Newbie, D80 settings for School concert

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by cen, Dec 22, 2008.

  1. cen

    cen Guest

    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
    cen, Dec 22, 2008
    #1
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  2. cen <> 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


    Full Auto is not the greatest option, but usually will produce something
    somewhat usable.

    >shoot. Wondering what other settings you'd use.


    That very much depends on what effect you want to achieve. Portrait mode
    is good for some shots. Other shots will be much better with Night
    Portrait, yet others with Night Landscape.
    More experienced people would probably use apperture or shutter priority
    or even full manual mode to get exactly the effect they are looking for,
    but that requires a lot of practice.

    >Flash is allowed.


    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
    Jürgen Exner, Dec 22, 2008
    #2
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  3. cen

    N Guest

    "cen" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > 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?
    N, Dec 22, 2008
    #3
  4. cen

    cen Guest

    On Dec 22, 12:20 am, Savageduck <> wrote:
    > On 2008-12-21 21:03:56 -0800, "N" <> said:
    >
    >
    >
    > > "cen" <> wrote in message
    > >news:....

    > 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.
    cen, Dec 22, 2008
    #4
  5. cen

    N Guest

    "cen" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    On Dec 22, 12:20 am, Savageduck <> wrote:
    > On 2008-12-21 21:03:56 -0800, "N" <> said:
    >
    >
    >
    > > "cen" <> wrote in message
    > >news:...

    > 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. 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.
    N, Dec 22, 2008
    #5
  6. cen

    Mark Thomas Guest

    cen 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.
    >
    > thanks

    A lot depends on your lenses (VR?), your distance from the stage, the
    nature of the acts (are they relatively static, or lots of fast action?)
    and also the standard of the lighting.

    You'll get wildly differing opinions here, but if it was me and the
    lighting is half decent I'd be forgetting the flash, dialling the ISO up
    to 800 or even 1600 if you don't mind a little noise and shoot with a
    monopod/tripod if possible (if not, your partner's shoulder..) If you
    utilise the concert lighting, the images will be much more atmospheric
    than flashlit ones, and the D80 is pretty capable at high isos so why
    not use that fact?

    Don't forget to underexpose a bit (0.5 to 1.5 stops) if the acts are
    brighter than the background, and they usually are.. Then there's white
    balance, but I don't want to overwhelm - come back and tell us more, and
    how far you are willing to complicate matters... (O:

    There are a few non-flashlit examples from a similar situation here:
    http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=122407&forum_id=2&jump_to=750590#p750590
    - scroll down to Meanstreak's post. Imagine those shots flashlit
    instead - yuch.
    Mark Thomas, Dec 22, 2008
    #6
  7. cen

    cen Guest

    On Dec 22, 1:00 am, Mark Thomas <markt@_don't_spam_marktphoto.com>
    wrote:
    > cen 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.

    >
    > > thanks

    >
    > A lot depends on your lenses (VR?), your distance from the stage, the
    > nature of the acts (are they relatively static, or lots of fast action?)
    > and also the standard of the lighting.
    >
    > You'll get wildly differing opinions here, but if it was me and the
    > lighting is half decent I'd be forgetting the flash, dialling the ISO up
    > to 800 or even 1600 if you don't mind a little noise and shoot with a
    > monopod/tripod if possible (if not, your partner's shoulder..)  If you
    > utilise the concert lighting, the images will be much more atmospheric
    > than flashlit ones, and the D80 is pretty capable at high isos so why
    > not use that fact?
    >
    > Don't forget to underexpose a bit (0.5 to 1.5 stops) if the acts are
    > brighter than the background, and they usually are..  Then there's white
    > balance, but I don't want to overwhelm - come back and tell us more, and
    > how far you are willing to complicate matters...  (O:
    >
    > There are a few non-flashlit examples from a similar situation here:http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=122407&for...
    > - scroll down to Meanstreak's post.  Imagine those shots flashlit
    > instead - yuch.


    I had planned on going up to 800 iso, never thought of overexposure,
    thanks, I do have a monopod which works well. Kind of wish I had a
    70-300mm (with or without VR).
    cen, Dec 22, 2008
    #7
  8. cen

    nospam Guest

    In article
    <>,
    cen <> wrote:

    > I had planned on going up to 800 iso, never thought of overexposure,
    > thanks, I do have a monopod which works well. Kind of wish I had a
    > 70-300mm (with or without VR).


    you really need a 70-200vr (or 80-200) because they are f/2.8. a kit
    lens zoomed out is going to be f/5.6 and that doesn't give you a lot of
    leeway with exposure.

    the internal flash will be useless 50 feet away, plus it annoys the
    performers and audience.

    set the camera to auto-iso and you'll get low iso when the lighting is
    bright (which for a lot of shows it is). you can cap it at 800 if you
    don't want to go any higher but a noisy picture is sometimes preferable
    to a blurry one.
    nospam, Dec 22, 2008
    #8
  9. cen

    Mark Thomas Guest

    cen wrote:
    > On Dec 22, 1:00 am, Mark Thomas <markt@_don't_spam_marktphoto.com>
    >> You'll get wildly differing opinions here, but if it was me and the
    >> lighting is half decent I'd be forgetting the flash, dialling the ISO up
    >> to 800 or even 1600 if you don't mind a little noise and shoot with a
    >> monopod/tripod if possible (if not, your partner's shoulder..) If you
    >> utilise the concert lighting, the images will be much more atmospheric
    >> than flashlit ones, and the D80 is pretty capable at high isos so why
    >> not use that fact?
    >>
    >> Don't forget to underexpose a bit (0.5 to 1.5 stops) if the acts are
    >> brighter than the background, and they usually are.. Then there's white
    >> balance, but I don't want to overwhelm - come back and tell us more, and
    >> how far you are willing to complicate matters... (O:
    >>
    >> There are a few non-flashlit examples from a similar situation here:http://forums.steves-digicams.com/forums/view_topic.php?id=122407&for...
    >> - scroll down to Meanstreak's post. Imagine those shots flashlit
    >> instead - yuch.

    >
    > I had planned on going up to 800 iso, never thought of overexposure,
    > thanks, I do have a monopod which works well. Kind of wish I had a
    > 70-300mm (with or without VR).


    On the underexposing - on second thoughts, Nikon *matrix* metering is
    rather good at that sort of thing, so perhaps you should get other
    opinions on the desirability of a little compensation.. If you are
    working at 800 or 1600, you really don't want to underexpose OR
    overexpose your subject. It might pay to watch the histogram after each
    shot.

    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. 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.
    Mark Thomas, Dec 22, 2008
    #9
  10. cen

    Mark Thomas Guest

    N wrote:
    > "cen" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > On Dec 22, 12:20 am, Savageduck <> wrote:
    >> On 2008-12-21 21:03:56 -0800, "N" <> said:
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> > "cen" <> wrote in message
    >> >news:...

    >>
    >> 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/PRODS/D80/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.
    Mark Thomas, Dec 22, 2008
    #10
  11. 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
    David J Taylor, Dec 22, 2008
    #11
  12. cen

    nospam Guest

    In article <yvH3l.9860$>, David J
    Taylor <-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.
    nospam, Dec 22, 2008
    #12
  13. cen

    N Guest

    "Mark Thomas" <markt@_don't_spam_marktphoto.com> wrote in message
    news:ginfrs$dkr$...
    >N wrote:
    >> "cen" <> wrote in message
    >> news:...
    >> On Dec 22, 12:20 am, Savageduck <> wrote:
    >>> On 2008-12-21 21:03:56 -0800, "N" <> said:
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> > "cen" <> wrote in message
    >>> >news:...
    >>>
    >>> 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/PRODS/D80/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.
    N, Dec 22, 2008
    #13
  14. cen

    N Guest

    "Jürgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    >
    > 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!

    :)
    N, Dec 22, 2008
    #14
  15. "N" <> wrote:
    >"Jürgen Exner" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >>
    >> 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
    Jürgen Exner, Dec 22, 2008
    #15
  16. "N" <> 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
    Jürgen Exner, Dec 22, 2008
    #16
  17. cen

    Mark Thomas Guest

    John Navas wrote:
    > On Sun, 21 Dec 2008 19:57:53 -0800 (PST), cen <> wrote
    > in <>:
    >
    >> 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.
    Mark Thomas, Dec 22, 2008
    #17
  18. cen

    nospam Guest

    In article <gip4ea$ntj$>, 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.
    nospam, Dec 22, 2008
    #18
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