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08-09-2014, 07:42 AM - 3 Likes   #1
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Concert shot with K-3 and Sigma 18-35.

When I was on a summer vacation in Finland, Åland islands I had a chance to enjoy a cover band from Thailand playing rock and metal tunes. There was a time when they played in that town far more often and two years ago they split up. Recently they reformed with the new line up and started playing live again. During one of the nights I decided to do some photo shooting to improve my skills and to provide the guys with some pictures for promotional use etc. , after all I know them for a long time and I was more then glad to help them out.
The shooting conditions were challenging : dark club, barely any light even on stage, the stage was low and small. First I tried shooting in Av mode, but the camera always chose shutter speeds that were too low. I ended up switching to fully manual operation. Shutter speed was set to 1/100, the aperture on Sigma was set to 1.8. At first I used ISO 25600, because that's what the camera suggested initially. Later on I switched to 12800. At ISO 6400 certain shots ended up being too dark, so I switched back to 12800. Most of the shots were done using contrast detect autofocus in live view. I prefer to use live view, because of the electronic level, for me it is also easier to frame the shots using the display. Besides, in that club the viewfinder was rather useless, as it was too dark.

I really liked the behaviour of the lens in these conditios. F1.8 and ability to change focal length were clear advantages. But at the same time F1.8 made the things far more complicated in a certain way. Depth of field. Considering how close I was to the band, the depth of field was extremely shallow even at 18 mm. When shooting action, it is really hard to constantly keep that in mind and it also seems that the central focusing point is bigger than you might expect it to be. On the other hand it was the only lens in this system appropriate for the job. I can't imagine shooting the show with a fix lens, or with a slower zoom like DA* 16-50. The sharpness of Sigma wide open was a huge advantage : the loss of details due to high ISO was partially compensated by their over-abundance (in a good way).

The shots were processed in DxO 9 using Prime noise reduction engine. 35 photos took an hour and a half to process even taking into account that I am running a 6 core Intel I7. I did some cropping and in certain cases I fiddled with Shadows, Highlights, Exposure and Smart Lighting. High resolution of K-3 was very useful when I did cropping and resizing. The images were resized to 1440 (hight of my monitor).

To sum the experience up, I would say, that K-3 is a very capable camera, for just about any imaginable task (if coupled with a proper lens, like this Sigma).

Here are some shots.





Here is a link to the album, where the rest of the shots are uploaded. Click on the images in the post, to see the larger versions.


Last edited by Stagnant; 08-10-2014 at 07:02 AM.
08-09-2014, 08:11 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote
To sum the experience up, I would say, that K-3 is a very capable camera, for just about any imaginable task (if coupled with a proper lens, like this Sigma).
Agreed. You did very well here. Congrats.
08-09-2014, 09:16 AM   #3
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Indeed, very crisp shots for the situation. I am interested in the effects your noise reduction tool contributed. Could you post one sample before NR ? Still working with Lightroom only most of the time.
08-09-2014, 09:41 AM - 1 Like   #4
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* Noise reduction disabled. * Noise reduction in DxO, using Prime engine.

The scene is slightly cropped, but otherwise it was not downsized. Click for the full size images.

@ johnyates , thanks, I tried my best.

08-09-2014, 10:41 AM   #5
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Well, now I know why NR took so long The results speak for themselves. Thanks for posting!
08-09-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by delegopa Quote
Well, now I know why NR took so long The results speak for themselves. Thanks for posting!
You are welcome ! I was initially rather sceptical, when shooting at 25600. To keep it safe, I took some more shots at 12800 just in case the 25600 would have ended up being unusable.

These two shots are from a pub on board the ship. ISO 25600. Cropped and resized to 1200 pixels high, to be somewhat usable. Pushing the limits of camera here. Click to see the full size.

08-09-2014, 01:23 PM   #7
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Great results in very challenging conditions.

QuoteOriginally posted by Stagnant Quote
The shots were processed in DxO 9 using Prime noise reduction engine.
I could tell you were using PRIME when I looked at how the out-of-focus areas were processed. Unfortunately PRIME really loves to make bokeh very smudgy. Usually DxO runs PRIME set too high (at 40 or more) - I usually set it a bit lower than the DxO defaults, and the smudging is not as noticeable.

Colour temperature is really good in these, but I'd probably desaturate magenta more in one or two of the photos.
08-09-2014, 01:39 PM   #8
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@ rawr , thanks !

Lowering the amount of noise reduction results in a not very pleasant looking dark areas. In some cases I do lower the default settings of noise reduction, especially when I am planning to resize the image. Works great on 6400 and gives satisfactory results at 12800. 25600 on K-3 is just too much for any kind of noise reduction to produce a result without compromises. On the other hand, just think about it : APS-C and an iso speed that high. Really hard to complain

As for the colour temperature, I used camera's M-AWB. I did not change WB in post processing. Magnetas were a part of the stage light, so it is really hard to tell, whether the colours were really like that or it is the camera that decided to stress them.

08-10-2014, 02:10 AM   #9
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Great Pix

Thanks for posting. A great demonstration of using noise reduction software and effective use of high iso if you know its limitations and what you are doing.

Howie B
08-10-2014, 06:34 AM   #10
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Good series showing capability of the photographer, lens and software.

Dale
01-13-2015, 02:56 PM   #11
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Some more concert shots with the same equipment. All shots are at F1.8 .




https://flic.kr/s/aHsk7FvaXe - here are some other shots from that event.

Compared to the previous event described in this thread, there was more light, so I was able to use shutter speeds of 1/100 and 1/125. I set the camera to TAv mode and let the camera choose the ISO automatically. Surprisingly enough it worked out quite well. ISO was mostly in the range of 1000 - 3200. Despite the fact that the club was bigger, shallow DOF was occasionally a problem : if you focus on the face of the guitar player, his instrument will most likely be out of focus and vice versa. When possible I shot at wider angles or went further away from stage, thus most of the shots are cropped. The hardest part of the shooting process was to capture the moment when the stage light was favourable and there was not so much smoke. Smoke made focusing really hard, because it was hard to decide if the camera / lens hit the focus. Crazy stage lights often overexposed the musicians to the point of making them a big white spot. The shots were processed in DxO.
All in all the combo once again proved to be very reliable and behaved in a predictable fashion, except for an occasion when the camera decided to freeze (had to remove and re-insert the battery).
01-13-2015, 06:34 PM   #12
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Awesome shots and great NR!
01-13-2015, 07:04 PM   #13
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Your first set of shots are unbelievable. I wouldn't believe that they were shot at ISO 6400 if you didn't mention. Lightroom doesn't do such a good job at NR. I need to now look at the tool you've mentioned.
01-14-2015, 03:20 AM   #14
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Keep in mind that the shots were also resized (1440 high), to get rid of some of the noise.



Here are full size images (cropped) without noise reduction. The first one is ISO 6400 and the second is ISO 2500.
01-14-2015, 02:09 PM   #15
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Looks like a great lens
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