Thursday, February 28, 2008

Nikon D3 Test (NCDT Ballet Photos)

Photographing the North Carolina Dance Theatre's (NCDT) dress rehearsal for "Rhoden, Bolero and Balanchine" was the perfect opportunity to test out my new Nikon D3 camera.
I've been photographing ballet for more than decade and I've transitioned from film to a variety of digital cameras. Ballet presents many technical challenges as you endeavor to photograph movement in typically low, ever-changing light.
I was excited to test the capabilities of the D3 after hearing great things about the camera's performance at high ISOs.
(For the non-photographers, a camera's ISO function sets the light sensitivity of the camera's image sensor - similar to the speed rating of film. Typically, the higher the ISO the greater the amount of noise or grain in the image).
I have to say that among the many great things about this camera, the ability to increase the ISO up to 6400 while maintaining image quality is nothing short of remarkable.
I've heard others make this comment as well, but this camera allows me to make photographs that weren't possible before.
Keep in mind that I'm not being paid by Nikon (although I would be open to such an arrangement), but I am a long-time Nikon user.
The D3 also has a blazing 9-frames-per second motor drive (when shooting with non-DX lenes) and the full-frame sensor which adds a new dimension to lens selection. (Previous digital Nikons all had a conversion factor which changed the actual focal length of the lens.)
The ability to shoot at the higher ISOs allows the use of higher shutter speeds, which enables the photographer to better freeze the moving, leaping dancers. In the past, I would have to use very slow (1/30th of a second) shutter speeds as I would have to time the shot at the moment of least movement.
Well that's enough technical talk. It's been my great pleasure to photograph these wonderful dancers over the years and I'm always amazed by their talent. Charlotte is so lucky to have such an incredible dance troupe led by Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux and his wife Patricia McBride.
Performances run tonight through Saturday (Feb. 1-March 1) and then Thursday through Saturday (March 6-8) next week.
You won't be disappointed in this entertaining, versatile show.
(A reminder, click on the photo for a better look and then hit the back button to return to the blog. I'm including some technical information for the photographers in the crowd. Enjoy!)

Traci Gilchrest lets her hair down
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/640 at f2.8)

Joseph Watson and Seia Rassenti
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/200th at f2.8)

Sasha Janes and Alessandra Ball
(Nikon D3 ISO 3200 1/250th at f2.8)

Alessandra Ball gives a curtain call
(Nikon D3 ISO 3200 1/4ooth f2.8)

Kara Wilkes and David Ingram
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/200th f2.8)

Anna Gerberich in the wings
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/100th f2.8)

Seia Rassenti
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/200th f2.8)

(Nikon D3 ISO 3200 1/400th at f2.8)

(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/400th f2.8)

Kara Wilkes and David Ingram
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/320th f2.8)

Sasha Janes
(Nikon D3 ISO 4000 1/400th f2.8)

Seia Rassenti and Joseph Watson
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/160th f2.8)

Sasha Janes and Anna Gerberich
(Nikon D3 ISO 2500 1/320th f2.8)

(Nikon D3 ISO 2500 1/500th f2.8)

Kara Wilkes
(Nikon D3 ISO 5000 1/500th f2.8)

(Nikon D3 ISO 2500 1/500th f2.8)

1 comment:

Alison said...

Love the pics! I want some copies!! =)