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Old 05-06-2009   #81
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Stewart, non of your images reflect the situation being discussed, at these sort of events the lights are dimmed to allow the audience to see clearly the screen/projector, the aim is to have one exposure for the audience who are in low light, and one exposure that is fast enough to retain the information being projected, that usually requires a reasonably short exposure, my experience has been that the only way to do it well is bracket, then blend in photo shop, as I say the screens don't move, so even bracketing at slow speeds shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 05-06-2009   #82
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The museums light's have not been dimmed, and still the tv screen is overexposed
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Old 05-06-2009   #83
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Don,t forget the M8 isn,t made to take pictures but to save Leica
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Old 05-06-2009   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobbyrab View Post
The museums light's have not been dimmed, and still the tv screen is overexposed
Yep, odd that. As we know the correct exposure for a TV is f2 and I was a stop slower, but it isnít bad is it



I realise the 500w up-lighter is blown, so I accept there is a limit to the range
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Old 05-06-2009   #85
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The huge problem with this venue was that the screens and monitors were pretty well providing the only light in there ... the floor is virtually black as is the roof. There were tall black partitions between the various dispalys and because this was an animation exhibit the images were quickly and constantly changing. There were about five large projection screens and about twenty monintors spread around the place.

I did shoot a few images with black and white film for my own puroses after the event wound down while there were still a few people in there ... and they turned out well.
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Old 05-06-2009   #86
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keith

I have just come across this thread after a night out at a vietnamese restaurant at West End (Brisbane!). So forgive any typos ;-)

All I want to comment on is your earlier note about getting the White Balance right. As I have found recently, when working with high ISO in digital, the results live or die by exposure and white balance - post processing can only do so much. At least at 800 - 1600.

I have an M4 which (as you know) is still in need of the CLA treatment from someone or other (!) and I hanker for an M8.

After using my D200 for theatre shots I realised the usefulness of the Expodisc in getting the WB just right (phleese, I am not affiliated with Expodisc). So I asked them if the M8 could use the Expodisc (which I had purchased from B&H), and I received this reply - which you may or may not find useful:
"Regarding your Leica M8, you can use the ExpoDisc with any camera that allows you to set a custom white balance. Attached please find the portion of the instruction manual detailing the Leica M8 custom white balance procedure (pgs 98-99).
To use an ExpoDisc with your M8, follow the procedure described in your manual, but instead of pointing the camera at a white/gray surface you will instead install the ExpoDisc over your camera lens and from the subject position point the camera towards the primary light source or back towards your shooting position, just as if you were pointing an incident light meter."

It would probably be a pity to give up on the M8, especially as I have recently seen on another forum a wonderful shot taken at ISO 1250 with an M8 - although I appreciate that may not be exactly your problem.

My recent efforts - a constant learning curve over a few weeks - with high ISo and in a theatre setting (supplemented with the Expodisc) have been posted for the cast on pBase. I don't want to just generate traffic to that gallery so I will PM you with the web address. You may find it interesting - Gold Coast Little theatre.
kind regards
Dan
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Old 05-06-2009   #87
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Keith,
I shoot my R-D1 in similar conditions at ISO 1600 and have been very pleased with the results. I often use Noise Ninja to clean up any objectionable noise. Perhaps my standards are lower than yours?

/T
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Old 05-06-2009   #88
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BTW, Keith, you do realize a post like this one will have an impact on M8 sales, don't you?

I've caught myself contemplating several times the last year or two, to sell my digital Canon gear (and some of my classic Ms, if necessary) to buy an M8.

You've put me back with both feet on the ground again (although that new Chanel commercial on TV, with the lady chimping the snapshots of her fleeting lover on the Orient Express in the display of her M8 is trying to convince me otherwise).
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Old 05-06-2009   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HuubL View Post
You've put me back with both feet on the ground again (although that new Chanel commercial on TV, with the lady chimping the snapshots of her fleeting lover on the Orient Express in the display of her M8 is trying to convince me otherwise).
I had been in the same situation like you but finally bought the M8.2. I haven't sold my Canon gear yet but never touched it since.

My recommendation is to get your hands on it yourself or have look at real images taken with the M8 i.e. on www.flickr.com or www.gallery.lfi-online.de to see the capabilities.

I am very happy with the available light performance of the M8. For RAW processing I recommend to us Capture One.
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Old 05-06-2009   #90
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I don't know whether it's the fact that this is RFF where available light "reigns supreme", but our brothers and sisters (lot's of them) over at (any) wedding forum deals with this all the time.

Their answer: Flash, bounced flash, off-camera flash, not Weegee-style.

Simple concept, light up either the subject or the background to get the whole scene within the dynamic range capability of your camera. Easy? no.

Keith, I used to look down on flash, until I started to try to use it properly. It's not expensive at all, and with digital, you can get proficient quickly enough to be practical for your time frame. If nothing, you've just added another tool in your belt that you can use creatively and as needed.
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Old 05-06-2009   #91
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I don't believe Galleries or Museums allow flash photography.
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Old 05-06-2009   #92
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I'd really like to be able to use a heavily muted flash ... I think it would solve the problem and create some interesting images ... but in this case I can't!
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Old 05-06-2009   #93
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Keith,

Do you submit digital files or prints? and if files, what size? 50 to 80 images should be easily done with 3 rolls of film at the most. I would take the exact kit you describe with with a roll of Fuji Pro 400 or Kodak Portra 400NC in each with a spare roll of film in my pocket. I could confidently say that I would have at least 70 keepers. If you want to make your life really, really simple... take the film to a good pro lab, have them develop, proof and scan the negatives to the size file you need. You could do this for less than half the cost to rent a 5D for the night.

I am really surprised how quickly everyone is kicking film to the curb...

On the digital side, I have seen some absolutely amazing results from the Nikon D3 when shooting at low ISO and exposing for the highlights. There is at least 3 stops of shadow detail to be found before running into discernible noise.

Both digital or film are entirely capable of delivering excellent results in this situation. With digital you will need the latest generation of sensors, with film you will need to be confident in your metering skills.

Aren't you lucky that you have so many choices?
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Old 05-06-2009   #94
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Sorry to sound defeatist, but one solution is to not take photos of people in an extremely dark room looking at something projected onto a screen. One could choose to expose the people properly or the projected information properly and leave it at that.
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Old 05-06-2009   #95
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5d, 35/1.4, 70-200/2.8 IS would solve all your problems
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Old 05-06-2009   #96
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
The huge problem with this venue was that the screens and monitors were pretty well providing the only light in there ... the floor is virtually black as is the roof. There were tall black partitions between the various dispalys and because this was an animation exhibit the images were quickly and constantly changing. There were about five large projection screens and about twenty monintors spread around the place.
I guess I will post these for the second time...



Did anyone notice that these back-lit transparencies are providing the only light in the room. If you look at the top right of the photo above you can see the light fixtures and they are switched off...



Anyone notice there is no other light source in the photo above except the artwork?

The differences between this setting and where Keith is shooting are that artwork is not on monitors or screens but on light boxes... and the walls, ceiling and floor is not black as Keith described. But the artwork is providing the only light and is exposed well and easily viewed while the people are visible.

When I shot these frames the lights were off in the room... shortly afterward the lights were turned on by the request of the event photographers, because it was too dark and they needed some light.

The files I posted were single pass scans from a Epson V500. As I scan very flat, I added a slight curve, some contrast and saturation, and color correction. Nothing special or nothing that could not be set-up as a simple Photoshop action.

And you have to take into account that I was shooting without a light meter with my meterless Nikon F. Everything was against these photos, guessed exposure, old film, and pushed 2 full stops.

Here are the goods, almost exactly what Keith is trying to deliver. Simple and easy... no HDR, no multi-exposure, no fancy photoshopping, just shoot and print or scan.

I was commissioned to do a shoot for an artist recently where I had to deal with monitors, screens and black walls. The artist requested B&W, so it was shot with B&W film so I cannot make a direct comparison since I did not use any color film.

If I was commissioned for the shoot that Keith is describing, I would confidently use my M5 w/ Nokton 35/1.2 and Nikon FM2 w/ Nikkor 50/1.2 and a few rolls of color negative film, not having a single doubt that I could not deliver the images. I would be carrying my Sekonic L-758D meter to check all the lighting and establish exposure values. Been there and done that.

Can this be done with digital, absolutely, give me a D3 or D700 and I will supply images of even better quality. But I should, since I am using the latest, state of the art DSLR that costs thousands instead of a few $8 rolls of film.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I did shoot a few images with black and white film for my own puroses after the event wound down while there were still a few people in there ... and they turned out well.
You are answering your own question...

And you have two choices, get yourself a new generation full-frame DSLR or a few rolls of film. Up to you...
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Old 05-06-2009   #97
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You can't manage what you don't measure. Most any built in meter would be flummoxed. Get a good light meter (I love my Gossen Digipro), go early to the event and measure the screens (reflected) and the middle of the room (incident). Average the readings. Shoot RAW at that exposure. Be prepared to adjust after doing the following.

Using RAW tools (Adobe Camera Raw exposure sliders), process the 12-16 bits per channel RAW files into (at least) two image files - one optimized for highlights (the screens) one optimized for everything else. Combine the files using the Photoshop "combine for HDR" command. Or just feed the files into one of the many commercial HDR programs out there. I think this is doable with your M8. Or film. Apply the same technique to the scans. You want to start with 16 bit (per channel) files. I confess I have no knowledge of M8 files.

Edit: (Here's a neat article on the M8 DNG (raw) file: http://kammagamma.com/articles/solvi...dng-riddle.php

Normally I dislike "HDR" techniques - flat and boring in the wrong hands - but in this case I think it's the right tool for the job. I think you can pull more detail out of the files. And folks will grouse about how "True HDR means more than one exposure." Whatever. Semantics. This works pretty well. Some call it "faux bracketing".

Here's a link to the Panomundo Tutorial "HDR" page. The "faux bracketing" part is about 2/3 the way down the page.

http://www.panomundo.com/panos/howto...racketing.html

I have used this technique for stage photography where you have wide range of lighting and you don't want to completely loose anyone in the shot. I was using .NEF files from a Nikon D50 and I manually combined them using layers in Photoshop. Good luck!
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Old 05-06-2009   #98
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Those techniques are very good, but a simple fix in Photoshop works well enough. Develop in ACR for correct exposure of the monitors etc, open as a smart object, copy and redevelop in ACR to get detail in the shadows. Save and create a black layer mask, use a white brush to paint in the screens, and flatten.
Of course, if the painting gets too complicated, one can use a blending mask, or even go into LAB and work in the Luminosity channel, but that is taking it too far imo.
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Old 05-07-2009   #99
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Since there is a budget issue here, it needs to be made clear that whichever camera one uses for the initial capture, on whatever medium, one must perform a pseudo-HDR manipulation afterwards. There has already been some good adivce in this thread on these techniques. The bottom line is that this is the real challenge that Keith (and everyone else in these circumstances) face. Although equipment may be one factor, we cannot simply spend our way out of a lack of digital/darkroom technique.

Keith you should also be aware that if you do choose to try out a full frame digital sensor, Canon will accept your lovely fast Zuiko glass via adapters. I have used an OM 50/1.2 with a focus-confirm adapter on Canons and got some nice results. It will also give you a MUCH smaller package than a 5D with a 50/1.2L.

Having said all of that, I still prefer the M system for low light focussing and unobtrusiveness. My personal approach would be to use an M8 with two time-separated exposures: one perfect ISO 160 exposure for the highlights taken when nobody is blocking any part of the presentation/art, and a second exposure taken at a higher ISO and open aperture to capture interesting aspects of the audience. Blending the two in PS is a piece of cake. You can even perform targetted noise reduction on the high ISO image in areas of low subject detail. If you have access to the display before any guests arrive, and are prepared to use a tripod, you can take the low ISO shot with as much quality and DOF as you require. Shallow DOF in the crowd would not worry me so much, as an "abstract" crowd would be more interesting to me and there will be subject movement anyway.
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Old 05-07-2009   #100
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I'd really like to be able to use a heavily muted flash ... I think it would solve the problem and create some interesting images ... but in this case I can't!
Maybe you can appeal to the gallery with the fact that if brightly lit projection screen and monitors are present, you cannot do your job without flash. That should get their attention.

I mean, fighting optical physics is pretty hard if your hands are tied to your back.
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Old 05-07-2009   #101
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Quote:
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Maybe you can appeal to the gallery with the fact that if brightly lit projection screen and monitors are present, you cannot do your job without flash. That should get their attention.

I mean, fighting optical physics is pretty hard if your hands are tied to your back.
Along these lines, I just shot Newark Mayor Cory Booker's 40th birthday party at a restaurant in the Sony Center in NY. I used my R-D1. I could have used available light, but the photos would not have looked good and it would have been a pain squint-focusing all night long. Instead, I used a bounce flash on the R-D1 and a CV 15mm lens (EFL 21mm on the R-D1) @f5.6 and ISO400. The CV 15mm was set for a hyperfocal distance of about 3ft - infinity, so I didn't have to focus at all. Just point at what I liked and push the button. And with a lens that wide, I didn't even have to look through the viewfinder, just wandered around and checked the view periodically. I think the results speak for themselves.




The rest are here, starting at the bottom of page 2:
http://www.citylightsphoto.com/galle...7_4VYpS#P-2-20


This was the first time in a while I've shot an event with flash, but it couldn't have been done otherwise.

/T
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Old 05-07-2009   #102
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Quote:
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Along these lines, I just shot Newark Mayor Cory Booker's 40th birthday party at a restaurant in the Sony Center in NY. I used my R-D1. I could have used available light, but the photos would not have looked good and it would have been a pain squint-focusing all night long. Instead, I used a bounce flash on the R-D1 and a CV 15mm lens (EFL 21mm on the R-D1) @f5.6 and ISO400. The CV 15mm was set for a hyperfocal distance of about 3ft - infinity, so I didn't have to focus at all. Just point at what I liked and push the button. And with a lens that wide, I didn't even have to look through the viewfinder, just wandered around and checked the view periodically. I think the results speak for themselves.




The rest are here, starting at the bottom of page 2:
http://www.citylightsphoto.com/galle...7_4VYpS#P-2-20


This was the first time in a while I've shot an event with flash, but it couldn't have been done otherwise.

/T
The results do speek for themselves
It looks like you casually wandered round with a very wide lens and bounce flash whilst taking snaps.
Still if the customer is happy, job done!

Richard
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Old 05-07-2009   #103
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The results do speek for themselves
It looks like you casually wandered round with a very wide lens and bounce flash whilst taking snaps.
Still if the customer is happy, job done!

Richard
Hmmm...I think that's an insult.

/T
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Old 05-07-2009   #104
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Tuolumne, as a balding man myself - I can say my brethren and I find bounce flash unflattering
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Old 05-07-2009   #105
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Hmmm...I think that's an insult.

/T
Please dont be insulted. If you are happy and your client is happy and you have funds its job done! Personally i do not like the shadows under the eyes from bounce flash and the distortion of features with wide angle lenses. The flash still looks a bit harsh and over exposed to me. Also depending on the ceiling one gets rather unpredictable colour casts. But then I am not paying for it.

If i depended on flash a lot I think I would go for something with more sophisticated TTL and flash metering. (it was absolutely superb in my now departed Leica R8).

I used to use a D40 flash with a diffuser on a Hasselblad 503 and that gave lovelly light straight out without bounce. I am also curious about some of these light sphere things which might be similar on a Metz gun. Its all getting rather top heavy on a rangefinder though!

Richard
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Old 05-07-2009   #106
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Flash is always a trade-off. Straight on I find it very harsh, especially with the back shadows it creates. You also can't light the room with straight-on flash as you can with on-camera bounce. The flash I was using, a Nikon SB-27, has a reflector card that forces some of the flash forward to eliminate shadows under facial features, but it's not as effective as that on other flashes I have used. And yes, very wide angle lenses do cause distortions, but I actually like them.

/T
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Old 05-07-2009   #107
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Quote:
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Flash is always a trade-off. Straight on I find it very harsh, especially with the back shadows it creates. You also can't light the room with straight-on flash as you can with on-camera bounce. The flash I was using, a Nikon SB-27, has a reflector card that forces some of the flash forward to eliminate shadows under facial features, but it's not as effective as that on other flashes I have used. And yes, very wide angle lenses do cause distortions, but I actually like them.

/T
Agreed your flash has reduced the shadows under eyes, but then the straight on gadget has brought back some harshness!! Agreed one can not light the room as well with straight on, but I would trade this for less shiny white on the subjects. I still prefer straight on with some sort of diffusor and take my chances on shadow not being so bad in a large room. I really do not like flash but if I needed to use it more i think I might look at some of the more recent diffusers (?The Garry Fong thing?) or possibly the Quantum bare bulb with diffusor. That would be pretty similar to the D40 flash which did a pretty good job straight on.

You may like the wide angle distortion, but subjects are usually not too flattered.

Best wishes

Richard
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Old 05-07-2009   #108
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only about fifty usable shots from the three hundred I took
I think I've probably done quite a lot of shooting in similar environments. Academic / thematic events. Nearly all candid, but some quickly constructed formal poses. I'd never attempt this with my M8, though it would work well-enough in a decently lit room.

When I have to go back into a ballroom or reception or try to get interesting shots of people mostly talking I rely on my 1DmkII and 3 fast L zooms. The 70-200 IS lets me circulate around the perimeter and snoop in.

Image quality with this 5 yr old gear is very good and certainly within tolerances for my happily decreasing needs to use it.
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Old 05-07-2009   #109
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Richard,
I have the Gary Fong diffuser for my Nikon system. I haven't used it in a while, but I seem to recall not being very impressed with it. If anyone has a good recipe for diffusing flash on a RF camera without using ceiling bounce, it would be nice to know about it. I know that most RF users don't use flash, so this may be a hopeless request here.

/T
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Old 05-07-2009   #110
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Which flash do you use? Leicagoodies has the Sfill for the SF24D which is quite good. Given the concept it may fit a number of other flashes as well.
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Old 05-08-2009   #111
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Hmmm...I think that's an insult.

/T
T, Richard is right.

Bouncing is not always to the ceiling, sometimes the results are far more flattering if you use the walls, or "make" a wall by having someone hold a reflector (another very very handy thing to have by your side when shooting an event).

Another good way to manipulate light from flash, is to cover the light path (rubber band and thin black foam from Target or equivalent) from bouncing onto the subject (bad for people with glasses, or less hair than say Fabio ).
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Old 05-08-2009   #112
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Sorry to sound defeatist, but one solution is to not take photos of people in an extremely dark room looking at something projected onto a screen. One could choose to expose the people properly or the projected information properly and leave it at that.
I use flash a lot, but I agree. If the actual content on the screen is important to capture --and especially if it is attractive--perhaps a screen from a PowerPoint that represents the purpose of the event, you can have underexposed viewers frame or silhouette to give the impression of the whole event.
(Do not show a screen with many people ignoring it).

Since your final product will likely include multiple photos, think of them as a composite--without each pic carrying the full weight of communicating the event.
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Old 05-10-2009   #113
Richard Marks
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Keith

Why not meter for the people (light from the screens). The screens of course will be blown but can you paste these in from power points of the projections of the images. If these are not avaialble shoot them separately from roughly the right place pre the main shoot. (Or after the shoot to get the screens as you initially took them at the shoot? and paste these in) Some perspective adjustments might be necessary but it might actually work!



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Old 05-10-2009   #114
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
Which flash do you use? Leicagoodies has the Sfill for the SF24D which is quite good. Given the concept it may fit a number of other flashes as well.
Im guessing there is quite a significant power loss, and it is already not that powerful.

I really liked the D40 with dome diffusor on a Hassy for straight diffused light. It is pricey, but i expect the very similar but rather more flexible Quantum Q-flash might work quite well. It would be rather heavy though.

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Old 05-10-2009   #115
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i haven't read all the way through but i am going to second the fuji s5 pro (maybe second or third it). it's high iso ability is often overlooked.

next to the d700/d3 it is the best f mount camera i have used up into the 1600/3200 range. it can also be had for an absolute song and would recover the blown highlights on that poor fella's head with very little trouble.
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Old 05-10-2009   #116
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emraphoto View Post
i haven't read all the way through but i am going to second the fuji s5 pro (maybe second or third it). it's high iso ability is often overlooked.

next to the d700/d3 it is the best f mount camera i have used up into the 1600/3200 range. it can also be had for an absolute song and would recover the blown highlights on that poor fella's head with very little trouble.
This is actually a more difficult problem. Have another look at the beginning of the thread.

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Old 05-10-2009   #117
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Quote:
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Im guessing there is quite a significant power loss, and it is already not that powerful.

I really liked the D40 with dome diffusor on a Hassy for straight diffused light. It is pricey, but i expect the very similar but rather more flexible Quantum Q-flash might work quite well. It would be rather heavy though.

Richard
As the SF 58 is basically a Metz flash, I would guess there is a range of soft accesories available. Plenty of power there.
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Old 05-10-2009   #118
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Keith, if you already have the M8 and are comfortable using it, it's a pity to have to give it up. Yes you mention that you aren't all that good at post processing but as you also mention that you encounter these large variances of lighting intensities quite often, perhaps you should have a look at HDR (high dynamic range) techniques.

Shooting DNG files on the M8 provide quite a bit more dynamic range that isn't normally seen in normal processing. With HDR techniques you can unlock the potential of the dynamic range inherent in DNG files.

I personally use Photomatics and it's a little clumsy but mostly works fine in auto mode. All you have to do is to use ONE original DNG file, process it +2, 0 and -2 stops and send the data into the program. Out pops sometime usable. You don't have to shoot 3 shots of the same pic to use Photomatics, just process the one DNG file 3 times under, correct and over exposed.

Yes it's a little bit more work to do and you have to learn to use the program and get to understand what it can and cannot achieve but it might allow you to continue to stay with the M8 - and that's worth some effort.

Have a look at what highlights I can recover here using HDR. It's not shot in a dark room with bright pictures but you get the idea:

Without HDR
L1000919 3_2.jpg

With HDR
L1000919 2_ 1__tonemapped_filtered_2.jpg

Oh, yes there is another side effect with HDR, you get expanded tonal range within the current visible range so if your shots lack range and are overly high contrast, HDR techniques can give you back some of that lost range too. Pretty cool.
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Old 05-11-2009   #119
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well after reading the whole thread i would have to say a d700 would be an appropriate way to go. a $100 50mm f1.8 and that thing can pretty much shoot in the dark.

(although the xp2 scan at the bresson exhibit looked mighty good)
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Old 05-11-2009   #120
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kin View Post
Keith, if you already have the M8 and are comfortable using it, it's a pity to have to give it up. Yes you mention that you aren't all that good at post processing but as you also mention that you encounter these large variances of lighting intensities quite often, perhaps you should have a look at HDR (high dynamic range) techniques.

Shooting DNG files on the M8 provide quite a bit more dynamic range that isn't normally seen in normal processing. With HDR techniques you can unlock the potential of the dynamic range inherent in DNG files.

I personally use Photomatics and it's a little clumsy but mostly works fine in auto mode. All you have to do is to use ONE original DNG file, process it +2, 0 and -2 stops and send the data into the program. Out pops sometime usable. You don't have to shoot 3 shots of the same pic to use Photomatics, just process the one DNG file 3 times under, correct and over exposed.

Yes it's a little bit more work to do and you have to learn to use the program and get to understand what it can and cannot achieve but it might allow you to continue to stay with the M8 - and that's worth some effort.

Have a look at what highlights I can recover here using HDR. It's not shot in a dark room with bright pictures but you get the idea:

Without HDR
Attachment 69682

With HDR
Attachment 69683

Oh, yes there is another side effect with HDR, you get expanded tonal range within the current visible range so if your shots lack range and are overly high contrast, HDR techniques can give you back some of that lost range too. Pretty cool.
I like this. I'll have to give it a try. Does it take input of other file formats besides DNG?

/T
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