I got a hand-me-down a while back and it is a Canon EOS 5D Mark 1 with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens. I've taken a couple of photography classes but I'm no expert in cameras themselves. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like the camera need a lot of light to get the correct exposure.

Just today I was taking some photos in my room at around 10AM and it was pretty sunny outside and I had to set my ISO to 1600 just to get a shutter priority photo with around 1/80. I've used this camera on multiple occasions and every time, now matter how well lit the room is, it seems that I have to use an ISO that's above like 500. And if I don't then the photo is severely under lit.

Back in 2014, I took a photography class in which they had just bought some Nikon DLSRs (I don't know what camera it was) and all the lighting for the correct exposure was nothing reasonable and doable. With the Canon EOS 5D Mark 1 however, it seems almost impossible to take a photo unless under the perfect lighting conditions.

I know I can fix a good chunk of lighting issues in photoshop but I was just wondering if I'm personally doing something wrong or if the camera is just outdated like that or is it could possibly be another issue.

Edit: Sorry for the poor amount of info given in this post. I've taken a couple of reference photos just now with my camera in hopes that this will help showcase what I'm getting. I did also take the same photos in shutter priority mode and got the same results as manual. Also, let me know if you I should put a couple more reference photos to clarify anything and thank you for your help and patience.


  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ You didn’t say what aperture you were using. Even if you were shooting wide open at f/4, 1/80 and ISO 1600 seems pretty normal for indoor photography. Were the photos properly exposed at those settings? If they were, there is nothing wrong with your camera. There is just not enough light. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 3:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well... the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS is actually around T-5.1 at 24-70mm, T-5 at 80-105mm. That's a little over 2/3 stop slower than f/4. The newer EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II is better, ranging from T-4.3 at 24mm, T-4.4 at 50-70mm, and T4.6 at 105mm. The EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS is T-4 from 24-50mm and T4.1 at 70mm. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 4:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ From the Is it plugged in? file... is there a filter on the lens? \$\endgroup\$
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 6:56
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ What is the light source? Have you tried either additional lighting of some kind? (Flash, a desk lamp, torch, etc...) Most indoor lighting is nowhere near as bright as an outside seen would be, and our brains are easily tricked when it comes to comparing light level differences. Not least, in the sample shots you have provided, it looks like you are trying to photograph the shadow side of your subject. \$\endgroup\$
    – John
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have both a desk light (which is the think in the back) and a room light on the other side of the room (which isn't as bright). I guess it's probably that I don't have enough light in general? Trying to get my hands on another camera and hopefully I can compare. \$\endgroup\$
    – velkai
    Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 1:19

3 Answers 3


The Canon EOS 5D (there is no "Mark 1" in the name of any product ever sold by Canon) was introduced way back in 2005. It was revolutionary in terms of offering an affordable full frame digital SLR to consumers. But that was a time when digital imaging technology was growing rapidly by leaps and bounds. In terms of being on the cutting edge, models were quickly replaced by better cameras. The EOS 5D Mark II was introduced barely three years later in 2008 with much higher resolution and better low light performance. By 2014, when you took your class, the 5D Mark II had been supplanted by the even better EOS 5D Mark III in 2012.

For many 2012 is considered a watershed year when the rapid acceleration of constant improvements in sensor performance started to plateau as sensors began to approach the theoretical limits of quantum efficiency. Since then image quality has continued to improve, but at much smaller increments. What this means practically is that one can shoot at higher ISO settings and still get image quality that fifteen years ago required using lower ISO settings and the longer exposures/wider apertures they required to get a "proper" exposure.

But I doubt that's what you are noticing the most.

The EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS lens is actually around T-5.1 at 24-70mm, and T-5 at 80-105mm. That's a little over 2/3 stop slower than f/4.

The newer EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS II is better, ranging from T-4.3 at 24mm, T-4.4 at 50-70mm, and T4.6 at 105mm.

The EF 24-70mm f/4 L IS is T-4 from 24-50mm and T4.1 at 70mm.

If you were using fast prime lenses, such as the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G or AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8, which are both T-2, or the AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G or AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.4, at T-1.5 and T-1.6, then your lens was about two stops faster than the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS.

The same light that requires 1/80 with the 24-105mm would allow 1/320 with lenses at about T-1.8.

Beyond that, you didn't say what kind of light you were shooting in when you took the course back in 2014. Indoor lighting, even when lit indirectly via widows, is much dimmer that daylight lighting is when shooting outside.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, again not too familiar with my cameras so I didn't know to say Mark I or not. I took a basic and an advance course using the same Nikon camera back in 2014 and 2015 which were both a school year long class. During which I've taken a lot of photos under many different lighting indoor and outdoor with no issue in lighting whatsoever. Most photos I could take with an ISO of 200 or less. I edited my original post with a link to showcase what I'm getting with my Canon camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – velkai
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 2:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @velkai but what lenses with what maximum apertures were you using when you took the course? You can't use the same ISO and exposure time in dim light with what is essentially an f/5 lens as you can use with an f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens in the same light. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 12:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ohhh I see what you mean. I'm a rookie when it comes to actual camera knowledge. For some reason I assumed all lenses have to same minimum and maximum aperture. Thank you so much. \$\endgroup\$
    – velkai
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 9:14

That observation is based on another variable that you seem to have omitted: the aperture.

With the settings you gave us, you should have been able to take a decently exposed shot, if you used your lens fully open at f4.

Say, the correct exposure would be at 1/80sec, ISO 500, and f4.0.

Then to need ISO 1600, you would at f7.1 to have the equivalent exposure. Aperture matters! For that very reason, lenses with a very wide open aperture like f1.4 are often very useful in low light conditions.

Same example: The shot from above with a lens set to f1.4 would be at 1/640sec at ISO 500. Or if you dial in ISO 100, you could take it at 1/125sec.

You always have to balance the whole exposure triangle: ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed. And you can always substitute one for another.

Or just short: No, the Canon does not need more light. Any camera will need the same settings under the same circumstances to produce around the same exposure. There might be small variations, though.

As a indication: There are external light-meters that will tell you the setting for you camera given 2 factors of the exposure triangle. You do not have to enter the camera model in this.

You can also go to a photo walk, ask anyone for their settings, dial the same settings in and will have about the same exposure as they have.

Sensors have evolved over the last years and so has optical image stabilization. When using high ISO, the amount of noise will be different between cameras. And the ability to lower the shutter speed and still get a reasonable sharp image has improved a lot. However, this is not the problem that you are encountering here.

Not really helpful, but included for the sake of completeness: The variations between cameras at the same setting are in part due to variations in the lenses which do not always let the same amount of light in. This is especially important when filming and switching lenses during the same scene. You don't want to have sudden shifts in brightness. Thus videographers often use t-stops instead of f-stops to express the amount of light reaching the sensor.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry I guess it wasn't very clear in my question as it was pretty hidden in a sentence. To clarify, I was taking a shutter priority photo so the aperture is always set to whatever is needed for the correct exposure. I've also played with manual mode but I'm still getting the same issue. I've also recently reset the camera setting since I haven't done so when it was handed down to me and I'm still getting to issue. \$\endgroup\$
    – velkai
    Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 9:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ In this case there might be 2 things to check: 1) If you can get the hand on any other camera, replicate the settings and see if the exposure is the same. It simply might be darker than you think. Our eyes are pretty good at adjusting. 2) look into the front element of the lens and check that the aperture is not stuck. You should see the aperture closing if you are in AF-C mode and you turn the aperture dial. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 11:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have the same effect on manual mode, we can rule out that the exposure compensation setting is off. That one does nothing on manual, but will influence aperture and shutter prio programs \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 11:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ BTW, I believe you already checked: Is there a filter on the lens? A polarizing filter might cost you some light. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Dec 4, 2020 at 11:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I haven't been able to get my hands on another camera but I do have that in mind once I do. Again it could also just be me and the photo is just the way it's supposed to be. I do believe the aperture isn't stuck because I'm able to take the same photo with a different aperture and the lighting is different. And it looks like there's a lens in the front? But I took it off and took a photo without it and it's basically the same. \$\endgroup\$
    – velkai
    Commented Dec 5, 2020 at 2:15

If you are using shutter priority mode indoors, it should choose the largest aperture if it needs to brighten things up. So f/4 is the best you can do. I think that you therefore need a high ISO if you have the aperture and shutter speed where you want them. And in fact, although different cameras have different image quality, all should give more or less the same brightness with the same settings. If you have another camera, try comparing it. I have found that indoors is pretty dark compared to a sunny day, though our brains don't generally realize the magnitude of difference. I think the camera is likely working fine, though it is admittedly pretty old (but it's a classic, too!).


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.