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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old February 25th, 2011, 02:10 AM   #1
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DSLR at the reception

I road tested my 60D for the first time at a low-light wedding reception the other week. I used a Sigma 1.8 20mm and a Canon 1.8 50mm. The controlled slide work for the cake etc went as planned and I am pleased with the results.

However once the party got underway I think my rechnique is off. Here is what I did: The 60D was mointed for most part of a monopod. As it was a low-light affair, I set the aperture to 1.8 and the ISO at whatever I needed to get good exposure. I would focus the subject but as soon the as subject moved (people dancing) either slighty forward or back, due to the 1.8 aperture they would instantly be out of focus, understandably. To set the aperture tighter to keep more in focus I will have to boost ISO and \ or use a light which kind of takes the point out of using a DSLR doesnt it?

What are the techniques of others when filming moving targets with DSLRs?

Usually I use HMC150s.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 03:11 AM   #2
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Re: DSLR at the reception

Hi Dan,

I think a lot depends on what you are shooting and how far away you are. DOF increases the further away the subject is, so even with a 20mm lens set to f1.8 you still have > 5ft DOF with the subject at a 10ft distance. If you are trying to shoot f1.8 with some one 3 feet away then it's not going to work, but then I wouldn't want lights in my face from 3 feet either.

We've shot with HMC151s a lot, but the low light stuff that needed 6db-12db was not as good as I wanted so we moved to DSLRs for most of our shooting now. While I have yet to shoot with a 60D (we may end up buying one) we do shoot with 7D and 5D2s. The DOF on the 5D2 is less than the 60D and yet we don't really have any problems. We shoot dancing with 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 with two cameras, one each end of the dance floor at 90 deg angles to each other. By having one each one focused at different points means that as people move we can cut to which ever camera is in focus if need be.

In terms of increasing the ISO - how high did you have to go? I found that almost anything on the DSLRs was better than the HMC at 6db-12db. We regularly shoot the 5D2 at ISO 1600 and 2000 without any problems. I don't like taking the 7D past about ISO 1250, but with a little noise reduction ISO 1600 works well enough if it's the difference between getting the shot and not getting the shot. ISO2000 is not so good, but as I said, it's still better than the HMC @ 12db if you wanted to avoid using lights.

Shooting DSLR is a different discipline to video cameras, that's for sure. But since getting the DSLRs I'm no longer concerned about low light. I know I can get perfectly usable shots with the DSLR that the HMC had no chance of getting without lights. I may still give it a kiss of Neat Video, but I've have ISO6400 footage that was usable in a pinch. Try getting that with the HMC!
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Old February 25th, 2011, 05:43 AM   #3
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Re: DSLR at the reception

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Burnap View Post
What are the techniques of others when filming moving targets with DSLRs?
It's called pulling focus & is not unique to DSLRs. You don't just watch the picture going out of focus. You just adjust the focus on the camera to follow the moving target. That's where skill & practice comes in. As Dave points out at a reasonable distance from the subject even at F1.8 on a 60D your DOF is several feet so there is some latitude.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 08:10 AM   #4
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Re: DSLR at the reception

DOF increases whith shorter focal lengths too so avoid the 50mm lens and shoot with the 20 f1.8 as your tight lens and get a wide 2.8 that will allow you some error due to the greater DOF. Tokina 11-16 f2.8 or Samyang 14mm f2.8 will be great choises.
Of course focus pulling will allow you to use longer lenses but the 50mm 1.8 Canon lens is not the right lens for that. You will need a lens with smooth and long travel focusing ring. You can get an old MF 50mm lens that will be suitable for much less than $100.
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Old February 25th, 2011, 02:10 PM   #5
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Re: DSLR at the reception

Hi Nigel,

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Originally Posted by Nigel Barker View Post
As Dave points out at a reasonable distance from the subject even at F1.8 on a 60D your DOF is several feet so there is some latitude.
Dave was right on with the numbers for a 20mm/1.8 at 10ft (DOF of over 5ft.) but moving to a 50mm/1.8 at that distance reduces the DOF to about 8". For the OP - its not as bad as it sounds though. I routinely track a dancing couple with an 85/14 on a T2i by floating the focus - just takes familiarity with your lens and some practice.

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Old February 25th, 2011, 02:35 PM   #6
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Re: DSLR at the reception

Somebody (maybe Joel) posted this once and I find it a valuable tool.

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Old February 25th, 2011, 06:17 PM   #7
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Re: DSLR at the reception

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Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
Somebody (maybe Joel) posted this once and I find it a valuable tool.

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Not to mention taking one with you on the iPhone / iPad :)
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