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I own a DSLR, but consider myself a total amateur in the technical terms of being a photographer. Although I do believe I have quite creative composition skills. I have recently purchased a Canon G7 X,as portability was the main attribute I was looking for in my next camera purchase, as that would let me use it in situations where a DSLR would not — holidays... nights out!

I also wanted a camera with enough settings to keep me occupied, and one that would allow me to learn and progress on to another, better DSLR than I currently own (a dated Sony Alpha). If anyone could give me any pointers or tips on how to use my camera in clubs/bars, usually in low light. I'm really interested in capturing the raw essence of being deep in a proper underground club. Think: the places where commercial photographers wouldn't go/get access to (especially with a flash gun).

PS: I'm not undercover, I just want sick holiday pics of me and my pals; ones that are better than the iPhone pics we get now.

  • You asked this question yesterday and it was closed as "too broad". The same thing will happen to this one. – Philip Kendall Apr 10 '15 at 12:36
  • Use a flash. If you won't, high ISO with max apertures. It's a simple formula. – dpollitt Apr 11 '15 at 1:58
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Low-light, no flash, you basically want to shoot with your widest aperture, and then you have no choice but to crank up the ISO until you get shutter speeds fast enough to get exposures without undesirable motion blur. (Although intentional motion blur can be a creative technique.)

If you were shopping for a camera you would want to get one with the biggest, most sensitive sensor possible, and choose lenses with large apertures. Some also have "noise-reduction" modes where they take a bunch of quick exposures and try to blend out the noise you're fighting in low light. Not sure if the G7x has that feature, but since that's the camera you're using follow the instructions above to push it to its limit for this application.

  • After a long exposure, my g7 x mark II takes a minute to process. I imagine it's because it's blending out noise, the way you mention. So no, it doesn't have a "noise-reduction mode" but yes, I do think it effectively does noise-reduction. – Travis Well Nov 13 '16 at 18:25
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The G7X should help you out a little, but it's still going to be a tough ask. That kind of shooting, without a flash, is a tough ask of even a full-frame dSLR. However, the lens on the G7X is f/1.8-f/2.8, so you've got a fighting chance. And the 1"-format 20MP sensor should help. You could also attempt googling up tips for Sony RX-100 shooters, since it's a very similar camera.

I'd suggest trying to keep the aperture wide, shooting RAW (gain post-processing skills for noise reduction and white balance if you don't have them, yet), and cranking up your ISO to at least 1600, and think about whether or not you can deal with motion blur and use it. Your biggest struggle is likely to be with focusing since any camera's AF system will struggle in low light situations--and if you're shooting wide open, your DoF will be thinner. So, practice manually focusing with focus peaking for those times the AF system fails you.

Find out if the venue allows flash, and consider trying to rig up some off-camera deal to avoid the on-axis dead-white flash look (the on-board flash and a dumb optical slave can trigger a remote flash or a radio transmitter. With my Powershot S90, M mode has no preflashes--Av/Tv/P use a single preflash).

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