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04-25-2007, 09:28 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
For what it's worth, I highly doubt your P&S would do a better job. BTW, I know of no P&S camera that stops down to f/16-f/22, and using such a small aperture would be nonsensical in the conditions of a play.
Good luck !
I should have been more specific - I am reading Understanding Exposure ( a book recommended here ) and one of the comments made is the advanced PS have a HUGE SLR equivielent fstop and thus increasing DOF while maintaining a realtivley fast shutter speed. So low light photography were a large DOF is required is a good use.

Of course overall image quaility relies on a bunch more and sometimes a narrow DOF is desired - it made sense to me as does Finn comments on the light equation - to me it all really boils down to - buy better glass - this will also increase my Skill set with more options / opertunities for that 'perfect shot'

04-25-2007, 09:30 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by button Quote
I'm cetainly no pro, but I have some ideas that might work (if I'm wrong, those of you who know better please chime in)

1) Would an FA 1:1.4 50mm be within your budget? I have one, and if you're into snap shooting your daughter (as I am- with a camera, of course!) then this lens is priceless.

2) Assuming you get the lens, choose manual mode on your k100d. Take advantage of the k100d'd improved sensitivity, and bump the ISO to 800 or even 1600. Set the aperture between 1.4 and 2 and take a few practice shots to find the proper shutter speed to set the histogram and WB properly. Dial in that shutter speed and WB and leave them, as the lighting really shouldn't change too much. This combination should cut down on motion blur significantly.

3) Your field of view will probably cover most of the stage, but you can crop later. The advantage here is that your DOF will be greater (although somewhat counteracted by the large aperture), and you might even be able to prefocus to spot that will allow your daughter to move around a bit and stay in focus.

John
Wow, this is pretty much exactly my advice. Except that for well-staged theater (as opposed to for example small venue concerts) the lighting is usually enough to allow f/4 or so.
04-25-2007, 09:52 AM   #18
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A couple of "relatively" inexpensive suggestions

QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
Thanks for the suggestions and confirmation - I know it is a difficult situation with the solution running into $1k plus - even then. I cannot justify that kind of money quite yet for what I want to use it for (Son also play football but hopefully at least some of the games will be in the bright Sunlight!) .

So not to mince topics I realize the lower the f/stop are more expensive (not necessarily better per say - but more useful in allot of situations from my limited experience ).

Generally what would be your recommendations on the upper end of that spectrum for pictures lets say in general low ligh (dusk , dawn, indoors , etc ) t? f4 ?
Hi Daacon, first of all, I agree with Finn's suggestions above. The grainyness prolly won't matter as much as a "recognisable" scene. I'm assuming this is an amateur production? People are more interested in seeing how Sue looks as the 3rd witch then in photographic excellence. I also agree that the closer you can get to f2 (or lower!) the better. Here are a few "relatively" inexpensive recommendations:
Pentax FA 50mm 1.4; one of the famous Pentax "fast 50's". I don't know how close you can get to the action, but if you can get within say 10 meters or so this lens will do you well. It is an excellent lens. It's one of the few that is ALWAYS in my bag. Nice and sharp and certainly useable at f1.4. Can be found new in the US for around $200. Worth every penny. Cons? not a very long reach and not a zoom.
Tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR DI. I don't own this lens...yet. It gets very high marks from all that I've read, giving good image quality. It should be fast enough on your K100D so that you should be able to get many of the scenes you missed with your current lenses. Can be found new in the US for about $375.
If you need longer reach than 75mm, I would recommend the Tamron 90mm f2.8 Macro. I also own this lens, and it's another that is almost always in my bag. I love it's macro capabilities, but it also makes a pretty good "relatively" low light short tele. I've gotten some good shots with it in fairly low light situations on my DS, with your K100D and SR it should be even better for you. Right now there is a mfg rebate on, it can be bought for about $400 new with rebate, but I found mine second hand at KEH for about $300. It used to be a fairly frequent offering there. I've not been in the market for lenses in a while so I don't know what is now available on the second hand market. Here is an example of it's capabilities as a short tele, on a dark foggy day.
SmugMug - saltwater : Beach

NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
04-25-2007, 09:57 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Wow, this is pretty much exactly my advice. Except that for well-staged theater (as opposed to for example small venue concerts) the lighting is usually enough to allow f/4 or so.

Yeah - you guys are not the first to recommend the prime 50mm F1.4 prime (there is a macro version for $100.00 I might pick that up) in my never ending creative posts (subjective aha) to ask for the defintive lens.

So I think the 50mm it is - the trouble with Macbeth (this procduction anyway) is the lighting changed dramitically , there were quite a few 'night scenes'. It is a high school production so they are somehwat limited on resources - still overall it was done very well.

The next play is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat so I am hoping the lighting will be more constant.

Thanks for all the advice - this is indeed a freindly forum

04-25-2007, 10:00 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
People are more interested in seeing how Sue looks as the 3rd witch then in photographic excellence. NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
It does thanks - uncanny it was Katie and she was the first witch !
04-25-2007, 10:33 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Below are just two shots from last year's 'Theater In The Park'. I believe it was 'Much Ado About Nothing' and it was really funny.
--Sean
Nice pics !
04-25-2007, 10:36 AM   #22
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Why M instead of A ?

daacon, I understand what you mean about the P&S aperture now. You're right that the effective DOF would be greater at a given aperture, but you wouldn't get a faster shutter speed.

This is an interesting thread, with several good suggestions. I just have one question (to button and carpents, I guess): why use manual mode instead of aperture priority ? The latter seems more convenient to me, since you only have to choose the aperture and let the body adjust the shutter speed.

I'm not saying M mode is a bad idea, I'm just curious as to the rationale for using it in this instance.
04-25-2007, 10:47 AM   #23
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Unreliable metering

QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
why use manual mode instead of aperture priority ? The latter seems more convenient to me, since you only have to choose the aperture and let the body adjust the shutter speed.
Sometimes I have to stop down 2 steps in order to avoid blownout highlights with some A glasses.

Not sure why. M mode is more reliable and tune the shots the way you like it

04-25-2007, 11:31 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
Hi Pentax FA 50mm 1.4; one of the famous Pentax "fast 50's". I don't know how close you can get to the action, but if you can get within say 10 meters or so this lens will do you well. It is an excellent lens. It's one of the few that is ALWAYS in my bag. Nice and sharp and certainly useable at f1.4. Can be found new in the US for around $200. Worth every penny. Cons? not a very long reach and not a zoom.
Tamron 28-75 f2.8 XR DI. I don't own this lens...yet. It gets very high marks from all that I've read, giving good image quality. It should be fast enough on your K100D so that you should be able to get many of the scenes you missed with your current lenses. Can be found new in the US for about $375.
NaCl(hope that helps)H2O
Nice shot in the Fog - my Budget hahah (re: convince signifcant other - already had $700 negotaited that should almost cover it ) may be able to swing both of those (50mm and 28-75)

I am so torn on the prime lense - there is a Tamron AF17-50mm F2.8 Di XR II for a little more - yet is it as good as the Pentax 50mm ? Likely not - arrrrrrh those two Tamron lenses will run the better part of a grand .... streaching the current allocation budget - but not so far outside it is not doable (we will call it scope creep!) ..... and there is quite a bit of overlap - maybe the 50mm and 28-75 .... - loop - I truly have comittement issues (see anohter thread) - the actual issue is not so much committment as is to overanalyze it ... IT background
04-25-2007, 12:37 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
Wow, this is pretty much exactly my advice. Except that for well-staged theater (as opposed to for example small venue concerts) the lighting is usually enough to allow f/4 or so.
Hehe... you posted while I was typing (I got interrupted and had to type my post in little bits, so I didn't see yours until after the fact- woops!).
04-25-2007, 12:38 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by RBellavance Quote
daacon, I understand what you mean about the P&S aperture now. You're right that the effective DOF would be greater at a given aperture, but you wouldn't get a faster shutter speed.

This is an interesting thread, with several good suggestions. I just have one question (to button and carpents, I guess): why use manual mode instead of aperture priority ? The latter seems more convenient to me, since you only have to choose the aperture and let the body adjust the shutter speed.

I'm not saying M mode is a bad idea, I'm just curious as to the rationale for using it in this instance.
I say go with M because the light doesn't change (much) from shot to shot, but the placement of characters/set does quite a bit. If you go with a reliable center-weight average meter it can get thrown off quite easily by people moving around. So I stick with known aperture and shutter values to compensate for the variable setting, but the constant lighting.

(Every once in a while you still have to check the histograms to make sure they didn't turn on/off spotlights on your subjects!)
04-25-2007, 01:02 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by carpents Quote
I say go with M because the light doesn't change (much) from shot to shot, but the placement of characters/set does quite a bit. If you go with a reliable center-weight average meter it can get thrown off quite easily by people moving around. So I stick with known aperture and shutter values to compensate for the variable setting, but the constant lighting.

(Every once in a while you still have to check the histograms to make sure they didn't turn on/off spotlights on your subjects!)
...What he said. On top of that, you might want to underexpose just a bit (maybe a 1/2 stop or so) to up your shutter speed even more. I can live with noise, but motion blur triggers the "delete" reflex every time. Oh, and by the way, shake reduction (on the k10d, anyway) appears to take at least a 1/2 second before engaging- so, keep that shutter release button halfway depressed at least that long before firing. You might want to decouple the AF and the shutter release as well to prevent focus "hunting."
04-25-2007, 01:23 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by button Quote
...What he said. On top of that, you might want to underexpose just a bit (maybe a 1/2 stop or so) to up your shutter speed even more. I can live with noise, but motion blur triggers the "delete" reflex every time. Oh, and by the way, shake reduction (on the k10d, anyway) appears to take at least a 1/2 second before engaging- so, keep that shutter release button halfway depressed at least that long before firing. You might want to decouple the AF and the shutter release as well to prevent focus "hunting."
That makes sense. Thanks for the quick answer !
04-25-2007, 07:50 PM   #29
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My solution to the same problem was to get a cheap 135mm f/2.8 lens and shoot at ISO800 or 1600. I have a K100D like you. I'm currently using a Pentax SMC-A 135 f/2.8, which doesn't get much love around here, but I find that it's a very nice lens. I've had two other 135mm lenses, a Sears f/2.8 that I bought for $5 (nice shots) and a Takumar f/2.5 that also took nice shots. I opted to keep the auto-aperture of the Pentax, so I sold the other two. You can find them online for under $100 quite often. The 135mm reach is pretty good for smaller arenas, and the f/2.8 aperture is usually fast enough to stop action on stage. These are some of my best shots taken at the George Benson concert using this lens.

This was at 1/60s, f/2.8, ISO800


This was at 1/50s, f/3.2, ISO800


You should be able to get similar shots at your daughter's shows using the natural light.

BTW, shoot them in raw. All these shots I actually overexposed, but because I shot them in raw, I was able to recover the highlights and get nice shots. The exposure error was my mistake. Raw helps cover my mistakes lots of times.

Good luck!
04-25-2007, 07:54 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by daacon Quote
I should have been more specific - I am reading Understanding Exposure ( a book recommended here ) and one of the comments made is the advanced PS have a HUGE SLR equivielent fstop and thus increasing DOF while maintaining a realtivley fast shutter speed. So low light photography were a large DOF is required is a good use.

Of course overall image quaility relies on a bunch more and sometimes a narrow DOF is desired - it made sense to me as does Finn comments on the light equation - to me it all really boils down to - buy better glass - this will also increase my Skill set with more options / opertunities for that 'perfect shot'

I think this is one of those answers that is technically correct, but practically wrong. Optically, I guess the author is correct, but electronically, the tiny sensor on a P&S just has way too much noise for any decent low light shots. The larger sensor on the dSLR means you can go to ISO800-1600 and still get very nice shots. The P&S will really struggle going above ISO200 without considerable noise.
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