Looking for a good small camera for stage shots

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Rock, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. Rock

    Rock Guest


    I need a camera that would be good for shots of performers on stage that would
    be printable with a good resolution.

    Sometimes they are moving so need to get them frozen and sometimes the lights
    are either too low or really bright.

    I don't want an SLR just a small one.

    I am in Sydney Oz so that is where I will buy. I don't have any biased towards
    makes but need something I can download and that will take bigger cards for
    bigger memory.

    Am I right that the higher the MegaPixel the better the shot for larger printing?

    Thank you

    Rock, Dec 3, 2007
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  2. You are looking for a lot and I suspect you will have a hard time
    finding what you want.

    Most customers for non-SLR cameras don't look for the features you are
    interested in. As a result there are few if any cameras that will have
    those features. The manufacturers, understandably make what they know will
    sell in quantity.

    As you apparently know the features you are interested in are available
    in SLR's, but they are generally more expensive, larger and noisier.

    Hopefully someone here will have the experience with the cameras you
    might be interested in and can offer you some specific advice. Sorry I
    can't offer any real answers to your question.
    Joseph Meehan, Dec 3, 2007
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  3. Rock

    MG Guest

    I need a camera that would be good for shots of performers on stage that
    Will you be able to use flash?

    MG, Dec 3, 2007
  4. Rock

    tomm42 Guest

    Problem with stage photography is often the lighting is less than
    optimal for photography, especially if motion is involved. The other
    problem is that the action is a good distance away from the camera so
    telephoto lenses are necessary, that means a slow f-stop on most
    portable cameras. That is why most stage photographers use SLRs or
    DSLRs. I believe Panasonic had a superzoom camera with an f2.8 lens
    (as small as an f-stop as you would want) but I'm not certain of the
    availability. The quietest shutter on a DSLR was on the Olympus E1,
    not sure of the new E3, and Olympus has some fast lenses. Their system
    is a little smaller than the Canon-Nikon-Pentax offerings and most
    likely not much bigger than the f2.8 Panasonic. You have put out a
    tall order for a camera, and P&S cameras are generally not made for
    pro work.

    tomm42, Dec 3, 2007
  5. Rock

    Scott W Guest

    I don't think you are going to find what you are looking for.
    Small cameras pretty much need a lot of light, at least if you are
    photographing moving people.

    Even for a DSLR you would need a good lens if the light was not good and
    if the light was too low even that would not be enough.

    Scott W, Dec 3, 2007
  6. Rock

    Paul Furman Guest

    Small inexpensive DSLR with a fast inexpensive 50mm f/1.8 lens. Zoom
    will cost too much if it's fast.
    Paul Furman, Dec 3, 2007
  7. Rock

    Scott W Guest

    Not a bad idea, but if the light is low then even this might not be
    enough. I might not be a bad idea for him to either rent or borrow a
    camera with that lens.

    I took this shot with that very combination. This was a fairly dark bar
    but not all that dark and even at iso 800 I was shooting at 1/50 sec,
    not nearly fast enough if people are moving.


    Scott W, Dec 3, 2007
  8. Rock

    Rock Guest

    Thank you guys. I know I am asking a lot but at least that's starting at the
    top then working down to the compromise I will have to make.

    I can use flash most of the times and I suppose mostly the light will also be
    bright enough, what with follow spots and floods.

    It is the stopping of movement which I think is more of a concern and still
    getting a high res pix that can be used for printing at 600 plus.

    I don't know how many great pix I have taken, which I can't use as they are too
    blurred from the performer's movement or the res is just too low to print at a
    reasonable size.

    I do need high res so I guess a higher Megpix is needed. Is there much
    difference between what an 8 or a 10 will do?

    I have a Panasonic GS400 video which I have tried to use for stopping movement
    looking at each frame, whilst this is a great way to get a good shot, the res
    is not high enough although I'm still exploring how to do better.

    Anyway I thank all of you for your wisdom and experience. You have taught me a lot.

    Rock, Dec 4, 2007
  9. Rock

    Paul Furman Guest

    How many inches wide for the prints?
    No, not much difference. There is a noticeable difference between 6 & 10
    but not between 6 & 8 or 8 & 10. 5MP is pretty acceptable for so-so 8x10
    prints, even 3MP makes decent 8x10's. Fewer mexapixels will actually buy
    you better low light performance to an extent.

    The other thing that buys you low light performance is large aperture
    lenses (small f/stop number) at the cost of limited depth of field. The
    shallow DOF can be useful for artistic effect by blurring out
    distracting backgrounds though.

    Video is generally extremely low res (well under 1 MP) and hungry for
    Paul Furman, Dec 4, 2007
  10. Rock

    Paul Furman Guest

    I should have kept my trap shut here, it's possible low res camcorders
    perform well in low light because of the low pixel count, I was thinking
    of 'movie' cameras which need lots of light even with super fast lenses.
    Paul Furman, Dec 4, 2007
  11. Rock

    Bill Tuthill Guest

    Any Fuji Finepix digicam with SuperCCD should provide
    high-ISO shots almost as good as a top-quality DSLR.
    For example, F31fd.
    Bill Tuthill, Dec 4, 2007
  12. Rock

    bugbear Guest

    Could you define "good resolution" in more specific terms
    e.g. size of final print?

    bugbear, Dec 4, 2007
  13. Rock

    tomm42 Guest

    600 plus ???? do you mean 600ppi plus? If you are going for such high
    res you will need as high mp as you can get, a 10mp camera will give
    8x12 x 300ppi. Is this for a magazine? The one I shoot for says 8x10 x
    300ppi no upres. To keep the lens speed up and the noise down you are
    almost locked into a DSLR. Yes the Fuji SuperCCD is a good idea but at
    telephoto it still has a slow lens, not good for stage, wouldn't hurt
    to try it. My suggestion would be a Canon, Nikon or Pentax with an 85
    f1.8 lens. I know the Nikon 85 f1.8 is under $400, I'd assume Nikon
    and Pentax are similarly priced. Another lens that would be iffy f-
    stop wise but versitile would be a 50-150 f2.8 Sigma, a little more

    tomm42, Dec 4, 2007
  14. Unfortunately you have receieved nothing but misinformation from the DSLR
    trolls, most of whicih don't even use cameras. They use these newsgroups like
    some fantasy alternate life. (i.e. If only they had a camera and the least bit
    of photography talent, the camera would do this, and do it this way. Basing all
    their information only off of what they read on the net, not from real

    Look into some of the Fuji Finepix P&S line of cameras for excellent high ISO
    performance in dim lighting conditions. Rivaling most any DSLR.
    CorrectionFactorX, Dec 4, 2007
  15. Rock

    Bill Guest

    A DSLR would really be best, but one of the Fuji cameras should give
    fair results. If you're not going to print larger than 8x10", 5 or 6
    megapixels should do fine. Take a look at the Finepix F31fd or F40fd
    (I think they tried to cram too many pixels on the F50fd).

    Bill, Dec 4, 2007
  16. Rock

    Rock Guest

    Thank you again guys.

    I know in my inexperience I didn't mention that 8x10 is a good size for me
    providing it is sharp and yes 300 for that would I guess give me what I need.
    That then would be the about 4x5 at 600 correct?

    Most of my work is needed at minimum 300 for print.

    I would also like the option of being able to capture some movement with a
    click click click effect (sorry for the newby phrase) as that is sometimes when
    the best 'live' shots are obtained. Maybe that is asking too much though.

    I have looked at your suggestions and it seems that the F50 may be the deal for
    me. I won't be buying another for many moons so I guess I best get the
    latest.. I read the report here and it does seem to give what you all mention
    although I may buy it elsewhere if I can get a better deal.

    I would like to get one of the smaller DSLRs but with a movie camera around the
    neck, I would like something i can slip into the pocket easily.

    Once again you guys have really helped.

    I'll keep tuned in here before I buy as I am still open to your thoughts.

    Rock, Dec 4, 2007
  17. Rock

    Will Ritson Guest

    Depending on your frame rate, this may or may not be true. Sports
    photographers have gone to continuous (sequence) shooting in great
    numbers, but the best of them still aim for the one shot at peak
    action, having learned that the "best" one often falls right between
    two of the frames in a motor-driven sequence.
    Will Ritson, Dec 5, 2007
  18. Rock

    bugbear Guest

    ok, 300 DPI @ 8x10", which is 2400 x 3000

    AKA 7 MegaPixels.

    bugbear, Dec 10, 2007
  19. Rock

    John Navas Guest

    Excellent 8x10 can be printed from as few as 3 MP given a quality image.
    John Navas, Dec 18, 2007
  20. Rock

    John Navas Guest

    Human reaction time, on the order of 200 ms for fingertip response, is
    no better than even the 5 fps burst of a mid-range DSLR, much less the
    higher fps of high-end cameras used by the best pros. Thus getting a
    shot that falls between two burst frames is entirely a matter of chance,
    not technique. Even at 5 fps, the burst technique will deliver the best
    shot at least as often as manual shooting, with the odds for burst
    delivering the best shot improving at higher fps. Which is why rational
    pros want and use the fastest burst fps available.
    John Navas, Dec 26, 2007
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