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10-22-2011, 09:27 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Whilst that shot is OK Joe (and I know it was just a shot to prove a point) it just goes to prove another point .... that the OP should really just buy a cheap $10-20 diffuser to go over his pop-up flash. It would do wonders and he could use any lens he wanted without being restricted to fast lenses.
I don't have any experience with using diffusers on the pop-up flash, but when I had my Olympus e-510, which was horrible at high ISO, I used a Gary Fong "Lightsphere" diffuser on the speedlight with very good results. I might see if I can dig up some old shots using that diffuser. But now that I have the K-x, which excells at high ISO, and f/2.8 lenses, I almost never use a speedlight. I just don't feel like fussing with it anymore. I'm also not a big fan of flash since you can then run into problems with mixing light sources, such that in order to have your subject look natural, the background is a strange color.

Although there are times I wish I could go faster than f/2.8, I find that the high ISO of the K-x usually makes it work.

Below are some shots I've gotten using my f/2.8 lenses with indoor lighting. All of the shots were captured handheld at night using just the available lighting with no flash. The second shot of the baby sleeping on the floor was captured with my camera sitting on the floor, so I guess that's not really handheld. But the picture of my wife at the computer with 1-second exposure was shot handheld.
























Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 10-22-2011 at 09:35 AM.
10-22-2011, 09:57 AM   #17
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Great shots there Eddy ! However they all have one thing in common (which Joe's shot didn't) .. the light source is very favourable to the subjects. Often with children and unposed shots that is beyond your control (or there isn't any light !) and in those situations the diffuser is a Godsend (certainly for $10-20 it is worth a gamble).

This was taken during a paid shoot and you an see the massive room is close to dark until you get near the stage at the back .. (diffused pop-up flash) : aah no I haven't uploaded it and I'm moving everything onto a new iMac so I can't find it now. Anyway it was a group shot perfectly lit
10-22-2011, 10:27 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Great shots there Eddy ! However they all have one thing in common (which Joe's shot didn't) .. the light source is very favourable to the subjects.
That's true. One thing I've learned is that good photography depends on the quality of light, not so much the quantity of light. These days, if the light isn't favorable to the subject, I don't bother taking a picture.

That's one reason I almost never use a pop-up flash...I've found that a straight-on flash is rarely favorable to the subject. It may be useful for fill sometimes, but when I've tried to use it as a fill, I'm usually not happy with the mixed lighting temperatures.

But as you indicated, if you know how to control a flash, you can create conditions where light is favorable, instead of just waiting for good lighting. This is especially true with off-camera flash. I guess that's the whole idea behind the "strobist" movement.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 10-22-2011 at 01:18 PM.
10-22-2011, 11:23 AM   #19
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I think Tamron 28-75 and Sigma 24-70 are great everyday use lens
Great focal range, constant 2.8 aperture. Images they produce are pleasing to look at.
They're no prime, but if you're choosing an everyday use lens, I think they're the best for the job.

10-22-2011, 11:44 AM   #20
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I collected my suggestions for indoors photography using available light here. I prefer fast lenses - the faster, the better. I use +1Ev all the time. To my eyes, photos 3 & 4 of Edgar_in_Indy are underexposed. Adults and stationary targets are easy to shoot in low light - the challenge is shooting a kid that can't stay still 1 second - motion blur is the main problem I encounter and to deal with it I need to push the ISO and open the aperture. Even at ISO 1600, I need f/1.4 - f/2.8 would just not cut it in those conditions.
10-22-2011, 11:54 AM   #21
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Easy flash diffuser for some situations: drop a translucent 35mm film-cart cannister over the popup-flash.
Cheap and easy pop-up flash diffuser: slip a thin white infant sock over the flash -- set of six for US$1.
10-22-2011, 12:15 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
To my eyes, photos 3 & 4 of Edgar_in_Indy are underexposed.
I can certainly see how those two photos would appear underexposed, but they actually do a good job of reflecting the actual lighting of the scene. If you look at the exposure settings (1/6 sec, f/2.8, ISO 800 for the first picture), you'll see that lighting must have been pretty dim. And on the second photo, notice the highlights on her cheeks and arm. If I pushed the exposure much, those highlights would have approached over exposure, and the scene would not look natural.

I don't always expose to reflect the actual lighting at the time of the shot, but sometimes I do.

QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
Adults and stationary targets are easy to shoot in low light - the challenge is shooting a kid that can't stay still 1 second - motion blur is the main problem I encounter and to deal with it I need to push the ISO and open the aperture.
That's very true, and I'll have to admit that I don't get a lot of action shots shooting indoors at night without a flash. But I usually find the subdued lighting more appropriate for less energetic shots anyway. But a faster shutter speed and lower ISO is always a good thing, so I hope to be able to buy the Sigma 85mm 1.4 soon...although purchasing a nice gift for the wife for Christmas might push the lens purchase back until after the new year.

Now I don't have any experience shooting faster than f/2.8, but I would think that shooting a moving kid would also be a challenge when working with a razor thin DOF. So while you get the advantage of a faster shutter speed, you have to deal with a thinner focal plane. Can you comment on that?

And if you have any good indoor kids photos taken below f/2.8, I'd love to see them.
10-22-2011, 01:27 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Cheap and easy pop-up flash diffuser: slip a thin white infant sock over the flash -- set of six for US$1.
I laughed out loud - and I have plenty of mismatched white socks laying around, so I'll keep this in mind.

A lot of great responses, thank you. I've got some pondering to do. I don't use the flash much (either the built in, or my AF360FGZ) because it makes my intent much more obvious, and I admit I'm also still learning how to really use a flash well. Either way, I get much better shots when he doesn't realize I'm doing so. I think I would also benefit from adding some light sources to my main floor that I can better control, and that's easy enough to do. I probably need to be less afraid of bumping the ISO as well.

I'll do some research on a few of the lenses that have been mentioned. I'm currently leaning a bit toward the DA35 2.4, but the Sigma 30 1.4 is a consideration as well. I'm trying to find a recent pic I've taken at 1.4, but lately all my indoors seem to be 2-2.5, so maybe that's my answer.

Edgar_in_Indy - Nice shots.

10-22-2011, 04:07 PM   #24
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I don't use my flash often too. I use it to get specific lighting and whatnot, but I am just not good with manipulating light all that well.
I need to study up on the way of strobist.
So, the alternative was to pick up lenses that were wider than 2.8
10-22-2011, 07:33 PM   #25
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Two words, three times: bounce flash bounce flash bounce flash. :-)

Perhaps the K5 allows for high enough ISO, but in taking kid pictures I found the narrow DOF limiting using f/1.4. I have an old flash with bounce and swivel, and it does wonders allowing shooting at f/5.6 or so. 1/180 wouldn't seem quick enough to stop action, but the flash does that for you.

Here's an example:
10-22-2011, 08:25 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nick Siebers Quote
Two words, three times: bounce flash bounce flash bounce flash. :-)
Cute picture, and good advise. Using a bounce flash in tight quarters can make for very nice lighting. I always grimace when I see other parents at my children's school going around with Canon Rebels with a bare speedlight pointed forward directly toward their subject.
10-22-2011, 09:42 PM   #27
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+1, Bounce flash improves indoor pics out of sight, even when using very fast lenses
10-23-2011, 01:50 AM   #28
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Sigma 30mm 1.4
I just got it today, and I'm loving it quite a bit.
Took some photos in the dark-ish atmosphere tonight, and they came out great! Sharper than I ever expected, and a great focal length.
I like this lens. I don't think it'll come off of my camera in some time.
10-23-2011, 02:06 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
I can certainly see how those two photos would appear underexposed, but they actually do a good job of reflecting the actual lighting of the scene.
I understand. But I don't think that reflecting the actual lighting should be a priority. And you can apply a curve to brighten the shot without blowing the highlights, if you are indeed close to clipping them on the face. Anyway, that is just my approach and suggestion.

QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
That's very true, and I'll have to admit that I don't get a lot of action shots shooting indoors at night without a flash.
I can't claim I take "action" shots, but I can deal better with the fact that my daughter doesn't sit still one second.

QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Now I don't have any experience shooting faster than f/2.8, but I would think that shooting a moving kid would also be a challenge when working with a razor thin DOF. So while you get the advantage of a faster shutter speed, you have to deal with a thinner focal plane. Can you comment on that?
It is not easy even if she is staying in one place and just moving her head, but I found I get better results working with thin DOF than with slow shutter speed. I manually focus and I described my approach here.

I just uploaded a shot I took wide open at f/1.2:


Pentax K-7, Cosina 55/1.2, f/1.2 ISO 800 1/40

Note that even though I was shooting at f/1.2 the shutter speed was still pretty slow. I didn't notice it at the moment, or I would have bumped the ISO further.

You could check my brother's flickr stream for other samples - he has shared lots more children shots than me. Here's one with an 85mm at f/2 on a D700, so DOF is even thinner - he usually uses a flash and smaller apertures, but this one is taken with available light.
10-23-2011, 05:18 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
I understand. But I don't think that reflecting the actual lighting should be a priority. And you can apply a curve to brighten the shot without blowing the highlights, if you are indeed close to clipping them on the face. Anyway, that is just my approach and suggestion.
I'm always interested to see the approach that other people take, so if you (or anyone else) would like to have a go at developing the RAW file, I would love to see how somebody else might handle it. I've never had any training in Photoshop and have only been using it for a couple years just to develop my own images, so any suggestions or tips are always welcome.

Here's a link to the RAW PEF file for that picture:

https://oncourse.iu.edu/access/content/user/ealucas/Filemanager_Public_Files...00426_0908.PEF

And in case you have any trouble with the direct link, then you can just follow this link to the directory and then right-click on the PEF file:

https://oncourse.iu.edu/access/content/user/ealucas/Filemanager_Public_Files/indoor_shots

I originally developed the shot using Adobe Camera Raw with Exposure of + 0.35, Fill Light 41, Contrast +32, Vibrance +8, Saturation +9, and on the Tone Curve tab I had Darks +33 and Shadows -12. I had also bumped down the White Balance temperature from 2850 to 2750.
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