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Old May 22nd, 2008, 11:22 PM   #1
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Shooting Weddings with the HPX500

Has anybody use this camera for the Wedding Industry and how is the low lighting situation when you can't use a light in a church setting and a temple setting.
How is the lighting in a catering hall when there is need for lighting in a low light situation.Does anybody have sample of low lighting situations?
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Old May 24th, 2008, 10:20 AM   #2
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Dude, that would be quite a camera for weddings - you must be shooting for some high-end clients!

Anyway, never used the 500 for a wedding, but it does do a pretty good job in reasonably low light situations - and I emphasize "reasonably". It doesn't compare to the HPX2000 and up, but it's half the price.

We've had ours outdoors under streetlight-only conditions and noise does begin to creep in once you stray to far form the direct light source..

I would suggest renting one and giving it a try before you dump 25-30G's on a camera that won't cut it when the lights go down.

-Brad
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Old May 24th, 2008, 11:20 PM   #3
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I always cringe when people start talking about "low light" performance. No video camera made today is great in low light, period. Even the venerable Viper or F23 doesn't look great when there's only ambient night-light.

The fact is, video cameras require more light than film does for really good looking images, and when things get dim the only way to properly compensate is to add light, not raise gain (that control might as well say "grain").

Obviously with weddings and events you mostly can't control the lighting and most wedding photographers get pissy if the video guy brings lights, so you're stuck dealing with whatever you're dealt. But, the HPX500 is most definitely a better choice for weddings than any handheld specifically because it does have more light sensitivity than handhelds and at a price-point that can still make weddings profitable (assuming you've done your homework on what you can charge).

Get the brightest lens you can afford; that will pay dividends in many ways.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:41 AM   #4
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[QUOTE=Robert Lane;882775]I always cringe when people start talking about "low light" performance. No video camera made today is great in low light, period. Even the venerable Viper or F23 doesn't look great when there's only ambient night-light.

The fact is, video cameras require more light than film does for really good looking images, and when things get dim the only way to properly compensate is to add light, not raise gain (that control might as well say "grain").

Obviously with weddings and events you mostly can't control the lighting and most wedding photographers get pissy if the video guy brings lights......

I couldn't agree more Robert, I use my SPX800 for a few selected wedding shoots across the year, I crank it to 50meg, I find that handles info better in , more extreem lighting conditions, Photo guys that are not professional i find can't use extra light sources , The real Photo guys, "can" use light in a way that makes their product much better, when the rest are complaining that the lighting is not good for them.
Last few years we have used more dedicated low watt lights rather than the bad old days of Blasting many high wattage lights everywhere.
Comparing my Sony DSR570WSP on weddings to the SPX800, give me the Panasonic anyday, 50mbs and big 2/3 chips, Rock.
Cheers
Tom K
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Old May 27th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #5
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Sorry - I've never used the 500 - however,

I own the SPX800, a couple of 2000's and the 200a. The bigger cameras have all been used on both national productions/commercials, and they all have found themselves at weddings or live-events (with lower lighting) as well.

The 800 is incredible in low light - F13 at 2000 I think. All kinds of latitude to work with, even in crazy scenarios.

The 2000 loses a stop or two - F10 at 2000 I believe. Still - the pictures are stunning. Get a great HD monitor though (I always use the BT900, and sometimes the BT80 & BT1760). You'll need it for assuring focus.

If you're in a crazy condition, you'll probably start going pretty open on the lens. I use a Fuji 22x7.8 which has plenty of range, even before it starts to clamp down at tele. Even then, if you're running it at f/2.8 & faster, you'll get a great shallow depth-of-field, but you've gotta be dead nuts on the focus - something you'd be hard pressed to do without the monitor. The waveform comes in handy as well.

I tweaked the gamma/colors as well, and try not going above 3db if possible.
This was probably the most tricky part - It's easy to 'over color' your images. For events, I use a conservative color matrix, and a standard HD gamma (rather than the cine-gammas).

Many times I'm shooting 1080 60i, but going to 24p can certainly assist as well... Shot a belly-dancer that was solely illuminated by candle-light a few weeks ago - came out great. Even at 1/48th shutter the footage was very clean - I popped to 1/24th and tracked her carefully to minimize blur (with just a touch of frezzi light) - the picture was way 'brighter' than the room itself.

I would certainly think you could get similar results with the 500 - I would just think the picture would be a bit noisier overall.

BTW - the 200a is handy for B-roll, but I keep a frezzi on it with a diffuser and a dichro for some additional light in tough spots. Great pictures, but it's not the king of low light either. Fairly useable gain at 6db in a pinch, but prefer to stay at 3 or less. Definitely cleaner in the shadows than the 200.
Can't imagine trying to shoot someone from 100 feet away with it though.

Best of luck - good tools you're looking at...
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