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Sony HVR-V1 / HDR-FX7
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Old July 11th, 2007, 02:34 AM   #1
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Live music, Low Light and a Brevis with SLR Primes

This is a two part question about using a v1 with a Brevis and prime lenses in low light. While gathering information about my first hdv cam, it seems the most cost effective way to improve the look of your image is to use a lens adapter like a Brevis or Redrock M2.

These adapters work best with fast lenses. So, because modestly priced primes are generally cheaper and faster than modestly priced zooms, is it better to collect a kit of primes or buy a single faster, more expensive zoom?

This setup (v1, 35mm adapter, and whichever lens) will be used for shooting live music in dingy bars and at dusty festivals with stage lights. Will these tools be up to task, or is time to figure out another solution?
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Old July 11th, 2007, 05:28 AM   #2
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I would say it's borderline. Stage lights can actually be brighter than you perceive because the light ratios are sometimes severe. The bright highlights will be bright but the shadows will be very dark. The bright side should be easy to get decent exposure, but a dark shadow will go black. Also, the V1 isn't as sensitive as an SD camera and the Brevis and 35mm lens will eat a couple of f-stops. On the other hand, there is noise reduction software at neatvideo.com that someone around here tested and gave a rave review. This may allow the use of gain without destroying the image. Also, look at the post from Piotr Wozniacki called "V1E scoring again!" where he outlines his use of slow shutter speed to attain a good image in lower light. The V1 has progressive scan which allows using shutter speeds like 1/30 when shooting at 30p without sacrificing resolution or framerate. There will be increased motion blur, but this could be preferable to insufficient exposure.

Concerning lenses, primes are a much better choice. You would need something like a constant f2.8 zoom which will cost a bundle and still lose twice as much light as a prime. I just shot a little independent short and was amazed to find that I shot almost the whole thing with the 50mm f1.4 lens. I used a 35mm focal length lens for a wider shot and a shot in the front seat of a car pointing at the driver. For a musical performance, you would probably want a longer lens and a fast 85mm might gather enough light to be used on a lit stage. Also, a lens with a higher f-number may induce vignetting. I got a Nikon f2.4 105mm and it causes vignetting. Try to stick with lenses with f2.0 or lower. It is easy to find fast lenses around 50mm, but long telephoto and super wide lenses get expensive quickly. Using an 85mm lens will mean getting a bit closer to your stage than you might think ideal. Don't worry about that. Try not to interfere with the audience as much a possible, but get in there and get the shot.
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Old July 13th, 2007, 05:17 AM   #3
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Thanks for the very comprehensive reply Marcus; tasty food for thought.
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