Protected: Fumie’s Chorus Apperance and my Photographic Disaster

Fumie had a preschool-related event yesterday, as a member of the Mama's chorus. There were groups from all the various schools in the system, from our preschool up through the college.

It was with this upcoming event in mind that I went ahead and bought the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 zoom lens last month. I knew I'd get the lens eventually, but with the expected dark theater of this event, I decided not to wait.

I ran into focus issues with it, and not knowing how long it might take Nikon to recalibrate it, I put off bringing it in.

Yesterday, the theater didn't seem so dark, but even at ISO 1600 and f/2.8, I was still getting shutter speeds slower than 1/100th of a second for most shots. And the D200 is not really very good at ISO 1600, with a lot of sensor noise.

Preschool Mama's Choir (Fumie is second from the left) -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl
Nikon D200 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/90 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Preschool's Mama Choir
(Fumie is second from the left)

Knowing that the lens had auto-focus issues, I kept to manual focus. It's easy enough to focus manually, and although the D200 viewfinder doesn't have a split-prism screen, it's large and bright, and focus is easy to confirm.

Yet the results were pathetic. Many shots were woefully, horribly out of focus. Combine that with the high ISO and a general difficulty of photographing singing people in a manner that looks complimentary, and it was just a disaster.

About the focus, I've done careful, measured tests of the autofocus with this lens and it definitely has issues, but I never expected any issues with manual focus. At this point I can only guess that the manual-focus problem lies with the camera operator.

Nikon D200 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/45 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — full exif & map
During the pre-performance practice, I could move around more and get shots like this
(Fumie is still second from the left)

All in all, very few of my shots came out “okay,” and none are really “good.” Sigh. The ones you see here have been cleaned up a bit with Noise Ninja.

On the brighter side, the singing was very, very nice. Fumie has a wonderful singing voice, a trait apparently shared with many of her fellow moms (but not shared, in any sense, by me).

The piano was played by a third-year (equates to kindergarten in the US) mom who was fantastic. She's one of the few who has risen to the level of playing music rather than notes. (She also can serve a pretty mean volleyball, which I know because I've practiced with the Mama volleyball club on occasion.)

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl
Nikon D200 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm — 1/100 sec, f/2.8, ISO 1600 — full exif & map

While waiting in the lobby for the hall to open, I noticed a rain-soaked tree just outside the window, and took this shot:

Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2006 Jeffrey Eric Francis Friedl
Nikon D200 + 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm — 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600 — full exif & map

At f/5.6, well, at least I could get something in focus yesterday.

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