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ChiSoxKeith
05-03-2011, 03:04 PM
Anybody around here ever shoot dance recitals?

DD4 is just starting into Ballet / Tap and has a recital in about a month. Obviously it will be indoors, and I can imagine that the lighting is going to be bad. Which means I'm going to need some faster glass than what I have.

Canon 70-200 f/2.8 sound about right? I would have to rent it, as I'm in no position to purchase a $1500 (non IS) or $2300 (IS) lens right now.

photo_chick
05-03-2011, 04:18 PM
Is it going to have stage lighting? I know some dance schools do and some don't. Ours does and since it's generally lit very well it lets me get away with slower lenses. I've found that I tend to use my 28-105 a lot at recitals. But then I'm a backstage mom and end up in the first row to catch my DD's dances. The first row, BTW, isn't as great as it sounds. At the auditorium we use the stage ends up cutting off the dancers feet if you're in the first couple of rows.

The 70-200 f/2.8 should work very well. I've used my 75-300 elephant and made it work (with a Rebel XT) but it wasn't pretty.

I've found that a lot of how fast a shutter speed you need depends on the dance. For a 4 year old in ballet and tap she'll be doing a whole lot of standing there while they shuffle step ball change or go though the ballet positions so you won't need as fast of a shutter speed as I do when my 10 year old dances all over the place.

goopysolelady
05-03-2011, 04:45 PM
Shooting dance recitals is a "pain in the bu**"! :lmao: Lighting is always a problem as well as "movement"...especially those little 4 yr. olds! :rotfl2: Then you have the problem of "getting into position", without making a fool of yourself by standing right smack dab at the front of the stage and trying to not block other parents from viewing/shooting their children. Been through 2 DD's and 1 DGD and now, with the last DGD, am still not having much luck! I just take lots of shots and hope some of them turn out. :rotfl: Good luck! :tink:

ChiSoxKeith
05-03-2011, 04:56 PM
The recital is going to be at the local high school auditorium, so I have no idea what the lighting is going to be like. I imagine I will wind up stationed off to the side or the back.

Thanks for the tips.

Gianna'sPapa
05-03-2011, 05:20 PM
This was a dance recital at Hemmens. They didn't allow the use of flash. This was taken with my kit 50-200mm at f5.6, ISO 1600, 1/90sec. It is slightly cropped and some minor PP including noise reduction. While not the best image ever, I think its usable. This was taken prior to my purchase of my 70-200 f2.8. With the extra stops I think you would be fine. If they allow flash then even a kit lens would work.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5187/5684607049_4385f52977_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45097427@N02/5684607049/)
Gianna Dance Recital (http://www.flickr.com/photos/45097427@N02/5684607049/) by Gianna'sPapa (http://www.flickr.com/people/45097427@N02/), on Flickr

Terry

goopysolelady
05-03-2011, 05:22 PM
Ours is held in the high school auditorium also. Lighting is usually pretty harsh. Our auditorium has 2 aisles...usually try to find out which side most of "the action" is on and/or which side "my kid" is on and then try to get an aisle seat as close to front as possible. This gives me the opportunity to kneel in aisle or, if necessary, "sneak" closer to stage if another "obnoxious/pushy" :rotfl2: parent gets in my way! :lmao: I'm sure you have much better equipment than I do, so back may be your best bet...if you'll be able to zoom in on your "baby" without to much of a problem. Recitals are soooooooo much fun :yay:; those little girls/sometimes boys are so, so cute! But...can be very frustrating/sometimes disappointing for photographers. :tink:

Bstanley
05-03-2011, 05:45 PM
The 70-200 f4L IS ($1200, $650 non-IS) might work depending on how high you are willing to go with your ISO. It is really excellent at f4.

It's also as massive as I am willing to go :-)

Villainess
05-03-2011, 07:08 PM
Will the dance school allow photography at all? DD's school brings in a pro photographer and videographer so there is absolutely no photo or video during the performance. We are allowed, however, to take pictures and video at the dress rehearsal a few days prior.

disneyboy2003
05-03-2011, 07:37 PM
Yes, you could spend the $$$$$ on a nice 70-200mm f/2.8 lens (after all, isn't your daughter worth it?). :)

The other lenses you can consider are prime lenses (the ones that don't zoom). The advantage of some of the prime lenses are that many of them have larger apertures (smaller f-numbers), which will let more light into your camera.

This is especially important for low-light situations (like the dance recital) so that you can use faster shutter speeds, too, to capture the action.

Some primes to consider would be the 50mm f/1.4 lens, the 85mm f/1.8 lens, and/or the 100mm f/2 lens. Which lens you choose will depend on how far you think you'll be from "the action." All of these lenses have larger maximum aperture than the 70-200mm lens.

mom2rtk
05-03-2011, 07:40 PM
I say buy the big lens. College is YEARS away, right? :rotfl2: And it's your money, not mine, so much easier to spend! :thumbsup2

Just imagine all the different things you'll need it for through the years.

I'm about to start the hunt for a lens to rent for high school graduation in 3 weeks. Man, if only I'd bought one when he was 4! See? I'd be all set!

Daisy14'sDH
05-03-2011, 08:49 PM
Ours is at a theatre, last year I shot solely with my 50 f1.4, after some trial and error, I found the sweetspot to be f2.8, ISO 800-1600, shutter speeds between 1/180 and 1/250. This gave me decent shots to work with in LR3, this year I have a 50-135 f2.8 to use and expect to use the same settings...

Frantasmic
05-04-2011, 08:51 AM
location, location, location

At recitals, just plan to get there 45 minutes early to stake out your picture taking spot.

Then, go buy the 85mm or 100mm mentioned above. My 85mm is one of my fav lenses.

MomToPirate&Princess
05-04-2011, 09:24 AM
Any tips for photographing recitals with a 35mm point and shoot. It is a good camera, but not DSLR good. It has a lot of settings that I have never taken advantage of because I'm never sure when to use them. I usually always just use the AUTO section. Since they won't allow flash photography all my pictures last year were too dark.

tlhbdm
05-04-2011, 11:24 AM
I normally shoot on the sports mode and tend to get pretty good shots, I'm going to try the 50mm f1.4 this year and see what happens.

ChiSoxKeith
05-04-2011, 11:31 AM
Thank you one and all for the tips!

I will have to give a look at the 70-200 f/4 as another choice as well.

pjacobi
05-04-2011, 01:12 PM
Canon 70-200 f/2.8 sound about right? I would have to rent it, as I'm in no position to purchase a $1500 (non IS) or $2300 (IS) lens right now.

In addition to the cash, you need lots of practice and skills to use such a lens in a challenging light situation. This is not something that can be accomplished 5 minutes before the event!


-Paul

ChiSoxKeith
05-04-2011, 01:24 PM
In addition to the cash, you need lots of practice and skills to use such a lens in a challenging light situation. This is not something that can be accomplished 5 minutes before the event!


-Paul

Oh I know that. I've rented lenses before. I grabbed a 400mm f/2.8 to shoot HS football. Rented it for 10 days - went to practices during the week, shot the freshman, JV and Varsity games (2 each) during the 10 day period. It was a nice experience. Sure if I owned that lens and had it for the entire 4 year HS football career of my stepson, I think the shots would have been great, but it was a very fun experience and worth the treat to myself. The rental cost about $400 whereas buying the lens outright would have been close to $10k.

Frantasmic
05-04-2011, 01:25 PM
Any tips for photographing recitals with a 35mm point and shoot. It is a good camera, but not DSLR good. It has a lot of settings that I have never taken advantage of because I'm never sure when to use them. I usually always just use the AUTO section. Since they won't allow flash photography all my pictures last year were too dark.


Here are some ideas:

Learn manual control. You will need to learn how to adjust your shutter, your aperture, and your iso. If you have decent ambient lighting, you should be able to get away with ISO 400-800. Just about any point and shoot is going to be very grainy above that.

mom2rtk
05-04-2011, 01:40 PM
In addition to the cash, you need lots of practice and skills to use such a lens in a challenging light situation. This is not something that can be accomplished 5 minutes before the event!


-Paul

I'm just curious what suggestions anyone would have on using a lens like this. My son graduates from High School in a few weeks and we'll be in a pretty large venue. I have no idea where we will be sitting in relation to the stage. I was considering renting something like this.

Gianna'sPapa
05-04-2011, 02:23 PM
I own a 70-200 f2.8 and 100-300 f4. I didn't find the learning curve to be that steep. Just remember the photographic triangle and DOF you want to achieve. Do all lenses have their sweet spot, of course, but in a challenging light situation I'm not worried about that. You should already know which ISO's are best for your camera. If you have to push it further, oh well, better to have a noisy image than no image. You can always reduce noise through PP.

pointandshoot
05-04-2011, 03:20 PM
I have shot dance (jazz and ballet) for my goddaughter. Stage lighting with no flash allowed.

The 70-200 f/2.8 combined with ISO 800-1600 works well. I have done that from my seat. Some recitals had area on sides where I could stand and shoot when she was on stage. I found the primes such as 85mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.2 also worked well.

Your exposure can change as you zoom or the dancers move to different places on the stage. Stage lighting can be inconsistent. I would try to pick a spot where lighting was best and wait for the action to happen at that location.

Also, I tend to pick a focus point instead of having the camera select it. It could choose to focus on a dancer in the background instead of your intended target.

You need a shutter speed fast enough to freeze the action unless you intend for blur style image.

To me, shooting NHL hockey players, martial arts, air shows, birds in flight, dancers, etc. have very similar techniques for good, sharp images. I use single focus point, apertures in the 2.0 range for inside lights, AI focus for tracking motion, and practice on tracking subjects as they move. Also, learning to fire the shutter quickly after focus is established helps. It takes practice to shoot motion.

I will post a dance shot later. This is arena light, shot through smudge glass, no flash, 100mm, f3.2, 1/2000, ISO 1600 on 5DMKII.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5103/5597049134_4ebd1b8273_z.jpg

Chuck

atsolomon
05-04-2011, 03:38 PM
It depends a great deal on the lighting and how close you can get. I shot this with my T1i's kit lens at a dance recital.

I think the key bit is using manual mode. The automatic modes tend to get confused by the dark background and brightly light subject.

You don't necessarily need to purchase a specialized lens for this.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/atsolo/4554261757/


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4554261757_0105ae2413.jpg
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4554261757_0105ae2413.jpg (http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4045/4554261757_0105ae2413.jpg)

--Adam

photo_chick
05-04-2011, 05:25 PM
Thank you one and all for the tips!

I will have to give a look at the 70-200 f/4 as another choice as well.

If you want a tele zoom with an f/4 constant on the cheap you can also consider the 70-210 f/4. It's an older Canon build and has the old style push/pull zoom, but it's a constant f/4 and sharper than the entry level tele zooms out now. The best part.. it goes for around $150 in excellent condition used. No, it's not L series, but it's a great lens for under $200.

pointandshoot
05-04-2011, 09:35 PM
It depends a great deal on the lighting and how close you can get. I shot this with my T1i's kit lens at a dance recital.

I think the key bit is using manual mode. The automatic modes tend to get confused by the dark background and brightly light subject.
--Adam

Completely agree. I shoot mostly manual at a well lit area on stage.

This is from 70-200 F/2.8 shot at 200mm, ISO 1600, +2/3 stop, 1/1000, f/2.8. Cropped with some sharpening.

Funny, I got a dance recital this weekend I am attending and will likely shoot for the parents. Next day is soccer game for a friend. Funny how you can become the community photographer when the price is free.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5105/5688452937_82e1d18bbe_z.jpg

mom2rtk
05-04-2011, 09:44 PM
So do you guys use spot or center-weighted metering for stage stuff?

I'm thinking I'll need something like that for graduation.

Thankfully with a last name starting with "S", I'll have plenty of kids to practice on before it gets to us! I'm assuming I should practice with the settings, then switch to manual.

I'm not trying to hijack. I just think the issues are fairly similar.

pointandshoot
05-04-2011, 10:40 PM
Just checked the exif on the photo I posted. I did not realize I shot Auto Mode. It was Spot Metered with +2/3 compensation. I guess that is why I added the exposure compensation since the Auto likely darken the exposure.

Thinking back, I did not shoot manual since the lights were so uneven. Auto allowed me to shoot anywhere on stage. Since it was likely darker than I wanted, I compensated.

Chuck