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10-07-2015, 07:11 AM   #1
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Best Lens for the job

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Hello,
I'm rather new to photography, although it's always been a hobby of my fathers and I'm a mechanical engineer (I like messing around with stuff), so I've always been more familiar with cameras than the average Joe.
Halloween is approaching and I have been planning a party for some time. My costume (as it is every year) is the Joker. This year I decided I would dress as the Joker as he appears in the 1988 comic "The Killing Joke". Specifically how he appears on the cover and the final scenes on the comic itself.
I should really hurry up and get to the point...
I decided to kill two birds with one stone and brought my self a camera both as a hobby/interest and as part of the costume. I purchased a ME Super, specifically. It's a decent camera (at least that's my impression) is of a reasonable pricing and matches the appearance of the Jokers camera well enough.
On Halloween night I plan on taking photographs of my various guests (all costumed), whilst playing the part of the joker. I live in a British city where my street has gardens, kitchens and living areas are at basement level. Coupled with the fact it'll be night time, there will only be scarce artificial light. My question to you is, what lens shall I get that best fits my needs? I also posses a AF200S flash unit, Pentax M 50mm F1.7 lens, Pentax M 50mm F2 lens and a Vivitar 70-150mm F3.6 macro focusing zoom lens.

10-07-2015, 07:19 AM   #2
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I would suggest something along the lines of fast and wide or that fine SMC Pentax-M 50mm F1.7 at a push.
10-07-2015, 07:25 AM   #3
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I'll post an answer as a film lover, Batman lover, and ME Super owner. Others may have different opinions.

The Pentax M 50mm 1.7 lens is your best bet for natural light. Film will be the more important consideration. In dim light, the typical 400 speed color film will be difficult to expose properly. If you can, obtain Kodak's Portra 800 for the job. Also, don't rely on the ME's meter. Set the aperture to 2.0 and the shutter speed to 1/30 minimum, better yet is 1/60 but there might not be enough light for that shutter speed. Focus and shoot away. You may get some very dark photos but the alternative is motion blur. Up to you which you prefer.

Lastly, it has been my experience that the ME line is one of the least reliable 35mm cameras in existence today. This may be due to age or design, I do not know which, but I have five ME Super bodies. Three are in my junk camera bin, and two are fully operational. If you value the pictures you intend to make, be sure and test the camera before the big event. You may also want to contact a local Pentaxian to give the camera a look over.

If you're halfway across and he turns out the light, jump.
10-07-2015, 07:32 AM   #4
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So it sounds like the 50mm F1.7 is my best bet? Of all the lens I could get my hands on? Do think using the flash unit would be a good idea? I'll be sure to try and get my hands on the film you spoke of, Wolfeye. There are two branches of the London Camera Exchange within walking distance of my house, does anyone have experience with them? Would it be worth them looking at it?(earlier I had a panic with shutter speeds refusing to vary, but panic over now)

(Also, love the reference)

10-07-2015, 08:01 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lang Quote
So it sounds like the 50mm F1.7 is my best bet? Of all the lens I could get my hands on? Do think using the flash unit would be a good idea? I'll be sure to try and get my hands on the film you spoke of, Wolfeye. There are two branches of the London Camera Exchange within walking distance of my house, does anyone have experience with them? Would it be worth them looking at it?(earlier I had a panic with shutter speeds refusing to vary, but panic over now)

(Also, love the reference)
I guess it all depends on what sort of pictures you want to take. I'm not familiar with your flash but it might not work properly with the ME Super. A lot of the flashes with the AF designation were designed for autofocus cameras. My suggestions were based on no use of flash, making use of existing light. If your flash works with that body and you're ok with using it for your pictures, you can use any film. One other thing to note: in dim light you may not be able to focus very well. Instead of a flash you might want to look at some of the newer LED panels, for around $20.
10-07-2015, 08:06 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wolfeye Quote
I guess it all depends on what sort of pictures you want to take. I'm not familiar with your flash but it might not work properly with the ME Super. A lot of the flashes with the AF designation were designed for autofocus cameras. My suggestions were based on no use of flash, making use of existing light. If your flash works with that body and you're ok with using it for your pictures, you can use any film. One other thing to note: in dim light you may not be able to focus very well. Instead of a flash you might want to look at some of the newer LED panels, for around $20.
The model of flash unit I have is the one that is specifically referenced in the manual as working with the ME Super, so it bloody better well work! I think I'll opt to have the flash on my at very least, as I think lighting will be minimal in the gravest terms.
10-07-2015, 08:46 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lang Quote
The model of flash unit I have is the one that is specifically referenced in the manual as working with the ME Super, so it bloody better well work! I think I'll opt to have the flash on my at very least, as I think lighting will be minimal in the gravest terms.
Great! The only issue then, will be focusing. It will be hard to do it accurately in low light. Any film should work.

10-07-2015, 08:52 AM   #8
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I would use the 1.7 with some b&w tri-x film set to 1600.... that ME Super has a nice large viewfinder, you should be ok.... if you don't develop the b&w yourself make sure to tell the lab to push +2
10-07-2015, 09:48 AM   #9
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Enjoying this thread as I had (and still have a broken) ME Super. I also have a 50mm 1.7 and it is an awesome lens. I used it a lot in natural light / dim settings. The 1600 Tri-x is a good suggestion. I think you want to capture the mood of halloween so a flash will ruin that a bit....

Low Light Photo with my 50mm 1.7 (though digital) and landscape... will look for some people shots later.
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10-07-2015, 10:07 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lang Quote
Pentax M 50mm F1.7 lens
This one. Or if you really want to buy something for indoor use, something a little wider: SMC Pentax-M 35mm F2 Reviews - M Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
28mm if you want the photos to look a little more wacky - 28mm is so wide on film that it can distort proportions. Maybe that would be good for the Joker? I doubt he would take regular, classic portraits. But 28mm lenses are rarely bright (f2.8 is not difficult to find, though)
But on film, a 50mm lens is fairly normal. You can go the whole way and get a FA 43mm limited

Edit: Also, don't forget to do a dry run before the event, so you will know how to add film, remove and store film, add the next roll, how to focus and set exposure properly. From the OP I can guess you already know most of this stuff, but I say this just in case. Film cameras don't have an "Auto" mode, don't produce neat little jpegs.
One more thing: I checked the actual cover you references, and in that one, Joker has a 50mm f1.8 lens mounted. So 50mm f1.7 is really close. Notice his camera's brand is "Witz", which is German for "joke"

Last edited by Na Horuk; 10-07-2015 at 10:26 AM.
10-08-2015, 12:54 AM   #11
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It's nice to know I have the right lens already! I'll look into a 28mm, might look into it if I wonder across it at bargain price. I've organised the decor set up so they'll be a light in specific areas, and I'll take the photos there. Already did a test run using general colour 400 film and familiarised myself with the process. I'll take some pics in various places once the decor is all done, to see where I can best take photos, that way I can naturally and quickly take them.
Thanks for your assistance, I'll be sure to post a few photos as proof of success.
10-08-2015, 12:29 PM   #12
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vivitar close focus 28mm f2.8 can be had on eBay for ~30USD and they are really nice. Very sharp lens for the money that fits your focal length. the only thing to watch out for is serial numbers for it. i think the 28xxxxx vs 22xxxxx is better it is made by komine as opposed to kosina?. the 22xxxx ones had oily aperture blades or something that makes them not so good. no issues with my 28xxxx one at all.

---------- Post added 10-08-15 at 03:41 PM ----------

Vivitar 28 mm F 2 8 for Pentax K 0018208019274 | eBay

this one is in london and is exact model i was talking about. most available on eBay now are not the "close focus" designated ones and most are later 3xxxx or 6xxxxx serials and from what I've read they aren't as good.

here is the PF reviews for the lens:
Vivitar (Komine 28xxxxx) 28mm f/2.8 Close Focus Lens Reviews - Vivitar Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

here is where i referenced the serials from:
Great Vivitar 28mm Bestiary

apparently there are 30+ versions of this lens haha.
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