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01-31-2008, 02:30 PM   #1
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Wide Angle Low Light

So here I am again contemplating a wide-angle lens, now that I actually have a body to go with it, the K100D Super. I have read all the wonderful things about the Sigma 10-20mm, gazed at many photos and realise it's perfectly good... if one has the light.

Some perspective: I took some photos this week of a performance festival with the kit lens. I got some good ones at the wide end with the aperture full, eg: 18mm and f/3.5. This required ISO 800 at 1/10s, which worked out ok with the SR on. I view this as a minor miracle. My depth of field was of course limited so I had to be creative with focusing (manually). But the noise was controllable and looked fine after applying Noise Ninja selectively. I am sure the image could be sharper (limitation of the glass?).

A flash is not an option since it's just too disturbing. I would never have a tripod when I need it, and that is too intrusive as well. (The sound of the shutter is bad enough!) So I need something handheld.

My conclusion is that for indoor work I need a faster lens, but maybe I'm wrong :-) After all, more than one stop faster will limit the DOF to the point that I doubt I can get a clear shot in the general case. Though for some perspective's that'd be fine; it's nice to have the option.

Using the Sigma 10-20mm would mean going one stop slower... not an option. While I would like it for outdoor work, I need to limit myself to one wide-angle lens. If I don't want to be any slower than f/3.5 that also eliminates the Pentax 16-45mm and 12-24mm while the 21mm Limited is not wide-angled enough.

For the shots I am baselining 16mm would have been nicer than 18mm. I realise there's a whole world still between 10 and 16mm, but it had better be a pretty bright world!

On the Pentax side this narrows it down to either the 14mm or the 16-50mm. Both are f/2.8 and about the same price (600 versus 529). This is more than I wanted to spend but I may be able to justify it in the case of the zoom, which would be my new general purpose lens. Or maybe find the 14mm cheap?

I should also consider the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 since it's only 220 and I could sometimes use the Macro facility. But it gets me (only) 1mm and one stop on the wide side.

Thought on the IQ of these three? Any other options? Is my thinking correct or do I seem to be missing some important line of reasoning?

I would likely pair any of these with the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 (169) for those cases where I know the performers are at a distance and I need the light.

If price were no object I'd get the 14mm f/2.8 (600), 31mm f/1.8 (700) and 77mm f/1.8 (700) and get used to changing lenses. :-)

01-31-2008, 07:38 PM   #2
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If you need that much additional speed, go for a very fast wide angle prime.

I personally, while travelling through france with my 10-20, even in old dark churches never had an issue with going to 1600 ISO on the K10 and using shake reduction. I got some amazing images.

your K100 should be superior in noise at 1600 to the K10 so what is the issue.
01-31-2008, 09:06 PM   #3
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I agree with Lowell. I brought the 10-20mm to Europe last year. I have good shoots handheld 1/4s at 10mm inside dark churches. My friend can handheld 0.5 to 1s at 10mm sometimes. So practice your handheld skill might help. You might also consider Tamron's 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 and 17-50mm f2.8 (i am waiting for it) which are coming this year.
01-31-2008, 10:06 PM   #4
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I have the DA 14 and have gotten good results with it hand held. With SR on, I can hand hold around 1/10 of a second, and I have really shaky hands. Someone with more steady hands should be able to get 1/5 easy. It doesn't go as wide as the sigma, but I was expecting some rather nasty distortion for something that wide and it really doesn't do very bad at all. It's slightly noticable, but only if you're looking for it.

02-01-2008, 03:03 AM   #5
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i am gagging for the tammy 10-24, from the sounds of it.
02-01-2008, 03:48 AM   #6
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Da 14mm f2.8 is the perfect lens for low light event photography if you go for the wide end. The lens is very usable wide open at f2.8 and the common criticism of this lens (the flare) is not an issue with night shooting.
02-01-2008, 07:00 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by CWL Quote
I brought the 10-20mm to Europe last year. I have good shoots handheld 1/4s at 10mm inside dark churches. My friend can handheld 0.5 to 1s at 10mm sometimes.
The good thing about churches is, unlike performers, they tend not to move. Still, I have no idea how to handhold for a full second! My example shot I mentioned above showed subject movement at 1/10s, but in this case that created a lovely effect.

QuoteOriginally posted by CWL Quote
You might also consider Tamron's 10-24mm f3.5-4.5 and 17-50mm f2.8 (i am waiting for it) which are coming this year.
Didn't know about the former. Great, more choice, just what I need to make up my mind!

QuoteOriginally posted by clawhamemr Quote
I have the DA 14 and have gotten good results with it hand held.
Thanks for a positive vote. I will try to find more to read about it.
02-01-2008, 08:22 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
The good thing about churches is, unlike performers, they tend not to move.
this is so true, and it is my principle argument whe people think shake reduction is the ultimate solution to low light, clearly it is not, you need fast glass, high ISO and some minimum light to get the shutter speed you need to freeze an object.
QuoteQuote:
Still, I have no idea how to handhold for a full second! My example shot I mentioned above showed subject movement at 1/10s, but in this case that created a lovely effect.
Even with shake reduction it is difficult to hand hold at 1 sec, what I do is use church pews, and colums etc to brace the camera against. I have even taken photo's of the ceilings by setting the camera on the floor pointing up. you need to be creative because many historical sites do not permit flashs or tripods

02-01-2008, 05:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
you need to be creative because many historical sites do not permit flashs or tripods
Amen to that (and not just in churches!)

I have a tiny flexi-tripod, meant for a point'n'shoot, which nonetheless is sturdy enough for the K100D so long as I am careful about balance. Slips in any pocket. I think it'll prove to be very useful in some cases.
02-01-2008, 05:15 PM   #10
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An update on my continuing thoughts... above I posted a dream kit of three limiteds. Here are two other options.

I need a good prime for general-purpose shots and of course the 50mm f/1.4 fits the bill. Combining this with the Sigma 10-20mm f/4 is the cheapest way to fit my needs. I can choose between either very fast or very wide, with decent flexibility.

The third approach involves finding a 31mm f/1.8 ltd for a reasonable price (good luck on this side of the ocean), and using that as my only lens. I can always crop the result to get in like a 50mm, and I doubt I'd regret a lens that everyone says is the best on the planet.

I think needing an 18mm the other day was a bit of a fluke. Most times I won't be that close to a performer.

I need to start another thread about this option.
02-01-2008, 06:36 PM   #11
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"intimate" club photography

QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
An update on my continuing thoughts... above I posted a dream kit of three limiteds. Here are two other options.

I need a good prime for general-purpose shots and of course the 50mm f/1.4 fits the bill. Combining this with the Sigma 10-20mm f/4 is the cheapest way to fit my needs. I can choose between either very fast or very wide, with decent flexibility.

The third approach involves finding a 31mm f/1.8 ltd for a reasonable price (good luck on this side of the ocean), and using that as my only lens. I can always crop the result to get in like a 50mm, and I doubt I'd regret a lens that everyone says is the best on the planet.

I think needing an 18mm the other day was a bit of a fluke. Most times I won't be that close to a performer.

I need to start another thread about this option.
If you want to start another thread on this "option" how about another concept as opposed to a lens.

I will call it "intimate" club photography, and it will cover how and what to shoot in small clubs, bars caberets etc.

I took shots of my daughter performing in a small club, about 3 feet away from the stage, no flash permitted, I used my 24mm f2.5 tamron and shot 1600 ISO.

Later, I stepped back to about 12 feet, and at the side of the stage, and used my 50mm f1.4.

You need super fast primes for this because my 10-20, is too slow and even my tamron 28-75 f2.8 is too slow.

In hindisght I should have taken my *istD not my K10 and bumped the ISO to 3200
02-02-2008, 05:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I will call it "intimate" club photography, and it will cover how and what to shoot in small clubs, bars caberets etc.
How do you find switching lenses in these contexts? That is, needing to do so quickly in a darkened environment, without disturbing others? I have no experience with this but am thinking it might be a disincentive... so I'd be more likely to stick with a single lens, chosen ahead of time.
02-02-2008, 07:41 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
How do you find switching lenses in these contexts? That is, needing to do so quickly in a darkened environment, without disturbing others? I have no experience with this but am thinking it might be a disincentive... so I'd be more likely to stick with a single lens, chosen ahead of time.
That is why the K mount lenses have the big white bump on them, it lines up with the lens release button on the body. as long as you have your hands to feel the lens release button and the allignment bump you could do this in complete darkness.

It also helps that I once had a darkroom and learned to load film reels in complete darkness.
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