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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, 11:57 AM   #11
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

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Originally Posted by Jennifer Forman View Post
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...
One way to get more even light, is to aim your lights at the ceiling and let the light bounce off the ceiling, and it will spread more evenly. If possible, try this with all of your lights. It will usually create a nicer environment anyway, regardless of photo needs. And then, yes, add lights as necessary to even out the lighting in the space. But, if all the lights are just pointed down, you'll still get hot spots on whoever is standing right under the lights.

Do not go out and spend a bunch of $ on a camera, expecting to get drastically different results. If the lighting conditions all remain the same, you will get virtually the same results. A more expensive camera can NOT change the lighting! The lighting is what it is. Borrow the members expensive camera and see for yourself!

I'm not sure what info Joe sent you, but if possible, I'd be interested to hear what he says so I can chime in!
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:05 PM   #12
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

By the way, I was just re-reading this thread. When other people say, "My 5D (or whatever) takes great pics. Get one of these.".... ok, so, whatever and wherever they're photographing, the camera is taking nice pics. But...take that same camera to your box and shoot with it, and you will have similar results to what you already have, because it is mainly a lighting issue.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:02 PM   #13
Henry Miller
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Re: Camera recommendation?

There is a reason professionals generally have a flash that isn't on the camera. Often their flash is pointed to bonce of an umbrella.

Either you need a lot better light in your gym (color blance, quantity, and bounced - all are important), or you need a better flash system. After counting the cost of better lights (and the electric to run them), the flash is cheaper, but you probably want better lights anyway. Still you need to think about what way to go.

You can also take smaller pictures. Instead of photographing your group, do a close up (use a zoom lens and a tri-pod, don't get too close) of just one person. Experiment - you may have one corner where things look great. Or maybe you can live with improving on area to look great. The advantage of one photo area is you can setup external flash, and tri-pods to that area, and people who don't want to be photographed no where not to go. (or is this a disadvantage?)
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:20 PM   #14
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

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Originally Posted by Henry Miller View Post
There is a reason professionals generally have a flash that isn't on the camera. Often their flash is pointed to bonce of an umbrella.

Either you need a lot better light in your gym (color blance, quantity, and bounced - all are important), or you need a better flash system. After counting the cost of better lights (and the electric to run them), the flash is cheaper, but you probably want better lights anyway. Still you need to think about what way to go.

You can also take smaller pictures. Instead of photographing your group, do a close up (use a zoom lens and a tri-pod, don't get too close) of just one person. Experiment - you may have one corner where things look great. Or maybe you can live with improving on area to look great. The advantage of one photo area is you can setup external flash, and tri-pods to that area, and people who don't want to be photographed no where not to go. (or is this a disadvantage?)
Like Henry said, professionals will bounce their lights into umbrellas, or use soft boxes, or bounce the lights off the ceiling or side walls. This gives a softer light that spreads more. Keep in mind though that, even if you bounce a flash into an umbrella, you still get light fall off, which is why we'll usually need more than one light....anyway...much too complicated and equipment intense for a non-photographer, so probably not an option for anyone here.

Henry also has a great point to take tighter cropped photos in an area where the existing light looks the best, therefore making the best of the situation that you've got.
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Old 10-26-2008, 06:56 PM   #15
Lincoln Brigham
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Another vote for more light.

For something like $8 I bought a construction site halogen light and use that for stills and video. Obviously it's not professional quality lighting, but it made a big difference over house flourescent lighting. I'm sure you can come up with something to improve the lighting situation for a lot cheaper than buying a new camera.
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Old 10-27-2008, 06:56 AM   #16
Neil Khant
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Re: Camera recommendation?

My wife has the Fuji Finepix F30 and my son has the F20. It has been excellent for taking pictures in all lights.

The newer ones claim to have an even better processor than the ones above.
For an easy point and shoot that takes great pictures the Finepix F series has been great.

http://www.dpreview.com/news/0801/08...fujif100fd.asp

WFS. Plus DPreview.com is a great site for information on any camera.


From Article on the Finepix F100FD:

NEW Wide Dynamic Range

Dynamic Range, or the gradations of light that exist between bright and dark in any scene, can be easily detected by the human eye, but not by most cameras. Fujifilm first expanded dynamic range capture functionality on the professional imaging side with its FinePix S3 Pro digital camera. The technology, now perfected in the EISA Award-winning FinePix S5 Pro, has been brought to the consumer in the FinePix F100fd.

Through a combination of advances in Fujifilm’s new Super CCD HR VIII sensor and RP (Real Photo) Processor III, this wide dynamic range dramatically broadens tonal capability and guarantees exceptional rendition of photos with both bright highlights and dark shadows. This expansion of sensitivity captures greater detail, and subtle nuances of brightness and tonality that bring the photo closer to what the human eye actually sees helping to avoid the ‘white sky’ effect caused by the loss of fine highlight detail.
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Old 10-27-2008, 08:24 AM   #17
Alex Cibiri
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Re: Camera recommendation?

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Originally Posted by Nancy Cohen View Post
By the way, I was just re-reading this thread. When other people say, "My 5D (or whatever) takes great pics. Get one of these.".... ok, so, whatever and wherever they're photographing, the camera is taking nice pics. But...take that same camera to your box and shoot with it, and you will have similar results to what you already have, because it is mainly a lighting issue.
Very true.

The lighting and composition are IMO the most important parts of any picture. The upside of a DSLR is that you can buy an external flash and bounce it off walls, the ceiling wherever you'd like and umbrella is not necessary for normal action shooting. A fast lens is also a nice addition to a DSLR set up, but as was mentioned before a decent DSLR set up can run you $1.5K. I use my set up around the gym all the time, get some of my members to help take pictures at time and it works great - it is an expensive set up but you bought it to use it so make sure you make use of it if you do get one.

The other option is to get a pro-sumer camera, and just play with your settings until you find something that works nicely given the lighting situations in your box. You should be able to keep the settings fairly similar as long as the lighting stays the same. I find that unless you're willing to spend some time learning about DSLRs, lenses, external flashes, and all the settings that are available on a DSLR - a pro-sumer camera is many times the better option. No sense in paying for features you're not going to use, right?
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:10 AM   #18
Jennie Yundt
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Re: Camera recommendation?

Holy mother of all things complicated. I went to Best Buy and Circuit City thinking that I would just play around with some DSLR cameras and see what I thought. Since there are no external flash options available for my point and shoot camera, I figured that a DSLR might help with the weird lighting a little. There is so much information about these cameras that my head nearly exploded. First there is the fact that these things cost either $500 or $1,500. Whenever there is such a huge price range, I'm always left wondering, "what does this one have that the other one doesn't?" So I stood there comparing labels and features trying to decide what you get for the extra $$. After about 10 minutes I realized that I had no clue what lens speed, focal length, aperture, and shutter speed are, so comparing these labels was a waste of time. Then I decided I'd just start snapping pictures to see how they turned out. I picked up the camera, (but made sure to set my back like I was deadlifting, because the damn thing was like 177lbs), spent 3 minutes finding the on switch, and then stared blankly at this thing while it blinked, beeped and flashed cryptic symbols at me. Apparently DSLR cameras are too complicated for me.

After much frustration on my camera browsing journey, I have decided that I'm going to try getting a halogen type light and try bouncing it off different walls to see if it provides a more even light setting.
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Old 10-27-2008, 09:30 AM   #19
Nancy Cohen
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Re: Camera recommendation?

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Originally Posted by Jennifer Forman View Post
I picked up the camera, (but made sure to set my back like I was deadlifting, because the damn thing was like 177lbs), spent 3 minutes finding the on switch, and then stared blankly at this thing while it blinked, beeped and flashed cryptic symbols at me. Apparently DSLR cameras are too complicated for me.

After much frustration on my camera browsing journey, I have decided that I'm going to try getting a halogen type light and try bouncing it off different walls to see if it provides a more even light setting.
Ha Ha!! You should try my camera! It gives me a back ache it's so darn heavy!!

Jennifer, I think you are smart to get a light or two and set them up to bounce off the walls to even out your lighting. I hope you get some good pics!
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:51 PM   #20
John Planow
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Re: Camera recommendation?

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Originally Posted by Nancy Cohen View Post
Got your links....have more to say....

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.

<SNIP>

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.
First of all, thanks for all this great info. I've been running into similar problems as Jennifer. We have the same camera, I think, though I'm coming to understand that this is not the root of the problem.

In addition to the problems already discussed, one of the things I encounter is very bad spotting whenever the flash is on inside. Jennifer's pic #18, referenced above, shows a bit of this, but it's generally MUCH worse for me, to the point where I assume any photo taken with the built-in flash enabled will be unusable. I don't have any of my own examples of this posted right now, because as I said, it is usually really bad.

The other problem is, when I have the built-in flash off, anyone who is in motion comes out blurry. In Jennifer's photo #23, referenced above, the guy on the left has some of this, especially around his left arm. Here's one of our photos that is even worse in this regard (wfs):

http://www.crossfitgenesis.com/wp-co...ter_081014.jpg

Our box also has fluorescent overhead lighting. There are a ton of them up there and it feels pretty bright, but they are around 15 feet up.

Thanks again for all your help,
John
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