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07-31-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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Shutter and ISO advice for K20D on indoor cultural dance

I need help in fine tuning shutter speed to freeze motion in a Bharatanatyam Cultural Dance indoor. Flash is not allowed. I did use Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 in rehearsal yesterday. I have most problems with the swift movement from the dancer

Here are my settings:
  • iso in between 400 and 800, mostly 640
  • Av in between f/3.2 to f/4.5, mostly f/4.0
  • shutter range from 1/30 to 1/160 sec

I tried to avoid wide open aperture and I have problems with detail in iso 800 and it is still not enough to freeze the action in 1/125 sec. What ISO and and shutter would you suggest. Any tips on staged performance will help me calm my nerves. I will be sitting in the front row but I try not to block the viewers from behind. I thought about mono-pod but I don't have any and the swift motion from the dancer need me to be flexible in framing. My other lens to consider to bring is a faster Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 limited but I find the zoom help me in framing the shot easier without moving or blocking the viewers from behind, what lens would you pick out of the two and the reasons.


Some selected shots

1/25 sec, f/3.2, 95mm, iso 500, 0 Ev
ok when dancer is still but lighting is a big challenge



1/80 sec, f/3.2, 75mm, iso 500, 0 Ev
motion blur



1/60 sec, f/4.5, 70mm, iso 800, 0 Ev
noise and some loss of detail


1/60 sec, f/4.6, 58mm, iso 640, 0 Ev
motion blur in head movement



Any final minute advice are very much appreciated, especially on ideal ISO and shutter speed to look for. I am going to shoot the formal one on Saturday.

Thanks,
Hin


Last edited by hinman; 07-31-2009 at 10:31 PM.
07-31-2009, 03:26 PM   #2
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Just a suggestion, but have you considered using TaV mode on the K20D?

That way you can dial in the aperture (for example, f/2.8) and shutter (for example, 1/250 second) and then by using TaV mode allow it to change the ISO when it needs to for the right exposure? You can also cap the ISO at 1600.

For the moments when you can use a slower shutter speed, TaV mode will also adjust the ISO.

Last edited by Big G; 07-31-2009 at 03:37 PM.
07-31-2009, 03:50 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Big G Quote
Just a suggestion, but have you considered using TaV mode on the K20D?

That way you can dial in the aperture (for example, f/2.8) and shutter (for example, 1/250 second) and then by using TaV mode allow it to change the ISO when it needs to for the right exposure? You can also cap the ISO at 1600.

For the moments when you can use a slower shutter speed, TaV mode will also adjust the ISO.
Thank you for the suggestion. I have thought about it in the rehearsal. I should have tried that instead of my default Av mode that I have gotten used to. I will try TAv with 1/160sec, f/4.0 or some similar settings. I don't know if it is logical thing to avoid iso 800. And I honestly don't know what to pick in between ISO 800 or wide open aperture in f/2.8 in DA* zoom. I should have tried both and see the results in the rehearsal along with a test on using the 77mm limited in f/2.4 to f/4.5.

Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 07-31-2009 at 05:04 PM.
07-31-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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I really like the lighting.

I don't know that you particularly want to fully freeze the motion. I have seen some very affective dance photos where everything except the face/head is blurred. That kind of thing is best captured in practice where there is a lot of repetition and you have more freedom for camera placement.

Steve

07-31-2009, 04:47 PM   #5
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Simple answer is to go ahead and set the ISO @ 800. I've shot at 1600 with my old Ist Ds2 in similar lighting conditions, using a Tamron 3.5-6.5 28-300 lens, with good results. With that 2.8 lens, you should get great pics. @ 2.8 and ISO 800, you will get shutter speeds fast enough to accomplish your mission.

There shouldn't be any problems with using 800 with a K20D!! I'd even try some shots @ 1600.
07-31-2009, 05:00 PM   #6
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Hin

I would push the ISO up, there is no other substitute for shutter speed if the dancers are moving.

youve got a goos lens in the 50-135.

WHen I did stuff like this I used my *IstD at 3200 a lot.
07-31-2009, 05:02 PM   #7
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I personally think opening the aperture one more stop might get you just that little bit more shutter speed to freeze motion. You will sacrifice slightly in sharpness and you will lose some DOF but this is one of those situations where you may have to settle for the lesser evil...
07-31-2009, 05:17 PM   #8
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Thank you for all the valuable suggestions. I will try to have 2 modes in the formal dance. I will use TAv/Tv for the action shots while I will head for Av for artistic one for less movement











in the beginning session of the dance. And I am likely to include my FA 77mm f/1.8 for the gain of speed as I have good results with the limited lens in wider apertures. There is the moment that having excess gear help. It is a luxury from LBA to have both outstanding lens for the task. I wish I had not sold my older bodies in K10D/k100D so that I can alternate between the two lens mounted and ready with each body.

Thanks to all of you, your thoughts calm my nerves and I have seemingly more positive ideas for the challenge.

Hin

07-31-2009, 06:54 PM   #9
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I like your images HM.

If you need better low light images, purchase a Nikon FF and the lenses to go along with it.
07-31-2009, 10:30 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Raybo Quote
I like your images HM.

If you need better low light images, purchase a Nikon FF and the lenses to go along with it.
FF is out of the realm for me as I am pretty much amateur. I think with all the sound advices and more practice, it is quite manageable especially with the faster lens. I tried TAv tonight and I seem to get a hang of it quickly. I will use both TAv and Av subject to the scenes and movement. And I auto-iso from 100 to 1600. Another photographer for the event uses a Nikon D80 and he goes straightly into ISO 1600. Every time I tried iso 800 and above, I much prefer the results in the 400. I may make the exception this time on TAv mode.

Another challenge I have is on the framing and panning the movement on the dancer. The dance has a lot of movement in the head position as well as different directions on the lower body. It makes the focusing a challenge. And panning horizontally may pull back from the SR in the other direction, I don't know for sure but I am concerned when SR works the wrong way along with my user error in following the head's movement.





motion blur


Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 07-31-2009 at 10:40 PM.
07-31-2009, 10:47 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
FF is out of the realm for me as I am pretty much amateur. I think with all the sound advices and more practice, it is quite manageable especially with the faster lens. I tried TAv tonight and I seem to get a hang of it quickly. I will use both TAv and Av subject to the scenes and movement. And I auto-iso from 100 to 1600. Another photographer for the event uses a Nikon D80 and he goes straightly into ISO 1600. Every time I tried iso 800 and above, I much prefer the results in the 400. I may make the exception this time on TAv mode.

Another challenge I have is on the framing and panning the movement on the dancer. The dance has a lot of movement in the head position as well as different directions on the lower body. It makes the focusing a challenge. And panning horizontally may pull back from the SR in the other direction, I don't know for sure but I am concerned when SR works the wrong way along with my user error in following the head's movement.




motion blur


Thanks,
Hin
Give me a break HM!

You are no amature in my book! (from the images that you have posted in the past?)

Here is a big grin for you!
07-31-2009, 10:50 PM   #12
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AV all the way!
08-01-2009, 02:00 AM   #13
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Because of completely black background, whould not M mode give more consistent results ? What metering mode do you use ?
08-01-2009, 06:47 AM   #14
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With an unlit background, what difference does depth-of-field make? I'd still try going to 800 or 1600 ISO and opening up that aperture.
08-01-2009, 01:09 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ivanp Quote
Because of completely black background, whould not M mode give more consistent results ? What metering mode do you use ?
I have not used M mode in the shooting. I have been using the 16 segment metering in K20D, I tried spot metering but I find more consistent results with 16 segment metering.

QuoteOriginally posted by WalterGA Quote
With an unlit background, what difference does depth-of-field make? I'd still try going to 800 or 1600 ISO and opening up that aperture.
Subjectively based on past experience with the DA* zoom, I would opt for f/2.8 than upping the ISO to 1600. I don't get satisfactory results consistently with iso 1600 in the past. I can be wrong on this: I actually felt more comfortable with iso 800 in K100D than my K10D or K20D. In TAv mode and subject to the scenes, I would try to start with Av: 3.2 to 4.5, shutter: 1/80 to 1/200 and auto-iso 200 to 1600.

Besides freezing the motion and nailing the proper shot, I want to pursuit the fun and artistic shots that SR is good for in slow shutter. I wish I have a mono-pod to go with the attempt but I don't have one. It is one of those procrastination thing that come to haunt me back.








Thanks,
Hin
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