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Old Apr 17, 2005, 8:14 AM   #1
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Hi there be gentle with me i am a total newbie when it comes to photography.

Heres my problem:

I have started a Dance music website and I have a gallery section. I go to loads of events so I thought I would buy a new camera and take pictures.

When your in a club the lighting is dark with flashing lights and lazers all around you.

I have the nikon coolpix 5400 camera and I wanted to know what settings I should use for these type of conditions.

I have things like

ISO
Apperture
White balance

So many arrhhh help me :?
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Old Apr 17, 2005, 10:41 AM   #2
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I would set the ISO to 200 or 400, then just shoot in auto mode. The camera will figure out for itself that it needs the flash, and what exposure/wb needs to be set. An even easier way would be to just use the "party" scene mode.

Also, learn exactly how far your flash reaches, and then make sure your subjects are within that range.

The Nikon 5400 does not have a focus assist light for low light conditions, so it may very well not focus itself in those conditions. If not, then you might have to experiment with manual focus....

PhilR.
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Old Apr 18, 2005, 1:11 PM   #3
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Thanks anyone else got any advice :-)
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 12:21 AM   #4
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If you have problems with the focus, use hyperfocal (with Aperture Priority Mode and Manual Focus).

See this website: http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

Other than that, see Phil's suggestions.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 7:54 AM   #5
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When I take my little Konica KD-510z pocket camera with me to restaurants, clubs, etc., I often use a fixed focus distance of 2 meters (which isnearer than the hyperfocal distance point).

This model has the same sensor (Sony 5MP 1/1.8") asthe Nikon Coolpix 5400 (so, the DOF for any given aperture, focus distance and focal length would be the same as your 5400).

I also shoot at the wide angle lens setting, using my feet for zoom.

These techniques work well for insuring that most everything isacceptably sharpwithin the flash rangefor the distances I typically shoot at. I'm not trying to make sure everything out to infinity is sharp, only within the flash range. If you take most of your photos at the far limit of your flash range, then you will probably want to use a further focus point (perhaps around 3 meters).

Shooting at the wide angle lens setting also helps with flash range (since far more light reaches the sensor through the lens at the wide angle lens setting with mostmodels, including your CP 5400). That's why the flash range on your camera is almost 15 feet at the wide angle lens setting, but drops down to around 9 feet at full zoom.

Note that most models are going to use thelargest aperture (smallest f/stop number) in low light anyway. Even though this aperture has the shallowest Depth of Field, you really need a larger aperture in low light (otherwise, your flash range is going to stink, unless you have a powerful external flash).

So, I would not recommend trying to use a smaller aperture (larger f/stop number), unless you have an external flash and carefully compute it's range.

As a general rule, I use ISO 100 witha fixed focus distance of 2 meters at f/2.8 (the largest aperture on my model, which it's going to use anyway in Autoexposure modes indoors in lower light at the wide angle lens setting). Sometimes, I'll use ISO 200 to get better flash range and pick up more ambient light.

Here is an example of a photo taken at ISO 200, f/2.8. In this case, I used a shutter speed of 1/15 second (although I don't recommend this practice unless you test it in the environment you're using the camera in, since a shutter speed this slow can cause motion blur from ambient light exposure if light is brighter than expected).

I sometimes do this (use relatively slow shutter speeds with flash), so that I pick up more of the ambient lighting (so that the background is not so dark).

Again, you must be careful if you try this technique, because in some indoor environments, the light is bright enough that you'll expose the subjects with ambient lighting (which can lead to motion blur). I'd probably stick to 1/30 or 1/60 second in most indoor environments.

Chances are, your model's autoexposure will use an acceptable combination of settings indoors with flash, so that you don't have to worry about this part. My model is somewhat interesting, because it allows you to choose it'sdefault shutter speed with flash when using Autoexposure (I can select from 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125 with flash, without using manual exposure modes).

So, my tips would be: use manual focus and stay as close to your lens'wide angle setting as possible (using your feet for zoom), and make sure to stay within the rated flash range (14.8 feet at your model's wide angle lens setting).

ISO 200, 1/15 sec, f/2.8, 2 meterfixed focus distance w/Flash. Straight from the camera, with no edits of any kind except for downsizing:

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Old Apr 19, 2005, 10:34 AM   #6
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P.S.

Also make sure you understand how your camera meters in darker environments with flash. I use center weighted metering more often thannot. When you're taking photos of a distant subject, closer subjects can be overexposed (and further subjects can be underexposed).

It's just not possible to have very close subjects and very far subjects (at the limit of a camera's flash range), all properly exposed in a dark club environment usngthe built inflash with a small sensored model that's limited to lower ISO speed settings.

Here is an example of an image where I'm shooting a further subject with flash in a dark club environment.

Center weighted metering, fixed focus, 1/15 second, ISO 200 at f/2.8 (at my lens' wide angle setting). The subject was at the far limit of this model's flash range. In order to properly expose the distant subject with the flash using these settings, closerareas were overexposed. Straight from the camera except for downsizing and rotation:
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 11:13 AM   #7
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One more comment... Your CP5400 is designed to use an external flash. You may want to consider this option.
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 4:51 PM   #8
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Hi thanks for all the advice I have bought this external flash will this help me.

Will I have to change me settings with the new flash.


Cheers
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Old Apr 19, 2005, 5:07 PM   #9
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My eyes aren't good enough to see what you bought.

It looks likeaslave flash, and I see the manufacturer is Bowen. If that's the case (slave flash), your camera won't know that it's there (it will assume that all extra light is coming from it's built in flash).

I'm also not sure if your model uses a preflash or not for metering purposes (many models do). If so, and the flash you purchased is a slave flash, it will need to be setup so that it doesn't fire on the preflash (hopefully it can do this).

When I suggested that you consider an externalflash, I meant one designed to work with your camera, controlled by the camera (not a slave flash). ;-)

But, a slave can help (you'll just need to experiment with it for best results).Hopefully, it's adjustable in some way, shape or form; or it at least has some kind of sensor for Auto Mode(so that you're not constantly changing your camera's aperture setting to match the flash output, depending on lighting and your distance to subject).

IOW, it may be a lot of trouble to control exposure with, and you may need to experiment with it so you'll understand it's behavior in different conditions. You'll need to let us know how it works.


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