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10-28-2008, 08:51 PM   #1
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Help/Opinions required: Lenses for Fire Light?

I'm trying to decide what lenses to choose. I'll probably get a k200d. Note: I'm a newb to DSLRs and photography in general.

The main kind of shots I'll be taking are close-up portrait type shots and shots of firedancers. This means there will usually be a person and a bright light source in the shot with dark or pitch-black backgrounds.

Also I'd be doing some long exposures to get nice fire trails and stuff like that.

Right now I'm looking at Tamron 28-75 f2.8 plus a fast prime - Da 70mm f2.4 ltd, or sigma 30mm f1.4.

ooor blow all my lens money on a 'Da 50-135 f2.8 ed if'.

Does anyone have suggestions as to what lense(s) might suit my purposes?


(Apologies if I've posted this in the wrong section.)

10-28-2008, 11:01 PM   #2
Damn Brit
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I would probably recommend the 50-135 just so you can get some distance, sometimes, depending on the conditions, you can get too close and have too much light coming in.
In reality, you can take pictures of fire dancers with any lens, I have got some really nice shots with the 18-55 kit lens. Next time she burns I am going to try a fish eye. Technique is probably more important than the lens and every fire shoot I have done has been slightly different due to ambient light and other variables. I have had some success with using fill flash at the end of a long exposure to get a solid, non blurred shot of the burners face but this technique can wash out the colour of the flames if you are too close.
I would like to point out one thing. I have found that I need to be really critical of my shots whenever I shoot a burn. I take an awful lot of shots in one burn and if I'm not critical enough, I'm left with way too many good shots but it's hard to pick the stand outs.
10-29-2008, 12:06 AM   #3
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If you want a fast prime, the 70 isn't the way to go. It is a very good optic, but it isn't fast. I agree with Gary that the 50-135 is probably the best choice overall (it is slightly slower than the 70 though). I discount the Sigma option because I don't like Sigma on general principles though, not because I actually have any experience with them.
30mm might be a little short for what you want though. A better choice would be the FA50/1.4, which is as fast, but longer (and a remarkably good lens), the Nokton 58/1.4 (nice lens, but not as good flare resistance as the Pentax lens (the Sigma will have this problem as well, I would think).
10-29-2008, 12:12 AM   #4
Damn Brit
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
If you want a fast prime, the 70 isn't the way to go. It is a very good optic, but it isn't fast. I agree with Gary that the 50-135 is probably the best choice overall (it is slightly slower than the 70 though). I discount the Sigma option because I don't like Sigma on general principles though, not because I actually have any experience with them.
30mm might be a little short for what you want though. A better choice would be the FA50/1.4, which is as fast, but longer (and a remarkably good lens), the Nokton 58/1.4 (nice lens, but not as good flare resistance as the Pentax lens (the Sigma will have this problem as well, I would think).

I was going to suggest the FA50 but in my experience with photographing my wife, sometimes it just too close and ambient light can spoil the shot. The lens doesn't actually have to be that fast, in fact a large aperture just lets too much light in for this kind of shooting IMO. Like I said, technique is all important for this kind of shooting.

10-29-2008, 12:31 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
I was going to suggest the FA50 but in my experience with photographing my wife, sometimes it just too close and ambient light can spoil the shot. The lens doesn't actually have to be that fast, in fact a large aperture just lets too much light in for this kind of shooting IMO. Like I said, technique is all important for this kind of shooting.
I was thinking more from an ease of focus perspective. Have you some links to pictures of fire dancing?
I wouldn't mind familiarizing myself with it, I had pretty much presumed that a fast aperture would be a good thing to allow for a brighter viewscreen.
Thanks
10-29-2008, 01:02 AM   #6
Damn Brit
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I was thinking more from an ease of focus perspective. Have you some links to pictures of fire dancing?
I wouldn't mind familiarizing myself with it, I had pretty much presumed that a fast aperture would be a good thing to allow for a brighter viewscreen.
Thanks
I don't have any available, I backed them all up and gave them to my wife, she's the dancer. I'm sure Josh (Heliphoto) won't mind if I post a link to his fire shots.
Josh's Photo Blog: fire dancing
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