View Full Version : get faster shutter by using low key....

9th February 2010, 09:09 PM
I read the thread below on getting fast shutter speed for shooting moving objects which was interesting and got me fiddling with the e-520 in the lunch hour :)
Anyway apart from raising iso (which I can't to to grips with , sometimes 1600 comes out great but 9 out of ten come out grainy) I stumbled across the low key thing....
On standard key for eg. in aperture mode pointing at a set point the shutter was 200. changing to low key, same object same setting shutter speed 350 :eek:
from what I can see the darks are darker but the results look pleasing and I'm thinking is this used in birding because the darks (shadows) are often in the background anyway....Or have I stumbled across something you all do anyway?

10th February 2010, 12:01 AM
The low key setting is basically a pre-set minus exposure compensation and will certainly produce darker darks. The disadvantage is that in an image of average tones it is likely to under-expose the parts of the scene that you don't want underexposed as well. You can always selectively lighten in pp, provided the under-exposure isn't too severe, but at the risk of revealing noise in these areas.

Low key works best if exposing for predominately dark sujects that the meter is likely to attempt to render as grey, such as a black cat that fills most of the frame, for example. It is also useful if you deliberately wish to add a sombre, menacing mood to your image.

Conversely, high key will effectively provide plus exposure compensation, useful for snow scenes for example. It is also often used in portaiture to create a soft, dreamy image where some of the details are allowed to gently verge on burning out.

When using this type of control it will always work best when it is based on a conscious decision of why you want the camera to expose differently for that particular image. :)

10th February 2010, 05:49 AM
John, Thanks for that explantaion. You should write the manual for olympus.
Funnily enough, I have a black dog so I may try a few different shots to see how it exposes the blacks....