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Old Feb 23, 2003, 2:20 PM   #1
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Default Non-flash pictures of performers on stages.

Hi Folks,

Our kids are big into music and dance performances. Typical scenario is high school auditoriums with regular stage lighting. Or in a typical church. We of course can't use a flash.

Is there such a camera that can take pictures from say 30-60 feet back, zoomed in on the subject (3x-6x or so), and without a flash? Subjects moving at times.

I'll willing to go up to $2k US if something like this is possible in this price range.

Thanks for any advise or help.
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Old Feb 23, 2003, 5:50 PM   #2
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You're talking movement (faster shutter) and low light without flash which is difficult. However, stage lighting can be quite bright. I know my Fuji 602 at 1600ASA would get pics because I've shot stuff lit by a 60 watt bulb - BUT that's only 1Mpix res, However, noise seems lower than with my old 1Mpix cam. You may need to choose a cam with manual focus and white balance options. Auto point and shoot struggles in low light and could be slow to acquire.

I know this sort of thing tends to be opportunist photography, but if you can checkout the lighting plot beforehand, there are occasions in many productions when they put a lot of light on the set. With a digicam you can pop off lots of shots.

For the smaller 6X4 prints and some Photoshop effort, I'm confident my 602 would get pics. The Fuji is max f2.8. There's probably an Oly or Nikon with a f1.8 lens. But then you have to allow for the reduction due to zoom, so getting as close as possible helps.

I've often been surprised how much you can pull back an underexposed shot in editing - provided the shutter is fast enough to stop blur. A tripod is going to help you if working at the limits.
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Old Feb 23, 2003, 6:40 PM   #3
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FYI:
http://www.pbase.com/image/3886746/original
This pic was taken hand held, from very far, 1/20, f 3.5, zoom ~120mm , ISO200, D7i,
If the lighting is that bright, you won’t have much problem with most of cam at 30 feet . You may need a monopod, 1/20 is somewhat too slow for dancing performance.
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 9:29 AM   #4
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You also have to consider shutter lag or the time you see something happening onstage and then pressing the shutter release button. On most cams as far as I know you are going to miss that vital moment even by a fraction of a second. Maybe you should spend your 2G on a digital video camera instead?

Rimbo 8)
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 10:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
You also have to consider shutter lag or the time you see something happening onstage and then pressing the shutter release button
Not if you mave manual options on your camera, or half press the shutter release to acquire focus/white balance/ exposure beforehand.
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Old Feb 26, 2003, 11:36 AM   #6
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This forum is great. Thanks for the guidance everyone.

Some of the venues, like competitions, don't allow digital video cameras as they sell videos of the performances. (I don't know how they'd tell if a camera was shooting in movie mode.)

Shutter lag is important, I'll look for some with manual mode, or half press setup.

I would like to zoom up on the kids on stage. So it sounds like what's key here is a fast lens. I bet that's pricey.
thanks,
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Old Feb 27, 2003, 10:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Quote:
You also have to consider shutter lag or the time you see something happening onstage and then pressing the shutter release button
Not if you mave manual options on your camera, or half press the shutter release to acquire focus/white balance/ exposure beforehand.
Allow me to qualify voxmagna's reply, if I may: you must switch autofocus from continuous to single focus if you want to greatly reduce shutter lag.
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Old Feb 28, 2003, 9:03 AM   #8
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lg... this I assume is the terminology used for your Oly? My Fuji just has manual mode, where everything is set by you and auto plays no part. Full manual is preferred, where you set everything (rather than just manual focusing) because the more info you preset the cam to, the less time it spends in auto working it out. Is that clearer?
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Old Feb 28, 2003, 4:29 PM   #9
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You are correct, voxmagna. On my Olympus C-2100, with autofocus set to CONTINUOUS FOCUS, shutter releases in about 1 second; with autofocus set to SINGLE FOCUS, shutter release is almost (but not quite) instantaneous. Both of these situations are assuming you half-press the shutter to prefocus.

While on the subject of shutter lag, I recently took a church group bowling, and took SEVERAL pictures of an empty alley, sans pins and ball. This made me wonder if something had gone wrong with my camera-- I had been able to take great shots of the pin action before...until I noticed my son had switched on redeye reduction! This, too, will produce an even longer, more agonizing and frustrating shutter lag!
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Old Mar 1, 2003, 11:01 AM   #10
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Here's my bit.

If you buy say an Oly 730 which will go to ISO400 you might find that's not enough. You won't know how much light is available until you are there and there might not be enough for a decent shutter speed.

Consider how good the lights will be a school (limited budget).

So I think buy the Fuji 602 with very high ISO capability (1600). The noise will be high but you'll get the picture. A lot of noise can be removed later.

I remember taking pics of my son at school when he was little. I used ASA 1000 film, a bit grainy but I got decent pics.

I also have pics using ASA 100 film which are useless - too dark.
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