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05-22-2007, 01:12 PM   #1
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Low light performance of 2 kit lenses

Can anybody comment on the comparison of low light performance of DA 18-55 vs. DA 50-200. I'm preparing for my purchase of 50-200 at end of the year and trying to get a feel for it. Also, if anyone has a bunch of "macro" shots of florals done with DA 50-200 I would love to see those. I normally shoot in AV mode varying apertures to get assorted dof shots, anywhere from F4 to F16. Also, I have heard of photogs shooting closeups by zooming to 200mm. Couldn't I like, zoom at 100mm and still get relatively close to a flower , with a macro look, and still get good detail with the 50-200 ? I hope I'm not sounding too dumb, here, but a little 'splaining could help me a lot. Look forward to all comments. Thanks, Freddy

05-22-2007, 01:26 PM   #2
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here are some "macro shots" from the DA 50-200. most of these are at 200mm i believe.








If you want the details on each shot (shutter, aperture etc) pm me and ill try and get them to you.

I will say that the DA 50-200 does has some problems focusing in low light, but most of the time it locks on pretty quickly.
05-22-2007, 01:57 PM   #3
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18-55 kit lens.
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05-22-2007, 05:52 PM   #4
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Hey, Tyler. Thanks for going to all that trouble to post your pics for me. It looks to me like the 50-200 has really good sharpness and doesn't seem at all like you're having any problems getting really good shots, with bokeh and all.
I would like to hear answers to my other questions so I'll hang out and watch this
thread. I'm looking forward to lots of input about this. Regards, Freddy

05-22-2007, 08:31 PM   #5
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The 50-200 only focuses to about 39 inches or so - not really a "macro" distance. And, at f4-5.6, it is no real low-light performer. You might consider the Sigma 70-300 APO DG Macro that at least goes to 1:2 macro within the 200-300mm range, though IQ with mine seems a tad less than the 50-200 at the long end and far focus.
05-23-2007, 03:22 AM   #6
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Hey, thanks, Special K. Sounds to me like the 50-200 would be a great lens to take on a vacation , walkabout or family outing. I have seen some terrific outdoor shots of closeup flowers so I know its possible to do that ( I guess at 100mm to 200mm).
What I really would like to know is the low light ability equal to, better than or less than the 18-55 kit lens. Any ideas about that? Regards, Freddy
05-23-2007, 04:15 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fevbusch Quote
What I really would like to know is the low light ability equal to, better than or less than the 18-55 kit lens. Any ideas about that? Regards, Freddy
Hi Freddy,

Maybe people don't really understand your question?
The low light capabilites of a lens depends on a) max aperture and b) focal length. Strictly speaking it is the aperture opening you are interested in (the focal length limits the handholding but using a tripod takes care of that.

So, 50-200mm is a tele zoom. At the long end a max shutter time of 1/300 second is recommended (basic rule only, YMMV) while you ca get away with something like 1/60 or maybe 1/90 at 50mm. That's for holding the camera in your hands. With a tripod or, to a much lesser degree, the SR function turned on you can use longer shutter times.

How is that compared to the kit lens? Basically the same. Now the kit lens is 18-55mm while the max aperture is about the same. So, you get better low light capabilities with the kit lens. If you bring a tripod or a beanbag they are pretty much the same.

Does this help? Reask if not.
05-23-2007, 04:52 AM   #8
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I'd say that unless you have a flash, the low-light performance of the 18-55 and 50-200 is fairly dismal. Sure, you can crank the ISO, but then you still might only get 1/30s or 1/60s shutter speeds. Not good for camera shake or subject motion. Heck, even my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 struggles at f/2.8 in really low light (ie a dimly lit room at night)

When the light levels drop considerably and I don't want to use a flash, my 50mm f/1.4 goes on and I switch it to ISO800, f/2.0 and usually get decent results. Depending on HOW dim it is, I may up the ISO or even shoot wide open. NO WAY this would work if you're limited to f/5.6!

You have these two lenses, right? Why not stick them on your camera at night, turn down the lights (put on some mood music!) and see what kind of results you get. I don't think you'll be too happy...

05-23-2007, 06:40 AM   #9
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Gordon, what if I just skip the DA 50-200 and go for a bigger macro, like for instance a 150mm prime. What advantages would that give me. Would it allow me to take bigger landscapes? (you can see I don't understand this stuff very well). Would there be advantages in getting a 150mm prime to supplement my wonderful Sigma 50mm 2.8 eX macro lens? Could you recommend a good 150mm prime (or maybe 70mm prime? (what advantages would that 70mm size give me). I would like to spend about $200, which is what the 50-200 would have cost me. As you can see I'm a stickler for lenses that work well in low light. I do see that many guys and gals use 150mm primes but I don't really know why. Appreciate any input from you. Thanks, Freddy
05-23-2007, 07:14 AM   #10
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Freddy - Do you know what the aperture specifications of a lens mean? do you know what the focal length of a lens means? Do you know the relationship between ISO/f-stop/shutter speeds? Have you read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson? If not, you really should grasp some fundamentals of photography instead of just asking "How does this lens work in low light?" or "what lens should I buy?"

If you are a stickler for lenses that work well in low light, look for a lens with a larger maximum aperture (smaller f-stop number)

You really can't say a 70mm lens has an advantage over a 150mm lens (all else being equal). They are different focal lengths. Basically, lenses have three specifications you need to be concerned with (that are NOT subjective) - Focal length (or range of focal lengths for a zoom), maximum aperture, and minimum focus distance. If you know what those mean, you should be able to figure out how useful a lens would be to you.

As for a good low light lens, look no further then the Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4. Works really well in REALLy LOW light

The fastest still-in-production lens for the Pentax mount.
05-23-2007, 09:05 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by fevbusch Quote
Can anybody comment on the comparison of low light performance of DA 18-55 vs. DA 50-200. I'm preparing for my purchase of 50-200 at end of the year and trying to get a feel for it. Thanks, Freddy
Freddy,

I have used both the DA 18-55 and the DA 50-200 on my DS in what I consider low light conditions, school play held in a gymnasium and events in a church multi-purpose room with stage lighting. I can not tell the diffence between them in image quality. If the DA 18-55 works for what you shoot now, so will the DA 50-200 IMHO.

This thread, https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/1524-faces-watoto-6-images-relply.html, shows images taken with both lenses under stage lighting conditions. Hope this helps with your decision.

Tim
05-23-2007, 07:01 PM   #12
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You seem likea really nice bloke so i'll do you a favour and say don't drop any money until you are 100% sure you understand the relationship between speed/apeture/focal length and all the other weirdo numbers on lenses.

This stuff is too expensive to make mistakes on.

For the record, the 50-200 is utterly hopeless in low light but it's under $200 and is a great little lens ... assuming there is light!

The Sigma 150mm macro is a stunning lens but three times more expensive and 4 times heavier/larger than the 50-200.

Welcome to the jungle baby.

PS see my gallery for examples of the 50-200. alfisti's Photo Galleries at pbase.com
05-23-2007, 07:30 PM   #13
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I think the low light performance of the 50-200mm is pretty bad, especially when you're zoomed in.

I used it once at Dodger stadium and I got decent pictures, but even with all the bright stadium lighting, it was a bit hard to use.
Dodgers vs. Rockies

The following were taken during a hike on a rainy day on a shady, foresty trail. I'm linking to the middle of the gallery because there are better examples of shots in lower light.
Canyon Park Hike
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