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Author Topic: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography  (Read 4055 times)

divegirl9

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AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« on: May 03, 2013, 07:58:28 PM »
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, and the construction of the building is off-white marble.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and available lenses include a 24-105L, 70-200L.  Again no flash is permitted.

I would also like to know if anyone feels one of the AF "cases" would be pertinent in this case.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 11:55:25 AM by divegirl9 »

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AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« on: May 03, 2013, 07:58:28 PM »

dgatwood

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2013, 11:47:04 PM »
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.

Thanks!

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.  ;D

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.

bdunbar79

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2013, 11:58:55 PM »
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.

Thanks!

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.  ;D

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.

That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.
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dgatwood

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2013, 12:28:03 AM »
That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

Ah.  I missed the "AF" part.  :)


And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.

Most of the time, I'd focus on the center point, and put it into a continuous/servo mode, then pick your shot timing so that it is focusing on a person and not the floor, but that's just personal preference.

I haven't used a camera new enough to have tracking cases, but from what I've read, the choice depends on your goals.

  • Are you trying to track the frontmost dancer or a specific dancer?  That determines how you should set the tracking sensitivity.  Use negative numbers to track the same subject, positive numbers to let it switch people.
  • Acceleration is probably unimportant because 90% of a dancer's motion is horizontal, not towards you or away from you, because they are constrained by the dimensions of the stage.  Leave it at zero, probably.
  • AF point switching might be worth setting to a positive setting (tracking), but unless you happen to be on the same level as the dancer, it is unlikely to matter much.  For a typically sloped venue, unless you're using a long focal length, the difference in distance to the dancer and the floor beyond isn't much.

And most of the time, it probably makes no difference, because most or all of the dancers on stage are going to be close enough to being in-focus at the same time that it's moot.

BTW, there's a nonzero chance that you'll end up manually focusing anyway because of insufficient light/seeking problems.  YMMV.

Also, shouldn't this be in the non-rumor EOS body forum?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2013, 12:31:05 AM by dgatwood »

tpatana

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2013, 01:32:54 AM »
Like he said, need to know the camera body.

I shoot indoor martial arts fights, the movement might be somewhat similar to your dancing (or not).

For one, AI-servo does the best job as for AF-modes.

On 5D3, I can tune the settings further. Some other cameras too. Last competition day I was trying different ones, and I found out settings #5 and #6 seemed best for people moving random speeds at random directions. In camera those are named "For erratic subjects moving quickly in any direction" and "For subjects that change speed and more erratically".

But start with AI servo, if that was your question.

Dylan777

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #5 on: May 07, 2013, 09:00:21 AM »
My 4yrs daughter is taking Princes Pallet Class, I usually shoot with AI Servo, Case #2, 5point or 9point expansion. Nailed every times.
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Cariboucoach

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 10:28:42 AM »
  Flash is cheap.
[/quote]

That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.
[/quote]

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, and the construction of the building is off-white marble.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and available lenses include a 24-105L, 70-200L.  Again no flash is permitted.

The OP has given us the camera model, and said Flash is not permitted. 
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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2013, 10:28:42 AM »

Random Orbits

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2013, 11:12:10 AM »
Flash is cheap.

That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.
[/quote]

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, and the construction of the building is off-white marble.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and available lenses include a 24-105L, 70-200L.  Again no flash is permitted.

The OP has given us the camera model, and said Flash is not permitted.
[/quote]

Relax.  The OP's amended the original post to add additional information.  Those details were lacking in the original post.

I would try experimenting with case 1 or 2, but I find AF point selection may be a bigger factor.  AF point expansion works well for subjects isolated in space, but not so well when there are multiple targets spanning the spread.  In that case, I tend to fall back to single point.  The AF point selection and single point/expansion can all be changed via buttons with the right hand while in shooting position.  It will be to your benefit if you are comfortable changing these settings on the fly.  Good luck!

nvsravank

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #8 on: May 07, 2013, 12:22:42 PM »
Is it single Person Dance or two person Dance or a Choregraphy with multiple people? The case depends on that.

For single person dance I would suggest using one shot or AI Servo. I personall use One Shot. Also set the focus points to only use the cross types. Depending on the distance set to either the central point if the dancer is too far away or set to one of the higher ones so that you are not focusing on the dress and are focusing on the person. When I do AI Servo i tend to get lower number of shots in perfect focus due to the sudden changes in direction of motion. AI Servo is good if the direction of movement is predictable. I set the focus spot to single spot and no expansion. The reason is normally from where i take the head is small enough that doing expansion causes the camera to take into account the background and gives wrong focus.

If dual, then you have to switch the focus point while taking the photo to put the nearest person in focus. It really looks bad when the person in the back is in focus. This is not video and our eyes hate when the things int he foreground are blurred too much. So again I would suggest limiting the number of focus points so that moving the focus point is faster for you. With two dancers you are most probably doing some photos with both and some with individuals also. So it  might help if you have the focus point based on the orientation. (I dont remember how to set it up. I have it setup on my camera which is also a 5D Mark III). Also set the focus to one point focus again.

If multiple people then AI Focus is much better. It helps when people move in front of the person you are trying to focus for the shot. Also for group shots, it is better to have all points in use.

I would suggest using the different custom modes to setup different profiles and change as needed if the program has dances of multiple types in it or if there is a story with one or two main dancers and others coming in at certain portions of the act.

As for the exposure make sure you setup the right exposure. I would suggest TV and setup with 300 so that you stop movement. You can try some with longer exposure times to get some movement in but seeing all photos with movement will not make most clients happy. At least my clients tend to like crisp photos with only a hint of movement in the extremities. Setup your custom settings on site for the exposure and then use them during the shoot this way you are not surprised that you changed the setting from C1 to C2 and the exposure got screwed up. Make sure you look at a photo after every change in setting to make sure exposure is good. I tend to not look at the photos while taking them and it caused some angst in post processing when some photos were too dark.

ilkersen

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2013, 01:35:43 PM »
I shoot dancers all the time.  For "decent" light like you mentioned, AIservo default setting will be just fine.  I'd use M mode, +1/3 exposure compensation, max aperture, shutter speeds < 1/80 depending on your lens and the movement speed, and auto ISO.

In low light, I use one shot instead of servo.  I had more keepers that way for some reason.

docholliday

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2013, 02:28:00 PM »
Flash is cheap.


That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.

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, and the construction of the building is off-white marble.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and available lenses include a 24-105L, 70-200L.  Again no flash is permitted.

The OP has given us the camera model, and said Flash is not permitted.

You misinterpreted the poster - they meant that flash STORAGE, as in memory card storage is cheap...

Anyways, shooting large dance sessions, on stage or during practice sessions, I always zone focused...look at the floor, manually focus for a spot and determine your depth of field. When a subject was within that zone, I'd wait for good form and expression, then fire away.

I first shot this with a Hasselblad, 180CFE, and Delta 3200...no auto-focus needed and usually nailed all 12 frames in a roll.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2013, 02:31:32 PM by docholliday »

bdunbar79

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2013, 03:23:58 PM »
Flash is cheap.

That's terrific information, but didn't answer her question really at all, in any capacity.  She is asking about AF tracking cases.

And, giving me an ulcer, the OP didn't tell us which camera she has, so who the heck knows which AF case she should use, since we don't know the camera.  I'm going to bed.
[/quote]

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, and the construction of the building is off-white marble.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, and available lenses include a 24-105L, 70-200L.  Again no flash is permitted.

The OP has given us the camera model, and said Flash is not permitted.
[/quote]

Helloooooooooooooooooooo!  It was edited.  Thanks for your insight though.
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Cariboucoach

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2013, 06:43:34 PM »

"You misinterpreted the poster - they meant that flash STORAGE, as in memory card storage is cheap..."

I appologize.  I deffinately misinterpreted the word, I feel very small now.
 
Sorry,
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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2013, 06:43:34 PM »

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2013, 08:46:50 PM »
I do not have a 5D Mark III but the AF cases are similar to the 1D X I believe. My apologies if they are not.

I have found that with the different sports I do, that case 1 is pretty good, I sometimes switch the case if it is an all day event but they all seem to work well.

Best thing to do is go to some dance classes and practice to see what you are comfortable with, but make note (take a picture of your foot) what time you switch cases, and to which case, so you can remember and analyse the results.

I shoot M mode, sometimes auto ISO sometimes not, always with 19 cross type and with either the 61 AF mode so it can use iTR, or with the single point AF or AF point expansion.

It is also worth setting your orientation point for portrait and landscape as that can save a little time, making the difference between nailing the shot and not.
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ddl

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 09:57:02 PM »
I've been shooting pics of my daughters dance recitals for years.

On my 5D3 I've just shot my oldest daughter's (9 yr) dance competition with the camera set to AF Case #6 (erratic motion as the dancers stop, reverse direction, jump, etc), one of the center column cross focus points in 9 point expansion, sometimes the chosen focus point was at either near the top or bottom and not center to eliminate as much of the stage front as possible.  For her dancing I manually set F/2.8 at 1/500s which generally freezes motion with stage lighting causing ISO to go from 1600 - 12800 (auto ISO). I shoot RAW and clean up noise with LR4 and/or Dfine 2 in CS5 plus white balance is custom set in each photo depending on what the lighting is on that part of the stage. Exposure is spot or focus point linked as if I use evaluative the whites on some dresses gets blown out.

For the 5 year old same setup except I probably only need 1/250 - 1/320s to get a relatively blur free photo.

Both shot in AI Servo mode. I also use the silent 3 FPS mode which is so quiet that nobody around me can hear the camera but there seems to be a noticeable lag when pressing the shutter button in the silent modes so a bit more anticipation is required on my part.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2013, 08:45:36 AM by ddl »

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Re: AF "Cases" for use with Dance Photography
« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2013, 09:57:02 PM »