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07-18-2011, 03:04 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by StDevious Quote
How easy is it to MF on the K-x
Sh'a't Simple when using "Catch In Focus" - can get a wee bit tricky as the light fades away (CIF helps somewhat with this also), and can get quite a bit tricky (even with CIF) using fast lenses with shallow DOF's and low light shooting. Will take a little to get used too (that is if you are just now starting out with MF'ing), but can be very rewarding over time...

I still think your best bet would be to get the DA 35mm 2.4, AND ALSO pick up one or two MF lenses (a fast fifty), maybe:

- Pentax-M 50mm 1.7 ($40~$50)
- Pentax-A 50mm 2.0 ($25~$40) (not super fast, but great piece)

These options don't give you much focal range, but it does get you started and will more than likely infect you with LBA...



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Last edited by joe.penn; 07-18-2011 at 03:09 PM.
07-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
That's a crpa shoot no matter how fast your lens is - you really need flash. And its situations where the subject is not still where the shallower DOF really works against you.

I mean, I'm sure if you have an f/14 handy you'll tend to look for reasons to use it, but think people who assume that it is necessary or even always a good diea probably haven't tried shooting f/2.8 in these settings much (yes, I *have* shot faster lenses in these settings often, but am much happier with my f/2.8 lenses overall).
You're getting me wrong. I am not saying you have to use 1.4 all the time. I'm just saying that for me, I find it useful in many situations. I use the widest aperture that gives me shutter speeds of at least 1/100, starting from ISO 800. Sometimes I need to push the ISO after selecting f/1.4. That being said, in other cases, light is good enough that I can use f/2, f/2.8, f/4, even f/8 maybe. But the practice I got in the scenario where I use f/1.4 means that I can get a few keepers pretty much anytime I spend a few minutes trying. And that's good enough for me. It means I sometimes take shots in light conditions where with a slow lens I'd have to use a flash or give up.

I don't post photos of kids and people, but here's an example of the lighting conditions I encounter - this was shot recently and exposure is f/1.4 1/100 ISO 1600:



A few minutes before, I was photographing a 1 year old. This was the light in the room on an overcast day. A 2.8 lens would have required ISO 6400. 1600 is the most I go to with my K-7.
07-18-2011, 03:15 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Most of those f/1.5 or faster, especially at 30-58-85mm, are way beyond my budget
Best deal/glass for the money right now is the Samyang (Viv'ee, Rok, etc..) 85mm 1.4 (MF), around $310 to $330'ish, IMHO it's worth twice that amount. It is however no walk-around lens...



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07-18-2011, 03:16 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by StDevious Quote
Holy Cow! That's a lot of lenses. Do you have a whole closet dedicated to holding those ?
They're mostly in little Ikea drawer units plugged into bookshelves behind my desk. The 40 cameras are mostly on other bookshelves across the room, in front of the computer science books I haven't thrown away yet.

QuoteQuote:
Anyways, I will be looking for a 50 f/1.4 on ebay or maybe 35mm (so I can get a larger FOV). How easy is it to MF on the K-x ?
I use a K20D. Many MF'ers here use a Kx or Kr and seem to do fine. We have threads here on MF techniques and tricks; the simplest and cheapest is Catch-In-Focus.

QuoteQuote:
Also just noticed that you are near Lake Tahoe, I'm headed there this weekend. Any tips on the absolutely to visit places, and the ones really good for photography.
Which way are you coming? I'm up Hwy88. The towns of Sutter Creek, Jackson, and Volcano (my locale) in the foothills are Gold Rush-era gems. Various vistas at Carson Spur and towards Kit Carson Pass are glorious; don't drive too fast. Hope Valley, where Hwy89 turns up to Tahoe, is gorgeous, and the Carson River canyon beyond that junction to Woodfords is quintessential: rocks, cascades, etc.

Must-sees at Tahoe include Emerald Bay; the Heavenly ski tram near Stateline; the whole round-the-lake drive; those are what come immediately to mind. Weekend events like art & car & boat shows are fun for people-shooting. See Wikipedia for details. Have fun!

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Just to way in a little bit. The problem with the FA 50 at f1.4 is that it not only has minimal depth of field, but that lens is just plain soft at that aperture. Factor in that your focus won't be right on where you want it and you are going to end up with really soft photos that no amount of post processing will fix up.
I'll suggest that StDevious read the reviews. Not all of us find it soft.

07-18-2011, 03:16 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Just to way in a little bit. The problem with the FA 50 at f1.4 is that it not only has minimal depth of field, but that lens is just plain soft at that aperture. Factor in that your focus won't be right on where you want it and you are going to end up with really soft photos that no amount of post processing will fix up.
Photos will be indeed softer than at f/2+ but that softness is only obvious when examining the image closely. It really doesn't matter much for prints. And at web sizes, it matters even less.

The bigger problem with the FA 50 is that it has serious LoCA, so if you miss focus on the pupil, you'll get either a green outline or a red one - really annoying in that respect. On the other hand, it makes it really easy to pick up keepers
07-18-2011, 03:22 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote

Which way are you coming? I'm up Hwy88. The towns of Sutter Creek, Jackson, and Volcano (my locale) in the foothills are Gold Rush-era gems. Various vistas at Carson Spur and towards Kit Carson Pass are glorious; don't drive too fast. Hope Valley, where Hwy89 turns up to Tahoe, is gorgeous, and the Carson River canyon beyond that junction to Woodfords is quintessential: rocks, cascades, etc.

Must-sees at Tahoe include Emerald Bay; the Heavenly ski tram near Stateline; the whole round-the-lake drive; those are what come immediately to mind. Weekend events like art & car & boat shows are fun for people-shooting. See Wikipedia for details. Have fun!
I'm coming from Sacramento, thinking of doing South-West Tahoe on Saturday, night in Reno then North-East on Sunday.
07-18-2011, 03:32 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Photos will be indeed softer than at f/2+ but that softness is only obvious when examining the image closely. It really doesn't matter much for prints. And at web sizes, it matters even less.

The bigger problem with the FA 50 is that it has serious LoCA, so if you miss focus on the pupil, you'll get either a green outline or a red one - really annoying in that respect. On the other hand, it makes it really easy to pick up keepers
I'm currently using the DA *55 which I find actually useful at f1.4, but that still doesn't mean that I am able to shoot there a lot. Particularly since most cameras from the K20 on allow shooting to iso 3200 with some noise reduction, I would rather bump iso than shoot at f1.4. Auto focus systems are notoriously bad at shooting with too little depth of field and I don't find my manual focus skills are that much better.
07-18-2011, 03:34 PM - 1 Like   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I disagree that f/1.4 is necessary or even all that helpful in low light. It's rare for light to be so low you can't get decent shots at f/2.8 with a "normal" focal length lens on a modern DSLR, and when light is that low...
Its not that it's necessary(and I doubt anyone intended this), its more likely that it's useful and in some cases better.
I know I now have a fairly extensive portfolio of f/1.2 - 2.0 low light shots that were definitely made possible with wider apertures.

Here are a few example that I've collected randomly;

f/1.7: http://kalnins.zenfolio.com/img/s3/v23/p208296454-5.jpg
f/2.0: http://kalnins.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v22/p869411347-5.jpg
f/2.0: http://www.antidotepictures.com/photos/1222052387_noQSz-XL.jpg
f/1.2: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/ufiles/43/519943.jpg
f/1.7: http://www.antidotepictures.com/photos/1226118932_j6T8p-XL-1.jpg
f/1.2: http://peltarion.eu/img/m9/lux50-025.jpg
f/1.2: http://peltarion.eu/img/m9/lux50-024.jpg
f/1.4: http://www.soltiphotography.com/Landscapes/Leica-M8/L1022873/1228536006_m2Tyf-XL.jpg
f/1.7: http://www.soltiphotography.com/Landscapes/Around-Town/L1023040/1232144734_GY529-XL.jpg
f/1.7: http://kalnins.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v21/p695891399-5.jpg
f/1.7: http://www.antidotepictures.com/photos/1236158753_gknVG-X2-3.jpg
f/1.4: http://www.antidotepictures.com/photos/1236079839_nvJvQ-X2.jpg
f/1.4: http://www.antidotepictures.com/photos/1236079839_nvJvQ-X2.jpg
f/1.4: http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/ufiles/26/523126.jpg

Anyways, there is no shortage of such shots on the .net and so I think its quite obvious that low light and apertures bellow 2.8 is anything but uncommon.

And so the question is not whether such shots were even necessary, but rather whether a wider aperture played a major role in achieving them.
And I think the answer to that is rather obvious.

Personally, I love low light shooting and if there was anything wider than 1.2, I'd likely add one to my list.
Does it help? absolutely!
It is necessary? of course not,
Then again.... who among us is equipped by necessity?


Last edited by JohnBee; 07-18-2011 at 05:32 PM.
07-18-2011, 04:05 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I'm currently using the DA *55 which I find actually useful at f1.4, but that still doesn't mean that I am able to shoot there a lot. Particularly since most cameras from the K20 on allow shooting to iso 3200 with some noise reduction, I would rather bump iso than shoot at f1.4. Auto focus systems are notoriously bad at shooting with too little depth of field and I don't find my manual focus skills are that much better.
I use manual focus. The main thing I shoot in low light are portraits - the problem I find with using ISO 3200 on those is that all eye details become mush. This is why I try to stay at ISO 800 and I adjust aperture as much as I can.

I did play a bit with the AF of the FA 50 and it seemed pretty competent in low light. I felt that I could still do better with MF, but it was really good. The way I used it was to select a focusing point and keep it over what I wanted to focus on, knowing what framing I want to take.
07-18-2011, 04:52 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The problem with the FA 50 at f1.4 is that it not only has minimal depth of field, but that lens is just plain soft at that aperture.
More like just plain impossible to manually focus in lights dim enough to actually require it (if you are opening the aperture up for light reasons alone). It's sharp enough at 1.4... well the paper-thin slice of the in-focus image is. The sigma is certainly sharpER, but the FA 50 is not soft.

Better to buy a 1.4 lens for the DOF control than for light gathering, although I like the option of getting a photo in the dead of night.

The differences become a lot less noticeable at more useful apertures like f2, mostly because nailing focus is a lot easier.

I mean, how much sharpness do you expect at ISO 3200, 1/5th of a second, f1.4? It's nice being able to take a photo at 4:00 AM, but you can't expect the world.
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07-18-2011, 05:08 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Just to weigh in a little bit. The problem with the FA 50 at f1.4 is that it not only has minimal depth of field, but that lens is just plain soft at that aperture........... .
That's an opinion that I do not find supported by the facts in front of me. The 50/1.4 suffers from the trend these days not to use a hood. The 50/1.7 design has a much more recessed front element and it gets away better without a hood than does the 1.4 design. When you put a hood on the 1.4 things get different fast.

On a broader note, I really tire of so many offering opinions here as of they were handed to them on the 3rd table when they visited the Mount with Moses. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but saying things as if they were facts doesn't make them so.
07-18-2011, 05:14 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
That's an opinion that I do not find supported by the facts in front of me. The 50/1.4 suffers from the trend these days not to use a hood. The 50/1.7 design has a much more recessed front element and it gets away better without a hood than does the 1.4 design. When you put a hood on the 1.4 things get different fast.
Here are some samples I posted a while back comparing the FA50/1.4 and FA50/1.7, both with and without the hood.
07-18-2011, 05:16 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Here are some samples I posted a while back comparing the FA50/1.4 and FA50/1.7, both with and without the hood.
I'm well aware of your comparison and appreciate it. My opinion is that its just not "just plain soft". Thanks.
07-18-2011, 05:17 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
I'm well aware of your comparison and appreciate it. My opinion is that its just not "just plain soft". Thanks.
I agree, I re-posted the link to support your position that the FA50/1.4 (w/hood) isn't really soft
07-18-2011, 05:28 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Better to buy a 1.4 lens for the DOF control than for light gathering, although I like the option of getting a photo in the dead of night.
Here's another at 1/20s, ISO6400


Needless to say, it was very dark

Also, the A 50/1.4 isn't so bad wide open either:
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