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Indoor preschool graduation

edited June 2015 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Hi! I just got the cheat cards and noticed there's not much for indoor performances. We're going to a preschool graduation that will be inside and I'm wondering what a good setting would be to get some non-blurry pictures of the ceremony. It's likely we'll be fairly close, although not standing right on top of the kids, obviously. Any hints?


  • edited June 2015
    Also, I have the Nikon 50mm, 18-55mm, and 55-200mm.
  • edited June 2015
    It may depend on the size of the hall and how many people you want in a shot. If you're planning on mostly individuals, and going to be more than 15 feet or so from them, I'd use the 55-200mm. If closer, or if you need group shots, then use the 18-55mm. The 50mm will be nice for more artistic portrait shots, and if the light is really dim, but probably not so necessary for documentation where depth of field limitation is undesired. If you're really unsure where you'll be, mount the 18-55mm first. If you find the view too wide, you can crop it later, but you can't make a narrow shot wider. If you shoot in Raw or highest density JPG mode, the D3200 can stand a lot of cropping.

    Various settings will work well if your main goal is to get sharp pictures of the event. Your options for artistic composition and the like will probably be limited by time and location anyway, so the artistic use of shallow depth of field is probably less important than the versatility of the zooms. For people, the D3200 does pretty well with high ISO also, so one option would be to decide what aperture gives you adequate depth of field, and use Aperture priority. If the light is good enough, try f/8, and if it's a bit dim, lower the F number as needed. The camera then sets the shutter speed and raises ISO when the shutter speed goes too low. If you go to the shooting menu and find the Auto ISO setting, you will find a sub-setting there for minimum shutter speed. If you set that to Auto as well, the camera will set a minimum speed specific to the lens that's on it, handy to avoid camera shake with longer lenses.

    If you can experiment with the space a bit beforehand it will help, and it will also help if you can experiment at home with settings to see what sort of depth of field you get at different distances, and what shutter speeds are comfortable for you to hold. If you find that the aperture is really not an issue, you can switch to Program mode. The camera here will set both aperture and shutter speed, with a slight bias toward higher shutter speeds, within a certain range, still raising the auto ISO when needed. That gives you something pretty close to point and shoot, but you can still control auto focus, flash, ISO and other things that the "auto" mode commandeers.

    I would avoid the auto and portrait mode settings, because the camera's flash will be actuated most of the time indoors, and various options will be removed, including pinpoint auto focus. Chances are pretty good that the light will be at least fair, and you won't be bothering others with the flash.

    Use single point or dynamic area focus. If you don't expect to focus and recompose for off-center subjects, you can set it to A mode and dynamic area, and the camera will decide whether it needs to track a moving subject. Auto area focus may not choose the same kid you want. 3D focus is best for fast moving objects like football players and race cars, and while it often works great, it works best if its one chosen subject stands out from its surroundings, which may not be the case in a room full of little kids.

    If you find your subject is back lit (bright lights behind the head), switch your metering to spot and aim at the face, so as to avoid getting a dark face in a perfectly exposed room.

    Also, with the D3200, make sure you frequently check the focus point in the viewfinder. If I have one serious complaint against this camera, it is that there is no AF point lock, and it's very easy to move it by accident. Use the [OK] button to quickly recenter it.

  • Thank you! This is really, really helpful!
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