Some findings after last nights gig..

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by killcrazy, Jun 23, 2007.

  1. killcrazy

    killcrazy TPF Noob!

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    Last night i was at a gig, and as usual had my camera and decided to take some shots.

    Firstly, im using a sony alpha 100, and have the sony 18mm-70mm lens.
    a vivitar 28mm-200mm, and a sony 75mm-300mm lens.

    I started using the 18mm-70mm lens, which has an f rating of 3.5/5.6
    I assumed (im still quite new at all this) that I could, when in manual mode use this lens, at any focal length at f3.5? Is this true??
    Becasue last night, i used it and when the lens was set to its widest length (18mm) it would take one photo at f3.5, then it would jump up to f4.5. which meant i had to alter the settings after each photo.
    Then as soon as i zoomed in to anything greater than 18mm, it jumped up to f5.6
    at the gig i was at last night, it was basically running off four tiny stage lights, with coloured filters over them. with a black curtain all round the stage, and all the band members wearing black. so as you can imagine. There wasnt much light available. I know my lens' arent the greatest for this kind of shooting. but i thought thatif a lens had a rating of f3.5, it could be used at that at any focal length? am i wrong, or have i broke my lens/camera? :confused:

    I also decided that i was going to shoot RAW, Usally, the lighting conditions have been better than in that horrible venue i was in last night (ie it wasnt pitch black with no lights lol) and im usually pretty comftable with using manual mode on my camera, and i get some decent results. And im quite good with photoshop so i can adjust the odd picture here and there. Also, i like using continuous shooting when imshooting paintball photography, so i normally shoot in JPEG. cos its write time is slignificantly less than RAW.
    But last night, cos i was already pretty hacked off at the fact mycamera wasnt doing what i told it to do, i decided to give RAW a try.
    The results, i must admit are pretty good. Even the basic editing package that came with my camera is pretty snazzy. There were a few pics that i took last night (i got bored and started playing with my flash) that i thought the exposure wasnt quite right, now iv taken them into this editing package and played with them a little and the results are far better.
    Only downside is, It takes ages to process them! I should be able to batch process them into JPEGS, but then if im going to do that straight away, why hsould i bother using RAW to shoot with anyway? wastes time and space on the card.

    In future, i think if im going to take a small number of important photos. ill use RAW. But if im taking a large volume of pictures, or have little time available to edit. I think ill stick to JPEG.

    If anyone (who gets this far without getting bored) knows of a RAW preview program, that can preview RAW's without opening them into an editing package. that would be great. it would also help me convert over to the dark side, and use RAW more often :p

    end of pointlessness.
     
  2. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well to answer one of your questions. The 3.5-5.6 on your lens is a variable aperture meaning that ta 18 the max. aperture will be 3.5 and at 70 it will be 5.6. Most times the only fixed aperture lenses you will find will be 2.8s and will be very pricey.
     
  3. jstuedle

    jstuedle No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    When I shoot gigs I have problems when I try to shoot glass slower than f/2, or 2.8 at the least. The shutter speed winds up being 1/20 or slower. If the band you are shooting is very active, that shutter speed will leave you with about 100 sucky pics to 1 good. Even at f2.0, the ratio is around 10/1 if there is a lot of action. I don't know about your camera, but I hear Lightroom is a good RAW converter. I use Photoshop, but it is rather pricey. I don't know your budget, so I can't recommend.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I used to have the same opinion. Now you say wastes time, I say gives options. I use lightroom to edit RAWs because it gives me a film strip of my raw files I import. I go through say oh delete that and that, crop that, skip these 6 they are fine as they are, adjust that one, edit that, brightness here, darkness there, etc. And once all my changes are saved. Batch convert to JPEG which takes about 5minutes for a full card.

    RAW only makes sense if you a) edit images, and b) can get a managed workflow which doesn't cost you extra time (which I assume you have not found). With lightroom editing JPEGs and RAWs take the same amount of time, and it is much faster than looking at the photos in windows explorer then opening them individually in an editing program to make basic adjustments.

    There's about 20 RAW editing packages out there. Have a look at some and you may find one that you really like to give you the extra versatility without the extra time. RAW as a lone file format makes no sense without an adapted workflow and a program suited to the task.
     
  5. Mufasa

    Mufasa TPF Noob!

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    I have a friend who shoots gigs a fair amount and he told me that before he got his 50mm f/1.8 he always had to shoot with a flash. For the convience a flash might seem like a quick fix but they often ruin the atmosphere of the show because they kill all the other colored lights. They also pose a problem if there are fog machines.

    If you do have an external flash and you feel like playing around a little you can try using it as a low power strobe. use a shutter speed of .4'' or .5'' and in that time manually fire a few low pwer pre flashes. Depending on the lighting you can sometimes preserve the lights at the show and get really interesting pics for high action shows (guitar swings, fast drums).

    In terms of shooting RAW you need to change your mindset a little. If i am just walking around and shooting i will shoot JPEG but if i want good shots at a show or something i use RAW. I always wonderd why my camera could shoot RAW+JPEG and i discovered it at a a park shooting ducks (hehe duckhunter). When you are taking pictures in RAW+JPEG it's kind of like a life line if you need it. If the picture comes out right then delete the RAW, No processing, but if it don't come out then just deletethe JPEG, fix it later and your laughing. This takes up alot of roow on your card Tho so you have to imagine that you are using a film camera. Instead of just snaping away think of how you want the pic to look before you take it and wait till you get the perfect chance. Because there are less bad pics you spend less time going through them and there is less room taken up on your camera.

    Personally i found that thinking like a film Photographer forced me to understand things like composure, framing, and subject timing better. It really makes you a more efficient photographer in the end
     

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