Author Topic: Newbie / concert photography  (Read 3443 times)

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Offline wayneakp

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Newbie / concert photography
« on: October 29, 2014, 10:07:34 AM »
Hi all

Newbie to the forum seeking advice.

I am trying to shoot a live show at a holiday camp for end of season album for the performers. I have a A57 with the standard kit 50mm and 70-300mm lenses. The challenges I am facing is low / bright light with changing colours, including UV, introducing casts and keeping everything in focus as there's a fair amount of dancing, as well as some stationary poses by the singers. I shoot in raw so can sort out some of the casts on Photoshop but the focus  issue on four performers is a problem,  even though the stage is not that deep. I also get significant motion blur spoiling otherwise good shots.  I guess I cannot get a large enough depth of field and fast enough shutter speed with the light constraints. There is also noise in some of the shots. I dont have time to go and get alternative lenses as the shows finish this week, even then I am not sure what to look for. I know I am not going to get perfect shots but any advice as to how to improve results / camera settings etc would be appreciated.
Cheers
Wayne

Offline Faldrax

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2014, 01:10:55 PM »
Firstly, welcome to the forum :)

You don't say what Sw you use for processing your RAW images, but Lightroom 5 does a pretty good job of noise reduction (and other, specialist noise reduction packages can do even better).

I would be tempted to shoot some images at higher ISO than you would normally to try and get the shutter speed higher - without seeing images or knowing what settings you've tried it's difficult to give specific advice, but remember that an image that appears noisy when viewed at 100% on screen, might look fine when printed or scaled down for web.

You can also convert to B&W - this doesn't remove the noise directly, but sometimes noise in a B&W shot is considered less of an issue.

Another option (which depends entirely on the stage set, etc.) is to actually embrace the motion blur - IE take a few shots where the stage is sharp, but the performers are 'artistically' blurred as a way of showing the movement. It's one of the big advantages of digital - you can try taking a dozen or so such shots (with varying shutter speeds), and if none work you've lost nothing!



It is difficult to explain to white mice that black cats are lucky...

2 x A900/VG, A6000
CZ 16-35 f/2.8, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 HSM, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di USD, Sony 70-300G,
Tamron 150-600, Sony 50 f1.4, Minolta 85 f1.4 G RS, Sony 100 f2.8 Macro
Manfrotto 055CXPro3 + 410 Junior Geared head,
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/36503683@N08/

Offline wayneakp

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2014, 01:46:02 PM »
Thanks for the welcome and reply. I am using CS6 - rather I have CS6 and I am learning how to use it. This digital is all new to me coming back to photography after a break of many years - my last camera being a Canon AE program! From memory I think the camera was trying to use ISO3200 at F5.6. I set the focus to Automatic and metering to wide.

cheers

Wayne

Offline Faldrax

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2014, 02:12:58 PM »
The processing engine in CS6 is the same as in Lightroom (not sure which version though), so should do a fair job of noise reduction.

You will see a fair bit of noise at ISO 3200, it's higher than I'd be happy with on my A900, which (although older) probably has better handling of higher ISO images due to it's FF sensor.

Unfortunately, once you reach this sort of limit the only option is to use a faster lens (EG a 50 f/1.8) and sacrifice DOF for faster shutter.
It is difficult to explain to white mice that black cats are lucky...

2 x A900/VG, A6000
CZ 16-35 f/2.8, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 HSM, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di USD, Sony 70-300G,
Tamron 150-600, Sony 50 f1.4, Minolta 85 f1.4 G RS, Sony 100 f2.8 Macro
Manfrotto 055CXPro3 + 410 Junior Geared head,
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/36503683@N08/

Offline wayneakp

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2014, 09:48:22 PM »
Thanks again - I did think I was pushing my luck a little - I managed to sort a reasonable album now - some images are now black and white, which with the stage smoke are quite effective. The rest are passable especially as they will most likely end up as small images on Facebook. All good practice I guess

Cheers
Wayne

 

Offline chappo1

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #5 on: October 30, 2014, 06:47:11 AM »
Welcome Wayne.  When you are caught in the ISO/Fstop/shutter speed triangle, you have to decide what is more important to you.  Withe the lens you have, F stop is sort of fixed so you have shutter speed and  ISO to play with.
Which is less important noise or motion blur.  Faced with that choice I would crank up the ISO.
For focus- choose a point on stage and take manual focus and only shoot when a performer is in that spot.  Best I can suggest....john
“Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

Hector Berlioz

Offline wayneakp

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #6 on: October 30, 2014, 09:21:40 AM »
Thanks John

Got another show to do tonight so will try as suggested and see how I get on. I was talking to a secondhand dealer at the weekend and he recommended the Minolta Beercan lens as something worth getting as its apparently a good bright lens - although he didnt have any stock - is this worth looking for?

cheers
Wayne

Offline Faldrax

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2014, 01:23:48 PM »
The 'Beercan' is a 70-210 f/4 lens - which is 'faster' in aperture terms than your 75-300 kit lens (I'm assuming here you have the basic 75-300, not the 70-300G), is not particularly quick in terms of AF.

What focal lengths do you find you are using with your existing lenses?

If you are shooting at the short end, or could easily move closer, then the cheap option is either a second hand Minolta 50 f/1.7 or Sony 50 f/1.8 SAM (either s/h or new).

These would give you a lot more flexibility in terms of shutter speed, and are both cheap and reasonable quality IQ wise.

For a longer zoom you really want a 70-200 f/2.8, but the price does go up significantly.

The Sony 85 f/2.8 SAM would also be an option if a 50 is too short.
It is difficult to explain to white mice that black cats are lucky...

2 x A900/VG, A6000
CZ 16-35 f/2.8, Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 HSM, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 Di USD, Sony 70-300G,
Tamron 150-600, Sony 50 f1.4, Minolta 85 f1.4 G RS, Sony 100 f2.8 Macro
Manfrotto 055CXPro3 + 410 Junior Geared head,
Flickr : http://www.flickr.com/photos/36503683@N08/

Offline wayneakp

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Re: Newbie / concert photography
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 09:30:50 AM »
Thanks - I have noted lenses and will keep an eye out for them.

Last nights shoot went better, set to spot metering and low continuous drive which seemed to have worked with the changing lights. I held the shoot button down halfway to focus on the performer at the centre of the action and then gave a burst. Even some of the fast dancing shots came out ok as the camera timed in with the white strobe lights

Cheers

Wayne