Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Show everyone the latest shots which make you feel dead chuffed with your camera choice
Forum rules
No more than three images or three external links allowed in any post or reply. Please trim quotations and do not include images in quotes unless essential.
User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:25 am

Hi Y’all!
First, I would like to say that I am quite happy with my A99. :D However, I recently upgraded to the A7III solely for the added ability of 4K video recording. From time to time, I help a friend with his videography business, and he recently upgraded to several 4K JVC cinema video cameras. So I thought that this would be a good excuse for me to upgrade as well. :D That way if we’re in a position where we need more camera angles than what we can cover with his cameras and lenses, we can always throw mine into the mix. The quality of the video footage from the A7III matches up perfectly with the footage from his cameras, which means that little to no post processing is required. One difference though, is that his cameras can also record in 2K, whereas the A7III cannot. (Yes, we shoot in 2K from time to time.)

Anyhow, I thought that I’d test out the high ISO performance of the A7III by taking some handheld photos of the St. Louis Ballet dancers in the dark backstage environment during our last Nutcracker production run. I must honestly say that even though the high ISO images are a little soft, they’re still much better than what I could have achieved years ago using high ISO film (hand held). Plus, I think that the softness adds to the romanticism of the ballet photos. I’m sure that the A7S camera series would be better suited for the backstage environment, but considering that I bought the A7III for video purposes, I am unexpectedly and delightfully surprised at the high ISO photo quality. What I miss though, is the option to set the auto focus range, which is something that I always use on the A99 when shooting backstage.

I’ll dig through a few of my favorite photos and post them. I'll start with a few quiet backstage moments with the Saint Louis Ballet.
Since I don’t own any FE mount lenses, all of the photos are taken with A-mount lenses using the LA-EA4 adaptor.

Sig

-The calm before the (snow) storm.
A7III, 24-70 ZA, F 3.5, 1/320, ISO 20000
A7_04318.jpg
A7_04318.jpg (241.93 KiB) Viewed 1398 times


-Young angels patiently waiting for their next entrance.
A7III, 24-70 ZA, F 2.8, 1/80, ISO 1600
A7_04451.jpg
A7_04451.jpg (214.81 KiB) Viewed 1398 times


-The loyal and trusted stage hand attentively waiting for his next task.
A7III, 70-200 G, F 3.2, 1/160, ISO 20000
A7_04595.jpg
A7_04595.jpg (88.14 KiB) Viewed 1398 times
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Thu Jan 23, 2020 5:09 pm

-Quietly contemplating the job at hand.
A7III, 24-70 ZA, F 2.8, 1/50, ISO 20000
A7_04627.jpg
A7_04627.jpg (249.32 KiB) Viewed 1386 times


-The loneness of a solo entrance.
A7III, 24-70 ZA, F 3.5, 1/320, ISO 20000
A7_04369.jpg
A7_04369.jpg (126.17 KiB) Viewed 1386 times


-Waiting for curtain call: a moment of watching, relaxing, and discussing performances.
A7III, 50 1.7 Minolta, F 3.2, 1/60, ISO 12800
A7_03840.jpg
A7_03840.jpg (211.44 KiB) Viewed 1386 times
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

User avatar
sury
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 4932
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:58 am
Location: San Jose, California, USA

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby sury » Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:10 pm

Sig,
1,2, and 4 are my absolute favorites for the mood it conveys (to me) while all of them are fantastic.

Sury
Minimize avoidable sufferings - Sir Karl Popper

jbtaylor
Viceroy
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:50 pm
Location: Maryland USA
Contact:

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby jbtaylor » Thu Jan 23, 2020 8:00 pm

Well done.
Any thoughts on using the adapter? Does the combination with heavier lenses affect balance?
JT

User avatar
ValeryD
Viceroy
Posts: 949
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:25 pm
Location: Winnipeg
Contact:

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby ValeryD » Thu Jan 23, 2020 9:37 pm

Good shots!
Everything in the life unusual!

User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:17 am

Thanks Sury, JT, & Valery!

JT, for normal everyday photography, I usually pair the A7 with several small Minolta prime lenses that I have (24, 50, 135). They look and feel perfectly at home with the camera and adapter. A newer large prime like the 85 ZA is borderline. It's only when I attach the heavier 24-70 ZA or the 70-200 G that I notice a big difference in balance. But I only notice it when I'm NOT shooting. Once I put the camera up to my face, any balance issues seem to disappear. Probably because the full weight of the lens is in my supporting hand, the same as it would be if I were using the A99. The only annoying issue that I've run across with the adapter is when I'm mounting the camera to the rig that I have for shooting video. The bottom of the adapter is too big to fit through the cage if it's attached to the camera. I have to remove the adapter, then mount the body to the rig, then reattach the adapter. So much for "quick release." Though, I guess that's more of a "rig" issue than an "adapter" issue.

Sig
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

jbtaylor
Viceroy
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:50 pm
Location: Maryland USA
Contact:

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby jbtaylor » Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:49 pm

Thank you Sig for the detailed answer. I seem to recall that one adapter is better for SSM lenses and so no good for non-SSM lenses like the ZA 85 or the ZA 135. Last question, do you see a difference in auto focus performance between the 70-200 versus the 85?
Thanks again.

User avatar
aster
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 5727
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2008 2:33 pm

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby aster » Fri Jan 24, 2020 9:28 pm

.

Brilliant series of a backstage atmosphere that are neatly shot, Sig. :) Very enjoyable and curious to observe the quiet wait before each and everyone of them thrust themselves into action on the stage.
Thanks for sharing. :)

Congratulations on your new camera upgrade. Hope we see more photos from whichever camera/lens you prefer to use. :)

Yildiz

User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Thu Jan 30, 2020 8:55 am

Thanks Yildiz! I hope that I’m with the St. Louis Ballet long enough to enjoy taking a few more of these types of shots. It’s almost time for me to bow-out from the stage. Maybe they’ll keep me around for a few more years. A lot of ballets have “old man” roles. LOL!

JT,
I don’t see any difference in the auto focus “performance” between the 85 ZA or 70-200 G, or using them either on the A99 or with the LA-EA4 adaptor on the A7III. Although to me, the “feel” of the 85 ZA’s screw drive locking on focus is more reassuring than the “feel” of the 70-200 G’s SSM soft stop. As far as the adaptors go, from what I understand, the LA-EA3 does not support auto-focus for the lenses that require a screw-drive motor (like the 85 ZA), but the LA-EA4 does and it performs just as good as if it were a built in A99 phase-detection auto focus system. Below is a link that lists the differences between the Sony A to E adaptors.

A to E adapter list: https://www.sony.co.th/en/electronics/s ... s/00021281

Sig

When all of your friends rush on to the stage, and leave you behind in the wings, you watch and eagerly wait for your entrance to join them.
A7III, 24mm Minolta, F 2.8, 1/80, ISO 32000
A7_03522.jpg
A7_03522.jpg (245.09 KiB) Viewed 1163 times


Distracted at the last minute. But that’s okay when you’ve still got another 8 counts before going on stage.
A7III, 70-200 G, F 3.2, 1/125, ISO 20000
A7_03638.jpg
A7_03638.jpg (219.54 KiB) Viewed 1163 times


No, it’s not the zombie ballerina apocalypse. :lol:
Left to right:
- Stagehand waiting for a cue.
- Tucking in pointe shoe ribbons.
- Doing head rolls to warm up the neck muscles for pirouettes.
- Planking on pointe for a full body warm up (apparently that’s a thing now). :)
A7III, 24mm Minolta, F 3.2, 1/60, ISO 6400
A7_03685.jpg
A7_03685.jpg (221.34 KiB) Viewed 1163 times
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:01 am

A7III, 70-200 G, F 3.2, 1/640, ISO 2500
A7_03658.jpg
A7_03658.jpg (213.49 KiB) Viewed 1162 times


A7III, 70-200 G, F 3.2, 1/500, ISO 2000
A7_03676.jpg
A7_03676.jpg (190.38 KiB) Viewed 1162 times


A7III, 70-200 G, F 3.2, 1/640, ISO 2000
A7_03745.jpg
A7_03745.jpg (189.76 KiB) Viewed 1162 times
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

User avatar
sury
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 4932
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:58 am
Location: San Jose, California, USA

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby sury » Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:23 am

Thoroughly enjoyable set Sig. Thank you for the explanation on third shot. I was wondering what's going on to right.

Sury
Minimize avoidable sufferings - Sir Karl Popper

jbtaylor
Viceroy
Posts: 1351
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 8:50 pm
Location: Maryland USA
Contact:

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby jbtaylor » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:10 pm

Love the last set.
What is your hit to miss ratio in these situations?

User avatar
ValeryD
Viceroy
Posts: 949
Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 2:25 pm
Location: Winnipeg
Contact:

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby ValeryD » Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:13 pm

Nice shots
Everything in the life unusual!

User avatar
smulnik
Oligarch
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: St. Louis (the east side)

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby smulnik » Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:26 am

Thanks Sury, JT, & Valery!

JT, when I’m shooting from backstage my hit/miss ratio is about 1 out of 12.

Just FYI about being backstage…
There is always something going on that I have to look out for (I give everyone else the right of way, and top priority over my photography). There are dancers running to make an entrance, stagehands pushing sets and props, the fly-crew running from rope to rope, drops coming in and out, etc. Then there is the issue of the dancers continually moving upstage and downstage while they perform, which means that I have to run/slide/roll from wing to wing, as well as adjust my angle of view so that I’m not shooting straight into the lights (I’ve asked the dancers time and again to stand in one place to dance, but they never seem to listen to me). After all of that, I then have to time the shot to catch them in a good position. But even if all of the planets align, there is always the chance that someone in the background is caught in a compromising position.

Every once in a while, I get the opportunity to take photos from the theater seats. It’s much easier to shoot from there, with even lighting and a flatter focal plane. Plus the dancers are always performing straight at you. So the hit/miss ratio is much better. I’d say about 1 out of 4.

The key to dance photography (I’m giving up a trade secret), is to listen and count with the music. Most everything cool happens on count 1, count 8, or the ending counts of a phrase like 5-6-7-8. So be patient and wait for the count.

P.S. I forgot to mention: the A7III does NOT have a panorama option. :(

Sig
A7 III - A99 - NEX 7 - A900 - A100 - RX100 IV

User avatar
sury
Subsuming Vortex of Brilliance
Posts: 4932
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2007 6:58 am
Location: San Jose, California, USA

Re: Dancers in the Dark - St. Louis Ballet (A7III high ISO)

Unread postby sury » Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:07 am

Sig,
Thank you for that enlightening explanation. Personally, I never had much success with built-in pano function.

Sury
Minimize avoidable sufferings - Sir Karl Popper


Return to “Give it Your Best Shot”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron