Hi, I was wondering if anyone could suggest optimal settings for Dance Photography. I will be shooting in ambient/available light,no flash is permitted. There will be "decent" light coming in through large windows.
I would also like to know if anyone feels one of the AF "cases" would be pertinent in this case.
Manual pretty much everything. You're probably going to be shooting against black backgrounds, so any automatic aperture settings are going to be wrong. Every. Time. Look at the meter, and then set the exposure arrow down near the bottom.
And if you were shooting video, I'd also say manual focus, if only because people will randomly walk in front of you, and then your camera goes seeking for ten seconds....
Beyond that, there are two approaches, depending on the type of shot you're trying to get. Well, three, really. You can set it to a high ISO setting and a wide aperture to try to stop motion or you can use a lower ISO setting and/or a smaller aperture (larger numbers) to get a bit of motion blur. Finally, you can try to catch people at the end of a motion as their direction changes so that they aren't moving much when you shoot the shot.
Experiment. The detailed numbers and settings will vary widely depending on your camera, the amount of lighting, etc.
Oh, yes, and always shoot RAW. Always. You're more likely to be able to salvage overexposed or underexposed shots when shooting in RAW, in my experience.
Finally, shoot more shots than you think you need. Flash is cheap.