Nightclub Photographer needs help!

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  • 1 Post By TCampbell

Thread: Nightclub Photographer needs help!

  1. #1
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    Nightclub Photographer needs help!

    Hey guys I just started in the photography world about 8 months ago and I recently started working as a nightclub photographer in Chicago but having major problems with the AF settings, what I use is still low end stuff, nothing professional yet since I'm still a beginner. I work with a Nikon D3000 kit lens 18-55 3.5-5.6 and a SB400 Flash, it does the work but in the settings whenever i choose AF-A AF-S or AF-C most of the time it takes forever to capture the picture, and sometimes wont get it at all! Its getting really annoying so I started using MF manual focus but the pictures don't come out very sharp which makes them look very cheap. Is it me or the camera? or both? Ive seen other photographers just snap shoots like crazy but if Im not in MF they drag. I think im a pretty good photographer for the 8 months I been doing it but this is really annoying, I really need your help! I have a big day tomorrow! I also have a 35mm 1.8 but the clubs get wayyyy to crowded to get decent pics with that. Anybody? Please and thank you!!!The pic on the left is with MF, the one on the right with AF-S but hesitated a little bit
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  • #2
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    Autofocus assist illuminator? Does the D3000 have one?
    Shoot aperture mode at f4 for some shots and see if it helps.
    Use AF-S mode rather than continuous. It won't let you shoot if it doesn't have focus lock.
    You have an 11-point system. Don't use Put the point on a contrasty area, press half-way uuntil is achieves lock (beep) and recompose.
    Good luck

  • #3
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    Four simple steps for understanding the D3000 focusing system. (I am going to follow them again just for the fun of practicing..note that the D90 and D3000 are about identical in autofocus system.)

    1) Read your manual pages 42 thru 48. 2) Then, read them again. 3) Then, practice using the focus modes while reading the manual. 4) Wait 3 days and repeat.

    Kevin

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    thank you for replying back, I will try this

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    I dindnt know that about the d90..I was thinking of getting it but I also like the 5100 since theyre almost the same just the 5100 is a newer body. What do you recommend?

  • #6
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    I'm surprised you'd have problems getting the shots with the 35mm f/1.8. That lens should shoot just about "normal" and you shouldn't have to back up too much to get the shots. The great thing about an f/1.8 lens is that it's collecting nearly 4 times what your 18-55mm even at f/3.5 (and about 8 times as much light as your 18-55 at f/5.6), but the extra benefit is that the wider the aperture, the easier it is for the auto-focus system to work. As the aperture closes down, it gets increasingly harder. Most camera are "ok" at f/5.6 and below that sometimes the auto-focus system won't work at all (or will at least struggle to get the focus to lock.)

    You can buy wider primes and wider zooms, but you *really* want the best possible focal ratios you can afford and some of those lenses are pretty expensive. The 35mm f/1.8 is a fantastic bargain compared to, say, the 24mm f/1.4 (north of $2k)

    If there's anyway you can swing upgrading your SB400 flash to an SB700 or SB900, it'll help a lot. Both of those models have the AF focus-assist beam, which the SB400 lacks. That features helps the camera focus in the dark by emitting a beam that the camera can use to accurately lock focus.
    jonathanisonline likes this.
    Tim Campbell

  • #7
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    That is a great answer TCambell. The 35mm is on my wish list because it is a bargain. I have a 50mm f1.4, but I would like a wider fast prime for indoors. I am not so much surprised as much as I don't understand why your result is not satisfactory with the 35mm. What was the focal length on the images above?

    I have both SB800 and SB600 (I guess they're now obsolete), and they work very well. I like using the flash off camera indoors, or at least bounce it. The SB700 and SB900 are capable of being operated remotely, but I don't think the D3000 has a Commander mode. There are also some 3rd party flashes that look attractive from the value standpoint. Check for the focus assist beam feature.

    In any case, understanding the focusing system, practicing and using your 35mm should produce decent results. I notice that the two images you posted are in exactly the same conditions and one is very sharp. That tells me that the conditions are not preventing sharpness, that you are still trying to discover how to make the second and avoid the first. I also notice that the background is not blurred much in the sharp image; open up?
    Kevin

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    It is interesting that the background is fairly sharp in the 2nd image (which means you must have been using a higher focal ratio with a broader depth of field.) Although the aperture blades are always fully retracted (wide-open) while the camera focuses. They only stop down to their assigned f-stop briefly when the shutter opens to take the shot and then retract again.

    Since it's a variable focal ratio lens (f/3.5 while at 18mm, but stops down to f/5.6 at 55mm) the camera will focus faster if you use a shorter focal ratio. Unfortunately you can't just focus at a wide angle, then zoom in to take the shot because the lens isn't "parfocal". Parfocal (for still cameras -- because it has a different meaning in the world of video) means that once you've focused a subject, you can change focal lengths WITHOUT needing to re-focus... the focus will stay the same at all focal lengths. Many very high-end lenses are parfocal (it's one of those subtle advantages you get when you spend a ton of money on a lens.)

    But I guess my point in this is that you can make it easier for the camera to lock focus if you try to stay on the shorter (wider angle) half of the zoom range.
    Tim Campbell

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    Thank you both, sorry I just saw this, and yes the 35mm is great although I prefer my 18-55 just because its wider for when your at a crowded club. I was the problem, not the lens, I needed more practice in those dark conditions. Now I've been doing Nightclub Photography for 2 months and gotten much better. I also upgraded to the sb700 which I love.

  • #10
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    I am not so much surprised as much as I don't understand why your result is not satisfactory with the 35mm. Commercial Roofing


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