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09-21-2009, 11:19 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
they may be moving but unless you are at the side of the stage, or very close in front then they may not be moving away or towards you, only side to side.
I shoot from right in front fairly often, and the front-to-back motion with a lot of players (saxophonists in particular) is already significant at f/3.5. What I'll do is focus at the front of the motion, and then for a while shoot only when they return to that position. Then repeat for the back of the motion, and shoot that way for a while.

Note this actually solves (or at least partially addresses) two problems at once. One is the focus / DOF issue - I'm setting focus for one subject position and only shooting when the subject is actually in that position. But it also deals with the subject *motion* issue as well. In another post you mention shooting at 1/250" often, and suggesting you aren't likely to get a motion-free picture at 1/60". That's a different world than I live in - at least, a differently-lit one :-). I hardly ever have the luxury of shooting at 1/250" even with my 50/1.7, and actually, 1/60" is faster than average for me. At f/2.8, as I said, 1/30" or 1/45" is more typical. And you're right - that won't freeze much motion. So it becomes important to time shots to coincide with temporary lulls in the motion. And in the case of a player rocking back and forth, it's the end points of the motion where he reverses directly at which velocity becomes 0 (one of the few things I remember from calculus!).

Here's a recent shot at 1/45" on a very moving target:



Some players are less animated than others, and I can get a decent success rate at slower shutter speeds, but it's extremely rare to find someone I can't catch reasonable well at 1/45". Worst case is one drummer I know who is a very violent head-bobber. I do have to get to 1/90" or 1/125" to have much of a shot with him when he's playing a fast tempo. So I shoot him mostly playing slower tempos :-) Only trouble with either approach - hoping for conditions in which I can shoot faster shutter speeds, or shooting slow tempos - is that what I really want is to freeze the face but leave the hands a blur. Still working on a really great shot like that of him.


Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-21-2009 at 11:39 AM.
09-21-2009, 01:37 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
Marc, thanks and duly noted. I should point out that I consider the ability to shoot at f/1.8 as another arrow in my quiver, to be used when needed. I sometimes shoot ISO1600 and underexpose 1/3 to 2/3 EV to get acceptable shutter speed.

Do you ever shoot at ISO3200 or I take it you prefer to shoot ISO1600 underexposed? What's the advantage of shooting ISO1600 and pushing to emulate ISO3200? I assume you're using k20/k7.
I completely symphathize with your requirement, to use the fastest possible lens. I always have the 24/2.0, 31/1.8, 50/1.4 or 1.2 and /85/1.4 with me on concerts and also the ubiquous 70-200/2.8. But quite as Marc, I very often shoot MF, because many of my shots are precomposed and I simply wait until the musician moves in the preperceived position again. I think, the lenses I use most are the 85mm and probably the 24mm (obviously not, if I can't get onto the stage).

Otherwise I find the Pentax AF quite reliable, as stages usually are brightly enough lit to find a contrasty spot on the scene. Shooting from the stage sides, the app. 80mm lenses seems to be my favourites, giving me enough "reach" from a couple of meters distance.

Sometimes (if possible at all), I use a wide angle to get shots of the drummer, crawling just besides the drum set. As these guys mostly sit on the back of the stage, I can get by, without annoying the audience...

Ben

Attached images of the lenses I mentioned:

1. the sole drumset with the FA 85 at f/2 (K20 at ISO 1250)
2. the front men with the FA50/1.4 at f/2 (K20 at ISO 1250)
3. the drummer with the FA 24 at f/2.8 (K10 at IS= 500)

exposure always manual and manual focus
Attached Images
     
09-21-2009, 01:55 PM   #18
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Great tips so far! I havent shot many low light gigs. But for the few I have I have used FA 50mm 1.4 and K135mm f 2.5

And I actually like K135! sure it's manual focus and everything but once you get the hang of it, you can really isolate someone or just take a stunning pic.



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(compression really kills all the detail :S)

And my personal opinion is that almost always in club conditions I tend to like manual focus more than AF.

-J
09-21-2009, 02:12 PM   #19
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If you can afford it you might want to look into getting a FA* 85mm. You'd have to get a used copy, but it's a great lens and accaptably sharp wide open. Of course the DOF wide open is quite thin if you're at all close to the subject, but like you said, it's another arrow in your quiver. You also get a few extra mm over the 77 if that is a concern.

Also, with the price of the 77mm being raised recently the cost of a used FA* 85mm is a lot closer to that of a new 77mm Ltd than it used to be.

09-23-2009, 02:14 PM   #20
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I'll receive the FA 77mm Ltd. tomorrow and will cover an event on Saturday. It might come in handy


Coldplay


Shot with DA* 50-135mm - K20d at f/2.8, ISO 1600, 1/50th /sec.
09-23-2009, 05:45 PM   #21
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I used both Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 limited and Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 in a staged performance. Though it is not a concert, it had stage lighting that ISO 800 is too low to handle with f/2.8 for some scenes, especially the fast movement that I encountered in the dance. Sometime, the 77mm helped with the scenes when the lighting was totally pitch black with only a minor touch of lighting on the performer. The FA 77mm f/1.8 does wonderfully but I pushed it wrongly to f/2.0 and f/2.2 in ISO 400 to 640 in K20D. In hindsights, I might have done better with f/2.2 to f/2.8 and up the ISO to within 200 to 1600 in TAv mode.

For candid shots with natural lighting only, the 77mm pays back every penny that I spent on the lens. Having said that, the perofmance of the DA* 50-135mm in f/2.8 in ISO 1600 rivals the prime quality of the insanely good 77mm f/1.8 limited. I actually like the DA* zoom overall performance than the 77mm as I couldn't zoom with my feet in a live performance. Had I had the guts to move randomly before the front row guests, the 77mm would have done better if not in par to the DA*. The dancer move around the stadium throughout the 3 hours dance and I found the zoom in DA* invaluable while I could frame at a single seat without bothering the audience.

The AF in the 77mm is annoying with loud noise and due to the continuous moment, I resolved into using AF for every ounce of concentration that I could get for the framing as I couldn't move easily in the same front row seat. Had I used the manual focus, the 77mm would be dead quiet like the DA*. Both are invaluable lens for event photography such as the concert or the staged performance as in a dance.

Some shots from the dance and all are shot natural lighting hand-held as that are most likely the concert restriction. I would have liked to try out a monopod for assist the weight in the DA* zoom for three hour shooting.


#1
1/30 sec, f/3.5, 115mm, iso 640, 0 Ev



#2
1/500 sec, f/2.2, 77mm, iso 640, 0 Ev



#3
1/25 sec, f/3.5, 85mm, iso 640, 0 Ev



#4
1/125 sec, f/2.8, 77mm, iso 250, 0 Ev



#5
1/200 sec, f/3.2, 63mm, iso 1600, 0 Ev



#6
1/25 sec, f/3.5, 55mm, iso 640, 0 Ev



#7
1/13 sec, f/2.2, 77mm, iso 1000, 0 Ev



#8
1/50, f/2.2, 77mm, iso 500, 0 Ev



#9
1/25 sec, f/3.2, 123mm, iso 800, 0 Ev



I am sure your 77mm add value to your DA* zoom. Both are my babies and both are insanely good in their own right You can see the mistakes I had with #8 and others where I used a wide aperture in f/2.2 which I would have done better in f/2.4 or f/2.8 and up the ISO. The shot in #9 is sharper to me from the DA* but the error mostly come from me using a difficult aperture and achieve a soft picture.

Thanks,
Hin
09-23-2009, 06:20 PM   #22
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Actually, looking again at image #8, I don't think it was shallow DOF that did you in - it was AF. the camera clearly focused on the microphone stand, not the performer. And that is precisely why I say AF is pretty unreliable in these settings - it's very common to have a mic stand or other false target in front of the performer.

Had the focus been on the performer, the DOF at 77mm and f/2.2 would have at least put his whole face in focus, if not the whole violin as well. Careful MF could have yielded a result not unlike #9, wich at least parts of both the violin and face reasonably in focus.
09-23-2009, 06:35 PM   #23
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Hin I love those shots

Really well done... # 5 is spot on... I agree with Marc about the mic stand focus on #8...

Having said that... I only got to use the 77 for an hour or so in daylight conditions and I noticed a tendancy to PF in contrasty conditions. Does the spot lighting cause any contrast pf/ca issues with the 77 at concerts?

09-23-2009, 06:52 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igilligan Quote
Really well done... # 5 is spot on... I agree with Marc about the mic stand focus on #8...

Having said that... I only got to use the 77 for an hour or so in daylight conditions and I noticed a tendancy to PF in contrasty conditions. Does the spot lighting cause any contrast pf/ca issues with the 77 at concerts?
PF is the extra stuff that the 77mm limited may sometimes get you. I would classify the PF that I see as mild and moderate and easy fix and the 77mm really gives you the pop in color that is insanely good.

Yes guys maybe right on #8 and I don't remember how I focus. I normally focus on the eyes center and re-frame for the shot. The mic may have picked up and fouled my normal center->half press->reframe->check all especially shutter and ISO ->full press on shutter. The gentlemen playing the violin is not moving like the drummer.

Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 09-23-2009 at 08:24 PM.
09-24-2009, 11:58 AM   #25
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Right - the AF sensors are too broad to be useful in reliably getting the camera to focus on a person standing behind a microphone. In fact, on the contrary, it's almost a given that no matter how hard you try aiming a little off to the side, the camera will still choose the mic. FWIW, this is one reason I value quick shift so highly.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-25-2009 at 09:38 AM.
09-24-2009, 03:19 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Right - the AF sensors are too broad to be useful in reliably getting the camera to focus on a person standing behind a microphone. In fact, on the contrary, it's almsot a given that no matter how hard you try aiming a little off to the side, the camera will still choose the mic. FWIW, this is one reason I value quick shift so highly.
Marc, in that regard, the DA 70mm f/2.4 limited and Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 would do well with the quick shift feature. I want to ask if you disable the default AF in half shutter release. I have not got used to the recommendation from my friends to disable the AF in half-shutter and enable AF button and use the AF to do the auto-focusing. I can see in that set up, you can use the quick shift feature on the lens to move your focal point to reach target by adjusting your focusing ring and focal point is reached, you use the shutter release for the full release.

Without the AF button, I find the quick shift will be competing to lock the focus between the manual turning on focus ring and half-press to AF.

Basically, I want to study how you use the focus shift feature.

Thanks,
Hin
09-25-2009, 08:39 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Right - the AF sensors are too broad to be useful in reliably getting the camera to focus on a person standing behind a microphone. In fact, on the contrary, it's almsot a given that no matter how hard you try aiming a little off to the side, the camera will still choose the mic. FWIW, this is one reason I value quick shift so highly.
Interesting. Maybe I have (had) too much faith in the accuracy of the AF points. I reviewed a bunch of photos with front focus and that may explain it.

I'm going to give manual focus a try with the DA 77mm Ltd. !
09-25-2009, 09:45 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Marc, in that regard, the DA 70mm f/2.4 limited and Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 would do well with the quick shift feature.
That's one reason I chose the DA70 over the FA77.

QuoteQuote:
I want to ask if you disable the default AF in half shutter release.
No, but I have my OK button (K200D) programmed to temporarily cancel AF. So when I am trying to take a shot I can see AF is having trouble with (or predict even before half-pressing the shutter that it is likely to be fooled), I just slide my thumb over the OK button and then focus myself. On the K200D at least, that button is located such that I can leave my thumb there for extended periods while shooting in temporary MF mode. I understand on some models and with some people's hands, the button you'd use to use to cancel AF is less comfortable to press for longer periods of time.

I have briefly experimented with totally disabling half-shutter AF, but find it too disorienting after decades of half-shutter focusing. The button to temporarily disable AF gives me practically all the advantages and none of the disadvantages, as I see it.
09-25-2009, 09:55 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
That's one reason I chose the DA70 over the FA77.



No, but I have my OK button (K200D) programmed to temporarily cancel AF. So when I am trying to take a shot I can see AF is having trouble with (or predict even before half-pressing the shutter that it is likely to be fooled), I just slide my thumb over the OK button and then focus myself. On the K200D at least, that button is located such that I can leave my thumb there for extended periods while shooting in temporary MF mode. I understand on some models and with some people's hands, the button you'd use to use to cancel AF is less comfortable to press for longer periods of time.

I have briefly experimented with totally disabling half-shutter AF, but find it too disorienting after decades of half-shutter focusing. The button to temporarily disable AF gives me practically all the advantages and none of the disadvantages, as I see it.
Marc, you and I totally in sync on the AF (or OK) button customization to work well with quick shift as I customized my AF button to cancel auto-focusing. It is easier for me to adopt the canceling on AF (or OK) button than to disabling AF in half-press.

My good friends who shoot way better than my ability have learned to adapt to disabling AF in half-press. I am totally not there for the change as I tried two times in two different environments and I find the new setting baffled me and I feel like a idiot in re-training my shooting pattern. One of these days, I will fool myself with two cameras such as a K20D and K-7. Oh, the best would be a K-7 and a K-x combination and I will have two customized setting so that I am even more baffled on the "master concert manual focusing training 101" with the quick shift and OK/AF/disable-half-press-AF kind of complementary (or self punishment) training.

Much thanks,
Hin
09-27-2009, 04:25 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
I wonder how concert photos were taken before AF.
With pencil and paper?
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