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10-21-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
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Lens Suggestions for Everyday, Indoors, Low Light?

I'll freely admit that I'm no pro and not particularly familiar with what's out there for options. I've been doing some research but am a little lost. My everyday setup is my K-r with a 50mm 1.4, and my usual subject is a wiggly 18 month old. I do very little landscape or other photography at this point, it's mostly people and documenting life. (I've also got the 18-55mm kit lens, and an FA 28-105 f4-5.6, neither of which I pick up all that often) I'm generally happy outdoors, but when we get inside I'm finding that between the low light (my good light in winter is even more scarce than normal) and the distance to the subject that I need to be able to compose in a small living room, I'm frustrated.

I need some suggestions of a direction to head and some lenses to look at. I like the prime a lot more than I thought I would, but wouldn't mind a zoom either. I'm not looking to spend crazy amounts, somewhat budget friendly is always nice, but I can save up for a bit too. Help a newbie out?

10-21-2011, 09:41 PM   #2
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If you already have the 50mm, you've got the fastest aperture you can get in an AF lens for Pentax- were you looking for something wider?

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10-21-2011, 09:55 PM   #3
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You must have very scant available light. That's a pretty capable lens at f1.4! Bump up the ISO? Try a little flash?
10-21-2011, 09:57 PM   #4
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If the 50/1.4 isn't doing it for you then diffused flash is your friend

If it's the FL then I'd suggest the Sigma 30/1.4 - wonderful lens :

10-21-2011, 10:02 PM   #5
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I love the little 50mm, but I think the problem I have with shooting at 1.4 is that the DoF is so thin that if he wiggles slightly I'm missing the focus, so I stay closer to 2 to give myself a chance. I'm wondering if a wider lens is going to make me happier in terms of my ability to compose in a small space even if I sacrifice some speed, I suppose.

And of course, my skills need work too.
10-21-2011, 10:18 PM - 1 Like   #6
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We always want to rush in and respond with a 1.4 lens every time we see someone post that is having issues with low light, the fact is a 1.4 (any mm) is not always the best solution. Unless you are shooting portrait shots of shoulders and up in a small low lit place like a living room which would almost limit you to a 1.4, I would suggest you start looking at some 2.8's and working with the great ISO performance of the Kr. A 2.8 lens is much easier to get focus conf's in low light than most of your 1.4's, 2.8's also opens up more options ->

Great (Inexpensive) 2.8 Zoom: Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] AF016P-700 B&H
Super Great (Expensive) 2.8 Zoom: Pentax SMCP-DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED SDM Lens 21650 B&H Photo Video

For a prime:

What Else but the Plastic Wonder (Cheap Cheap And GREAT!): Pentax 35mm DA L F2.4 AL Lens 21987 B&H Photo Video
And Even Better (But More Expensive): Pentax SMCP-DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited Series Autofocus 21730

A 2.8 (<), 35mm and wider (<), ISO 1.5K (>) should get you the results you are looking for...

10-21-2011, 10:23 PM   #7
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Sigma 30mm f/1.4 I recommend, even at f/1.4 it will give lots more depth of feild than the 50mm f/1.4

Sigma 30mm shot at f/1.4-
10-21-2011, 11:52 PM   #8
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I agree with all earlier poster that your 50mm f1.4 is already a nice lens for what you want to use. However you seem in need another lens, but might not fullu appreciate the limitations.

For shooting in low light indoor, you will need either a good flash or a fast lens.

(a) A flash may be an option, but it might not go well with your child. I found myself that the children are more natural without flash.

(b) The alternative (fast lens) means a large aperture lens (f1.4 or 1.8). With such large aperture, it will have to be a prime lens, and you may consider MF or AF. If you are after an AF lens, I would recommend strongly the FA31mm f1.8. This lens is expensive but its IQ is too often understated. The lens is fast, and the IQ is truly outstanding. I use mine with the children and I get excellent results. Its focal length is wider than your 50mm lens and it will complement it nicely IMHO.

Food for thoughts. I hope that the comment will help.

10-22-2011, 12:18 AM   #9
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I'd highly recommend the FA31, superb indoor lens.

If that's a bit expensive, look at the Sigma 30 f1.4 or the Pentax FA*24 f2
10-22-2011, 01:05 AM   #10
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The Sigma 30/1.4 sounds good. It's beyond my budget, so I get by with a manual-focus Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA (close-focus wide-angle) that cost me US$18 shipped, or a Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in PKM mount that cost me US$130. The same light-gathering as your 50/1.4 @ f/2, but tremendously more DOF. For me, the 28/2 is a great outdoor lens and the 24/2 is fabulous indoors with my squirming grandkids (ages 1 and 3). But those aren't flash-friendly lenses. Your low-cost option would be the DA35/2.4 and diffuse flash.
10-22-2011, 03:15 AM   #11
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Don't be confused about low light DoF.

For the same scene framing, low light DoF does not change with focal length. It depends only on f-stop. A wider angle lens will allow you to get closer for the photo but will not increase actual DoF at the same f-stop.

Background items in a wide angle lens photo will appear to be small, hence less out of focus, giving an impression of increased DoF.

Last edited by newarts; 10-22-2011 at 03:21 AM.
10-22-2011, 07:25 AM   #12
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If you're going to be shooting in confined spaces, and already have an f1.4 lens, then I would probably recommend a 17-50mm f/2.8 lens to give you much more flexibility in focal lengths. With a wide angle, you can get close to your subject, but still get a lot of the surrounding environment.

I also do a lot of shooting of my kids indoors, mostly with my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8. I have found that on a good high ISO camera like my K-x (and your K-r), f/2.8 is usually fast enough indoors. With a 17mm wide angle, you will be able to get some creative shots.

Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 10-22-2011 at 07:32 AM.
10-22-2011, 07:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
so I get by with a manual-focus Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA (close-focus wide-angle) that cost me US$18 shipped, or a Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in PKM mount that cost me US$130.
Which is plenty fast - as I mentioned in my earlier post, a 2.8 and a nice bump in your ISO will work wonders. This photo was JUST shot using a Kx with a 28mm Vivitar/Komine 2.8 CFWA lens @ f/4, no flash, poorly lit very crappy lighting, 1600-ISO (not a good picture, a quick one just shot to demonstrate). Keep in mind that this was only 1600-ISO, you should be able to get great shots with the Kr even at 4000-ISO...
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10-22-2011, 08:31 AM   #14
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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. Opteka Universal Soft Screen Flash Diffuser for Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus, & Kodak On-Camera Pop-Up Flashes: Camera & Photo

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Gary Fong The Puffer Pop-Up Flash Diffuser with Cleaning Kit

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10-22-2011, 09:06 AM   #15
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The 50 1.4 is very good in low light. However, for indoors it's too tight. I would go for the DA35 2.4 is your on a budget. If not the Sigma 30 1.4. As for movement from the child all you can do is either bump up the ISO for a faster shutter speed or start using the flash to freeze the action. At 18 months old I'd definitely go bumping the ISO a little bit more. I'm always afraid of what the flash will do to developing eyes.

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