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Thread: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

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    Senior Member The Smoking Camera's Avatar
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    Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    The Sony A7RII is an impressive camera. I've enjoyed several threads with intelligent comments by all.

    Simple question. Will this camera adequately focus and track a professional ballerina during a performance. And if so, what are viable lens options. Currently my typical settings are f2.8-4, 1/250-1/500sec, iso 1600-8000. I shoot with a 24-70 and 70-200 during dress rehearsal and 70-200, 200-400 or 400 during performances.

    The silent shutter and low light capabilities are quite appealing, but I need to capture shots like those below from a performance a couple of weeks ago. Thanks.











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    Joe Marquez
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Joe,
    It should work out well.

    I was walking around in the city this morning and did some quick focus tracking tests with 24-70 F4 FE. I have several sequences of 10 images shot using AF-C with focus tracking and all the images are in focus.

    Since the dancers are well lit with stage lighting there should be sufficient light.

    Ill know more after tomorrow night, shooting a concert with not great lighting.

    If it doesn't rain tomorrow I am going out to shoot some auto racing. Thats what prompted the test on the expressway in the city.

    Id say, based on the quick test that its better than my 5DIII with tracking auto focus.
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Sounds encouraging. Thank you.
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    Joe Marquez
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    hi,

    silent shutter will probably not work in this case there are two issues :

    1. fast moving objects can get distorted

    2. banding caused by light flickering - led/hmi are the worst but with the a7r2 i have banding issues with with tungsten starting from 1/200

    i very much recommend you do a test under real conditions because the camera also has a slight shutter lag and i know how difficult it is to get the perfect timing
    for this type of work ! nice images !


    christian
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by CSP View Post
    hi,

    silent shutter will probably not work in this case there are two issues :

    1. fast moving objects can get distorted

    2. banding caused by light flickering - led/hmi are the worst but with the a7r2 i have banding issues with with tungsten starting from 1/200

    i very much recommend you do a test under real conditions because the camera also has a slight shutter lag and i know how difficult it is to get the perfect timing
    for this type of work ! nice images !


    christian
    Good points.

    I will reiterate what Christian cautioned about the silent shutter- distortion. It is supposed to me minimized in the RX100 iv (new sensor readout) but will still be here as in the A7s. It hits you when you do not expect it/want it/need it.
    Last edited by Vivek; 29th August 2015 at 02:43.

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Another factor is that if you need f/2.8 zooms (and you probably do, if for nothing else, to make life easier for the AF), you'll need to use A-mount zooms with an adapter. They are excellent lenses, but roughly the same weight as other DSLR lenses and then you have to add the weight of the adapter.

    Although the A7R II sensor is supposed to be better at high ISO than the one in the D810, the comparison at Imaging Resource shows ugly artifacts in the shadows at ISO 12,800 from the Sony, but it does render more detail. Then there's AF, and I'm sure you know from experience that ballet stages are not always well lit, which means that you need the best low light AF-C that money can buy.

    I would clearly rent the camera and the lenses and try them out in real life before buying.

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    @ vivek yes, i also have the feeling that silent shutter can significant reduces sharpness of moving objects in an unpredictable way. images get a strange fuzzy look.
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Christian, Yes. i hope this will get refined in the future iterations.

    Another thing is the about the "Speed priority" mode (AF is fixed at the initial focus and no tracking- " burst mode") here the image quality is visibly less than a single snap. They do project a very nice action sequence when replayed on the LCD, quickly.

    This has everything to do with the lack of juice wrt to the processor. Sony manager Mark Weir has talked about this in an interview (i posted a link in the anything goes section). I hope he keeps his job for a while.

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by CSP View Post
    @ vivek yes, i also have the feeling that silent shutter can significant reduces sharpness of moving objects in an unpredictable way. images get a strange fuzzy look.

    I'm not sure if my RX1003 has silent shutter or uses a LS in the lens. I used this camera inside a theater twice or thrice just to "WTF?"
    Well I was surprised of the results. In general I liked them. Hundreds of misses, but who cares. It was a lot of fun. I was sitting in front row at the center.
    Hope this helps somehow, Eduardo

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Here is the same image uncropped.
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Apart from all the other issues you don't have a continuous mode in 'silent shutter' only single shot.

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    On LUF there is a Leica user from Boston who shoots ballet dance (his wife is the choreographer) with his M9, now with his M240.
    Of course there is only manual focus, but with a rangefinder, on those cameras.

    I wouldn't be surprised if one could get the A7RII also to work with manual focus for ballet.
    After all, the dancers move in a carefully choreographed manner, not erratically like a hummingbird.
    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    After all, the dancers move in a carefully choreographed manner, not erratically like a hummingbird.
    K-H, This argument is not applicable here at all, IMHO. How many shots did you fire (with an anchor point- the feeder) to capture the lovely shot you showed us?

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Thanks all for the responses. Quite informative and many things I had never considered. Typical GetDPI. Off to shoot an event but will review when I return.
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by CSP View Post
    hi,

    silent shutter will probably not work in this case there are two issues :

    1. fast moving objects can get distorted

    2. banding caused by light flickering - led/hmi are the worst but with the a7r2 i have banding issues with with tungsten starting from 1/200

    i very much recommend you do a test under real conditions because the camera also has a slight shutter lag and i know how difficult it is to get the perfect timing
    for this type of work ! nice images !


    christian
    Never realized distortion problems with a silent shutter nor banding issues. Is this just a Sony problem?
    ........................................
    Joe Marquez
    www.thesmokingcamera.com

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Another factor is that if you need f/2.8 zooms (and you probably do, if for nothing else, to make life easier for the AF), you'll need to use A-mount zooms with an adapter. They are excellent lenses, but roughly the same weight as other DSLR lenses and then you have to add the weight of the adapter.

    Although the A7R II sensor is supposed to be better at high ISO than the one in the D810, the comparison at Imaging Resource shows ugly artifacts in the shadows at ISO 12,800 from the Sony, but it does render more detail. Then there's AF, and I'm sure you know from experience that ballet stages are not always well lit, which means that you need the best low light AF-C that money can buy.

    I would clearly rent the camera and the lenses and try them out in real life before buying.
    The lens sizes are not an issue since I would likely use a tripod. Again I was unaware of the banding issues. Yes, AF-C in my Nikon DSLR's is exemplary and not easily surpassed. Again, the silent shutter and low light capabilities of the Sony caught my attention. I would definitely rent and test before buying and/or using at an important performance.
    ........................................
    Joe Marquez
    www.thesmokingcamera.com

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    Christian, Yes. i hope this will get refined in the future iterations.

    Another thing is the about the "Speed priority" mode (AF is fixed at the initial focus and no tracking- " burst mode") here the image quality is visibly less than a single snap. They do project a very nice action sequence when replayed on the LCD, quickly.

    This has everything to do with the lack of juice wrt to the processor. Sony manager Mark Weir has talked about this in an interview (i posted a link in the anything goes section). I hope he keeps his job for a while.
    I never shoot a burst during a performance. AF-C single shots and hope my timing is OK.
    ........................................
    Joe Marquez
    www.thesmokingcamera.com

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by Uaiomex View Post
    I'm not sure if my RX1003 has silent shutter or uses a LS in the lens. I used this camera inside a theater twice or thrice just to "WTF?"
    Well I was surprised of the results. In general I liked them. Hundreds of misses, but who cares. It was a lot of fun. I was sitting in front row at the center.
    Hope this helps somehow, Eduardo
    Nice images. I can't afford hundreds of misses. I need hundreds of hits and rare misses. Again, lovely shots.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Viramati View Post
    Apart from all the other issues you don't have a continuous mode in 'silent shutter' only single shot.
    Single shot is fine. That's what I do now. Just need to tracking to be spot on.
    ........................................
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
    On LUF there is a Leica user from Boston who shoots ballet dance (his wife is the choreographer) with his M9, now with his M240.
    Of course there is only manual focus, but with a rangefinder, on those cameras.

    I wouldn't be surprised if one could get the A7RII also to work with manual focus for ballet.
    After all, the dancers move in a carefully choreographed manner, not erratically like a hummingbird.
    I am a horrible manual focus photographer. My compliments to those who are able to capture motion with MF.
    ........................................
    Joe Marquez
    www.thesmokingcamera.com
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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Smoking Camera View Post
    I am a horrible manual focus photographer. My compliments to those who are able to capture motion with MF.
    When I was a young photographer manual focus was all there was and we shot lots of sports, dancing and other moving subjects.

    It takes practice and planning just like all other photography projects.

    Your dance images, as shown at the top of the thread are very nice. I am sure that you can accomplish the same thing with an A7RII and 70-200 F4. Especially if you are planning to use a tripod.

    I have some images in another thread here shot with A7RII and 70-200 handheld at a race track. Panning with the cars. The tracking AF worked much better than my panning technique.

    Here is one of them:

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    Re: Can Sony A7RII do Ballet?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Smoking Camera View Post
    Never realized distortion problems with a silent shutter nor banding issues. Is this just a Sony problem?
    believe me it is there, maybe you refer to a canon like silent shutter ?
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