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05-26-2016, 01:48 PM   #1
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Off to my kids' stage performances

...and most of it will be shot with the FA135/2.8 on my K-5 because I'm well back from the stage and flash is NOT allowed. However, there might be chances to creep close or to get after-show closeups of the little munchkins (closer than the FA135 will allow, anyway), and for that I will be taking along one of my AF fifties.

DA50/1.8 or FA50/1.4? Which would you choose and why?

Strategy during the show will be to shoot in raw in TAv mode, keeping the shutter speed around 90 and the aperture at about f/4 to maintain a bit of DOF/focus tolerance. If the ISO really starts to rise, I might go wide open with the 135 or bring the shutter speed down and pray the SR is up to the job.

Man, do I ever feel the need for a K-1 right now...

05-26-2016, 02:49 PM   #2
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F - 50 f/1.7 sitting off center on the right back about 10-15 rows.

SOOC JPGs from a stage shoot. https://flic.kr/s/aHskeMw1df You will see both good and bad shots; loads of different ISO's tried and different f/stops. It was my first time in ages shooting stage. I didn't get much chance to pick my spot and the F 50 just happened to be a good fit speed and fov wise. Shot with my K-50 before I got my K-3.

In any case, the DA 50 f/1.8 would be my choice because I found that even f/1.7 was too wide open most of the time - I needed a bit of DOF and f/2.8-f/4 was what I shot most at I think. The FA 135 is similar to the Takumar Bayonet I used to shoot some video and stills with at a Chorus concert for my daughter (the Takumar is listed f/2.5 but I have had people tell me it is actually f/2.8). Between the two you are likely well positioned to take shots. If you have the FA f/1.4 with you - no harm it is a great lens and stopped down to f/2.8 I suspect it will be hard to tell from the DA f/1.8 but who cares. Enjoy what you took. Good luck!
05-26-2016, 03:08 PM   #3
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Grainy sharp photos are always going to be better than not-grainy out of focus shots. Bump the ISO up and stop worrying. Get the low ISO shots when the spots are on or they're standing still enough to tweak the shutter speed.

And if you don't have them, check out these presets: http://www.bjwok.com/lightroom6presets/lightroom-6-presets-for-music-photographers/

They do a fantastic job fixing the many annoyances one runs into with photographing staged events with creative lighting.
05-26-2016, 05:03 PM   #4
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The FA135 was the star of the show, and the DA50 never came out of the case. I did what I'd planned, set shutter speed and aperture to give me adequate SR margin and DOF, and let the ISO float. Now to look at the 600 RAW files I took and run screaming.

And all I can say is thank God for RAW and for TAv mode. If I wasn't a convert before, I am now.


Last edited by pathdoc; 05-26-2016 at 05:19 PM.
05-26-2016, 06:19 PM   #5
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For others or in future, remember to keep your shutter speed up because SR cannot deal with subject motion blur.
05-27-2016, 03:14 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wissink Quote
For others or in future, remember to keep your shutter speed up because SR cannot deal with subject motion blur.
That was one lesson learned, yes, but you do what you can with what you have. By and large, it worked out pretty OK. As it was, the speed I selected let the ISO stay at 3200 or lower for most of the really well composed shots, which means what I got will be usable (and I can process some of the others as low-key). Nobody was moving particularly fast most of the time, and a little bit of blur in dancers who are spinning fast can be written off as "artistic effect". This wasn't a pro shoot, after all. (If it had been, I'd have long since bought myself a K-3ii and a 50-135/2.8)

Last edited by pathdoc; 05-27-2016 at 04:29 AM.
05-27-2016, 05:09 AM   #7
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Actually, I have to say, a 100mm lens on the K-5 would have been ideal - I had trouble fitting everything into the 135mm frame - but of course the 100mm WR simply isn't up to the sorts of things I was asking the 135 to do (and which for the most part it did well). Getting a K-1 would fix everything - I'd be back down to a true 135mm FOV, with all the low-light bonuses and a little extra cleanness at higher ISO. What's the vignetting on the 50-135 like? On a semi-darkened stage, I think subtle degrees thereof could be just about ignored. It'd get lost in the dark background and nobody would care.
05-27-2016, 06:21 AM   #8
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The FA135 is a fabulous package - sharp, tiny and ultra-fast focussing.

05-27-2016, 07:48 AM   #9
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Tiny is relative - with the exception of an old stop-down 400mm M42 I've got, my FA135 is actually my biggest, heaviest prime lens!* (Proof that I don't take my LBA as seriously as some of the rest of you? ) AF lenses are never the best on an MF camera, of course, but the FA primes aren't the worst in this regard and it's cross-compatible with all my K-mount bodies if I ever need it to be.


* My SMC Takumar 135/3.5 is a bit longer, but substantially skinnier and doesn't have the same apparent heft.
05-29-2016, 06:00 AM   #10
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Aaaaand people are sharing and wanting my FB pics, so I think we can call this a win. The 135 gets the gong. The fifties haven't even found their way onto my camera, and with me shooting from the balcony today they probably won't.
05-29-2016, 07:52 PM   #11
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I should, however, have taken the DA70, with which I was taking a fair few shots around the house this morning; the distance was deceptive, the field of view from high above more so, and the image quality might have been infinitely better.
05-29-2016, 09:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
The image quality might have been infinitely better.
That's a big call! The FA135 is pretty darn good.
05-30-2016, 02:46 AM   #13
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I might have to eat those words, or at least nibble round the edges, because although the raw files were nothing good to look at, the JPEGs scrubbed up reasonably well for on-screen viewing, even the ones taken around ISO 12800.

The DA70 shots admittedly had the advantage of me being able to use flash, but they were stunning with nothing to do except bump exposure a little.
05-30-2016, 03:16 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
The DA70 shots admittedly had the advantage of me being able to use flash, but they were stunning with nothing to do except bump exposure a little.
Flash makes a BIG difference bro
05-30-2016, 03:47 AM   #15
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Being a newer, digital-era design with next-generation coatings helps too. My biggest problems were FOV (surprisingly narrow for such a high viewpoint; the DA70 might have helped here) and the fact that some nominally "brighter" lighting setups actually saw my ISO climb right to its limit, whereas some I would have thought darker had it hovering comfortably around 2000 and sometimes even lower.

All of this stuff is for small glossies and Facebook, anyway. If I had been doing this as a paid, professional gig with plenty of advance notice I would probably have been allowed to use flash and I would have brought a K-3ii with converted 50-135 and an AF540FGZ-II. As it is, I might yet end up bringing a K-1 and a D-FA*70-210 the next time this rolls around; 135mm on crop is JUST about as tight as I need and indeed good enough for most things, but there were occasions which called for something significantly wider to take the whole stage in, and I wasn't ready for that.

The ideal focal length would have been 100mm, but the only thing I've got there is the 100WR, and the less said about its low-light capabilities on fast-moving subjects, the better.
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