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Old Jun 14, 2008, 11:41 AM   #1
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Hi All.

New to the forum and thought I would say hi. I have a D50 and have been using it for casual shooting for about a a year and a half. I just picked up the 18-200 and have been having alot of fun with it. Although, I have to say I had a super downer.

I went to my wife's college graduation last night The ceremony was in a a lecture hall, semi low lighting and I was about 100ft away (30 meters). Problem was every damn shot I took at 135mmcame out blurred etc. Tried all kinds of things with ISO etc with no avail. I'm guessing that a prime lenscombined with being closerwould have beenthe only solution without droppinga load more of cash? Is there anything I could have done differently to get good photos?

Lastly, I will be going to California Wine Country (Napa, Sonoma etc). Anyone have good reccomendations for taking photos of valleys, vineyards etc. Will I be ok with the 18-200 here? I will be doing landscapes combined with close ups of grapes on th e vine and things like that.

Thanks!


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Old Jun 14, 2008, 2:40 PM   #2
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chriskir wrote:
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I went to my wife's college graduation last night The ceremony was in a a lecture hall, semi low lighting and I was about 100ft away (30 meters). Problem was every darn shot I took at 135mmcame out blurred etc. Tried all kinds of things with ISO etc with no avail.
The higher your ISO speed (which represents how sensitive the film or sensor is to light), the faster your shutter speeds will be for correct exposure in the same lighting using the same aperture setting (aperture, as expressed as f/stop is a ratio between the focal length of the lens and the diameter of the aperture iris, with smaller f/stop numbers representing wider aperture openings that let in more light). The aperture iris in a lens works like the pupils in your eyes (wider opening to let in more light, smaller opening to let in less light). Each time you double your ISO speed your camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same lighting and aperture.

IOW, use Aperture Priority mode and set it to ISO 1600 in those conditions for faster shutter speeds. Then, set your aperture to the smallest f/stop number available (f/3.5 to f/5.6 with your lens, depending on how much you zoom in). That will get you the fastest shutter speeds in low light.

Your lens has a widest available aperture of f/3.5 at it's widest zoom setting. But, it's widest available aperture when zoomed in all the way is only f/5.6. Note that f/3.5 is almost 3 times as bright as f/5.6, allowing shutter speeds close to 3 times as fast for the same lighting and ISO speed for correct exposure.

So, move closer and don't zoom in any more than you have to with your lens type in low light without a flash, because your lens is much brighter on it's wider end (losing light as you zoom in more). So, not zooming in as much will allow faster shutter speeds to help reduce blur from camera shake and subject movement (and stabilization won't help with blur from subject movement).

Take lots of photos, making sure to slowly squeeze the shutter button (don't jab it, which can cause more blur from camera shake at slower shutter speeds, even with stablization).

Prefocus with a half press of the shutter button, and try to time your shots when pauses in movement are going to occur, smoothly squeezing the shutter button the rest of the way down then.

Take lots of photos to increase the number of keepers you get (since your percentage of good photos may be much lower than desired at slower shutter speeds). Sometimes taking photos in bursts can help, too (so, you're more likely to get a photo just as a pause or change in movement direction is occuring and get a usable image.

I'd shoot in Av Mode (Aperture Priority) with the Aperture set to it's widest opening (smallest available f/stop number at the zoom setting you're using). I'd set your White Balance to Tungsten for most stage lighting (and again, use ISO 1600, as it's better to get a bit more noise versus a blurry photo).

If your photos look too bright (overexposed with hot spots on faces, which happens often in stage lighting with darker areas on a stage), use a -EV setting with Exposure Compensation to get a darker exposure (set the pointer on the scale in the viewfinder to the left of center and take some test shots until the exposure looks correct for the performers when they're in the lights). That will also give you faster shutter speeds (the camera will use a faster shutter speed with a -EV setting if you're using Aperture Priority mode).

For much better results of events on stage indoors, get a Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 Autofocus lens for your D50 and use it instead.

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Old Jun 15, 2008, 10:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the great advice!
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Old Jun 20, 2008, 7:02 PM   #4
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Jim, thank you so much for all that. i just copied it to print and study.
Caryl
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