something around 3200. Otherwise auto ISO will crank it right up to the max. If you can, experiment also with how slow a shutter speed you can reliably hold. When you have determined this by trial and error, go to the menu, and change the setting that determines the shutter speed at which the camera switches ISO up. Its default is 1/30 second, and you may find that with VR and a fairly wide lens setting, you can get away with something slower.

    You're going to have a lot of dud shots no matter what you do, if you are shooting in low natural light, because even if you don't move, people will, and your shutter speeds will be too slow to stop motion. Shoot a lot, and delete a lot.

    If people are poorly lit, you may do better by switching to spot metering, so as to expose faces and ignore the exposure for the rest of the room.

    Auto area focus may not work well, and I'd recommend C or A servo mode and dynamic area focus. Aim at single individuals in about the center of the range you want sharp.

    Aperture priority mode should work pretty well here if auto ISO is on. If you're on auto ISO, you could also set shutter priority at whatever shutter speed you find comfortable, and let the camera set aperture and ISO.
  • edited December 2015
    Thanks, I will try it out.
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