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09-27-2009, 08:33 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxForums-User Quote
With pencil and paper?
It may be hard for you to believe but some cameras have AF systems that can focus accurately in concert environments - low light -- and moving targets! I've seen it with my own eyes! Some of my friends possess such equipment. The k20d has many strength, but AF is not one of them. I've never used a K7 so won't comment on it.

09-27-2009, 08:42 PM   #32
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I have to go back to my old stand by, sigma 70-200 F2.8 at 70mm K10D at 1600 ISO

Single spot light from above, and the black floor of the dance hall make it an image that appears floating
09-27-2009, 10:23 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
It may be hard for you to believe but some cameras have AF systems that can focus accurately in concert environments - low light -- and moving targets! I've seen it with my own eyes! Some of my friends possess such equipment. The k20d has many strength, but AF is not one of them. I've never used a K7 so won't comment on it.
It's still the case that given half a chance, they'll focus on a mic stand or instrument instead of the subject. It's an inherent problem in the genre that virtually all concert shooters are aware of and have to deal with one way or another.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-28-2009 at 10:17 AM.
09-27-2009, 11:07 PM   #34
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I've bought the DA 50-135 f2.8 for doing playhouse images for actor head shots and for billboards. I used it for one outdoor play that got into dusk in August and will be using it again in October and December. I can't imagiine a better lens for this work and i think it will work equally well for concerts.

Its 1 1/2 lb weight is a good deal lighter than any f2.8 that goes to 200mm.

And i don't believe they are very much more expensive than the longer primes you are talking about. I got this zoom for $795 for Adorama.

For concert work, i would think you would find its quiet SDM drive to be a plus.

When i focus it, i've used it both on the half shutter focus, but more recently have disabled the half shutter focus and have been using the AF button to focus on a portion of the stage where i want to catch the actors as they pass through. that way, there's no camera delay in AF when snapping the actors. During dress rehearsals when we take a lot of our photos, we're allowed to be anywhere in the audience seats that we wish. I like to stand a few rows back because the DOF increases the farther you are back. With the 135mm end of the zoom, there is more than adquate enlargement 6 or 7 rows back.

I also disable SR and rely on a faster shutter to steady the image as the faster shutter is needed to stop actor motion in many cases. I like to shoot at 800 to 1600 iso, but in the outdoor play last summer, i went to 3200 for the poor lighting. The K20 did a creditable job and I don't feel like i had any disadvantage to the Canon guy who's shooting with me. He and I bought our new zooms at the same time, he got a 70-200 and i, the Pentax 50-135. I've seen him change out from his new zoom because of the disadvantage of not being able to go down to 50mm at times, while i easily did the whole play with the 50-135

As to SDM problems, i'm convinced that issue is WAY overblown. I'd had my DA300 for over a year and used it a lot. The DA 50-135 is so sharp with great IQ that i'm quite willing to buy a new motor every year if necessary; i use it a few times every week. I have a clock on the wall with a tiny electric motor thats been running for over 20 years, so this nonsense about electric motors being unreliable is exaggerated, IMO. I also should mention that the 50-135 is quite easy to manual focus if necessary.

Best of luck in your concert shooting.


Last edited by philbaum; 09-27-2009 at 11:24 PM.
09-28-2009, 07:04 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
I've bought the DA 50-135 f2.8 for doing playhouse images for actor head shots and for billboards. I used it for one outdoor play that got into dusk in August and will be using it again in October and December. I can't imagiine a better lens for this work and i think it will work equally well for concerts...
I also use the DA 50-135 for concerts and agree, it is a very useful focal range. For most shoots it's what I need and f/2.8 is sufficient. But the only option that I have is to come back with photos, regardless of the lighting (flash not an option) and for this reason I'll be carrying my FA 77mm f/1.8 ltd.

Over the weekend I did a shoot that had poor lighting. All stage lights left on - and red won out. I had a much higher percentage of "keepers" since I had the f/1.8.

Here's a sample:
ISO 3200, 1/100th /sec shutter and f/1.8. Not a great photo but acceptable under the circumstances:


I also tried switching to manual focus, but have to go back to the EXIF and determine if it was helpful. BTW, I also used the 77mm Ltd during the day, will post elsewhere. I'm not sure if the resolution is better than the 50-135mm - I assume it is, but it nice to have a tiny inconspicuous lens. The 50-135mm with hood can be intimidating for the subject
09-28-2009, 07:12 AM   #36
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Here's another from the same show. Also ISO 3200, 1/100th sec shutter and f/1.8.
A faster shutter would have been nice, but still acceptable:

09-28-2009, 07:16 AM   #37
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BTW, note these two photos are ISO 3200. I didn't clean up the noise, and for my needs the IQ is OK. Proof that k20d high ISO capability is right up there with competing DSLR's.

Last edited by superfuzzy; 09-28-2009 at 07:57 AM.
09-28-2009, 10:08 AM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
BTW, note these two photos are ISO 3200. I didn't clean up the noise, and for my needs the IQ is OK. Proof that k20d high ISO capability is right up there with competing DSLR's.
Thanks for the explanation and photos, now i understand :-) Extreme shooting conditions to be sure.

09-28-2009, 10:23 AM   #39
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I shoot in similar situations. I just deal with them in a different way. Rather than shoot at f/1.something to get a shutter speed of 1/100" (a luxuriously fast speed I almost never get to use!), I shoot at f/2.8 more typically, shutter speed 1/30", and rely on good timing to avoid motion blur. That is, I try to catch a subject at a moment of relatively motionless, whether an actual calm moment or just the point of change in direction at which motion is always zero. Some pictures can't be taken this way, of course, but enough can that you should be able to use your 50-135/2.8 very successfully even under lighting conditions like this.
09-28-2009, 11:13 AM   #40
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50-135mm is an excellent concert lens, I use it all the time for head shots etc..

Find it focuses fine in low light, I use the AF button to focus & the half pressed button for focus disabled (pain when using the grip but their you go).

At 2.8 I find the depth of field to thin, I usually shoot major festivals so can be up to 40 50 feet away from the performer. Where I can I up the Aperture & have a slower shutter speed, sometimes get a nice bit of motion like the hand in the bottom image.

Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 75 mm
Exposure: +0.19
ISO Speed: 800



Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 55 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed: 800



Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 50 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed: 800

09-29-2009, 11:59 AM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by cabstar Quote
50-135mm is an excellent concert lens, I use it all the time for head shots etc..

Find it focuses fine in low light, I use the AF button to focus & the half pressed button for focus disabled (pain when using the grip but their you go).

At 2.8 I find the depth of field to thin, I usually shoot major festivals so can be up to 40 50 feet away from the performer. Where I can I up the Aperture & have a slower shutter speed, sometimes get a nice bit of motion like the hand in the bottom image.

Exposure: 0.008 sec (1/125)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 75 mm
Exposure: +0.19
ISO Speed: 800



Exposure: 0.005 sec (1/200)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 55 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed: 800



Exposure: 0.013 sec (1/80)
Aperture: f/4.5
Focal Length: 50 mm
Exposure: 0.00
ISO Speed: 800

cabstar,
what great pics, congrats., especially like the one of the singer almost lying on her back with the arm raised, tilted frame of course - really great stuff.

i've been leaning towards your style of settings, e.g. using f2.8 or numerically larger to get that depth of field, and thereby more in focus keepers. thats why i can't get all this fuss over faster prime lenses, since one will still have that narrow DOF.

You're getting shots at 800 iso, but even having to go to 1600 and 3200, i prefer the f2.8, f3.5, etc.

I've also compared how the DOF increases by moving back from the stage. It gets one the larger DOF without going to larger apertures (below f2.8), another trick that you are using effectively.

Thanks for showing with pics that it can be done that way,
09-29-2009, 12:45 PM   #42
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Interesting thread. I use the Pentax K 200/2.5 for almost all of my auditorium/concert shots.

[IMG][/IMG]

The shot above was from the audience at a high school concert my son Jimmy was playing in. As I recall I used the pop up flash on the K10 for illumination.

Tom G
09-30-2009, 10:16 AM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by philbaum Quote
cabstar,
what great pics, congrats., especially like the one of the singer almost lying on her back with the arm raised, tilted frame of course - really great stuff.

i've been leaning towards your style of settings, e.g. using f2.8 or numerically larger to get that depth of field, and thereby more in focus keepers. thats why i can't get all this fuss over faster prime lenses, since one will still have that narrow DOF.

You're getting shots at 800 iso, but even having to go to 1600 and 3200, i prefer the f2.8, f3.5, etc.

I've also compared how the DOF increases by moving back from the stage. It gets one the larger DOF without going to larger apertures (below f2.8), another trick that you are using effectively.

Thanks for showing with pics that it can be done that way,
Hi Phil

Cheers for the nice comments. I have shot at ISO 1600 but I just find the IQ at ISO 800 a vast improvement, whilst 1600 is acceptable 3200 I find is way to harsh & not acceptable by my agency. If the light is so bad, then the flash comes out. If the band / artist / management are not happy with that then I walk away. No one is going to buy dark images or under exposed images. Fortunately a quick explanation to the required people can work wonders in getting the lighting improved.

The moving back to get a greater depth of field is a very useful tool, it also helps to get a clean & uncluttered background. If you shoot right under the performer you get lots of lights & rigging in the shot which detracts.

Gary
12-01-2009, 01:59 PM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by jogiba Quote
I wonder how concert photos were taken before AF.
Before AF - you mean 35mm film (of course there was AF in those days, too)?

35mm film cameras have super bright viewfinders - and many have split prism focus screens. They were designed for manual focus.

Take a look through a k20 vs. a k1000 film camera. The k20d/7d was just not designed for MF.

I've been experimenting with my 77mm Ltd and k20d in low light - MF with mixed results. I bracket the focus, which is not a perfect solution.
12-01-2009, 02:20 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
Interesting thread. I use the Pentax K 200/2.5 for almost all of my auditorium/concert shots.

Tom G
tom that's gotta weigh a lot less than my sigma 70-200F2.8
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