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Thread: Need a bit of advice on settings

  1. #1
    Member Cargo's Avatar
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    Need a bit of advice on settings

    I've been given a couple of opportunities to shoot #1 a Cancer fund raiser in a large room at the casino & #2 a Dj in a night club.
    My dilemma is more with the night club shoot. I only have the D610 and the 70-200 f4, no tripod and no other lens. I have researched night club photography and the 70-200 doesn't appear to be the right lens & isn't really recommended.
    The settings recommended are all over the place so after some weighing up I've come up with ISO 1600-3200, f4, 1/125, and WB tungsten. I was wondering if anyone could advice on these or if perhaps I should say no and just go & enjoy myself.
    There is no payment involved for either just the chance to learn and get myself out there a bit more.

    Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated
    Cheers Cargo

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    I'd do it. Only that lens, eh!!!

    Can you go and try a few shots with nobody there but with the same lighting conditions?

    Not knowing how much ambient light there is (likely to be) any suggested settings would have to be
    "all over the place". You'd be best trying those as starting settings. I wouldn't worry about the WB
    UNLESS you are going to shoot in jpeg only. If there are coloured lights the Tungsten setting might
    not help anyway. (I also dunno what light sources they have in discos these days. They may not be
    tungsten.)

    I dunno how you'd go at getting another lens. It seems to hire one would be putting you OOP ($).
    Am.

    P$: OOP means Out-Of-Pocket, but you must have guessed that
    Last edited by ameerat42; 03-02-2015 at 5:10pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    I might be able to get in early (before 10pm) so the lighting should be the same !!!
    As for ambient light "what ambient light" I have been in this club before and its like the proverbial black hole with shooting coloured lasers and mirrored surfaces & ever changing video backdrops Fun to look at though !!
    I would shoot in RAW so thanks for the tip on the tungsten setting.
    Yep OOP I would be .... any where between $70-90 a day and associated costs. But there are no hire places I can find in Cairns & I imagine shipping costs would push the price up a bit.

    So thanks for your advice Am .... Leaning toward having a go
    Cargo
    Last edited by Cargo; 03-02-2015 at 5:55pm. Reason: Bloody spelling !!!!

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    PS: nothing wrong with your bodily spelling:
    Last edited by Cargo; Today at 5:55pm. Reason: Bloody spelling !!!!

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    Not now

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    Hi there,
    I have taken some pics in a cabaret, but it had reasonable lighting, but I found picture taking impossible (other than portrait shots) with any lens longer than a 50mm. That of course depends of the size of the place.
    I would suggest you get yourselves a standard prime lens, they are reasonably cheap second hand, and I think you would need a lens like that eventually anyway.
    Cheers Moxi

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    Thanks for replying Moxi
    I would love to get another lens but finances don't allow just at the moment
    I think it will be portraits at the Cancer fund raiser & if I do the night club I'll wing it
    Cheers Cargo

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    1. FORGET ISO!!

    Set it to Auto and leave it there.

    2. FORGET WB!!!

    No point setting it to Tungsten and having one odd fluoro light, or an LED somewhere ruining the overall balance and forcing you to re tweak all the images again.
    Set it to Auto and leave it there. You WILL be shooting in NEF mode. Because you're shooting in NEF mode, you will then have the ability to set WB values as you please later on in PP.
    (I'll describe an easy way to do this later).

    3. 70-200 f/4 has VR

    Use it.
    Of course with no real idea on how fast your shutter speed will need to be, and in low light, you want to maximise all your probabilities with as extreme settings as required.

    So, for example: let say you set the camera up with Auto ISO up to say a maximum of Hi2(recommended). You can set the the minimum shutter speed for when ISO is automatically raised to 1/focal length.
    This setting is Auto shutter speed.
    What this does is that it only raises ISO as much as is needed to keep shutter speed to this 1/focal length value.
    It keeps shutter speed as low-ish as possible to keep ISO increases as low as possible too.
    AND!!! .. because you have a VR lens, you can also tweak the camera to slightly lower the 1/focal length value even further if you dare(and I would).

    So, if you set the lens to 70mm, the camera sets the shutter speed threshold to 1/60-1/80s(there is no 1/70s!!) If you zoom to 200mm, the shutter speed is set to 1/200s automatically.

    I tend to use the speed adjusment slider to 1/2 a step slower.
    So it halves the 1/focal length setting .. ie. instead of 1/60-1/80 at 70mm you will see 1/40s, and not 1/200 at 200mm, you will see 1/100s ... and so on.
    While at 70mm this could be a bit too low(you may want a minimum of about 1/60s for shutter speed for people!) at 200mm, with a VR lens, you don't need shutter speed at 1/200s.
    Because VR is effective at keeping you stable .. all you need to concern yourself with is to keep a shutter speed that is appropriate for the exact shooting type you need to account for.
    With experience you will know what that speed is.

    I've found that if I ever do people type photography like at an event or something, I start with my minimum 1/60s. If this obviously looks too slow, I'll bump it up by 1/3 steps .. is. 1/80s for a bit .. check ... if that's still tooo slow then 1/100s.
    In fact, this is a very general generalisation. In many instances of parties I've been asked to take photos, I've even set the shutter speed to as low as 1/13s(just checked .. as I thought I'd set to to 1/30s).
    You can get decent people shots(even at very dark disco party type scenes) .. all I do to ensure some decent images, is to shoot a as high a frame rate and in short bursts.
    (Oh and try to anticipate people's moves and actions/reactions!!)
    In that last disco scene, that I just checked, I did use a non stabilised lens but at f/2.8. ISO (set to Auto) rose to ISO800 level.

    Don't be scared of ISO level on your D610. If you cast your memory back to why you decided to purchase and put up with a big heavy DSLR ... instead of a smartphone, of P&S camera .. it was most likely for the ability to yield higher quality images when all else just lacks the ability to do so.

    When it comes to people shots in dark places such as a a party(and because of your use of the term DJ, is it safe to assume it's a party evironment?) .. All I concentrate on is sharpy rendered faces .. but hopefully lots of bodily movement.
    I can post a sample of what I'm referring too if you want. People dancing: faces sharp, laser light whizzing all over the show .. bodies all half blurry.

    The only hard recommendation I'll offer is to keep your exposure bias on the high side.
    If the ISO value starts to reach in the higher ISO6400 range and or higher, you really want to keep exposure on the bright side(and reduce it a touch in PP if needed). This minimises the impact of noise in shadows.
    Your output sizes (of the resulting images) will also dictate these settings too!

    As for WB. Auto!
    If not Auto .. then Auto instead!
    Shoot in raw mode. I don't know what raw file viewer converter you prefer, but whatever it is, it will almost certainly have the ability to click to set whitebalance.
    All you may need sometimes if a white reference area.
    That is, as you are shooting, look around at the scene for a white reference point.
    I use many things. White walls, grey suits, black shoes .. white table cloths .. whatever. Any of those colours, as long as you know it's white grey(be careful with non standard greys tho) .. or black can all be used later to pinpoint a whitebalance value in PP.
    What I do:
    I shoot in AWB.
    In ViewNX2, I look at the colour balance of the series of images. If they pretty much ok(which can happen) I leave them. Don't do work you don't need too.
    Every now and then just to be sure, I may subject one image to a quick WB check. eg. there's a white table cloth in the scene, it looks pretty OK at white, but I'll just check it to be sure.
    If the image only just changes after this click to WB adjustment .. I generally don't worry too much about the rest.

    A word of caution about click to whitebalance setting AND high ISO.
    Sometimes if images are shot at high ISO levels, the noise at the pixel level can affect click to whitebalance adjustment. That is the noise(RGB pixels) affect what the software things is white.
    As an example you may click on a white/grey/black part of a scene, but the image may suddenly turn all green or magenta of something strange.
    What happens is that the are you clicked on may contain high levels of colour noise and affect the adjustment. Click on a pixel or two next to the one you just clicked, and it may suddenly change to a very natural rendering.

    Here's the real reason why you use AWB and PP for setting WB.
    If a series of images all obviously need some adjustment(IN VIewNX2, and I suspect a lot of software), you highlight all the image thumbnails that you think need a tweak(lets say it's 10 images).
    With the image you have chosen to edit(ie. with a good whitebalance click point) highlighted and displayed in the main edit screen, as long as the other images thumbnails are all also highlighted, setting the whitebalance for this main image will also set the WB to the same value for all the other images highlighted too(to the same value).
    This process assumes that all those images are shot in the same conditions.
    There are caveats to this, but may not be important at this point.

    There's no reason you can't help out with the shoot and still enjoy yourself!
    No rules against it, and as you're not paid for the effort, the people you're doing the event for shouldn't expect too much.
    Them's the breaks for paying nothing!

    If you need direct help with setting the camera up with the Auto ISO tweak values, just ask.
    Most Nikon cameras of a similar era have very similar settings and menus.
    Settings I would pre set before starting:
    Aperture Priority: Easy exposure compensation enabled: Auto ISO up to Hi2, 1/focal length with a downward tweak by 1 step in the slower region, AWB, Spot metering(although most folks prefer matirix)0 .. either metering method, you want to keep exposure about 1/3 Ev higher than you may otherwise normally do.

    The reason I prefer to use these settings is that you don't know what's about to enter the scene.
    If there are two males both wearing black suits taking up the entire frame, I quickly set exposure compensation to about -1 to -1.3(as I tend to use spot metering).
    If the next frame is with two women wearing white suits, I'll quickly change exposure compensation to +1 or so.
    (I don't like matrix metering for the wild variations, or just completely wrong, exposures you can sometimes get)


    .. oops! sorry for the long reply.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  9. #9
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    Arthur no apology necessary
    I just came to log out and retire and saw your response. I have quickly read through it and will come back to it tomorrow with fresh eyes and a much less tired brain.
    Many thanks for such an informative answer
    Cheers Cargo

  10. #10
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Hi Cargo. I shoot with my 70-200 a lot and it should be fine unless you're doing group shots. You could consider renting/borrowing a 24-70 if you need to keep you bases covered.

    Things to watch out for:

    If you're shooting the cancer event and they have something like an awards ceremony, positioning will be paramount in terms of locating yourself somewhere far enough back where people won't get in the way and you can still get handshake photos. It's actually surprisingly hard to find the right position and don't be scared to tell the person doing the handshake where they should stand and tell the person to look when you do it. Most people are accommodating.

    The DJ should be less of an issue I think. I would consider that to be the easier part. Other thing to understand is what they will be doing with the photos. If they're printing, ISO can be important. If it's for Facebook, reducing the size of the photos will reduce the noise so high ISO is less of an issue.

    Do you have an external flash?
    Fuji XT-2, Fuji X-E3, Fuji X100T, Fuji VPB-XT2, Fujinon 16-55 f/2.8, Fujinon 50-140 f/2.8, Fujinon 35 f2, Fujinon 90 f/2, Fujinon 60 f/2.4 Macro, Yongnuo YN560 IV, Yongnuo YN560 TX, Benro C3580T, Mefoto Q00
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/atholhill
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  11. #11
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    Hi MissionMan,
    Thanks for replying and for the tips. You guys have encouraged me to go ahead ..... Nothing to lose hey
    No I don't have an external flash !!! Would be nice though ..... Will just have to make do
    Cheers Cargo

  12. #12
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    Hey Arthur,
    I sent you a PM ..... I'm not sure if you received it ?
    It was about your offer to post some examples of this kind of work. I would really love to see them, so if the offer still stands I gratefully accept
    Cheers Cargo

  13. #13
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Sorry for the delay.
    Was a bit busy yesterday, came home late had a quick peek at the general forums .. (basically)fell asleep at the wheel before I had the chance to reply).

    reply sent this morning.

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    My turn for an apology Arthur ....
    Lost our internet for nearly 3 days ...... Felt like I had lost a body part . But have now read through your reply and started to practice (On the back verandah @ night with the fairy lights etc) using your advice. I'm pretty happy with the results so far ..... So once again many many thanks for your extremely helpful information and the time you spent providing it (Oviously lots & lots) I will be fine tuning and doing some more this evening. So depending on the weather I'll be front and centre on Friday night ..... I missed out on doing the Cancer Fund Raiser as we got flooded in & unfortunately we may be in for the same this weekend !!!!!!
    Cheers Cargo

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    Good info.

  16. #16
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    It sure was MDof2 Without it I would not have achieved anything but blurry underexposed messes !!!
    I posted a few of the results up here .......
    http://www.ausphotography.net.au/for...-Club-Dj-Shots

    Cheers Cargo

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