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
Abu Dhabi, AE
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.