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Newbie, D80 settings for School concert

 
 
David J Taylor
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      12-22-2008
Mark Thomas wrote:
[]
> I recently shot a concert like this at 800 on a *P&S* (admittedly one
> of the better ones for high iso work), and though the images were
> noisy, they captured the mood beautifully and with a bit of NR they
> printed up very nicely at 7x5.


Good to hear of some actual results!

> I'd much rather have atmospheric
> images with some noise than less natural looking flash images, so I
> wouldn't hesitate to shoot some of it at 1600 on a dslr.. but that's
> me.


Completely agree on both points. Also, with Nikon I sometimes find that
the automatic white balance doesn't do so well in artificial light, so a
forced WB setting might be worth considering.

Cheers,
David

 
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nospam
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      12-22-2008
In article <yvH3l.9860$(E-Mail Removed)>, David J
Taylor <(E-Mail Removed)-this-part.nor-this-bit.co.uk>
wrote:

> Also, with Nikon I sometimes find that
> the automatic white balance doesn't do so well in artificial light, so a
> forced WB setting might be worth considering.


especially theatrical lighting which is going to be various colours for
mood, etc. shoot raw, pick a white balance setting so all of the
images are consistent (tungsten is probably a good choice) and worry
about it later.
 
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N
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      12-22-2008
"Mark Thomas" <markt@_don't_spam_marktphoto.com> wrote in message
news:ginfrs$dkr$(E-Mail Removed)...
>N wrote:
>> "cen" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>> news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>> On Dec 22, 12:20 am, Savageduck <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>>> On 2008-12-21 21:03:56 -0800, "N" <(E-Mail Removed)> said:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> > "cen" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>>> >news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>>>
>>> Hey
>>>
>>> >> I'm new with a D80 and somewhat limited experience, but have taken
>>> >> some great photos with it. Tomorrow night is concert night in the
>>> >> school auditorium and I'm think about setting it on program mode to
>>> >> shoot. Flash is allowed. Wondering what other settings you'd use.
>>>
>>> >> thanks
>>>
>>> > What lenses do you have? Do you have an external flash unit?
>>>
>>> Also expected auditorium lighting and shooting distances from subjects?

>>
>>
>> sorry, kit lens 18-135mm, no external flash. Stage lighting at about
>> 50ft
>> minimum.
>>
>>
>>
>> The guide number for the built in flash on a D80 is 13/42 at ISO 100.
>> That means the light from the flash should reach about 42 feet from the
>> camera if you're lucky.

> ????
> Umm, no. Distance = GN/*aperture*. So that flash will be struggling to
> make 11ft at f4 (which will be the maximum aperture he has for most of his
> shooting)...
>
>
>> Can the onboard flash see over that lens or do you get a dark shadow
>> across the lower edge of the photo?

>
>
>> I found with my D80 that ISO 400 was about as far as I'd go before noise
>> became unacceptable.

> The tests I've seen of the D80, eg:
> http://www.imaging-resource.com/PROD...D80IMAGING.HTM
> show the 800 and 1600 samples as quite good and very usable for this type
> of shooting. Depends on your quality standards, of course, but I'd
> happily accept a bit of noise for more usable shutter speeds, and he is
> limited by having a f3.5-5.6 lens.



Thanks Mark. I haven't made a study of flash, just thought I'd make sure
the subject didn't get overlooked. I was pretty sure the D80 flash wouldn't
reach the distance.

 
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N
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      12-22-2008
"Jürgen Exner" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> PLEASE keep in mind that the build-in flash of any camera is _VERY_
> limited in range and don't try to illuminate the whole stage from the
> last row.
> Besides being annoying to the performers as well as your fellow
> spectators flash should be used very carefully anyway. It is so easy to
> blast a romatic scene into a hard cold flat picture by using frontal
> flash. Of course on the other hand using e.g. the right amount of slow
> fill flash at the right moment can produce stunningly beautiful photos.
>
> jue



Goodness, "a romantic scene"? It's a school concert!



 
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Jürgen Exner
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      12-22-2008
"N" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>"Jürgen Exner" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed).. .
>>
>> PLEASE keep in mind that the build-in flash of any camera is _VERY_
>> limited in range and don't try to illuminate the whole stage from the
>> last row.
>> Besides being annoying to the performers as well as your fellow
>> spectators flash should be used very carefully anyway. It is so easy to
>> blast a romatic scene into a hard cold flat picture by using frontal
>> flash. Of course on the other hand using e.g. the right amount of slow
>> fill flash at the right moment can produce stunningly beautiful photos.

>
>Goodness, "a romantic scene"? It's a school concert!


Well, I guess "romantic" may have different meanings in different
cultures.
A violinist's face illuminated only by the reading light for the sheet
music can be very romantic.

jue
 
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Jürgen Exner
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      12-22-2008
"N" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>sorry, kit lens 18-135mm, no external flash. Stage lighting at about
>50ft
>minimum.


Then forget about flash (turn it off!!!). The buildin flash doesn't
carry that far.

jue
 
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Mark Thomas
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      12-22-2008
John Navas wrote:
> On Sun, 21 Dec 2008 19:57:53 -0800 (PST), cen <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote
> in <(E-Mail Removed)>:
>
>> Hey I'm new with a D80 and somewhat limited experience, but have taken
>> some great photos with it. Tomorrow night is concert night in the
>> school auditorium and I'm think about setting it on program mode to
>> shoot. Flash is allowed. Wondering what other settings you'd use.

>
> Given limited experience:
> * Use a tripod or monopod if possible
> * Keep flash off -- not strong enough to help, and will only be
> disruptive
> * Put camera in Shutter (speed) Priority mode

I'd go AP instead - but I always was a contrary type. See below for reason.

> * To avoid shake and motion blur, set shutter speed roughly equal to
> equivalent 35 mm focal length[1]; e.g., if you zoom your lens to 100 mm
> (35 mm equivalent), then set a shutter speed at or near 1/100 sec

If you are on a monopod/tripod, you could drop that down by a couple of
steps, although I wouldn't go below 1/30. Depends on the scene - if the
performer is relatively static...

> * Set ISO to Auto

Depends on the camera - some cameras limit their auto range. I don't
know what the D80 does, but I do know it's 800 and 1600 settings are
pretty good. So if Auto ISO doesn't use 1600, I wouldn't use it. 400
for very brightly lit shots, 800 for less well-lit shots, 1600 if the
lighting sucks.

> Your camera should now adjust aperture and ISO to suit the lighting, and
> give you pretty good shots.

Problem with shutter priority is that if the light is good, the camera
may end up stopping down when the better choice would be to raise the
shutter speed. If you use AP instead, you can watch the shutter speed
and adjust your shooting style accordingly. It depends on what you are
used to. If you haven't used AP or SP before, I wouldn't bother
learning now.

> Caveat: This assumes reasonably even stage lighting. When there are
> tight spotlights on actors with the rest of the stage in darkness:
> * Usually the best method is to spot meter on the actors.

Maybe, *as long as* you don't forget you are in Spot mode... Because if
you compose with the subjects off centre, a duo with a gap between them
or a performer with a dark/light/reflective costume the image will
suffer. Again, if you haven't used Spot before, I wouldn't.

> * A workable alternative is to use the first procedure above, check
> exposure after a shot, adjust Exposure Compensation as needed, and
> re-shoot. Re-check anytime lighting changes.

That would be my approach. Matrix metering, maybe with a slight
negative EV adjustment if the subjects look overcooked due to a dark
background.

> 1. For equivalent 35 mm focal length, multiply actual lens focal length
> by crop factor. Your D80 has a crop factor of 1.5, so actual lens focal
> length of (say) 60 mm is equivalent to 35 mm focal length of 90 mm, with
> a preferred minimum shutter speed of 1/90 sec.

Again, that guide applies to handheld, so if on a tri/monopod you can
pretty safely go below that.
 
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nospam
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      12-22-2008
In article <gip4ea$ntj$(E-Mail Removed)>, Mark Thomas
<markt@_don't_spam_marktphoto.com> wrote:

> >> Hey I'm new with a D80 and somewhat limited experience, but have taken
> >> some great photos with it. Tomorrow night is concert night in the
> >> school auditorium and I'm think about setting it on program mode to
> >> shoot. Flash is allowed. Wondering what other settings you'd use.

> >
> > Given limited experience:
> > * Use a tripod or monopod if possible
> > * Keep flash off -- not strong enough to help, and will only be
> > disruptive
> > * Put camera in Shutter (speed) Priority mode

> I'd go AP instead - but I always was a contrary type. See below for reason.


aperture priority is a much better choice.

> > * To avoid shake and motion blur, set shutter speed roughly equal to
> > equivalent 35 mm focal length[1]; e.g., if you zoom your lens to 100 mm
> > (35 mm equivalent), then set a shutter speed at or near 1/100 sec

> If you are on a monopod/tripod, you could drop that down by a couple of
> steps, although I wouldn't go below 1/30. Depends on the scene - if the
> performer is relatively static...


agreed, 1/30 or 1/60 is a good start, depending on stage movement. he
said it's a concert so there probably won't be a whole lot of moving
around on stage, but a little motion blur, depending on the instrument,
might add to the mood. if handholding, go with a faster shutter speed,
depending on lens and how well he can hand hold.

> > * Set ISO to Auto

> Depends on the camera - some cameras limit their auto range. I don't
> know what the D80 does, but I do know it's 800 and 1600 settings are
> pretty good. So if Auto ISO doesn't use 1600, I wouldn't use it. 400
> for very brightly lit shots, 800 for less well-lit shots, 1600 if the
> lighting sucks.


set the camera at iso 100 and cap the maximum iso at whatever is
considered 'too noisy.' set the shutter speed where iso starts ramping
up, as noted above.

> > Your camera should now adjust aperture and ISO to suit the lighting, and
> > give you pretty good shots.

> Problem with shutter priority is that if the light is good, the camera
> may end up stopping down when the better choice would be to raise the
> shutter speed. If you use AP instead, you can watch the shutter speed
> and adjust your shooting style accordingly. It depends on what you are
> used to. If you haven't used AP or SP before, I wouldn't bother
> learning now.


exactly. leave the lens wide open and the shutter will be as fast as it
can be (and in good stage light, it will be much higher than 1/30th).

> > 1. For equivalent 35 mm focal length, multiply actual lens focal length
> > by crop factor. Your D80 has a crop factor of 1.5, so actual lens focal
> > length of (say) 60 mm is equivalent to 35 mm focal length of 90 mm, with
> > a preferred minimum shutter speed of 1/90 sec.

> Again, that guide applies to handheld, so if on a tri/monopod you can
> pretty safely go below that.


true, but you risk motion blur, depending on what's on stage, but then
again, that might be desirable.
 
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