had a torrid time !

otispunkmeyer

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gah i got really fed up yesterday with the 400d's metering and focusing. i was at a break dancing event that was held during the day in newcastles students union. i had daylight coming in from one side of the building and the rest was lit with horrible manky yellowish flourescent's

now the metering is probably my fault to be honest, theres 3 modes on the camera + full manual (which i eventually settled on) but of the 3 i just couldnt tell which was better... does anyone know the difference between evaluative, partial and center weighted?

i kept finding shots were either overexposed, or underexposed....but whatever, they were never right. its quite difficult though because although there is light, its not that good quality, and the dancers often wear dark colours so the camera thinks its looking at something thats not lit....hence shutter speeds to slow to capture the action.

the worst though was the focusing...... i was using my 50mm f1.8 (the fastest lens i have) and it just couldnt hack it. i think 2/3rd of my shots were binned because it had been focusing on the static crowd instead of the dancer.

i had it on center point only and initially set on AI servo mode which is supposedly best for moving subjects because it adjusts the focus continuously but it just didnt work at all and kept producing out of focus shots.

in the end AI focus was no better, and i got the best shots from using one shot AF mode and having to keep pressing the shutter button to re-focus

eventually 1/100 shutter, f1.8 and iso 1600 were my chosen settings coz it was the best compromise of speed and exposure. bit noisy tho.

but the focusing was just annoying

anyone got any advice for shooting in these situations? i usually cope quite well back at loughborough, but there we have the lights off and just have the dance floor illuminated with some quite powerful LED spot lamps so metering an focusing is generally spot on.

but yesterday i struggled.
 

Martyn

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syf0n

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use center-weighted metering, meter (lock) off the person's skin tone then compose your shot. the sunlit areas will probably be blown out, try to keep that out of the frame if you can. if its unavoidable maybe try the custom function "highlight tone priorty" if your camera has it.
 

otispunkmeyer

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think i might have to invest in a flash... there was a guy there with a 5d and a sigma 24-70 + big flash unit.

i tend to shy away from using a flash at these events because i would say its quite annoying to be getting flashed like a celeb rolling out of a night club while your trying to put one on the other crew. but nearly everyone there was flashing away like crazy so i dont supppose its gonna matter one jot if i use a flash or not.

faster lens is also an option but i think thats gonna be mucho bucks!!! which i dont have. the 50mm f1.8 is the fastest lens i can afford on my budget.

another thing is, at this place the floor was long and narrow so it'd didnt really matter where you sat 50mm was just too long on a crop body to regularly fit a person in the frame. the dancer had to be literally at the other end of the floor to get in the frame and there was so many people there that taking photos from further back was out of the question.!

i tried my 10-20mm which worked wonders actually, the shutter speeds were low so the dancers are generally blurred, but because of the short focal length, camera shake is negligable so i got some usable shots from it.

i think a flash and a diffuser is probably my best port of call..... whats a decent flash unit to get me started? i dont mind buying second hand.
 

Jay

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Get a flash that fully rotates; that way you can bounce the light off walls, other people, the ceiling and not annoy the subject.
 

otispunkmeyer

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yeah that would be good, the one thing i hate about flash light is how it can be really harsh, lighting the subject up like a christmas tree... it makes them look un-natural. plus half the time theres peoples heads in the frame and the flash just bounces off them...giving you an overexposed shot of the back of two heads and a dim view of the actual dancer.

hehe with my sigma the thing is so wide at the front it actually blocks the pop up flash so the bottom third of the shot doesnt get any flash light at all lol.
 

Paddy

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Pocket wizards FTW so ! Things that move fast indoors are usually a fucking nightmare to shoot, but is very possible. Get yourself a 430EX or 580EX if you can spring for it and either an off camera cord or some pocketwizards to get the flash off camera, that way you won't get those harsh shadows behind the subject.

Me smells a tutorial coming on ...
 

tianluo

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I have two 540EZ and cheapo wireless trigger and receivers (Cactus V2) and it works a treat (?120 in total inc the two flashes). I usually use a ball bongee to fix the flashes to a pole and bounce it off walls if I don't have my silver brolly with me.
 
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otispunkmeyer

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i dunno about whipping out reflectors n shit in the middle of a breakin competition.... there generally is barely room to sit at the front let alone get in the way with tripods n shit.

i think ill look into a flash though, one that can tilt.

how much are diffusers? can u make poor mans ones?
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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Diffusers can be pretty cheap. My personal favorite is the Lumiquest Mini Softbox, it works fabulously in conjunction with a TTL flash cord.
 

otispunkmeyer

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tried using a white piece of paper before over the flash but held it too close and scorched the paper and the flash lens a little bit... whoops lol

daft thing is i do alot of laser stuff at uni and know just how powerful light can be
 

Martyn

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A simple diffusion technique is using a little bounce card, the 580EX has one built in, i don't think the 430 does. It's a little piece of thin white plastic that pulls out or the head, you then point the flash at the ceiling, and the piece of white plastic is facing your subject, that does a pretty good job.

If you go for the 430EX, you can just tape a bit of card to it instead!

1-of-7.jpg
 

otispunkmeyer

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580EX is a bit expensive for me, but the 430EX looks about right , looks like i can get a new one for around ?130/140 which isnt too bad.

i want a battery grip as well so i can shoot for longer, but having said that i seem to be able to manage just fine on the standard battery. took over 800 shots at the weekend (granted they were on the small setting so i could fit more on my card which is only 1gb...yeah i must buy a new one, they are dirt cheap) but the battery is still reading at 3 bars
 

tianluo

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580EX is a bit expensive for me, but the 430EX looks about right , looks like i can get a new one for around ?130/140 which isnt too bad.

i want a battery grip as well so i can shoot for longer, but having said that i seem to be able to manage just fine on the standard battery. took over 800 shots at the weekend (granted they were on the small setting so i could fit more on my card which is only 1gb...yeah i must buy a new one, they are dirt cheap) but the battery is still reading at 3 bars

Do you need the ETTL stuff with the EX flashes? Or do you want to use it in manual? Because you could get a 540ez (high end flash till 540EX came along with ETTL everything) and use it in manual. As powerful as a 540EX and has a slightly added range in AF light too, which comes in useful. Ebay has these for ?55-?60
 

otispunkmeyer

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dunno, is ETTL evaluative through the lens metering or something? i wouldnt mind something that was pretty automatic at first then allows me to go manual when i know more about what im doing.

not sure about diving straight into manual flash controls
 

tianluo

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dunno, is ETTL evaluative through the lens metering or something? i wouldnt mind something that was pretty automatic at first then allows me to go manual when i know more about what im doing.

not sure about diving straight into manual flash controls

Yeah, E-TTL is one of the Canon's TTL flavours. TTLs is not always most accurate and if you're planning on doing off-camera flash work (read strobist), its better with manual anyway. With manual, all you need to set is the power of flash (on 540EZ it goes from 1/1 - 1/128) and the zoom (28-105mm) for the light concentration.
 

monkeymax

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Yeah, E-TTL is one of the Canon's TTL flavours. TTLs is not always most accurate and if you're planning on doing off-camera flash work (read strobist), its better with manual anyway. With manual, all you need to set is the power of flash (on 540EZ it goes from 1/1 - 1/128) and the zoom (28-105mm) for the light concentration.

Do you set the power of the flash on the flash unit itself?
(Sorry, possibly sounds like a silly question, but I Just want to be sure; I've borrowed my Dad's old Speedlite 300TL to learn with, but even though it offers a manual mode, this only works on a T90 as you set the manual settings on the camera rather than the flash...)
 

tianluo

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Do you set the power of the flash on the flash unit itself?
(Sorry, possibly sounds like a silly question, but I Just want to be sure; I've borrowed my Dad's old Speedlite 300TL to learn with, but even though it offers a manual mode, this only works on a T90 as you set the manual settings on the camera rather than the flash...)

Yep, everything is set up through some buttons and LCD on the back of the flash. Not sure on the 300TL, but from the looks on here it doesn't seem to have any buttons to stop down the power.
 
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