View Full Version : Onstage with the R-D1

01-09-2005, 20:44
Just had my first chance to shoot a stage production with the R-D1.

Two "key learnings" from that, one expected and one unexpected -

The expected: I had forgotten how great it is to have a 1:1 viewfinder when shooting a stage show. It's really valuable to have both eyes open and be able to see the action taking shape. I haven't felt this comfortable since my eyesight got too bad to use my Canon VI-T... and of course the R-D1 has a much nicer VF than the Canon!

The 50mm lens (a 'medium tele' on the R-D1) worked really well too.

The unexpected: The R-D1's center-weighted meter does a surprisingly good job of handling stage lighting (at least on a small stage like this one, where I could be fairly close.)

From previous experience with other center-weighted systems, I had expected I'd need to apply anything from -2/3 to -1 1/3 stop exposure compensation, to allow for the large black area surrounding the subjects.

However, I found that all images with that much compensation were heavily underexposed. The best images were shot at either 0 or -1/3.

Some reviews have stated that the Bessa R3a (on which the R-D1 body is based) has the same metering system as the previous Bessa R2. However, looking at the R2, I can see that all the shutter blades are the same shade of gray... this gives a sensitivity pattern that extends almost all the way to the top and bottom of the frame.

On the R-D1 (and I believe on the R3a, judging from pictures I've seen) the middle two shutter blades are white. This should concentrate the sensitivity much more toward the center.

At any rate, the R-D1's meter is selective enough that it gave me good results under these conditions with little or no compensation. I'm going to have to do some experimenting to map out its sensitivity area more exactly.

back alley
01-09-2005, 21:02
very nice shot!

01-09-2005, 23:26
Pretty exciting to see the culmination of all that practice... and have photographic access.

01-09-2005, 23:39
JLW, your hands-on reviews of the R-D1 are great! And since you put the camera to the test in difficult lighting situations, these reviews are more useful than many of reviews and lens tests I've seen and read about the camera.

Great shot, too!

01-10-2005, 15:23
Very nice shot, and encouraging information.