ISO/NOISE/Aperture/Shutter Speed etc. etc.

Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The LightPosts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
edited June 29, 2012 in Technique
I am shooting a stage show again this next week for my local theatre group (my daughter is in it). Last time I used the 50mm f1.8 and legged it up and down the audience seats for close or wide shots. Mostly I used f2.2 or slightly smaller aperture, with auto-ISO and Shutter Priority at 1/60th. It worked well, except I was knackered.

In fact this was 1/80th, ISO 400, f2:

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Rocky Horror 14 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

This time, I have arranged to be at all 4 shows (the previous have only been one night so I took photos on dress rehearsal so i could watch the show uniterrupted). I have borrowed a 24-70 f2.8 L USM lens. Nice lens, weighs a ton! the idea being that I can stay in one place and take shots. Even from just in front of the stage I can nearly get all the stage at 24mm. And i can get a 3 person group from the back of the theatre (in the balcony) at 70mm, or all the stage from up there at about 45mm.

Problem is, I tried today (admittedly no proper lights) and set the camera to ISO 1000, f2.8, Shutter priority 1/50th. But the images are terrible. So, should I increase ISO and use a slightly smaller aperture to improve quality, or should I leave as is?

Here's a crop of one of the players (same guy as above actually):

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fagin noise by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

Do you think once the proper lights are up that the noise will be less apparent? I may be able to reduce ISO, or decrease aperture?
And would you decrease aperture and increase ISO, or decrease ISO and maintain f2.8? Noisewise?

Lots of questions. Any thoughts would be appreciated. I have a full dress rehearsal on Tuesday night, so not too much prssure yet. if I don't nail it then, that's when I'll panic. :)

Comments

  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed Posts: 3,403Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 17, 2012
    Yes. I think once the lights are up the noise will no longer be a big issue.

    Pri #1 as I always see it is to grab the photo. If that means high ISO, fine and dandy, but properly expose it first and of course focus proper too. I try to keep my shutter speed up higher than you simply because of movement and my tendency to want to stop motion most of the time. I see your using the 40D that thing must not like higher ISO.

    But yeah, when they get the tech-lighting onboard, you ought not have as many worries: Like in your first photo there.
    tom wise
  • Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The Light Posts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 18, 2012
    angevin1 wrote: »
    Yes. I think once the lights are up the noise will no longer be a big issue.

    Pri #1 as I always see it is to grab the photo. If that means high ISO, fine and dandy, but properly expose it first and of course focus proper too. I try to keep my shutter speed up higher than you simply because of movement and my tendency to want to stop motion most of the time. I see your using the 40D that thing must not like higher ISO.

    But yeah, when they get the tech-lighting onboard, you ought not have as many worries: Like in your first photo there.

    Thanks. Yes, I was just worried that after all, the loan of the 24-70 would not be worth it and that I was gonna get the same images using the 50mm and running up and down again!

    The 40D is good to about ISO800, which is why I was happy to use Auto-ISO which ranges from 400 to 800. I can set the shutter at 1/100 and let the aperture take care of itself...see what I get. If I preset another custom preset with an aperture dependant setting I can make sure I get all the stage depth in the DoF for some shots, too.

    Cheers
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,426Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 20, 2012
    The 40D can provide fine images at ISO 1600 without objectionable noise, if the images are not under exposed. At all. There will be noise deep in the shadows, so drive it to black in your Raw rendering. Theatre lighting tends to be high contrast with heavy shadows.

    This image was shot with a 40D at ISO 1600, but was not under exposed. It was processed in PS circa 12/2007. The newer RAW engine Process 2012 will have even lesser noise than this image.

    If you under expose the 40D file at ISO 1600, noise will bloom in the lower quarter tones, and be quite apparent.

    240040567_hxhry-L.jpg

    NoiseWare or LR4 will help reduce, diminish the noise in your files you posted.

    One aspect of the f1.8 50 mm over the 24-70 f2.8 is that your AF MAY be snappier due to the larger amount of light available to the sensor to focus. This is an ideal venue for a 50mm 1.2 or an 85mm f1.2, or even a 50mm f1.4 lens due to the available darkness and a 7D which will easly surpass the AF of the 40D in low light.. Setting the AF to three point groupings may help acquire snappy AF as well on a 7D.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The Light Posts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 20, 2012
    pathfinder wrote: »
    The 40D can provide fine images at ISO 1600 without objectionable noise, if the images are not under exposed. At all. There will be noise deep in the shadows, so drive it to black in your Raw rendering. Theatre lighting tends to be high contrast with heavy shadows.

    This image was shot with a 40D at ISO 1600, but was not under exposed. It was processed in PS circa 12/2007. The newer RAW engine Process 2012 will have even lesser noise than this image.

    If you under expose the 40D file at ISO 1600, noise will bloom in the lower quarter tones, and be quite apparent.

    240040567_hxhry-L.jpg

    NoiseWare or LR4 will help reduce, diminish the noise in your files you posted.

    Thank you. I am loking into using Lightroom...I have it but it isn't part of my workflow at the moment.

    Cheers
  • Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The Light Posts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2012
    Well, here we go...a couple or six shots from the shows. In the end I went with shutter priority most of the time, got the ISo up to 1000, shutter at 1/100. The aperture mostly was from f2.8 up to about 3.5...rarely more. I also made use of the programmable slots on the selecting dial C1, C2, and C3. Had ISO 1250, and ISO 1600 on the others for the really dark scenes to try to get more light and hence less noise. To be honest, never really thought that using high ISO could be as noise free as long as lots of light coming in. But it worked quite well.

    Thanks to all who helped. :)

    Noise was a lot less of an issue, and I also took advice on some noise removal using ACR (decent settings to use, basically), so I processed the whole batch with that first, then did individual photos afterwards from that starting point. In most cases I just had to crop and sharpen. In some I did B&W conversions using Silver Efex Pro as I think it suits the scenes. In all, it worked very well...the customers are all very pleased (I showed them some on the iPad) and they will all be ordering CD/DVD of the images once I have them all done. :)

    7450464298_017bd325f4_o.jpg
    A Fine Life (Reprise) 2675 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

    7445817086_574d58fb0c_o.jpg
    Who Will Buy 2643 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

    7445813152_78cfcea3b3_o.jpg
    My Name 2600 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

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    Oom Pah Pah 2550 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

    7424308666_d325b84c3f_o.jpg
    Be Back Soon 0455 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr

    7410625708_cbbb177b7e_o.jpg
    Nancy's Murder and bill Sykes is Shot 0819 by http://bendthelight.me.uk, on Flickr
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,426Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 28, 2012
    Great images, and noise is not an issue. Even in the color images.

    Well done!
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The Light Posts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2012
    pathfinder wrote: »
    Great images, and noise is not an issue. Even in the color images.

    Well done!

    Thank you, and no, the noise wasn't a problem once I got over the hurdle of getting the light in. I needed a mental kick to realise that upping the ISO only gives noise if it's still underexposed...

    That coupled with some NR advice from a different forum where there was some noise, and we're good!

    Got there in the end!

    Thank you. :)
  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed Posts: 3,403Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2012
    pathfinder wrote: »
    Great images, and noise is not an issue. Even in the color images.

    Well done!


    Agreed! You got it! Well Done indeed. Now you know!
    tom wise
  • angevin1angevin1 Performs as designed Posts: 3,403Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 28, 2012
    pathfinder wrote: »

    240040567_hxhry-L.jpg

    Those pupils are a dead giveaway! We think there was tons of light. I love it!
    tom wise
  • Bend The LightBend The Light Bend The Light Posts: 1,887Registered Users Major grins
    edited June 29, 2012
    angevin1 wrote: »
    Agreed! You got it! Well Done indeed. Now you know!

    Now I know! :D

    Thank you.

    angevin1 wrote: »
    Those pupils are a dead giveaway! We think there was tons of light. I love it!

    Yes, it's clear there wasn't much light. Trouble is that our eyes adjust, but also "fill in the gaps" when there is not much light. We think there is a lot more than there is. The camera hasn't the mental capacity to do that, only sees what is there. I'm getting better at understanding this now. :)
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,426Super Moderators moderator
    edited June 29, 2012
    One of the problems i still struggle with when editing image files of wildlife shot well after sunset, is how to process them, how to handle the grey scale. It is easy to capture images in the dark at ISO 3200 or so, but if you then process them in LR or PS and use a full grey scale with good blacks and good whites, the image no longer looks like it was shot after dark, but more like high noon with shadows. But if I keep the image darker, to resemble what I saw, the image can be rather flat as the histogram favors the left side without great highlights. In the theatre you have more contrasty lighting to help with this issue.

    My cousin was captured at ISO 1600, f2.2, 1/100th, with remote bounce flash off both diagonal corners of the room. That is why her pupils are large, but there was plenty of light. At ISO 1600, speedlites go a very long way. I wrote a brief thread about it here - http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?t=49999
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
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