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Old Jun 27, 2008, 11:56 AM   #1
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I have a Canon Xti w/55-250mm IS 4-5.6f lens on it. I want to take photos of my daughter cheering on stage with lots on light on the stage, but I will be shooting for a dark arena. Any suggestion on some settings to help me get clear shoots with all the moving she will be doing around the stage. Thanks in advance


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Old Jun 27, 2008, 3:02 PM   #2
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I see that this is you first post here. So, Welcome to the forums!

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you won't be able to get "clear shots with all the moving she will be doing around the stage" with that lens.

That lens is just not bright enough to capture moving subjects in typical stage lighting. The stage may look well lit to your eyes. But, it won't to a camera using that lens (not enough light is going to get through the lens to the camera's sensor, in order for it to use fast enough shutter speeds freeze movement with typical stage lighting).

That lens is small and light for it's focal range, and even has stabilization built in. But, stabilization only helps with blur from camera shake, not with blur caused by subject movement. IOW, that's an outdoor lens for use in much better lighting unless you're shooting stationary subjects or using a flash (and staying within it's rated range).

You need a brighter lens so that you'll be able to use faster shutter speeds for the type of photos you want to capture. Your lens is just too dim to capture moving subjects indoors without a flash, unless you want lots of blur from subject movement.

First suggestion... buy a Canon 85mm f/1.8 USM lens and use it (and it's a fixed focal length versus zoom lens, so you'll need to use your feet for the desired framing, moving closer or futher away). It's around $360 right now from some of the online vendors. This lens is much brighter than your zoom. To put things into perspective, your zoom is down to a widest aperture of f/5.6 by the time you zoom in much with it. This lens has f/1.8 available, and f/1.8 is approximately 10 times as bright as f/5.6, allowing shutter speeds 10 times as fast for the same lighting and ISO speed as a lens with only f/5.6 available.

With your existing lens, you'll only be able to get photos when she's motionless (unless you want to see blurry results). I'd set the camera to ISO 1600, the White Balance to Tungsten, and the Aperture to it's widest available value (lowest f/stop number).

Then, try to time your shots when the cheerleaders are not moving any (prefocus with a half press of your shutter button, and wait until the movement pauses before squeezing the shutter button the rest of the way down).

If the photos are overexposed (too bright), set your Exposure Compensation to a -EV value until the exposure looks correct for your subjects in playback (using the histogram and blinking highlights features to help out), tweaking the Exposure Compensation settings for best results. If they're underexposed, do the opposite (use a +EV setting for a brighter exposure). Or, switch to manual exposure instead for more consistent results (use the smallest available f/stop number for the amount of zoom you need, and vary your shutter speed setting until the exposure looks correct in playback).

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Old Jun 27, 2008, 4:25 PM   #3
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I'd totally agree with Jim. I take pictures of dog agility generally in dark horse barns. I have a Canon 85mm f1.8 for it.
If you get a zoom for indoor shots, it's going to be super expensive and way heavy.

I don't have any indoor pictures taken with my 85mm. (I got it fairly recently), so here's an outdoor shot taken with my Sigma 18-200 OS

Joe

randyloc wrote:
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I have a Canon Xti w/55-250mm IS 4-5.6f lens on it. I want to take photos of my daughter cheering on stage with lots on light on the stage, but I will be shooting for a dark arena. Any suggestion on some settings to help me get clear shoots with all the moving she will be doing around the stage. Thanks in advance

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Old Jun 28, 2008, 7:41 PM   #4
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Thanks you guys for your help. I went to the camera store to see what lens thay had...whew :?who knew there are so many choices. So what it the highest f-that I could go, whitout causeing alotof motion blur. Do I need the IS??? Would 2.6 work our should I just get the lower one a 1.8 (I think that is what you said 85mm 1.8 ). I found a store that will rent melenes, so I can try it berofe I make the jump. I used my 55mm 3.5 to catch this shoot, but it took about 100 shots to get the setting good enough to catch this. So from what I understand, if I have a f-stop that is lower, I will have faster shutter speed in a darker setting. thus making my photos to have less blur.
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 1:39 PM   #5
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randyloc wrote:
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So from what I understand, if I have a f-stop that is lower, I will have faster shutter speed in a darker setting. thus making my photos to have less blur.
You are a fast learner, your statement is correct. The only problem you may find is, trying to figure out which lens is best for you. Which is why most of us have more lenses than we really need.
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Old Jun 29, 2008, 1:47 PM   #6
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That was taken using an aperture of f/5.6 at a shutter speed of 1/200 second (still too slow to stop rapid movement). The girl at the top seems exposed OK, probably because of the close proximity of the lights (yet, the girls at the bottom are a bit underexposed). So, you'd probably get slower shutter speeds than that for most.

If lighting was always that good, you may be able to get away with f/2.8. But, I wouldn't count on it. The lighting on a stage is likely to be darker than the lighting in that gym (even though the overhead stage lighting appears to be bright to the human eye).

I'd err towards the side of caution and go with the 85mm f/1.8 AF lens if you can rent one to see how it works in the conditions you plan on shooting in first. It's roughly 3 times as bright as a lens with only f/2.8 available.

Then, see what kind of results you get with it. If shutter speeds are real fast (i.e., if you can set the aperture to f/2.8 and get your shutter speeds up to around 1/500 second second or faster), then you may want to consider an f/2.8 zoom instead for more framing flexibility. But, an f/2.8 zoom will cost you more if you need longer focal lengths. For example, a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro will run you around $800 now (and Canon's 70-200mm f/2.8 will cost you even more).

P.S.

That was taken at 60mm.... So, a less expensive 24-70mm or 28-70mm f/2.8 zoom may be another option. It all depends on how close you are and how much you want to fill the frame (the more of the frame your subject occupies, the better the detail is going to be). Your Autofocus is also gong to be more accurate if you fill the frame with your subjects more. I'd probably lean towards the primes instead (for example, the 85mm f/1.8 USM) for use in stage lighting (which is likely to be darker than the lighting in that gym).


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Old Jun 30, 2008, 6:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for all your info you guys gave me. I am going to rent the 85mm 1.8f and 70-200mm 2.8f. They will be having a mock competition in a month. Then I will see what F-stop I need and then I can look into buying another lens. I will let you know on how it turns out. Thanks again for you help!!!
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