What would you give up: Aperture, SS or ISO

Joined
Sep 2, 2008
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810
Location
Charlotte, NC
While shooting some dance competition I was thinking about this.

On a shoot, what would you sacrafice. I am shooting a D3 for the dance so I set to f/4 and 1/500 and adjust ISO accordingly although I would much rather have a sharper image and have a smaller f stop.

During awards I go for lower ISO since I don't need high shutter speeds. I bet most of you will say it depends on the situation but in general......

What would you give up?

Michael
 
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
4,553
ISO.

My thinking always begins at the maximum exposure, i.e. getting as much light on the sensor as possible. This is what determines noise, the more light the less noise.

SS and aperture determine the amount of exposure, and these are constrained by my judgement: how much I need DOF and how much can I tolerate motion blur.
 
Joined
Sep 15, 2008
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Sacramento
ISO is last. Here is my order of preference.

1) Shutter speed. If the shutter speed is too slow, the image will be blurry. Unless you want blur for artistic reasons, your shot looks amateur and useless. Zero noise and infinite DOF will not make it better. PP cannot save it.

2) Aperture. If it isn't in focus, it is nearly as bad as blurred. The reason aperture is second, is because extra DOF can be very important depending on the subject and shooting conditions, but it isn't always necessary. A little less DOF than desired can be traded off for faster shutter speed or ISO drop. Portrait example: If the eyes are sharp, a little softness at the nose may be tolerable if it means using ISO 6400 instead of 12800. If it only required going from ISO 800 to 1600, I'd bump ISO to use a smaller aperture for the extra DOF and have the whole face sharp.

3) ISO. PP and noise reducing tools can make up quite a bit for high ISO noise. Depending on the resulting image size and display media, a high ISO image may not even need a lot of PP. Reducing an image to 1024x768 for web use will hide a lot of noise without a lot of effort. Printing at 5x7 also hides a lot of noise.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2011
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1,959
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Australia
my $0.02 @ night sports...

i'd sacrifice Aperture before ISO and sacrifice ISO before shutter speed.

in general, i like to keep my SS at ~ 1/1000 for sports and i'll use the lowest ISO i can get away with. if that means shooting @ f2.8 or f2.0, so be it.
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
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Southern California
michael,

buyer beware ... i'm a newbie .... but this is the type of environment (auditorium/theater) that i've been trying to learn how to shoot (daughter's musical productions) with my existing d60 and some borrowed lenses. i've shot three shows and learned a lot from each one. lesson numbers 1, 2, and 3 are that high iso performance matters a lot in an auditorium (but i'm sure you already knew that).

i'm probably in the same camp as Mike (73Z1) most of the time, but to me the choice between prioritizing iso and aperture isn't always clear cut. it depends on the situation. there are times during the shows when i would really like to be able to shoot at higher apertures sometimes (like the big dance numbers) ... just so i could get more than one person in focus. but i'm not willing to do that if it means getting too much noise.

at the last show i borrowed a d700 from a very generous friend and sort of stumbled across the technique you described below and seems to work most of the time (at least with a capable camera). first priority was SS, second was aperture, and let auto-iso choose up to 6400. sometimes i wasn't able to get the depth of field that i wanted because of the iso limitation. so i guess that means that as long as the iso was below 6400 i would give it up first....but if i had the change aperture to keep iso from going over 6400 i would do it.

man i shouldn't have borrowed that d700! it's probaby going to cost me a lot of money now that i've had a taste. :eek:

-richard
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2008
Messages
810
Location
Charlotte, NC
...there are times during the shows when i would really like to be able to shoot at higher apertures sometimes (like the big dance numbers) ... just so i could get more than one person in focus.......
-richard


Richard,

This is where I differ, though. When selling the pictures, I actually WANT elss depth of field. I have found over the years that when parents are buying pictures, they want their son or daughter to stand out in a crowd. When I'm all the way zoomed in, even at f/4, the depth of field is pretty slim, especially when I have someone in the back in focus and the distance between them and the person in the front is 10-15 feet.

~Michael~
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2011
Messages
63
Location
Southern California
Yes, I can understand that from a salesmanship point of view the shallower DOF is preferable. Makes perfect sense. It's what I'd prefer to buy as a parent. Of course, I don't actually sell anything...in fact I'm more of the charity photographer for the school and church plays (and you get what you pay for with my shooting! :eek:)

I've found that I can always get the shallow DOF and subject isolations....it's basically what I'm limited to on my D60. But some of the shots I'd like to have a greater DOF for no reason other than to let my daughter remember who was in the play with her. The directors seem to like to have a few shots like that also....of course there is always the end of the show when the house lights are up and the cast gets together for a group picture to capture that moment. Not quite the same as the dance/action numbers, but it serves the purpose well enough.

Now that I think about it, I might need to forego the charity work and start charging something in order to pay for the d700. :smile:
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2007
Messages
2,722
Location
Banff National Park, Alberta
my $0.02 @ night sports...

i'd sacrifice Aperture before ISO and sacrifice ISO before shutter speed.

in general, i like to keep my SS at ~ 1/1000 for sports and i'll use the lowest ISO i can get away with. if that means shooting @ f2.8 or f2.0, so be it.

Me too. Shooting live music I keep the shutter speed at about 1/160-1/125. I know I can shoot the 80-200 down to like 1/40 on a monopod but often motion blur kills me below 1/125. With the higher shutter speed my keeper rate goes way up. The lower iso/lower shutter speed combo makes for nicer looking raw files but I'd rather have a higher keeper rate. Realistically the D700 makes fine looking 12X18's at iso 6400 anyway, even if the file doesn't look as nice viewed at 100 percent on the monitor.
 

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