Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-25-2010, 01:10 PM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 15
Photographing Dance

I'd post the photos I took this weekend, but can't find the cord just yet, but am hoping to get some general input on the settings I should be using. My daughter was in a ballet performance, and practically all the shots turned out grainy and blurry. I have a K20D with a Pentax 18 - 250 zoom lens. The only setting which allowed sufficent light to even take the pictures was TV, shutter priority. Question: what lens/lighting combos are recommended and what settings should I be using? I know the issue is with me and not the camera....any input you have is appreciated.

05-25-2010, 02:37 PM   #2
Junior Member




Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 45
If you can post some pics with exif data that will help. Without that all I can say is use a faster lens (there are lot of fast primes and zooms to choose from, depending on your focal length needs, budget, etc.), as high an iso as acceptable to get faster shutter speeds. That should help minimize motion blur. Also if flash is allowed, that is an option. You would probably need to get an external flash as the the on camera one will not be powerful enough for your needs.
05-25-2010, 03:33 PM   #3
mel
Veteran Member
mel's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Virginia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,531
I shot a ballet recently, using both the k20D and K-7. Both bodies had fast zooms. I used f/2.8 virtually the entire time at ISO 2000. Overall I was pleased with the results. The mode isn't as important as the actual settings. The mode is just a way to achieve that.

Last edited by mel; 05-25-2010 at 03:59 PM.
05-25-2010, 03:52 PM   #4
Ira
Inactive Account




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Coral Springs, FL
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,218
QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoFrk Quote
I'd post the photos I took this weekend, but can't find the cord just yet, but am hoping to get some general input on the settings I should be using. My daughter was in a ballet performance, and practically all the shots turned out grainy and blurry. I have a K20D with a Pentax 18 - 250 zoom lens. The only setting which allowed sufficent light to even take the pictures was TV, shutter priority. Question: what lens/lighting combos are recommended and what settings should I be using? I know the issue is with me and not the camera....any input you have is appreciated.
Were you using auto ISO?

Which some people here vehemently disagree with me because I hate it?

Also, were you at AF-S or AF-C? (Auto-focus single or continuous.) I don't have the K20D, but I'm guessing you have the same AF selection. And if you have AF-A (automatic), that can be a disaster too in low light.

05-25-2010, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #5
Veteran Member
darrenleow's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Chicago
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 541
The 18-250 superzoom is probably going to be too slow for dim stage photographs, unless you increase the ISO and live with the noise/grain. These photos were taken with a K20D in M mode with f/2.8 or faster lenses at f/2.8, ISO 1600, and varying shutter speeds. A fast manual prime might allow you to get rid of the motion blur from a slow shutter speed, though you might still have to live with the high ISO noise. The focal length you choose will depend on where you are shooting from and what kind of shots you are trying to get.











05-25-2010, 04:11 PM   #6
mel
Veteran Member
mel's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Virginia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,531
A few of my dance shots are here: Labyrinth - a set on Flickr if you want to see them. I've plastered them around the forums enough for one production.
05-25-2010, 05:14 PM - 1 Like   #7
Senior Member
gebco's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Winnipeg
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 284
It's all about the memories right? With the lens you have you're going to have to bump up the ISO in order to use a larger aperture and higher shutter speed. My kids also do dance, and I find that I need at least 1/100th shutter speed, and faster depending on the dance. The pic below (which I have already posted elsewhere in the forum) is at ISO 6400, f/4.5, and 1/200th; you can see that it froze the action, although they weren't dancing that fast. Usually I use ISO 3200, but this stage was particularly not well lit. If it really is about the memories, then things like high ISO noise shouldn't really be as much an issue. Plus, you can clean it up afterward. Good luck.

05-25-2010, 05:39 PM   #8
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoFrk Quote
I'd post the photos I took this weekend, but can't find the cord just yet, but am hoping to get some general input on the settings I should be using. My daughter was in a ballet performance, and practically all the shots turned out grainy and blurry. I have a K20D with a Pentax 18 - 250 zoom lens. The only setting which allowed sufficent light to even take the pictures was TV, shutter priority.
There are no magic settings - just the basics of exposure. Aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. It doesn't matter in the least which mode you shoot it, *if* you understand how these three parameters work and how to control them using the mode you are in. Any mode will allow the necessary control.

The basic problem is to get a fast enough shutter speed to avoid blur, without resorting to such a high ISO that pictures are unacceptably grainy. It's kind of up to you to decide how to make that tradeoff. The larger the aperture, the faster the shutter speed you can get for a given ISO, but your lens doesn't have a very large maximum aperture. That's why people spend money on lenses with larger maximum apertures (eg, f/2.8 or better).

05-25-2010, 07:32 PM   #9
Inactive Account




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 15
Original Poster
Photographing Dance

Thanks for all the advice. Never imagined I'd receive so many replies so quickly.
05-25-2010, 08:27 PM   #10
Veteran Member
Ken T's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 537
QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoFrk Quote
I'd post the photos I took this weekend, but can't find the cord just yet, but am hoping to get some general input on the settings I should be using. My daughter was in a ballet performance, and practically all the shots turned out grainy and blurry. I have a K20D with a Pentax 18 - 250 zoom lens. The only setting which allowed sufficent light to even take the pictures was TV, shutter priority. Question: what lens/lighting combos are recommended and what settings should I be using? I know the issue is with me and not the camera....any input you have is appreciated.
In this situation, without a faster lens, I would put the K20D to TAv mode. set shutter speed to 1/200", aperture wide open, and Auto ISO in the range to 6400 . By that I can have noisy but sharp pictures and I can denoise them in post processing .
05-26-2010, 07:34 AM   #11
Veteran Member
WMBP's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas, Texas
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,496
Photographing performers is hard. Photographing dancers is VERY hard. Why are dances "very" hard? Because they move so much.

As Marc Sabatella says, there's no magic here, just the basics of exposure. I'd shoot either in M or TAv (if you have a K10D/K20D or K-7). And then I'd deal with the basic considerations in a fixed order.

Before I talk about the exposure calculations, let's talk about equipment. You really need a camera with high resolution and the ability to shoot at ISO 1600. Your situation might vary; you might shoot a performance in a brightly lit room and then perhaps all these considerations are going to be quite different than I'm predicting. But I've shot a lot of dance—performances, and dancers in the studio—and most of those shots are at ISO 1600 or higher.

You will also want to use a fast lens, that is, a lens that can open up at least to f/2.8. Focal length would be dependent on where you expect to be able to shoot from.

*

Now to the exposure calcs.

First, you have to decide what shutter speed you MUST have. This is not as easy as it sounds. But to make it easy here, let's say you start by setting the shutter to 1/200th sec. Basic idea here: You would like to keep the shutter as slow as possible. You can't use too slow a shutter, or you'll get blurry photos. But in low light, you can't afford to make the shutter speed any faster than absolutely necessary, because when the light is low, you don't want to be careless with your shutter. (Shooting in bright sunlight, it often doesn't matter too much whether you shoot at 1/250th sec, 1/500th sec or 1/1000th sec.)

Next, you set your aperture. This is easier. You want to open up as wide as possible. Since you're usually not very close to the performers, and since depth of field is proportional to distance from the subject, you can usually open your lens up wide—even if it's an f/1.4. Using a 50mm lens from 20ft, an aperture of f/1.4 would give you almost 3 ft of depth of field. Not a lot, but probably enough, if you focus carefully on a key performer.

LAST of all, you worry about the ISO. If you have to shoot at ISO 1600, that's what you do. With TAv, you can set your aperture and shutter, and then use auto ISO with a range of (say) 800-1600. I used to use TAv a lot. I don't any more. I just figure out what ISO I should use, set it, and shoot in M mode. Gives me better, more consistent results.

*

Another consideration, an addendum to the calculation of shutter speed. Keep in mind that your shutter speed needs to be fast enough not only to stop the movement of the dancers but also to eliminate the results of camera shake.

*

Lower your expectations. This is hard. Look at some of the photos from experienced pros. They're often not so great, either. It's not just that there's not enough light to capture moving dancers at a low ISO. It's also that the lighting is a white-balance nightmare. For this reason, my final suggestion would be: shoot raw.

Will
05-26-2010, 05:56 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 15
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
Were you using auto ISO?

Which some people here vehemently disagree with me because I hate it?

Also, were you at AF-S or AF-C? (Auto-focus single or continuous.) I don't have the K20D, but I'm guessing you have the same AF selection. And if you have AF-A (automatic), that can be a disaster too in low light.
Yes, I had it on Autofocus Automatic. Know better for next time. Also, unless I'm missing something here, can anyone recommend a specific lens for the K20D? Is there a zoom out there that isn't so dark?
05-26-2010, 07:53 PM   #13
Pentaxian
twitch's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 4,571
QuoteOriginally posted by PhotoFrk Quote
Yes, I had it on Autofocus Automatic. Know better for next time. Also, unless I'm missing something here, can anyone recommend a specific lens for the K20D? Is there a zoom out there that isn't so dark?
Here's some excellent quality options:
Pentax DA*50-135mm f2.8
Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 (this is sharper than the Sigma version)
Pentax DA*200mm f2.8 (not a zoom but a top quality prime)
05-26-2010, 08:56 PM   #14
mel
Veteran Member
mel's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Virginia
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,531
QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Here's some excellent quality options:
Pentax DA*50-135mm f2.8
Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 (this is sharper than the Sigma version)
Pentax DA*200mm f2.8 (not a zoom but a top quality prime)
I have the Sigma version of the 70-200 and am quite happy with the sharpness. From what I understand as well (not knowing first hand as I have never shot it) the focusing on the Sigma is considerably faster and quieter than the Tamron. This is rather important when shooting performances, especially when it's the actual performance and not just a dress rehearsal.
05-27-2010, 04:09 AM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 15,744
The issue here is definitely the lens. You really should get something that can shoot f2.8 or faster. Probably look at using iso 3200 and see where you are at. You may need to invest in noise reduction software as well, since this can signficantly improve low light photos as compared to in camera processing. I wouldn't push the K20 to iso 6400, but I would think 3200 would be doable.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
camera, input, pentax help, photography, settings
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
People Dance mel Post Your Photos! 16 11-03-2010 10:39 AM
How well can you dance? graphicgr8s General Talk 71 11-14-2009 12:08 PM
Let's dance? drmartin Post Your Photos! 4 02-12-2009 08:06 AM
Dance Off! KrisK10D General Talk 3 06-19-2008 12:47 PM
Dance AVANT Monthly Photo Contests 0 10-31-2007 04:45 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:26 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top