Help with low light work with Canon 5D2

Started Dec 28, 2009 | Discussions thread
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vvk Junior Member • Posts: 44
Help with low light work with Canon 5D2

I am trying to determine if what I am trying to do is feasible.

I need to take pictures of music players at concerts. Mostly chamber music, piano, etc.

The stage is usually poorly lit. At the same time, I need very short exposure due to player movement. Ideally 1/125 or less.

Assume I use only fast primes.

Normally I shoot on an APC sensor camera using a fast telephoto prime. Due to the distance and focal length, I must stop down to at least f5.6, if not f8 to get acceptable depth of field. Keep in mind, I need to keep exposure down to at least 1/125. This has proven to be impossible without using flash. Due to configuration of the ceiling, bounce flash does not work at all -- I have to direct fire. I have no way to set up remote flashes, umbrellas and the like. It is just me, my camera and a tripod.

I am looking to upgrade to a full frame system. My budget allows a D700 or 5D2, along with a fast prime.

I have read many reviews and tests, as well as doing my own tests (at the local store). It seems that D700 has a slight edge in terms of high ISO noise.

However, Canon has 21mp vs. 12mp of the Nikon. I am thinking that there has to be a way for me to utilize this resolution advantage.

One thing that occurs to me is that due to higher pixel count one might be able to shoot with a fast normal or even wide prime, taking advantage of increased depth of field. This way, say using a 50/1.4 (or 35/2) I could open up as far as f2.8 or perhaps even f2 in order to get the same DOF as f5.6/f8 on my telephoto. Keeping my subject centered in the middle, I could then utilize the superior resolution of Canon's sensor to crop out what is not needed and get better results than using the whole frame on D700. In other words, utilize digital zoom instead of optical zoom to achieve the same photo at much larger aperture. So perhaps this would allow me to use ISO3200 on 5D2 vs. ISO6400 on D700, or ISO6400 on 5D2 vs. ISO12800 on D700.

What do FF Canon users think of this idea? Is this a pipe dream or is my logic correct?

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