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Old Feb 26, 2006, 8:52 PM   #31
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Thanks Jim, where can I find more information on Tips and Techniques?¬* Also, I know you mentioned the D20 from canon.¬* Could you elaborate more on how the two compare?¬* And, by any chance do you know of a good photography school?¬* One more thing, what CF card do you use/recommend?
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Old Feb 26, 2006, 9:24 PM   #32
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Straylightrun00 wrote:
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Thanks Jim, where can I find more information on Tips and Techniques?
Your best bet is going to be to practice using your camera, whatever choice you make.

You can get a book on basic photography at your library. It doesn't even need to be specific to digital.

Or, check out http://www.shortcourses.com

It sounds like your primary interest is taking photos at concerts.

If you buy some bright lenses, you shouldn't have any problems at most venues (provided you can get a camera into them). ;-)

Larger concerts will tend to have better stage lighting. Smaller clubs may have awful lighting. LOL

So, you do the best you can with what you've got.

When you go through images and look at the exposure settings used, you'll get a feel for the limitations of your equipment and your skills. Any camera is going to have limitations. But, the D200 is a well made piece of equipment. Some owners have reported some QC problems with higher ISO speed banding. But, Nikon can repair or adjust any camera that's out of spec (and chances are, the one you get will be just fine).

What you'll notice is things like motion blur if lighting is too low for the ISO speed and aperture selected (and you'll probably be shooting at close to wide open apertures).

But, even that's not a big deal if you're in light that is too low (and most larger venues should be much better). Motion blur can actually make some photos more interesting if light is so low that you get some. If you take lots of photos, your percentage of keepers will go up.

You'll be able to examine the photos taken, and look at the camera settings used, including shutter speed. This information will be in your images, and readable by many image editors and viewers (many free ones can even see the informaton).

Then, you'll learn what to expect in the same conditions again, and try to make changes to improve them (using higher or lower ISO speeds, different metering choices, different white balance settings, etc.).

You could even post any problem images so that forum members could give you some tips on what you could have done differently to improve them.

Shooting in raw can give you more latitude to make changes to things like white balance and exposure later, too.

There is no one right or wrong way to do things, and the best way to get better is to take lots of photos.

Once you learn to get around some of the technical issues, you'll start to improve on the artistic issues like composition.

As far as CompactFlash media, you'll find that the Sandisk Ultra II and Extreme III cards are popular choices. Personally, I'd stick to the less expensive Ultra II since they tend to offer more "bang for the buck". The Lexar 80x Cards are also popular choices with DSLR owners.

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Old Feb 27, 2006, 9:46 AM   #33
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By bright primes are you just talking about the Nikon 50mm 1.4 or 1.8 that I can find on ebaY?
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:07 AM   #34
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Exactly. But, make sure are buying one compatible with your camera. I'd probably stick to a newer AF (D) type lens if price was the same.

A 50mm f/1.8 (D) AF Nikkor sells for around $120 brand new, and a lens with (D) in their description is designed to pass focus distance informaton back to the camera for better flash exposure accuracy when a flash is needed.

In longer primes, that's probably not very important (since you may not need to use flash, and it's not that big of a deal anyway).

I'd go with an AF lens for sure, though.

You'll want to make sure you've got a lens that's long enough for the conditions you're shooting in, too (or in some conditions, you may want a wider lens to make sure you can get everything in the frame).

To put things into perspective, the aperture scale in one stop increments goes f/1.0 (theortically larger apertures are availalbe, too), f/1.4, f/2.0, f/2.8, f/4.0, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, etc.

With each one stop move to a smaller aperture (represented by larger f/stop numbers), you will need shutter speeds twice as long for proper exposure, given the same lighting and ISO speed.

That also means that with each one stop move to a smaller aperture (higher f/stop number), you lose half the light getting through the lens to the AF sensors and viewfinder (and to the main CCD when the mirror flips and shutter opens).

A brighter (a.k.a., faster) lens helps a camera to "see" better for Autofocus Purposes. You often seen complaints of the Autofocus hunting when camera owners buy inexpensive long zoom lenses (with maximum available apertures of f/5.6 or f/6.3 on their long end) and use them in less than optimum lighting.

Of course, that can also mean blurry photos in low light (because of slower shutter speeds), despite focus considerations.

Any lens is a compromse. A lens that isn't as bright is going to be smaller and lighter (and less expensive) compared to a brighter lens with the same focal range. But, it's going to be less than desirable for use in some conditions.

If you need to shoot with larger apertures, your depth of field will also be shallower. But, if light is better, and you don't want a shallow depth of field (desirable for helpiing subjects stand out from distracting backgrounds by blurring them), you can always use smaller apertures with a brighter lens, too.

Most lenses are not as sharp at their largest aperture settings either.

You make tradeoffs with any lens choice.


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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:34 AM   #35
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first one is the 1.4 and the second is the 1.8 are there big differences in performance? There is a good difference in price. Trying to find these on ebay.Also definetly starting with this lens too .What do you think? Would these be good for what I want? Ebay theses the best prices I'm gonna get for these?Thanks for all the help Jim!

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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:44 AM   #36
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I removed the links in your last post (they were so long that users would need to scroll to see the forum threads, and some didn't work anyway).

If you embed links, make sure to use code tags around longs ones. For example:

Code:
[url=www.desiredurl.com]Link Description/url]
You can use the preview function before posting to see if the code tags work or not.

Exactly what conditions are you going to be shooting in?

You may or may not need f/1.4, and the f/1.8 is probably a tad sharper wide open anyway. You need to consider lighting, distance to subject, desired flexbility, and the framing desired when buying lenses for low light use (as well as considerations like sharpness, etc.).

Are you taking photos in a local club with very low lighting where you'll be close to the stage, or in larger auditoriums where you may have very good stage lighting and perhaps shooting shooting from further away?

A lot depends on the conditions.


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Old Feb 27, 2006, 10:50 AM   #37
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Ah sorry about that.¬* Well, i'm under the impression that I would need a 50mm 1.4 for low light pictures or just as a universal lens.¬* I found one for about 160 on ebay.¬* Also, is the performnce between 1.4 and 1.8 light and day?¬* And, one more lens I was looking into was the 18mm-70mm VR. (about 750 from ritz camera)¬* So, would those two lenses be good for what I am looking to do?Thanks!
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 11:27 AM   #38
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Straylightrun00 wrote:
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Ah sorry about that. Well, i'm under the impression that I would need a 50mm 1.4 for low light pictures or just as a universal lens. I found one for about 160 on ebay. Also, is the performnce between 1.4 and 1.8 light and day? And, one more lens I was looking into was the 18mm-70mm VR. (about 750 from ritz camera) So, would those two lenses be good for what I am looking to do?Thanks!
That depends on the lighting and the ISO speed if you need a lens that bright.

I just saw some photos one of our forum members posted from a Kenny Rogers concert taken with a Pentax Optio 555 at f/4.6 and ISO 400 that looked just fine (at the small sizes he posted). The stage lighting was apparently very good.

In some of the clubs around here, I couldn't get good photos using a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 with Fuji Superia X-TRA 1600, even trying to underexpose it some to get shutter speeds up.

I *still* had motion blur the light was so low (no stage lighting to speak of at all, with the band in shadows), not to mention ugly photos trying to delibrately underexpose color film that fast.

But, in a larger venue, you may be just fine with lower ISO speeds or a lens that's not as bright.

Also, you don't *really* want to shoot at f/1.4 with most lenses that have it available. They are softer at wide open apertures + you'll have a shallower depth of field. It can be very useful for portraits, and if light is very low you may need it. So, it can be nice to have it available.

It all depends on lighting.

You may do just fine with an f/2.8 zoom, depending on conditions. That's the key, conditions (as well as the ISO Speeds you have available to you, and the size you want to print at).

If you're in tighter spaces (small clubs), you may even want something wider than 50mm. For example, I keep a 28mm f/2 on my KM 5D more often than not. Although, I'm keeping an eye out for when the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC starts shipping in Minolta mount (I could use the extra stop at some of the clubs around here). You can already get this lens for Nikon models.

Do you have any images from your Sony taken in the conditions you'll want to use a camera in? If so, we could look at the EXIF (a header in the image files with information on camera settings used) to get an idea of the light you typically have.

BTW, Ritz is going to be higher than some of the reputable online vendors like http://www.bhphotovideo.com for most items.


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Old Feb 27, 2006, 12:24 PM   #39
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I see, so would you just recommend me starting out with the¬*Zoom Super Wide Angle-Telephoto AF Zoom Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S DX VR II Autofocus Lens¬* and then seeing if I would need a 1.4 or so?
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Old Feb 27, 2006, 12:36 PM   #40
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No, not for indoor use without a flash, unless your subjects are stationary.

Again, you need to know what the lighting conditons are for lenses, and you'll need to know what focal lengths you need.

That's a good "walk around" lens for general purpose use, or you coud use it indoors within your flash range (or even without a flash if you aren't taking photos of moving subjects).

But, you may want something brighter for existing light without a flash of moving subjects, or you may want something sharper than a lens with it's focal range can give you.

Look, pick yourself up a 50mm f/1.8, AF lens regardless of any other lens choice you make. That way, you'll have something brighter if you need it for existing light use. They're small, light, bright, sharp and inexpensive. IMO, one should be in every camera owners bag.


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