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Old Dec 11, 2008, 7:11 AM   #1
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Tonite I will be at an assembly at my son's elementary school. It is being held in the gym/lunch room. A good sized room where I will be about 40 feet from the stage area. I have an A300 with the kit lenses 18-70 and 75-300. I wish to take pics without flash if posible.


Any suggestions on what settings I should start with.

I should also add that I justbought this camera last week and I am fairly new to this F/stop, ISO, shutter speed adjusting thig.

It has been about 25 years since I had a camera setup that Ihad to do this with.

Andy

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Old Dec 11, 2008, 7:51 AM   #2
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You will have to crank up the ISO, perhaps to the max your camera allows. Do a bit of practicing before you go - get as far away from an area in your house that is lit only by a 100W bulb or two and shoot whatever is there. (That is likely to be about the level of light you will have this evening, though if you are lucky it might be a stop or so faster.) Set the camera to aperature priority with the lens as open as possible and see what the shutter speed is - likely to be about 1/10th sec at f/5.6 and ISO 3200.

So you are likely to get noisy pictures with lots of motion blur. The noise could be low enough to be able to produce reasonable 4x6" pictures and if you shoot enough, you should capture some with little motion blur.

Since you could have some very strange lighting (mixe of tungsten, florescent, halogen, ...), I suggest shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG. That will make it easier to deal with odd color casts if you need to and allow the easy way out (JPEG) if you don't need to.
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Old Dec 11, 2008, 10:34 AM   #3
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My daughter-in-law teaches Band in elementary schools in the local public school system. I have shot a number of concerts in venues like you describe. I shot at ISO 1600with my Beercan wide open atf/4.0 and still only got shutter speeds of 1/40 to 1/60. That's not fast enough to stop motion blur on a slide trombone. Your 75-300 is a full f-stop slower at f/5.6, so you are likely to get shutter speeds of 1/20 to 1/30. Be sure to time your shots for minimum movement.

Either that, or go out and buy a Tamron or Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 ($699 or $799, respectively) or the Sony 70-200mm f/2.8 G (on sale for $1,699.)





(I always get a kick out the image of that little girl playing that great big instrument, and having to reach as far as she could in order to reach those notes.)
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Old Dec 11, 2008, 1:44 PM   #4
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the other advice when shooting at such slow shutter speeds (unless you run out and buy a faster lens) - shoot in burst. Take a 3 shot burst rather than a single shot. You'll often find one of the three will be sharper with less blur than the others - even with image stabilization. A lot still depends on subject movement which you can't time perfectly.
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Old Dec 11, 2008, 2:04 PM   #5
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I agree with JohnG's suggestion. I always shoot in continuous mode anyway because I don't have to pay for film processing.

Oh. Wait. Neither does anybody else here. :-)
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Old Dec 14, 2008, 1:40 PM   #6
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So, how did it go?

Do you have anything you'd like to post?
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Old Dec 18, 2008, 7:23 PM   #7
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This is the best pic that I got. I cropped and resized it. It was taken with the 75-300 Sony kit lens and an a350 at 1600 ISO. F/5.6.

The rest were a lot worse.




These were taken in the mall after seeing Santa.




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Old Dec 19, 2008, 11:00 AM   #8
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Pretty good for a first try!

When you say "The rest were a lot worse" how do you mean that? The images you posted don't contain any EXIF data, so it's hard for us to evaluate them. What shutter speeds were you getting?

BTW, did you notice the chromatic aberration? In the high contrast areas, there's a red glow on the left side of your son's head, and a green glow on the right side. That's, unfortunately, typical of the Sony 75-300, and the 14MP image sensor in the A350 just makes it more visible.

And when you say you cropped, do you mean significantly? If you don't zoom in enough, cropping can reduce the image quality by amplifying the flaws and increasing pixelation. Perhaps that's something you should work on.
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Old Dec 19, 2008, 7:34 PM   #9
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TCav wrote:
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...
cropping can reduce the image quality by amplifying the flaws and increasing pixelation. ...
Very true in terms of the technical aspects of the image - though there are very few pictures straight out of the camera that cannot be improved in terms of composition by cropping. Which is why it is well worth the effort to compose as well as possible before clicking the shutter release. Not always possible, but worthwhile when it is.

Cropping a few pixels to straighten the image or remove perspective distortion is one thing: cropping to a 600x400 pixel chunk is something else.
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