Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > What Camera Should I Buy?

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Aug 3, 2009, 8:34 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Default Camera for DJ/Sound man (low light situations)?

Hello All,

Right now I have a Canon Powershot S2IS:
http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/co...&modelid=11368

I've had this for about 4 years now and most of the time I like it, at the beach, driving, car shows, etc.. It takes great shots, But as soon as you bring it into a night club, wedding, school dance, etc.. The pictures are heavily blurred and unusable for my website/archive of shows.

I've tried turning shutter speed up as far as I can without making the picture too dark, I've tried the camera on a tripod (it has I.S. as well), and messed with ISO settings. Nothing seems to work for my dark shots with colored lights and people dancing.

My price range is around $350, P&S is fine- if it can do what I want it to do; but I imagine a DSLR is probably the way to go. I'm familiar with some of the settings and understand optics pretty well, but I'm definitely no photog.

I've been looking at the Nikon D40 and D50 (even though they are a bit more than I'd like to spend). A good clean image that shows the true colors of the lights, and clarity in the people dancing is while in this low light situation what I'm looking for.

My current camera takes decent quality short video, with excellent sound- but thats backseat to the goal, I have a DV camera for that.
jtrudell is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Aug 4, 2009, 6:14 AM   #2
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

If you want to capture people dancing in a night club without unacceptable motion blur, you're probably going to need to use a flash.

If you want to get a dSLR, I'd get one with something like a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM lens on it, and make sure it's got a usable ISO 3200 or higher (which is going to put a dSLR kit out of your price range). But, even with a very bright lens and ISO 3200, you're still going to have unacceptable motion blur with any subject movement in most club lighting.

So, I'd save some money for an external flash.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2009, 12:44 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Default

Jim,

Thanks for your response. I suppose that maybe trying to capture my events without flash isn't going to work given the movement of the subject and low-light scenario.

I 'think' a flash could work if it was implemented correctly- the problem I have is the camera I'm using completely washes out the subject that is closest to the flash and everything else is left in the background.

A Google search turns up these pictures, and this is something like what I'd like to be able to replicate myself.

http://images.townnews.com/nctimes.c...3407194001.jpg

http://www.vegaslifeofluxury.com/ima..._las_vegas.jpg

http://www.destination360.com/north-...-studio-54.jpg

http://www.go-encore.com/photoalbum/...h/IMG_5468.JPG

http://www.go-encore.com/photoalbum/...h/IMG_5607.JPG

Am I asking for too much out of a $350-400 camera? I'd consider spending a bit more ($500?) and also consider used cameras (so maybe something that costs a bit more, but can be had for a little less). If it's really not possible given the budget, i'll move on and just settle for a decent P&S camera.

Thanks!
-Jim T.
jtrudell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2009, 1:40 PM   #4
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

I removed the img tags from the images in your post, since we prefer it if you don't embed images you didn't take yourself. I left the links to them if others want to view the photos you're discussing.

It looks like a flash was being used with a couple of those images.

If you want to pick up more ambient light when using a flash, just go with manual exposure and simply open up the aperture more (lower f/stop numbers) and/or use a slower shutter speed and/or use a higher ISO speed.

As long as you leave gap of a couple of stops between ambient light exposure and the amount of exposure you have from the flash, the flash can freeze most movement, while still allowing for more pleasant background exposure from some of the ambient light.

As for asking too much from cameras in your budget range (being able to take photos of people dancing without a flash)... yes, you're asking too much in most club lighting (although the lighting in a couple of those photos looked to be better than average).

I've taken photos at ISO 25,600 and f/2.8 with a $4000 camera using a $1800 lens, and still had some motion blur from subject movement in a dimly lit bar. ;-)

In better club lighting, you may be able to do better using a brighter lens (f/1.4, f/2) with lower (i.e., ISO 3200) ISO speeds. But, I wouldn't count on it. ;-)
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2009, 3:26 PM   #5
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

Quote:
I've taken photos at ISO 25,600 and f/2.8 with a $4000 camera using a $1800 lens, and still had some motion blur from subject movement in a dimly lit bar.
See the attached image for an example of what you can expect in a dim club with a setup costing a *lot* more than you've got budgeted if you can't use a flash (although some clubs have better lighting). Note the motion blur from subject movement with the subjects' head blurry and elements in front of and behind the subject still acceptably sharp. This photo was taken with a Nikon D3 and a Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 AF-S lens zoomed into 62mm, with the aperture wide open at f/2.8, the ISO speed bumped up to ISO 25,600 (the highest available setting), at a shutter speed of 1/25 second with no flash. EXIF in image. This is a "straight from the camera" jpeg with no cropping or post processing of any kind except for downsizing using digiKam. I was shooting raw + jpeg (so, I've got raw files with better results). But, shooting raw won't help with blur from subject movement when lighting is that low. ;-)

I did get a few keepers when the band members weren't moving much. But, I also took some photos using an SB-600 flash to make sure I had some keepers. IOW, you can expect to use a flash in some lighting with a $500 budget, especially trying to capture people dancing in a dimly lit club (and the more people you have in the frame, the more difficult it is trying to time it so you're getting a photo when most of them are relatively still at the same time). ;-)
Attached Images
 
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 4, 2009, 5:38 PM   #6
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3
Default

Sorry about posting images- I'll admit I didn't really take the initiative to find out if that was acceptable or not.

Based on what you've said, (thanks again!). I should give up trying to take shots without flash and settle for something decent (Rebel XSI, D40x? opinions?) with a good flash in the hot-shoe? And to do what I'm looking for, crank the ISO up (1600 is the highest usable on the Rebel and D40), and open up the aperture/use a slower shutter speed. Am I understanding this correctly? My Powershot S2 IS has a max ISO speed of 400, and a lot of people have been telling me to turn it up, but 400 has done nothing for me, so its probably not fast enough.

I'm no pro- and not looking to be but I will step up and get a DSLR if I need to.


-Jim T.
jtrudell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Aug 5, 2009, 6:02 AM   #7
Administrator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Savannah, GA (USA)
Posts: 22,378
Default

It all depends on how much light you have if you can get away without a flash. If light is better than average, you may be able to get away with a few keepers when people are not moving as much. But, you'd want a brighter lens (hence my mention of something like a Sigma 30mm f/1.4 in an earlier post).

Try dragging your shutter (use a slower shutter speed) to let in more ambient light with your S2 IS when using a flash.
JimC is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 8:19 PM.