Hello, I am brand new to this site and soooo excited at all the info and tips at my fingertips!!
My questions pertains to shooting dancers, both up close (from about front row to the stage and floor level) and for photo shoots (outdoors). Occasionally I may be farther away from the stage and may need zoom. What is the best type of lens for me? Can I get away with one lens for everything or will I need to get 2? Granted, I am a beginner photographer and am not able to spend a ton of $. I have a D60 with the 18-55mm VR lens currently.
#1. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 0
Seattle, WA, US
Shooting dancers indoors is in the same category as indoor (low-light) sports. For zooms, this normally requires an expensive f/2.8 lens, or some of the f/1.x prime lenses, to let in as much light as possible. And even then you will need to use high ISO to get the shutter speeds needed to freeze the action.
However, there is always the slim chance that your stages are actually well lighted.
Outdoors, or otherwise in good light, just about any lens will work for you to a certain extent. If you need something longer than the 18-55mm, the 70-300mm VR is a good option for the outdoors stuff.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
#2. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 0
Welcome to Nikonians!
>My questions pertains to shooting dancers, both up close (from >about front row to the stage and floor level) and for photo >shoots (outdoors).
In order to freeze the motion of the subject a fast shutter speed is required. Outdoors in daylight it is easy to select a fast shutter speed (1/500th sec. or faster) shooting at or near base ISO (ISO 100) even with a slow lens. Indoors the ambient light level is much lower and requires increasing the ISO (resulting in more noise) and opening the aperture (smaller f/#) to get the fastest shutter speed possible for the given light level. The usual price of admission is a fast lens. If the stage lighting is excellent, your 18-55mm might work ok. The alternative is to add light by using flash. Unfortunately for your budget flash is usually not permitted.
>Occasionally I may be farther away from the >stage and may need zoom. What is the best type of lens for me?
It depends on the ambient light level at the venues you will be shooting at and your budget.
> Can I get away with one lens for everything or will I need to >get 2? Granted, I am a beginner photographer and am not able >to spend a ton of $. I have a D60 with the 18-55mm VR lens >currently.
Again, the answer depends on the ambient light level and your budget. The Nikkor 35mm f1.8G AF-S (about $200.00) and the 50mm f/1.8 G AF-S (about $200.00) are optically excellent, should be fast enough for most situations, and are very budget friendly. To find out which focal length works best for your requirements; set the zoom ring at 35mm and at 50mm and decide for yourself. I suspect the 50mm will be the better choice since it is slightly longer. The problem with the Fast Zooms (constanf f/2.8 aperture) is they are all quite expensive compared to the 35mm and 50mm primes and they are 1 1/3rd stops slower. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#3. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 2
Argh! Decisions, decisions! Thank you both for your suggestions/advice. I have some choices at least! I plan on making a decision soon because I have some events coming up that I would like to test the lenses out on.
#5. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 0
Ely, Cambridgeshire, GB
What you should remember is that dancers move - if you use too fast a shutter speed all you get is a picture of someone in an odd pose. If that is what you want just get them to pose in front of a plain back ground and shoot them; if however you want to show they are dancing, some movement around the hands or feet or head is OK - dancing is dynamic try to show that dynamism...
#6. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 5
Are you going to be shooting with permission or as something more akin to grabbing within a public performance? Are the images for sale to troupe members or for your own enjoyment? Will it always be in the same theatre of different theatres? Will you be shooting within live performances or during rehearsals? The answers to these question will decide what you can and, more to the point, what you cannot do. Rehearsals can be a great time to obtain 'publicity and performer shots', action will stop and you may have the chance to see the same moves performed several times and select the best location, time, angle, etc. You have some very good advice about lens capability and shutter speed, I would not rule out the use of flash if the shooting situation will allow, e.g. not a public performance! However, getting it right can be a challenge, especially with multiple flash sources to avoid killing the lighting 'design'! I suggest that learning what works for you will be the essential first step, we all see things our own way. The same leaping dancer can be shot many different ways, none of them are wrong yet only some will appeal to you. You will need to establish your own style. When starting, and within the confines of how you have to work; - always try to 'over shoot' the situation. Do not die waiting for the perfect shot, (a) make it happen by studying the flow of the act, (b) capture all of its variations, you can always discard the failures later but can never capture the shots you have missed. Try to enjoy what you do, it will help you to capture what you want.
#7. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 0
My daughter is a dancer, and I shot a lot at her last recitals in 2012. This was a challenge to say the least, because I don't have a 2.8 zoom, and flash was not permitted. I was shooting from about the 7th row using a D90 set at 1600 ISO maximum (I probably could have used the same settings with my D40), shutter speed 1/160 on shutter priority, with a Tamron 18-270 zoom. The Tamron has a maximum aperture of 3.5 at the short end and 6.3 at the long end. I pushed the shutter to the maximum I could get away with without going above ISO 1600, which was 1/250 at best depending on stage lighting for any particular dance number but 1/160 minimum. I actually got some shots I was pleased with, but a lot that were rejects. A year later, I tried working with some of the shots in Photoshop to add more light fill, with some occasionally pleasing results.
I think the lesson here is to do the best you can with what you have. So shoot away but with settings tweaked to get the most our of the gear you have. Parents around me were having a terrible time with their DSLR's set on auto (we won't mention cell phones or point & shoots), and after getting underexposed shots, were asking me what settings I was using (that fat Tamron racked out evidently gave them the false impression that I knew what I was doing).
#8. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 7
Seattle, WA, US
Like with indoor sports, much of what you are needing is to sacrifice whatever is necessary to get the shutter speed required to freeze the action. You should have been able to go one step higher in the ISO on the D90. Fixing any noise problems is easier than fixing motion blur problems.
However, that Tamron f/6.3 lens was killing you....
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
#9. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 8 Sun 30-Jun-13 06:52 PM by mkbee1
Ooookay...your question is a good one, and is asked more than you might realize.
That's one problem with the photozines and forums. EVERYBODY wishes they had the "perfect" lens. Ain't no such thing! Like finding a life partner...very few ever find a "perfect" one, but mostly, with a little effort and adaptation, it is very good!
The 18-55 mm lens is a beautiful and very capable lens, as is your camera! I shot my granddaughter's tennis matches indoors with my ancient 28-105 3.5-4.5D lens on my D50...abominable lighting, and did very well, considering I was just new to this digital magic, and forgot to raise my ISO above 200!(It'll DO that?)
Later, I had the opportunity to shoot another granddaughter's production of "The King and I"; same lens,same ISO. (by choice, this time!) Very good results. As has been said, it depends where you are able to sit. If you need a longer focal length, although the 50mm f/1.8 D lenses are great, they won't play well with the D60,and the G models are designed for APS sensors, and will not give the equivalent angle of view of the 50mm Ds.
It depends on your budget,but the 55-200 lens that will complement your 18-55 is no slouch, and adjustable ISO is a goodness. Try some different situations with what you have, then evaluate your needs. It may be less damaging to the pocketbook than you think.
The f/2.8 super zooms are marvelous, but not stricty necessary, IMO. There are a couple of zooms...the Nikon 16-85, or,the 18-105 for a little more reach, that are middling expen$ive, but not as pricy as the big guns.
#10. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 9
>If you need a longer focal length, although the 50mm f/1.8 D lenses >are great, they won't play well with the D60,
While AF won't work, the 50mm f/1.8D and all other AF-D lenses will meter in All exposure modes when mounted on a D60.
>and the G models are designed for APS sensors, and will not give the >equivalent angle of view of the 50mm Ds.
Both the 50mm f/1.8G AF-S and the 50mm f/1.4G AF-S are fully compatible with both FX and DX bodies and will provide the same angle of view on a D60 or any other DX body as a AF 50mm f/1.8D or AF 50mm f/1.4D does on your D50(also a DX body).
>It depends on your budget,but the 55-200 lens that will complement >your 18-55 is no slouch, and adjustable ISO is a goodness. Try some >different situations with what you have, then evaluate your needs. >It may be less damaging to the pocketbook than you think.
I agree! Both lenses are optically excellent. More so when one considers their price. With good stage lighting, they should perform very well.
If the stage lighting is poor, shooting a slow lens wide open even with the ISO maxed out may not allow a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the subjects movement. Then a 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8 would be the least expensive fast lenses providing a 3 1/3 stop advantage over the 18-55mm at 50mm or about a 2 2/3 stop advantage over the 55-200mm at 55mm. Each stop you gain allows you to use a shutter speed twice as fast.
#12. "RE: Taking photos of dancers" In response to Reply # 11
it actually doesn't matter if the lens is DX or FX, on a DX body a DX lens will give the same angle of view as an FX lens of the same focal length. The DX lens diameter is just slightly smaller as it doesn't need to cover the larger FX sensor.