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Old 10th of December 2008 (Wed)   #1
beavisbr
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Default Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Hello all,

My girlfriend dances ballet and I am struggling to take good photos of her presentations.

I'm using ISO 1600; 1/60 and f/2.8. Took this photos from the eight row and didn't use RAW because the presentation was really fast and I would not be able to take a lot of photos that way.

I have a Rebel Digital (aka EOS 300D) and the following lenses: EFS 18-55 f/3.5-5.6; EF 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 USM and the EF 100 f/2.8 Macro USM. I was using the 100mm for this shots because of the large aperture.

Any thoughts on improving the shots?? Go for a better camera (thinking about the 50D), better glass (EF 70-200L f/2.8 IS or non IS or other) or trying to "shoot better" (getting closer, using a tripod/monopod, etc)??

Thanks in advance.
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File Type: jpg Image001.jpg (87.3 KB, 150 views)
File Type: jpg Image002.jpg (115.2 KB, 147 views)
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Old 10th of December 2008 (Wed)   #2
René Damkot
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

If these are heavy crops, a 70-200 f/2.8 will help, since you can frame bigger, otherwise not: The aperture is the same. So the shutterspeed will be as well.

If these are uncropped, I'd say the focal length is okay, but you either need a faster aperture (85/1.8 or 200/2.0) or higher ISO (newer camera with cleaner High ISO).

Tripod / monopod / IS will help prevent camera shake (which doesn't look to be a big problem here (with this focal length), but won't stop subject motion (which is a problem in some).
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Old 10th of December 2008 (Wed)   #3
beavisbr
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Thanks for the feedback!

This are not cropped. I was planning on buying an EF 85mm f/1.8 to try to stop the motion on the photos; maybe that with a new camera would help me?

What do you think about the colors? Do you think that the amount of noise is because my camera can't deal well with the high ISO?

Thanks again!! Sorry for the amount of questions.
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Old 10th of December 2008 (Wed)   #4
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

It's good you ask... next time, you'll have some other ideas to compare too...

If getting additional equipment, the 50D sounds great... It will be less noisy... and if the money isn't that much of an issue go for the ultimate 70-200mm f/2.8L IS... Yes IS makes a big difference with this lens...

However, other choices, like the Canon 50mm f/1.4 and Canon 85mm f/1.8 lenses are fast, and focus well...therefore, they do make a substantial difference in your faster shutter speed ("choices") availability.
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Old 11th of December 2008 (Thu)   #5
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Colors: Set white balance to tungsten. Shoot Raw

Yes, newer camera's will have less noise at higher ISO. I'd say at least a stop worth.
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Old 11th of December 2008 (Thu)   #6
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Ah, yes... Thanks Rene'...

Why do we often forget to mention one of the most important values of the DSLR? RAW is just awesome... very practical for making corrections, modifications, especially in exposure... That in itself is totally worth using RAW... It can make or break the capture... It often saves the day for me in all types of photography...

The RAW conversion software comes with the camera... Both, Digital Photo Professional and Zoom BrowzerEX do it.
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Old 12th of December 2008 (Fri)   #7
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Stage lighting color is reproduced nicely in your shots. I generally have to work from the back of an auditorium or a balcony and use at least a tripod and a big, fast lens. From seats within the audience, it's best to use a monopod and a fast 70-200 zoom. Your camera might even surprise you with its ISO 800 quality using just those two improvements.
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Old 12th of December 2008 (Fri)   #8
beavisbr
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Thanks again.

I was planning on shooting RAW, so I could have more room to post process, but the buffer on the camera would not allow me to take as many shots as I wanted.

I'll start saving up to get some new equipment; probably new glass first and then a new camera. Prices are really high here in Brazil (70-200 f/2.8 IS = USD 3.100,00; 85mm f/1.8 = USD 750,00), so I plan on having someone buying then abroad.

Here are some more shots.

Stupid question probably, I can only post two photos on each post!?
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Last edited by René Damkot : 8th of January 2009 (Thu) at 18:42. Reason: too many images
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Old 12th of December 2008 (Fri)   #9
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

I found this somewhere and copied it. Maybe it will work for you.

"When I save my files in Photoshop, I use Save for Web. I change the image size to 800 on the longest dimension in the Save for Web dialog and I optimize for a size of 150KB.

If you have a web site, you can also upload them to that site and then link the image to the post instead of attaching. If you link to the image you are allowed 8 images per post instead of just 2 attachments."
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Old 13th of December 2008 (Sat)   #10
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Quote:
Originally Posted by beavisbr View Post
Stupid question probably, I can only post two photos on each post!?
If you'd read the IMAGE POSTING RULES, you'd know
They state:
Quote:
You may attach *) maximum of two (2) photos per thread. This means: you may attach up to 2 photos when you start a new thread. You may attach additional photos if requested, but only in a reply to other member's post and request.
I think I'd crop both of the last shots, to remove some "spare body parts".
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Old 13th of December 2008 (Sat)   #11
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Saving for web in Photoshop strips out the exif information. When posting to this site, it is often helpful to others if they can look at your camera settings in the exif data.

The exif data also contains your camera's serial number. You can program some cameras so that your name is also included. This is important if you want to prove ownership of the image.
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Old 13th of December 2008 (Sat)   #12
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

This is a challenging setting. I think you did pretty well. However, shooting in jpeg was a mistake. In marginal conditions like this, you need every bit of image data that you can get. Jpegs use 8 bits per color channel. Raw in your camera gives you 12, I believe.

If you can't use flash, then you're stuck with what the theatre gives you. In this situation, I would seriously consider maxing out the ISO setting and risking noise to get an image with less movement blur.

In ballet, there are brief moments when the performers will hold a pose. Take your shot in those moments. However, use the blur in other moments to emphasize the motion.

As others have said, get the widest aperture lens with image stabilization (IS) that you can afford. The 50D has good high ISO performance, but only for sRaw images. The 40D has been reviewed as better with full Raw images. If you have the budget and not a large investment in EF-S lenses, consider the 5D II.
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Old 14th of December 2008 (Sun)   #13
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

My first thought: if the lighting were too dark for a 100mm F2.8, it still will be for a 70-200 F2.8, with or without IS (IS will cover hand shake, but not movement of the dancers). Fast primes seem to be a better choice for this kind of lighting then...
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Old 4th of January 2009 (Sun)   #14
beavisbr
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

I've been away for a while.

Thanks again for all the feedback.

I will probably buy a faster prime (EF 85mm f/1.8 USM), shoot RAW on her next performance and later buy a new camera (start saving for the 5D MII).
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Old 8th of January 2009 (Thu)   #15
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Default Re: Ballet @ CIC - Florianópolis SC (Brasil) - Critique Please

Here is an example of some Modern Dance photos I took that show what you can do using RAW. This is shot from third row using only theatre lighting. This particular shot I had waited for the subject to enter into better light.

File name
IMG_0223.CR2
Camera Model Name
Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi
Firmware
Firmware 1.1.1
Shooting Date/Time
3/28/2008 18:49:13
Tv(Shutter Speed)
1/160Sec.
Av(Aperture Value)
F4.0
Metering Modes
Partial metering
Exposure Compensation
0
ISO Speed
1600
Lens
EF85mm f/1.8 USM
Focal Length
85.0 mm
Image size
3888 x 2592
Image Quality
RAW
Flash
Off
White Balance
Auto
AF mode
AI Servo AF
Picture Style
Standard
Parameters
Tone Curve : Standard
Sharpness level : -
Pattern Sharpness : -
Contrast : 0
Sharpness : 3
Color saturation : 0
Color tone : 0
Long exposure noise reduction : -
High ISO speed noise reduction : -
Highlight tone priority : -
Color matrix
-
Color Space
sRGB
File Size
13991 KB
Dust Delete Data
No
Drive Mode
Single-frame shooting
Owner's Name
Tim Sheridan
Camera Body No.
1721153732
Attached Images
File Type: jpg IMG_0223WW.jpg (148.6 KB, 78 views)
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Last edited by Tim S : 9th of January 2009 (Fri) at 15:40.
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