I was looking for photo fun and while you don't always get what you want, if you try sometime you get what you need. My fun arrived disguised as a request to have me shoot a dress rehearsal for a play in the park.
e30 with both of the fast, f2 lenses.
The 35-100 f2 (which is the equivalent of a 70-200mm in 35mm circles) and the wonderfully underrated 14-35mm f2 (which mimics the standard 28-70 zooms for larger formats).
Around my neck I wore my little Olympus EPL Pen camera. The newest and cheapest of the breed. I left the little zoom and the cute Panasonic lenses at home and brought the old film Pen lens I've come to respect, the 60mm 1.5. Yes, a real f 1.5 made specifically to cover this exact format. I expect my copy was put together in the late 1960's or early 1970's and it's still as smooth as butter. The look is different but I really love the whole experience of shooting with this combo. I used the zooms when I needed specific angles of view and I used the Pen F lens when I felt the call.
I used both the cameras at ISO's ranging from 800 to 1600 but I mostly stuck around 1600. Can you see noise? At 100% there is a bit of chroma noise. But it's balanced by the way the two zooms bite in and the way the prime owns the frame. The prime (60mm) falls apart pretty quickly when you start to pixel peep but I have a routine solution for that which might help anyone afflicted by similar noise problems. ...... don't look at stuff too close. Life is noisy--it's okay. I could probably fix the noise in PS but in final use no one will look beyond the image itself. Some of us care about noise, but not the general public. To them the photo either works or it doesn't. In reality, it's only the special effects that get called out. If you do fun work all they see is the fun.
My technique is pretty simple. I chose wide open or close to wide open apertures. If one person was the important subject I used f2 or f2.5. If the shot had more than one person and I wanted a wider zone of focus I would shift to 2.8 or at the most f3.5. Nothing smaller than that. It's a small production company and the lights aren't as plentiful or as powerful as the lights we use at Zach shoots but the e30 handled the focusing without breaking a sweat. Most of the exposures were some variation on the theme of 2.5 at 1/125th @ 1600 ISO. I use manual exposure and I spot meter. I try to be aware of light changes. I chimp when I think it's necessary----but never for expression, always for basic light values.
But it was a bit of a cheat since I could watch the image on the EVF and fine tune as I shot.
Next time I'll bring two Pens and do the whole thing with vintage lenses because I really liked the look. Sharp but not too contrasty.
The gear was secondary to the experience. I was in front of a group of actors committed to their craft. No contingent of photographers leaping onto the stage to capture the "news in a flash" moment. We were all engaged in what we loved and the whole process flowed. I went home at the evening with 10 gigs of files and a feeling of refreshment and invigoration.
If you have a theater or dance company in your town doing images for them is a great way to fine tune your skill set as a photographer. Timing, exposure, focus and predicting the immediate future. It's all there and chances are good that they need you too.
The play starts this week (April 29th, 30th and May 1st ) and continues through the end of the month. It is free to the public and here's more info for the Austin readers: http://austinshakespeare.org/drupal/