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Running a CrossFit Facility Tips and guidance on how to open and operate a CrossFit gym.

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Old 10-24-2008, 06:47 AM   #1
Jennie Yundt
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Camera recommendation?

Hi everyone,

Over the summer months, I was able to use the natural light from outside to create GREAT pictures of the CrossFitters at my box. Unfortunately, it's winter now, and it's dark by 6:00PM. I have a Cannon SD800 IS camera, and I cannot take a good picture to save my life. Flash, no flash, ISO high, ISO low....I think it's the lighting inside my box that's causing these yucky pictures.

Has anyone found a good camera?

Here is what I'm running in to

Pictures without the flash are VERY washed out and shadowy: w/f/s http://picasaweb.google.com/CrossFit...43215404869010

Picutres with the flash are not bright enough, and show tons of chalk dust floating around: w/f/s http://picasaweb.google.com/CrossFit...43162511018818

Sigh....I long to take a good picture....any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:27 AM   #2
James Withington
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Re: Camera recommendation?

The vast majority of compact digital cameras, particularly those with tons of meg-pixels crammed into the sensor as seems to be the trend these days, are always going to struggle with "noise" in indoor situations where high ISO settings are needed.

If you want a good quality image taken indoors in poor-ish lighting, your best bet is going to be a DSLR of some kind. Unfortunately, they are muchos expensivos and can be bulky and cumbersome compared to compact cameras. Maybe try looking on ebay for some decent second hand entry-level DSLRs like the Nikon D40 for example?

I guess it all depends on your budget really.
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Old 10-24-2008, 07:31 AM   #3
Greg Major
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Re: Camera recommendation?

I use the Nikon D-50. You can probably get a good deal on one since newer models have come out. It takes great pics even if you just use auto mode. Well worth the investment for your box and all round use.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Jennifer, I tried your links to see your pics, but they don't work. IF I could see them, I could trouble shoot better for you (I went to one of top photo schools in the country!). Here's some general advice...

A good camera is always helpful, but here's a few things to think about too.....

A built-in flash on a camera will only light up to approximately 15 feet or so. The flash will light everything that's close to it (overexposing the really close stuff!), and then the light falls off and everything farther away will get darker and darker. Once you understand this, it will probably explain some of your problems.

If you use only available light (no flash), depending on what types of light bulbs light your space, you will get a color shift in your photos. If you have flourescent lighting, your photos will look greenish....incandescent bulbs will give you a yellow cast, shooting indoors available light will usually give you a blue color cast. If your camera doesn't have the ability to "white balance", you can fix this off color, in photoshop.

Make sure your camera isn't set to too high of an ISO (ASA for old-shcoolers), as this will cause more "noise" in the shadows. Better to set the ISO to around 400 and put it on a tripod, or set it on some type of stable surface.

Not sure what else to tell you without being able to actually see your photos.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:23 AM   #5
Jennie Yundt
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Hmm....the links don't work?

Try this: http://picasaweb.google.com/CrossFitFireIL

Navigate to my 10/15/08 album, and check out the pictures. You'll probably be able to see which ones used the flash as opposed to the ones that used no flash. I would LOVE your help trouble shooting! I have the ISO set to "high" (High and auto are my only choices in automatic mode, but there are more choices in manual mode)

Thanks Nancy!
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:29 AM   #6
Joe Marsh
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Hi Jen! Zach uses a Canon EOS 5D with an EF 50mm 1:1.4 lens. I have no idea what any of that means, but we get compliments on our pics all the time. I do know that all that is quite pricey. Shoot him an email as he knows a ton more about that crap than I do. When you coming back out here anyway?
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Got your links....have more to say....

Remember, that any camera, no matter how expensive, has a light meter in it that takes, basically, an average light reading.

The pics without flash:

1. The shadows are coming from your light sources in your space. There is nothing you can do about that.

2. whoever, or whatever is closest to those light sources, will be lit brighter than anything else. For example, in photo #23, the guy in the foreground in the white shirt must be very close to an overhead light. His shirt is getting most of the light and so gets more overexposed. That same light is probably hitting the guy in the blue shirt in the foreground too.

3. Look at photo #25...the exposure is perfect. The shadows come from your light source above and are normal.

4. differences in exposure from say, photo #26-#27 are due to the fact that in-camera light meters take only an average reading, and that will vary, depending on what the meter is pointed at (point it at a white wall and your pics will be underexposed...point it at a dark wall, or dark area, and the meter will compensate by lightening up the exposure. Try to point your camera at something mid-tone, mid-grey, hold the trigger button down 1/2 way, then recompose the shot and fire it the rest of the way.

On the pics with the flash:

1. Pic #20...flash is hitting the guy's arm in foreground, and then dropping off so background goes darker. It is the nature of a built-in flash.

2. Pic #18...an in-camera flash will never evenly light up a space that big. It will always light up the things it hits first, and the things far away will go dark.


There's not really too much you can do about all of this, except to understand the limitations of an in-camera flash. Are you able to turn off the lights in the ceiling, open the doors to let in as much light as possible, and shoot available light? That might be your best thing to try.

I hope this helps a little.
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Old 10-24-2008, 10:37 AM   #8
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Marsh View Post
Hi Jen! Zach uses a Canon EOS 5D with an EF 50mm 1:1.4 lens. I have no idea what any of that means, but we get compliments on our pics all the time. I do know that all that is quite pricey. Shoot him an email as he knows a ton more about that crap than I do. When you coming back out here anyway?
The 5D is a great camera, but the camera is not the biggest problem.

Jennifer...the principals of light and light "fall-off" will not change, no matter which camera you buy! The light sensor in a more expensive camera, like the 5d, will give you more accurate overall light readings, and will give you a sharper image...but...it can not compensate for uneven lighting. And, if you put a flash on the 5D, the light from the flash will cause you the same problems of things in foreground getting overexposed and things in back going dark.

Don't mean to sound like a know it all, but I'm actually a commercial photographer. I'm only trying to help! When I take a little point and shoot camera to a party to take snapshots, the same thing happens to my photos that is happening to yours!
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:38 AM   #9
Jennie Yundt
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Thanks for all your help Nancy! Unfortunately, we don't have the ability to open our door and let the natural light in during the winter months. #1 - it's 40 degrees here. and #2 - it's just as dark outside as it is inside. The pictures from the summer turned out great, so the problem is definitely the weird lights/lack of lights in our gym.

Do you think that adding more lights in our space would help? We have these two huge things that hang from the ceiling and provide 85% of our light. The other 15% of the light comes from some fluorescent lights we installed in our loft.

In your opinion, am I better off learning the limitations of my point and shoot camera, or spending some money and buying a nice camera? Maybe I'll "test drive" a camera from one of my members. He has a Nikon D50 I think...
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Old 10-24-2008, 11:40 AM   #10
Jennie Yundt
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Marsh View Post
Hi Jen! Zach uses a Canon EOS 5D with an EF 50mm 1:1.4 lens. I have no idea what any of that means, but we get compliments on our pics all the time. I do know that all that is quite pricey. Shoot him an email as he knows a ton more about that crap than I do. When you coming back out here anyway?
Wow....I don't know what any of that means either, but it sounds cool! I'll look into that stuff and see what that would set me back. The other thing I should add is that I am an incredible clutz. I can just picture myself tripping and smashing $1.5K worth of camera equipment against a barbell.

I'm not sure when my next trip out there will be! I'm dying to come see your new box!
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