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12-16-2011, 04:44 PM   #1
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Settings recommendation for a figure skating show please

Settings recommendation for a figure skating show please
I am attending the Nutcracker on Ice tonight (local ice rink) and would like to get some tips on how to get the best out of my K20D for this event.
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12-16-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Looking at your gear, I don't see any fast zoom or telephoto prime (f2.8 and faster), that's what you need. Figure skating is similar to ice hockey in term of settings. You need to set to TAV and have shutter speed set at 1/400 - 1/500, preferably 1/500. Your K20D can achieve decent images at ISO1600 so I would try to cap that as ISO setting.

Try to search in this forum using keyword "hockey" and see how people got their shots.
12-16-2011, 09:26 PM   #3
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Go Figure!

Hello Shaolinm95,
Ducdao is right, anything below about 1/350s won't stop the action and all you'll get are some pretty-colored blurs. You might get a decent shot when they're standing still just before or after the actual dancing (at a slower shutter speed), but I wouldn't count on it.
So, boost the ISO and keep the shutter speed high, as suggested. I'd also set the camera frame rate to "Continuous" and fire off several frames at a time during the more exciting segments.
Last, you might give the 50mm a try, especially during the large-cast segments. At f2.0 you'll be 2 or three stops faster than the tele zoom, which can provide either a faster shutter speed or lower ISO, if you have time to re-set it when you change lenses.
If you plan to shoot more "action" or indoor photography, a 100mm f2.8 (and any other fast lenses) would be a worthwhile investment.
Good Luck!
12-16-2011, 10:02 PM   #4
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Thanks both for the comments. It was indeed a frustrating night for pictures. I have done some nationals competition before but lighting we a lot better since it was not a show with spot lights etc. Tonight the story was sad..low light levels and as you mentioned, the only lens I have cable to work with that is my 50mm but it does not get me close to the action. I indeed need a 100mm fast lenses or so for this type of event since the low light level just cannot be handle by my zoom lenses. At least I had my Canon HF M40 which rocks with low light and captured everything beautifully on video. Sadly the still pictures it takes sucks but that is the trade off for its great video performance so no complaints from me for the trade off.

I am going tomorrow again so I will try again at 1600 ISO this time as it seems to be my only hope. I have a better idea of the show now so I know better when I can switch to different lenses. We shall see.
Thanks guys :-)

Last edited by shaolin95; 12-17-2011 at 09:54 AM.
12-18-2011, 04:27 PM   #5
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How did the pics turn out? Post them up.
12-18-2011, 06:51 PM   #6
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OP - check out my lastest thread to get some ideas on the settings.
12-18-2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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Ok unfortunately because unlike on a Hockey, for this show the lights where dim and they used a spot light (some times and mostly not done right...low budget local production) my lenses where not up to par. Only the 50mm was fast enough but I needed something much closer.
So I sat on a different location and got more video instead. For the Nationals Competition it would be easier as I was fine when they were rehearsing with the lights on...its only when lights went off that the problem began. I read about it and it seems the lense that I want is way above my possibilities for now.
Then again,....this is like the only show they do a year so is not crucial. If it was something I will be doing more often then I would save the cash :-)
When I take pics of the Nationals Competition I will post them here. :-)

12-23-2011, 07:21 AM   #8
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Several years ago, I shot the figure skating finals at the Winter Goodwill Games in Lake Placid. I was shooting with ISO 800 film at the time with a IX Nikkor 60-180 which was f/5.6 on the long end. Most shots came out better than I expected because the ice reflects a lot of light but I was really limited to slower action. I still got a lot of keepers of skaters I admired like Katerina Witt and Dorothy Hamill but shot several rolls of film to get them. The length was ok for my seats but larger arenas would require something longer. I was using shutter speeds of around 1/90-1/125 and getting some motion blur in the fast action movements. I think one of the 70-200 f/2.8 from Sigma or Tamron would be ideal. Some arenas might require a longer lens.

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