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Old 12-06-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
krazoguy
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Cruise character photo question

Hello all! We will be leaving on Sunday for our third disney cruise with our 3 yr old son. This time I am really going to work on taking more pictures myself instead of relying on shutters. I currently shoot with a Nikon d7000 and plan on using my 35mm f/1.8 when taking character shots with my son in the atrium. On our first 2 trips I only had the kit lens, so I am hoping that the 35mm lens will give me a little bit better iq. My question is whether or not Ny of you experts have any thoughts regarding whether or not I should purchase an external flash to bring along. I can get my hands on either an sb700 or sb910. I'm just not if I should pick one up tomorrow and if so which one i should get. I purchased the d7000 when it first came out in 2010 and it was my first dale. I am slowly learning the camera and the world of photography and just want to make sure I have what I need, but certainly don't want to waste any money at this point either. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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I am relatively certain that you will like the photos a lot better using an external flash for them. I just got off of the Fantasy and didn't bring my flash out of the cabin very much. I was not happy with many of my shots of the characters. The flash just brings out so much more and allows you to shoot at fstops higher than wide open. This allows you to have a better depth of field as well as probably being closer to the sweet spot of your particular lens. If you aren't sure how to use it all together, just put your camera on it's auto setting and fire away until you get used to the settings. Personally, I would just shoot in Av mode at f5.6 or so and let the camera and flash determine the rest of the exposure.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:25 PM   #3
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I can tell you this. I have a d7000 and I even have that exact 35mm prime lens (among others)

I bought an external flash this spring, and when I look back at the pictures taken with the pop up flash, I am so disgusted. The external flash blows away the pop up.

I did my research and got the sb700. It does 98% what the 900/910 does for half the price.

I use the sb700 all the time. It opens p a world of creative options.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:45 PM   #4
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I bat for the other team (Canon) and for whatever it's worth I tend to favor a wide fast prime with no flash. If you have the ISO range and a fast lens the option to go with the available light only or to use a flash is largely a personal aesthetic choice.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photo_chick View Post
I bat for the other team (Canon) and for whatever it's worth I tend to favor a wide fast prime with no flash. If you have the ISO range and a fast lens the option to go with the available light only or to use a flash is largely a personal aesthetic choice.
I have a Canon t3i which I just got and I am leaving on The Fantasy tomorrow, I do not have an external flash, so what is your recommended starting point for shooting inside of the ship? I have the kit lens and a 50mm1.8. I would guess AV mode, but what should I set it at? And should I just use Auto ISO? Oh and white balance? Thanks so much, I'm hoping to learn a whole lot about using my camera on this cruise!
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:59 AM   #6
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Haha Photo_chick. I too bat for the Canon team. On my cruise, I also opted for the fast lens with no flash for most of my photos. I only wished I brought the flash out when I was doing character shots or people shots of any sort. I like the look of the ship and the restaurants without a flash better. Takes more post processing but the results are generally much better. I like the look of people with flash better in general. It's just the way I do it.

Krazoguy, don't get me wrong. You can certainly get good photos with the 35 1.8 if you aren't into spending more money at this point. I just personally like the flexibility and look of having the flash for people photos.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:14 AM   #7
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I love flexibility and options. Without the flash, you are limiting those options to ambient light. While I prefer ambient light, what if it isn't there? Then I'm stuck with forcing my camera into areas it may not like as well. As a result, I may not be happy with the images or stuck doing extensive PP to save them. I'm saying get the flash and have it available. You're probably only going to get to shoot your son once at 3 yoa on the boat and you don't want to miss it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:51 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by photo_chick View Post
I tend to favor a wide fast prime with no flash. .
The only problem with this option is, if you are not carefull when shooting @ 1.8 or even slightly slower...your depth of field is so small, it is easy to miss you focus.

Either the subject can move, or the shooter can move. Especially on portraits. You can end up focussing on the tip of the nose or ear instead of the eyes.

also, many times, especially on a cruise, you may want to capture the sunset behind the subject, while having a good portrait at the same time. only way to do this is with a flash.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #9
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Granted, I usually prefer shooting with ambient light, but am I the only person who doesn't find the pop-up flash to be soooo horrible for limited use?
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #10
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Granted, I usually prefer shooting with ambient light, but am I the only person who doesn't find the pop-up flash to be soooo horrible for limited use?
In emergencies, I will use the pop-up flash, but its not my preference. Its another option!
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:42 AM   #11
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I'd suggest getting the external flash. Not sure which ship you'll be on; but I was on the Fantasy a few weeks ago. And there were quite a few character spots in the atrium area that weren't in the dead center of it. So one thing I was able to do was bounce the flash off the ceiling. Doing that will give you way better pictures that what a pop-up would do.

Non-portrait shots, I'd go with a prime and non-flash any day. But 1st cruise for your son, you don't want to risk anything. It'll be good to use a smaller aperture, keep the ISO down, and quickly still get good shots. You never know if you'll have to freeze the action with a 3 yo.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:10 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSLRuser View Post
The only problem with this option is, if you are not carefull when shooting @ 1.8 or even slightly slower...your depth of field is so small, it is easy to miss you focus.

Either the subject can move, or the shooter can move. Especially on portraits. You can end up focussing on the tip of the nose or ear instead of the eyes.

also, many times, especially on a cruise, you may want to capture the sunset behind the subject, while having a good portrait at the same time. only way to do this is with a flash.
You do have to nail that point of focus when you're working with shallow depth of field, no doubt. It's not something you can fake and it's not something that's very fixable in post if you miss.

Using a flash is not the only way to get a shot of a subject with a sunset behind them. But that's another thread altogether. It's still an aesthetic choice. There's no wrong or right, it's just how you want to go at it.

Quote:
I have a Canon t3i which I just got and I am leaving on The Fantasy tomorrow, I do not have an external flash, so what is your recommended starting point for shooting inside of the ship? I have the kit lens and a 50mm1.8. I would guess AV mode, but what should I set it at? And should I just use Auto ISO? Oh and white balance? Thanks so much, I'm hoping to learn a whole lot about using my camera on this cruise!
I tend to favor shutter priority (Tv) when I'm in iffy lighting. It's just my personal style and really my go to method of shooting. I put the shutter speed at the minimum I need. For still subjects with my 50mm on my old Rebel that would be 1/15. On the 50D it's 1/30... but the slowest you can go before you have camera shake issues depends on you and how steady you are. Once I set the shutter speed i go out shooting and I adjust the ISO to get the exposure and even change the aperture if I need to as I go. But there are many ways to go here and it's all about what works for you. A lot of people prefer aperture priority (Av) and if that's what works for you by all means you should go that way. There is no right or wrong here as long as you get the correct exposure value.

As far as white balance, I shoot RAW and AWB when I'm shooting snapshot type work. I've found that it just works better for me to deal with that in processing, especially in situations where the light temperatures are mixed.

Now, all that said, a 50mm on a crop body might feel really long in some areas on a cruise ship. Just be aware of that and be prepared to use your 18-55 kit lens if you need to go wider. With the pop up flash if necessary. Getting the shot that way is better than not getting it at all.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:00 PM   #13
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Thanks so much for the info Danielle! I can't wait to try it all out next week!

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:34 PM   #14
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I have to second that comment Danielle; I really appreciate your input.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:55 PM   #15
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Happy to help!
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