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03-19-2011, 07:01 AM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Chicago
Posts: 39
K5 for Theatre

I shot a small theatre performance of Frankenstein. I'm blown away at the performance of my K5. What a joy to finally get those high iso shots I've been waiting for. I did make a few mistakes, but live and learn. One was using focus lock on faces and then recomposing. I realized I should of set the AE-L on focus in the custom menu. I lost many good ones because of blown highlights on faces and costume. Theatre lighting is tricky because of the different light levels on actors. For the most part shooting was so different from my K20.
I know this camera has a great D-range. Does anyone have any suggestions on camera settings for this type of environment? Should I underexpose slightly then bring highlights out in post processing? I shot the pre-audience performance the other night for photographers. I have the opportunity to sit in the back of the Theatre today and shoot with my Tamron 70-200mm SP F2.8. (About 30 feet from the stage)Just wondering if you all have any settings that are a must for this environment. I willing to experiment.

03-19-2011, 08:54 AM   #2
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Posts: 116
Petey, I experienced much the same when the K5 finally arrived while I was still using my K10D. I shoot mostly indoor theater stuff as well, though dance and performance pieces, not plays. I do tend to underexpose slightly and then take advantage of the K5's DR. For the first time I can use the black point slider in Aperture with great results. I often bring the blacks back until I get enough of what I want to see in the shadow and then in PS bring in back to black in other strategic areas so that it doesn't look lacking in blacks overall. This has enabled me to use faster shutter speeds, or at least have the choice to use them. And naturally it's a joy to use 800 as the home base, going to 400 or 200 when I can and rising to 1600 if I have to and still getting usable detail if I have to open up the low ISOs or deal with the results of the high ISOs, neither of which was much of an option with my K10D (though the results with it are great when you don't make it work so hard : ) )

Also, I can finally use the recovery slider in Aperture on the highlights after everything else is set. And using curves to fix highlights is finally useful (in extended mode).

Another thing with these darn theater pieces, and the way the lighting changes so much, is that I just shoot a million shots, using the range of all the parameters I'm predicting will work. And always with a tripod : ) Then I casually go through them at home with a mug of coffee and toss, toss, keep. I find that it's less taxing during the shoot, more time consuming during the weeding out, but the best ones are better, and for now I'm taking the approach that it's all worth it for those handfuls of really noteworthy images.

Last edited by hut234; 03-19-2011 at 09:17 AM.
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