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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 10:45 am 
I suppose you'll see on the day. Personally I think f7 using a 50mm prime is a totally different ball game to 200mm in low light, as at 50mm the lens is gathering light from all angles , whereas at 200mm i'm not so sure. Perhaps someone can add some input? I'd go and try the lens at a store if possible. At the same time, worst case scenario you have to iso bump even more, seeing as the prints would be A5 size, I think you'd be fine.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 12:04 pm 
Yeah that is something I should do really but I am not sure how much it would show me, I guess I could see just how heavy the f2.8 feels though.

The shots I took were around 50mm with my 17-85 but I do take on board what you say about the lower focal length helping gather light. When I go back this week using just the minimal lighting in the theatre as is used for people to get in and out of the place between shows I will try the same shots at ~200mm with my 70-300 and see what the results are like, I will probably hold off on the lens purchase until I have tried that. Don't know why I didn't try this yesterday really :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 5:59 pm 
Sounds like quite an experience.

The telephoto will suffer heavily in low light conditions. You will not be able to replicate your f7.1 with ISO 800 at 200mm. Even with spots, I find the D200 struggles with f2.8 at 200mm. You can find results from a recent small awards ceremony on my website, mainly taken with the 70-200 at ISO 1600 with remote release on a tripod. It's not just low light that you are contending with but low light plus action - this will cause all sorts of difficulities, such as motion blur. I forced a play between 1/100 to 1/200, f2.8 and ISO 1600 to get acceptable results. To put a downer, I've not been convinced that the f4 version of the 70-200 will be as much a low light action workhorse as the f2.8 edition.

As an aside, why I elected to use the telephoto rather than approach closer to the stage with a flashgun was down to the organiser brief - they wanted minimal interruption to the ceremony, which put a halt to the idea of getting each award receiver to pose after they received their award with the banner. So I was left with candids with 70-200 from the back of the hall. Not an ideal situation as a photographer with all that low light and a CTO spot that altered WB, but I dealt with it and satisfied my clients.

If you're going to offer the portrait sessions, attempt this after the dress rehearsal or on the first/second night. Avoid it for the final night which might present you other photographic opportunities not seen on other evenings and running a portrait session may distract you from this.

It's reassuring that you are planning for the main event in advance, and no doubt you'll get the results you want in the end.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 7:28 pm 
Thanks Ed,

I've taken a look at the images you mention and I can see what you mean which has now really thrown the cat among the pigeons. I will have a real hard think about this now, my main concern is that as I may be taking all but a few shots from the stage side (behind the curtains) I am really not sure how much of the zoom I am going to need as the whole stage is only about 25 - 30 feet across meaning I may actually be better off with my 17-85 or even the 50 prime... I guess until I get there and take another look I will not know for sure.

Thanks again for all the input guys really appreciated.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 7:53 pm 
You may well be right as you know the venue you're working in far better than any of us. But I hope I've highlighted (albeit with my mediocre images) that stopping movement in low light isn't as easy as it seems without fast glass and high ISOs.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 9:55 pm 
HI Ed,

Yes mate those images were very helpful, I am now seriously contemplating what would be best, I know the f2.8 will not get too much use other than at these type of events (if I had more work then it wouldn't be an issue and I would look to get both lenses) I think it would be too heavy to carry around at the car shows but then I guess my 70-300 would be ok for those.... Heh I am really confused I will sleep on it and see if how I feel in the next few days.

Thanks again :)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 12:04 am 
If you're happy with your current lens selection, and realise that you don't often need a fast short tele, then do consider renting for events that will require one. The money can be recouped by the job, and you don't need to tie up capital in a lens you won't be using often. This is the alternative way to owning a variant of the 70-200.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:23 am 
Actually that's a great point, I wonder if purchasing the f4 (which would get loads of use) and then renting the f2.8 for the event might be the best route.

Any ideas on good places to rent from in and around SE London by chance Ed? Also what can I expect to pay for a decent lens rented for say 3 consecutive days would you think?


EDIT: Another thought I just had with regards to purchasing the f4 was buying a 1.4x or 2x extension and selling the 70-300, would people say this was a sensible thing to do? If not can you state why you think so please :)

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:42 am 
I've used the rental service in the Drummond Street Branch of Calumet (pretty much right next to Euston train station) and was satisfied with the service and quality of rental equipment on offer. Their rental catalogue can be found here. I'm sometimes based around the Bromley region of SE London/Kent, but I've yet to encounter a rental service in that area.

The cost for 3 days use of the Canon 70-200 2.8 is just over £100. The last page of the PDF explains how they charge over a period of time. Beware that the cost doesn't include VAT. Insurance comes as standard on the rental equipment and if you have a credit rental account with them, I believe they can courier the lens to you instead of heading into the store to collect it.

As an additional aside, the rental service there can be used as a lens testing service. They have a try-before-you-buy scheme where you can rent a lens and if you like it, you can buy a new lens from them with your rental fee deducted from the price.

As for the swap between the 70-300 IS to 70-200 with 1.4x, then that might be bearable for a short tele when you lose one stop and have a maximum aperture of f5.6, but using the 2x will cause a two stop fall in light, and you'll have a slow tele that you probably won't enjoy using much. Converters are relatively pricey for what they are as well, and you will have to consider how often you use the 300mm end of your current lens. So my answer would be that it's only partially sensible depending on which converter you go for.

Last edited by Photoj on Tue May 13, 2008 8:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:48 am 
I was checking out that catalog, and they have pretty much EVERYTHING you can image when it comes to camera equipment! Interesting..

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:51 am 
They cater for professionals which explains their vast range of high end rental equipment, and that particular branch in London is one of my local stores. I attend demonstration events there which means I can sometimes get my hands on equipment before the public does.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:57 am 
Thanks for that link Ed that's perfect....

Looking at the rates I would save loads if I could get it back by 10AM on Monday as the weekend rate seems to apply, which would make it £34 for the whole event which I think is the perfect solution :P

Awesome thanks a lot

EDIT: Just called them to confirm that and yes it's just £34 for rental from Friday (after 3:30pm) - Monday (returned by 10am) I am now one very H A P P Y snapper haha!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2008 9:00 am 
Excellent. That deal works out really well for you and at that price, just selling a few prints will cover the lens fee.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:22 am 
Hi All,

Not been on for ages! Had so much to do what with running my business and the photo shoot, for those interested here's how it kind of worked out and a brief outline of what was involved:

A days travelling for lens hire and dropping it off again

I did 2 full days on the shoot over 4 full shows

I spent about 3 full days preparing all the images / converting them from RAW to jpg and putting them on contact sheets which I printed off myself, this was a lot of work trying to get the best out of the images some of which needed a lot of work to reduce grain - whilst people in the know might accept it I felt the customers / parents would think them to be of poor quality with the amount of grain some of them had.

My total cash outlay including paper for the contact sheets, new ink, lens hire and travel was just short of £160.

I decided to charge £5 per print for 6x4 photos and in a way I wish I had gone for 7x5 but, well hindsights a wonderful thing I guess (a couple of people complained this was too high for a print, grrr I found that annoying really especially if you take in to account the amount of time I invested). I did give all the customers a group picture of the finale though :)

Overall we had about £500 worth of orders which wasn't too bad really, unfortunately most of the images that I was really pleased with failed to get ordered as they were of the older children in the show and they it turns out tend not to buy so the majority of the orders were from the mums of the youngsters (lesson learnt for next time!).

The amount of time invested I would say I was on pennies an hour lol but I have to say the experience was unbelievably amazing and they have asked me back as the regular photographer for their events.

Overall I would say I gained more knowledge about my camera, photography in poor and ever changing lighting conditions and working with people in that short space of time than I would probably ever have managed to learn had I chose not to take on the job, it was very stressful at times though, when I processed some of the pics I was a bit wary of how they would turn out, but infact they looked much better on paper than I could ever have imagined.

I've been asked to prepare some of the images (actually loads and mostly of the older children) for the dance and theatre schools new website when it goes live so I will have some more images to show you then, but from the ones ordered here a couple of my favorites.



Well hope you don't mind me rambling on for so long :) just thought some of the aspiring pro photographers might be interested in seeing some information from a complete novice of this sort of thing and how I got on with my first job.

Now I need to think about a pic for the assignment!

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:17 am 
Glad to read your report. Did you use Calumet for rental then? If so, how did you find them?

It's only really by going out there and getting hands on experience that you learn more about the delicacies to photography. I'm pleased that things turned out well.

Briefly regarding print sizes, I rarely touch below 8x10". If I do, it would be 7x5". I reserve 6x4" for test prints because for certain images you cannot justify it at that small size. £5 for a 6x4" is expensive. If you go for a larger print, the larger cost will be more justified as P&S cameras usually won't stretch to such sizes in low light. For example £10 for a 8x10" might seem more reasonable.

Your workflow sounded rather heavy if you spent 3 days working on all your images from one event. This is where a lot of "pros" lose time and reduce profit margins. Every hour you spend on workflow is an hour less that you could be taking images for another client. It sounds to me an area where you need reviewing before you tackle another big project.

PM me if you need specific advice.

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