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Thread: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

  1. #1
    hytam's Avatar
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    Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hello everyone,

    Come end January 2013, I'll be attending the Bocuse d'Or culinary competition in Lyon France as a spectator where my son will be competing. Never having gone to any kind of indoor event where I'll be attempting to capture photos of contestants in an arena like environment, I'm wondering if a Canon 5D Mk lll with a Canon 70/200mm f2.8 L ll USM lens mounted on a mono pod will be adequate for the job? I'll also be carrying a Canon 24/70mm f2.8 L USM lens which I'll use for closer shots. Any suggestions or tips?

    God bless and thanks in advance,
    Anthony Tam

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    I am assuming that you will not be allowed to use flash. However, I would not have any hesitation to jack-up the ISO to get a usable shutter speed and f/stop. I have never seen a clulinary competition (except for TV) but I don't think that the subjects will be moving around at any speed whatsoever. Between the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS ii lens and the 70-200mm f/2.8L on a 5Diii
    camera, you should have no trouble covering the event.

    Good luck and congratulations to you son. Have fun in France and I hope your son wins...

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hi Anthony,

    Wish I were coming with you. The 5D Mk III has fantastic high ISO performance, so dont hesitate to crank it up.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    When traveling or preparing for a special location I like to look up the facility to plan. A good idea for anyone going anywhere. Looking at the photos from last year to see how the competition is set up you may not be able to get close enough for many photos. Accredited photographers will get access to the competitors and kitchens but as an observer you may be stuck in the stands too far away for any critical shots. Hopefully you can wander and hopefully the chefs are presented in a manner that encourages candid photographs.

    http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/0...lenge-results/

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hi there,

    @Richard and Kevin, thank you for your good wishes; my son is his mentor's commis chef and they will be competing against teams from around the world including the USA, after winning the Asian leg. I realize the 5D's ISO potential but hope that I don't have to bump it up too high for quality shots.

    @Andrew, yes I was looking at some of the past competitions photos and videos and was afraid that being confined to the stands(?) I might be too far away to get any kind of critical shot. I really do not know how to handle a fixed focal telephoto lens and even dread carrying one to the event even if I could borrow one. They have changed the rules somewhat for this year and will allow points to teams that allow better audience viewing,

    http://www.theepochtimes.com/n2/life...13-267624.html

    refers to a report of these changes. My pass does say "supporter" of the Singapore team though so if that allows me some access at perhaps a non critical time in the competition it would be great!

    Thanks for the tips and God bless.

    Regards
    Anthony Tam

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    I used to worry about ISO in these situations, but honestly, I've shot events at 3200 ISO (albeit with good lighting set up kindly by the video guy), and gotten perfectly useable results. On a D90. If my D90 can make it in those situations, then a 5D3 should basically emanate some kind of godly aura.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    In a situation like this you do what you have-to to get the shots ... if it means cranking up the ISO then so-be-it .. I wonder about the apparent pre-occupation with noise and reluctance to use high ISO.. I am shooting M4/3 which most would consider a lesser being than the 5D3 and so long as I don't enlarge the photos too much [ 50% gives an acceptable result which with a 16Mp sensor is quite a degree of enlargement, 18% normally shows the whole frame] I found my 6400 ISO shots came out well and I'm sure you will have better lighting than I did [ My lens is only f/5.8 so was shooting f6.3 1/30 in manual... why not make some test shots if you can find a similar location and lighting to see what is acceptable to you. 22Mp and full frame I think your concerns are quite groundless
    As to the question of a longer prime ... I am so used to zoom lenses these days that the idea of changing lenses in a probably fast moving 'news' situation, even if the contestants are fairly static, to be quite hazardous.There is also the problem with long reach of being 'too close' so I might consider hiring something like the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM if you think it is likely you will be stuck back in the audience. Rather than the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM which I suspect you were thinking of?
    I think you should also ask people with regard to switching off IS when on the monopod.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    @Blake and jcuknz: Thanks for your insights into using higher ISO. The 5D Mk lll is a newish purchase as I was previously using a 5D Mk ll, stll using it and is great for what I'm keen on, portraiture type photography with a Canon 85mm f1.2 L ll lens. The Mk lll purchase was because this trip needed the higher ISO ability and the faster focus. So I'm still getting the hang of using it.

    I actually plan to allow the camera to decide on the ISO (set to auto ISO) suited for the given lighting and concentrate on getting the shot with at least a 1/125 shutter speed and leaving the apperture at f2.8. I realize that there will be a shallow depth of field but getting as much light onto the sensor as possible I think has a higher priority.

    Now about switching off the IS when using a monpod; are there any members out there with insights into this? I read about it somewhere a long time ago but can't seem to fight it again.

    Thanks again and God bless,
    Anthony Tam.
    Last edited by hytam; 6th December 2012 at 09:58 AM.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Anthony,

    Would definitely leave the IS ON for use on a monopod. I even leave it on when using a tripod with even a hint of wind, and have never seemed to have gone wrong with it. I have several times inadvertently left it on while on tripod indoors, and experienced no discernible degradation.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    I think you will know what to do at the time.

    Do jack up the ISO, even 12800 is quite useable depending on what your final output is going to be. I recently shot some stuff at 1/1600 iso 2500 and could not find one trace of noise even though the shots were a bit underexposed. So...

    Being indoors your main enemy could be the lights. You will need to be careful about blowing the highlights.

    I think you will have better access with your "Supporter" badge. Same thing I would say for some of my volunteering work. We normally have access to most of the event where the general public is not.

    Winning an Asian round is no mean feat given the really really vast range of food in the region. Now go win this one...
    Last edited by Bobobird; 6th December 2012 at 05:20 PM.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    @Kevin: I had always left the IS on when using tripods or monopods, but I did read somewhere that because the lens doesn't detect movement which it's looking out for, so it "compensates" when the subjects move? Or something like that. I'm still trying to find the article on this but have work and too much other stuff on my plate to spend time on. I'll post on the forum when/if I find it, just for info sake.

    @Bobo: Thanks for the encouraging words, I will past it on to my son and his mentor. I do hope you're right about the added access as there is till now no official photographer for the Singapore Culinary Team that I know of. I just don't want to mess it up for them.

    Thanks again for your thoughts and insights, God bless and best regards,
    Anthony Tam.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Quote Originally Posted by hytam View Post
    @Kevin: I had always left the IS on when using tripods or monopods, but I did read somewhere that because the lens doesn't detect movement which it's looking out for, so it "compensates" when the subjects move? Or something like that.
    Hi Anthony,

    It's more an issue for tripods than monopods, and even then, it depends on the generation of the IS unit (in the Canon camp anyway) (first and 2nd generation units didn't have tripod detection, 3rd and subsequent did). "Best Practice" is still regarded as turning it off though (on a tripod).

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hello Collin,

    Thanks for your insight. I found it mentioned in an iPad app "CanonSGLens" authored by a Vincent Bockaert and published by Canon Singapore, that the IS should be switched off when a tripod was used, but it didn't explain why. I find it interesting to actually know why it's so; still looking for that article explaining the reason. Bytheway, the above is quite good for referencing Canon lenses, plus its free

    God bless,
    Anthony Tam.
    Last edited by hytam; 7th December 2012 at 02:36 AM. Reason: Forum doesn't accept my keyboard smilies

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    About the Canon IS function: Found these postings here:
    http://digital-photography-school.co...ion-on-tripods
    http://www.dlcphotography.net/TripodAndIS.htm
    which somewhat explains it. Marvelous what Google can do for you
    Last edited by hytam; 7th December 2012 at 04:59 AM. Reason: Added url

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Quote Originally Posted by hytam View Post
    About the Canon IS function: Found these postings here:
    http://digital-photography-school.co...ion-on-tripods
    http://www.dlcphotography.net/TripodAndIS.htm
    which somewhat explains it. Marvelous what Google can do for you
    Yep - you can find anything on the net with Google ... some of it's even true

    Canon's technical guru is Chuck Westfall - I had an email conversation with him about this some time back ... this is what he said ...

    For reasons known only to themselves, the folks who approve the instruction books in Japan usually seem to prefer leaving that section of the IS lens booklets somewhat ambiguous. I tried to get them to change the books for the IS super-telephotos (300/2.8L IS, 400/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, 600/4L IS and eventually 400/4 DO IS) 7 or 8 years ago, shortly after I stumbled upon the added capabilities of those lenses while testing them, but no dice. It looks like they are finally admitting that the "Tripod IS" mode that I described online several years ago actually exists, at least with the EF200mm f/2L IS USM lens that has just been released, but I doubt that the instructions for the older lenses will ever be rewritten.

    The IS mechanism in the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM is effectively disabled when the lens detects that it is mounted on a tripod, as I previously described to you, but it is not as sophisticated as the ones in the IS super-telephotos because it does not correct for mirror slap or other subtle movement when the lens is mounted on a tripod. However, it is important to understand that this form of disabling is different than shutting off the IS function with the mode switch on the lens. In the latter case, the IS mechanism is centered and locked into place, whereas in the former case, the IS mechanism shifts the image downward slightly for a second or so, then stops moving. It's not moving, but it's not centered or locked, either. It's effectively on standby, so that it can resume its corrective capabilities instantly if movement is detected. Again, you can see this for yourself by looking through the viewfinder while pressing the shutter button halfway for at least several seconds, assuming the lens is mounted on a tripod and the IS switch is on.

    To my way of thinking, this is not the optimum way to use the equipment. In my opinion, if you use the EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM on a tripod, it would be best to turn off the IS mechanism via the switch on the lens, rather than depending on the tripod detection capabilities of the IS mechanism. "
    We discussed it here some time ago too.

    Keep in mind though that that advice has been around for many years ... when it was first mentioned we only had generation 1 & II IS units ... IS units have improved, but the advice hasn't been "updated".

    I'm not saying that it's still not good advice, but (a) it usually won't make any difference with gen 3 & 4 IS units, and (b) with longer lenses and lighter tripods having it on can help counter vibration and wind induced oscillation.

    IS and a Tripod
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 7th December 2012 at 06:20 AM.

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hey Colin,

    That sounds like the attitude of any big cooperation today; they don't like to commit themselves when there's an iffy situation. There's a saying in Chinese that goes something like "it's impossible for an ant to make the elephant move, but when he does decide to move, get out of the way or you'll be trampled".

    Yes, Google is marvelous, but somehow it's not instinctive in me yet; old dogs and new tricks, yahda yahda. Well in my case, as I will be using a monopod, it would seem quite straight forward to just leave the IS on. Technology has come so far that there's a computer built into these lenses, seems like only yesterday that I learnt to use weights to weigh down the center column to minimize movement and to a use shutter release or if you didn't have one, to hold your breath when triggering the shutter. Or to brace yourself against a sturdy object if you didn't have a tripod.

    I'll need to look for that discussion tread on CinC, thank you for the insight. God bless.

    Regards
    Anthony Tam.

    PS: Oops silly me, you had put a link to that discussion didn't you Colin; see what I mean about old dogs? Thanks again.
    Last edited by hytam; 7th December 2012 at 08:44 AM. Reason: Post script comment

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Quote Originally Posted by hytam View Post
    There's a saying in Chinese that goes something like "it's impossible for an ant to make the elephant move, but when he does decide to move, get out of the way or you'll be trampled".
    I saw a saying I liked the other day on the FB page of one of our members ...

    "Don't meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crispy and taste good with sauce"

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Anthony...

    I have always left the IS on when shooting on a monopod, even when using older versions of IS. However, I often shoot with a very light tripod which I modified from a Slik Pro 330 DX. The tripod weighs less than 1 kilogram. When shooting with this rig, I will usually leave the IS on my 70-200mm f/4L IS and 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lenses turned on. I have never experienced any problems doing that. In fact, I shot on the rim of some very windy canyons in the state of Utah and I think that the IS was an advantage...

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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Artie Morris the Bird as Art guy says he keeps IS ON at all times.

  20. #20
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    Re: Indoor photography equipment adequacy question

    Hi Richard, Bobo and everyone else who has contributed to enlighten me,

    I have been convinced that the equipment I plan to bring to Bocuse d'Or 2013 is sufficient for the task at hand and that I shall leave IS on when the 70/200mm f2.8 ll IS USM lens is mounted on the monopod. I plan to open the aperture to f2.8 and also leave the ISO on auto knowing that the 5D lll will get the best result possible given the conditions present, and hopefully my pass will allow me better/closer access to the kitchen booth where Team Singapore will be displaying their culinary mastery.

    Thanks again guys for your insight and encouragement and I hope to be able to show some photos taken during the event, especially if the guys win an award.

    God bless and best regards to all,
    Anthony Tam

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