Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: How hard can it be to photograph a live show?  (Read 4700 times)
zata
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 1


« on: December 07, 2006, 08:18:24 AM »
ReplyReply

My old SONY P-30 with 1.3 mp continues to take fabulous pictures after five years hard use, but I need to buy a replacement as backup.  I've bought three similar cameras, one after the other: SONY P-50, CANON A700 and another higher grade SONY whose reference I can't remember.  In each case I have had to return or give away the camera as it simply does not take anything like acceptable pictures of what I need.  All the photos I take are of brightly-lit stage scenes, with or without movement, at varying distances but usually from the front row and never with flash.  The resulting images I had with the three new cameras, even after toying with every possible combination of knobs and configuration, have been consistently blurry, somewhat grainy and thoroughly useless.  I bought a simple tripod, but this made no difference and was difficult to use in nearly all theaters.  

Assuming money is no object at this point, what smallish, easy-to-use camera can take pictures like this?  I need to be able to put it into a medium-sized shoulder bag and cannot be using large obtrusive lenses.

Please answer my private mail zata3@yahoo.com.  I will be deeply grateful for any suggestion, any bit of advice whatsoever.

zata
Logged
Jonathan Wienke
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5759



WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2006, 09:43:09 AM »
ReplyReply

You're asking for something that doesn't exist. To get decent results shooting stage shows or concerts, you need a camera able to shoot at ISO 800 or higher with a lens with an f/2.8 or faster aperture. Compact pocket cameras simply can't compete here; you need a DSLR like a Canon Rebel, 30D, or 1D-MkII with something like an f/2 prime or a 16-35/2.8L or 24-70/2.8L zoom lens, or the Nikon equivalent.

Shooting concerts and stage shows is some of the toughest photography there is, except for combat reportage. You have to consistently shoot within 1/2 stop of perfect exposure, even when the lighting may vary 2 stops or more every few seconds, be able to get decent DOF even with large apertures, capture moving subjects even with slow shutter speeds, deal with subjects with extreme dynamic range when your camera is at its most limited in that regard, and be able to post-process skillfully enough to get something useful from a file that may look pretty ugly at first glance. Shooting RAW is pretty much a necessity, which is another factor that eliminates most compact cameras.

This shot was captured with a Canon 1D-MkII and a Canon 135/2L lens at ISO 1600:

Logged

Nill Toulme
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 741



WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2006, 01:37:11 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
You're asking for something that doesn't exist. ...

Of course it exists.  Zata asked "...money...no object..., what smallish, easy-to-use camera can take pictures like this?"  That question perfectly describes the Canon 400D with an appropriate lens, which, shooting from the front row, would probably be one or both of the 50 f/1.4 (or even f/1.Cool and 85 f/1.8, and maybe the 35 f/2.  I shoot this kind of stuff at f/2.8 all the time, so it might even be the 24-70 f/2.8L unless that gets over into the "large obtrusive lens" category.

The key is that it takes a DSLR that's competent at high ISO, meaning just about any Canon DSLR you'd care to name.

What it can't be, as Jonathan rightly points out, is any P&S or compact camera currently on the market that I'm aware of.  (I'm not counting the Leica M8 as a "compact camera" here...)

The 400D is especially appropriate here because, not only is it as compact as many so-called "compact" cameras with smaller sensors and non-interchangeable lenses, it also has the quietest shutter sound of any DSLR I have used.

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net
Logged
Jonathan Wienke
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5759



WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 08, 2006, 03:58:00 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Of course it exists.  Zata asked "...money...no object..., what smallish, easy-to-use camera can take pictures like this?"  That question perfectly describes the Canon 400D with an appropriate lens, which, shooting from the front row, would probably be one or both of the 50 f/1.4 (or even f/1.Cool and 85 f/1.8, and maybe the 35 f/2.  I shoot this kind of stuff at f/2.8 all the time, so it might even be the 24-70 f/2.8L unless that gets over into the "large obtrusive lens" category.

The OP needs to be a bit clearer about what he/she means by "large, obtrusive". Compared to the lenses of the P&S cameras mentioned, even a 50/1.8 is huge.

The 400D with appropriate glass would probably be the best tool currently available. The Leica M8 would work also, but the OP is probably not skilled enough to handle full-manual-everything yet, and would probably balk at the price.
Logged

eronald
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 4262



« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2006, 06:40:23 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The OP needs to be a bit clearer about what he/she means by "large, obtrusive". Compared to the lenses of the P&S cameras mentioned, even a 50/1.8 is huge.

The 400D with appropriate glass would probably be the best tool currently available. The Leica M8 would work also, but the OP is probably not skilled enough to handle full-manual-everything yet, and would probably balk at the price.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=89359\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Doens't somebody make some really small digital SLR ? Olympus ?


Edmund
« Last Edit: December 08, 2006, 06:42:56 AM by eronald » Logged
Nill Toulme
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 741



WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2006, 07:40:14 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
...Compared to the lenses of the P&S cameras mentioned, even a 50/1.8 is huge.
...

Heh, true.  But compared to your 1D-MkII and 135/2L, on a 400D it will pass for a P&S.  ;-)

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net
Logged
Gregory
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 191


WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2006, 09:56:50 AM »
ReplyReply

Here's one of the photos I took at a recent concert in Hong Kong, sitting about 25 rows back from the performer.

Canon 350D; 800ASA, f5.6, 1/100th
manual exposure; settled upon after a few trials and glances at the histogram
Canon 70-300/4.0 IS DO; manual focus, handheld (I don't like tripods)

Zhou Hua Jian in Concert 2006

If the 350D can do it, the 400D can definitely handle it. Auto-focus on the 400D is also far better than on the 350D so it might very well be usable for live shows. personally, I prefer manual focus, especially when the DOF is just a few inches or less.


but more to your request of a camera that you could fit into your bag: I'd suggest that you try the Canon IXUS 800 IS or the 850 IS. we have the 800 IS and it's an excellent camera. in manual exposure mode, it can probably serve your needs nicely. it features 6 megapixels, 35-140mm optical zoom and a very nice 2.5" LCD monitor.

the 850 IS features 7 megapixels, 28-105 optical zoom, the same 2.5" LCD monitor and a new DIGIC III processor.

both cameras have an Auto-ASA mode with the 800 IS providing film speeds from 80 to 800 and the 850 IS providing speeds from 80 to 1600.

I'm assuming that you know that the 'IS' stands for Image Stabilisation.

the 850 IS would probably be your best bet unless you really needed the extra 35mm of zoom.

regards,
Gregory
« Last Edit: December 08, 2006, 10:12:37 AM by Gregory » Logged

Gregory's Blog: An Aussie in HK
Equipment: Canon EOS 1D Mark III, 17-40L, 24-105L, 70-300 DO
KenRexach
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 65


« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2006, 10:07:40 AM »
ReplyReply

I have shot dozens of high fashion shows and a few concerts and even theater plays. My fav camera for that is my 5D and fast glass. I also have the 1Dmk2 and used it a lot for that but the 5D is a tad cleaner at high iso/ Before that I used the 10d and was also excellent. So pretty much any DSLR in Canons current lineup is excellent, what you really really need is the glass. I love the 50mm 1.4 and the 85mm f1.2, use them as much as posible. Sharp as a tack. For closer shots ive used a 200mm f2.8 prime, also excellent but sometimes more speed is needed.
Logged
macgyver
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 510


« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2006, 11:28:14 AM »
ReplyReply

I find IS to be hugely helpful in circumstances like these.  It lets you slow down the shutter to grab more of the stage light that may not be on the subject.

Maybe the 17-55 2.8 IS?
Logged
Bobtrips
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 679


« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2006, 02:03:18 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
The OP needs to be a bit clearer about what he/she means by "large, obtrusive". Compared to the lenses of the P&S cameras mentioned, even a 50/1.8 is huge.

The 400D with appropriate glass would probably be the best tool currently available. The Leica M8 would work also, but the OP is probably not skilled enough to handle full-manual-everything yet, and would probably balk at the price.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Perhaps the Nikon D50 rather than the 350D/400D.

Scroll down the page a bit and look at the "Noise vs. ISO" graph.

[a href=\"http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/K100D/K100DIMATEST.HTM]http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/K100D/K100DIMATEST.HTM[/url]

The Pentax K100D might be a good choice if DR is a big factor.  Work your way further down the page.
Logged
Jonathan Ratzlaff
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 200


« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2006, 09:24:44 PM »
ReplyReply

Although a lot of discussion surrounds camera noise, camera speed is probably more important.  Shooting action requires a camera that focusses quickly with minimal shutter lag.  Timing is everything when shooting a live performance and you can't do it with a camera with a long shutter lag.
The other comment is regarding IS.  Unless you are out to show movement, you will find that unless you are shooting with a high shutter speed your background may be perfectly sharp and the subject is moving too much because of the slow shutter speed IS allows you to use.  Better to shoot at high iso fast shutter speed and use noise reduction if there is too much noise in the image for your liking.  However with DSLR's almost any current one will produce an image with less noise than the comparable speed film with better coloour balance and contrast.
Logged
David Anderson
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 522



WWW
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2006, 06:07:41 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi Zata,

I shoot a lot of shows and my number one lens is the 70-200 2.8 L IS followed by the 16-35 2.8.
Most of the stuff that's been used by the magazines has been on the longer lenses, though they do use the odd whole band on stage or crowd shot as well.

A dream set-up ?
The best body you can afford, a fast 70-200 zoom and a mono pod.
( A monopod is a good self defense tool if the crowd gets wild   )


Long lens from the pit:


Wide lens from the pit:
Logged

X-Re
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 143


« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2006, 10:17:08 AM »
ReplyReply

I've shot some local level shows here in Austin. Local clubs that have lights still don't light the stage up as much as a big show. f/2.8 was the smallest aperture I get anything useful out of... Focus in low light demands fast glass - and IS isn't going to help if you can't get enough light in to at least minimally stop what's going on.

For the local stuff, I can get right up close, so I've shot my 50/1.4 at f/2 to f/2.8, with shutter speeds ranging from 1/100-1/500, depending, at ISO 1600-3200. Yep, its that dark. If it gets dimmer, I resort to using a fill flash on 2nd curtain sync - I've gotten good results at 1/10, f/2, ISO 1600 with that technique. I've also used my 70-200/2.8 some, but in these clubs, I'm lucky to get enough light to not make camera shake a problem...

Most clubs around here have sucky light, and I don't even bother trying to shoot w/o flash in those (if I bother to shoot at all).

So, count me in the FAST glass w/ good body club...

A small representation of my limited live music work is here: http://www.daverephoto.com/music-live.html

Edit to add... Nice work, David  Having big stage lighting to work with would rock!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2006, 10:18:06 AM by X-Re » Logged

Nill Toulme
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 741



WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2006, 11:37:47 AM »
ReplyReply

Quote
...Most clubs around here have sucky light, and I don't even bother trying to shoot w/o flash in those (if I bother to shoot at all).
...[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Don't give up in sucky light!

These are all hand held at ISO 3200 f/2.8 with the 70-200 f/2.8L IS, shutter speeds in the 1/10 to 1/40 range:















Complete set with EXIF [a href=\"http://www.toulme.net/sounds/dancz/071305/index.htm]here[/url].

Nill
~~
www.toulme.net
Logged
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad