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Old Apr 5, 2006, 10:56 PM   #1
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HELP, please. I love to go to concerts and I really want to capture the moment with my new digital camera, Canon Powershot S2 IS. The concerts are usually indoors at venues seating about 10-20 thousand. Can anyone help me with the best settings to use? ....and any variations depending on the amount of zoom? All this fstop and shutter speed and technical stuff is a little confusing to a newbie like me, so any help is greatly appreciated.

From most of the posts, I know I shouldn't use the flash, as it won't make much of a difference. Someone had some great Keith Urban photos from about 2 years ago and I hope I can get something like that.
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Old Apr 7, 2006, 9:57 AM   #2
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Since no one answered, I'll say a few things.

The problem is one of light. The human eye can see well is lower light than a camera can. So you'll think "this would make a great picture!" but it will be quite dark for the camera. This will result in a very low shutter speed, which will blur the image (either due to you not being able to hold it absolutely steady or because the people on stage moved. So unless the stage is very well lit, you will have one of two choices.

- Use a higher ISO setting
- Use a lower f-stop.

both of those will result in a higher shutter speed - which is what is required to stop action.

Does that help? Feel free to ask other question and I'll do what I can to help.

Your question about zoom is partially relevant. All cameras have a maximum aperture (smallest f-stop) that they can open up to, and you can reduce the aperture (increase the f-stop) which will reduce the light and therefor reduce the shutter speed. So to get the highest shutter speeds (to stop motion on stage) you need the largest aperture (smallest f-stop.) How does this relate to zooms, I hear you cry?

Most cameras have a different max aperture at the shortest end of the zoom vs. the widest. So the problem is when you use the zoom to get a closer shot you'll get less light and it will be harder to stop motion. Such is life, only really expensive lenses have a constant aperture - and I don't know of any point-and-shoot camera that has one.

Eric
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Old Apr 7, 2006, 10:09 AM   #3
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eric s wrote:
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Most cameras have a different max aperture at the shortest end of the zoom vs. the widest. So the problem is when you use the zoom to get a closer shot you'll get less light and it will be harder to stop motion. Such is life, only really expensive lenses have a constant aperture - and I don't know of any point-and-shoot camera that has one.
Some of the Panasonic models like the DMC-FZ10, DMC-FZ20 and DMC-FZ3 can maintain f/2.8 throughout their focal range (going to a 35mm equivalent focal length of more than 400mm).

The Canon S2 IS the original poster has isn't that far behind. It's got a lens that's got f/2.7 available on the wide end, only dropping off to f/3.5 zoomed in all the way, with a 35mm equivalent focal range of 36-432mm.



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Old Apr 8, 2006, 4:09 PM   #4
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eric s wrote:
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- Use a higher ISO setting
- Use a lower f-stop.

Eric

Yes eric is on the money, Both Hi iso and lower fstop will result in improve shutter speed. Keep in mind that Hi iso will result in higher noise levels and lower fstop will result in a limited depth of field.

Wat i strongly suggest is to used centred average metering. You dont want the cam to compensate for the darkness around the stage. you want it to focus and correctly expose the lit subjects on the stage which im assuming will appear in the centre. . This should also contribute to the improved shutter speeds.

If this stil aint fast enough you will have to attempt the flash but again you will have to be in flash range which i would prob doubt if its a concert.

hope this helps

good luck
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Old Apr 9, 2006, 11:06 AM   #5
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Greetings Minishuz,

I did a little research on your Canon Powershot S2 IS. I downloaded a user manual for this camera, so I can lead you to thePAGE you need on how to change these settings. Here are only some things I can think of at the moment:
  • Don't use the "Auto" Setting. Put your camera in "Av" mode. This controls the aperture setting (the size of the opening where the lens lets in light). Use the SMALLEST number you can. Smaller numbers mean wider openings. With your camera, the number would range from f/2.7 (Wide) – f/3.5 (Tele). PAGE 88[/*]
  • Put the ISO setting to 400. This makes the camera more sensitive to light (but the pictures will appear to have a little more grain). PAGE 93[/*]
  • Turn off the AF-assist Beam. It won't help with subjects so far away and can irritate the other audience members. PAGE 77 (If you know how, use manual focusing.)[/*]
  • Put the flash in the "Off" position. (Can't find PAGE)[/*]
  • As for the IS (Image Stabilization), I don't know which is the better setting, but I would suggest"Shoot Only". PAGE 77
[/*]
I hope this helps.

P.S. I sent the same reply to you with a private message.
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Old Apr 10, 2006, 10:57 AM   #6
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I went in a slightly different direction when shooting an after dinner musical theater show on a cruise. I used shutter priority to capture movement and the f-stop the camera slected was wide open.

Here is a link to a couple pictures. Note that the second was at my Panasonic FZ30's maximun zoom of 420mm at f3.7
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=17677116

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Old May 5, 2006, 8:32 PM   #7
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Thanks a bunch for your help. The settings you suggested worked perfectly. I got GREAT pictures from the 19th row.

You made my concert better than it was.
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