Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
09-18-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
Senior Member
superfuzzy's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NJ, USA (close to NYC)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 278
77mm Ltd for low light concert photography?

How is the AF of the 77mm Ltd? How can I expect the 77mm focus wide open in low light conditions? F/2.8 isn't fast enough for my needs!

Thanks!


Last edited by superfuzzy; 09-18-2009 at 11:15 AM.
09-18-2009, 11:41 AM   #2
RT1
Forum Member
RT1's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Kansas City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 85
There's always the manual focus 85mm f1.4 vivitar/bower/opteka lenses...you can pick them up brand new for under $300 US. Not as good as the 77, but cheaper, longer and faster.
09-18-2009, 11:44 AM   #3
Senior Member
superfuzzy's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NJ, USA (close to NYC)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 278
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by RT1 Quote
There's always the manual focus 85mm f1.4 vivitar/bower/opteka lenses...you can pick them up brand new for under $300 US. Not as good as the 77, but cheaper, longer and faster.
Thanks but I can't do the MF
The subject are usually moving, but nice when they stay still for a moment so I can get a clean shot.

BTW, I read about "focus limiter" - avoids focusing across the entire range. I take it the FA 77 doesn't have this? I'm hoping the FA 77 has snappy AF - given AF limitations of my k20d...
09-18-2009, 01:45 PM   #4
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 32,560
I use manual focus all the time for this type of photography, your right it isnít easy, moving subjects, constantly changing lighting conditions etc.

But if it were easy everyone would be doing it and I wouldn't be getting paid.

May I suggest you persevere, a little practice can give stunning results in a short time. The way forward is as you intimated, very fast lenses and crank up the ISO to 1600 or beyond as required as most venues flash is not allowed.

By very fast I mean in the range of f1.2 to a max of f2.8 (i.e. my 200 wide open) and even then your lucky to be shooting at 1/30 or so, SR is a wonderful thing.

Remember the lenses you use must be hand holdable as tripods and monopods donít work well in dark cramped stage pit type conditions and are in use just too slow. You need to work fast with the three song rule at most venues.

09-18-2009, 04:27 PM   #5
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
Focus limiters tend to be found primarily on macro lenses as far as I know.

I find AF not veyr reliably in concerts - besides the fact that it is very likely to focus on something other than my subject (a mic, and instrument, a stand, etc), it also tends to be no faster than doing it myself.

AF is also not a fix for one of the other problems with concert photography: if your subject is moving, the lag between when the focus locks and the shutter fires may put your subject OOF if the DOF is too thin,

And thin DOF is one reason I virtually never shoot at apertures larger than f/2.4, even when using my A50/1.7 that could go a stop faster if needed.

All that said, sure, the FA77 should work fine, as long as you don't AF to work miracles and acceptbale the shallow DOF you'll get using it beyond f/2.8.
09-18-2009, 06:06 PM   #6
Banned




Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Millstone,NJ
Posts: 6,491
QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
Thanks but I can't do the MF
The subject are usually moving, but nice when they stay still for a moment so I can get a clean shot.

BTW, I read about "focus limiter" - avoids focusing across the entire range. I take it the FA 77 doesn't have this? I'm hoping the FA 77 has snappy AF - given AF limitations of my k20d...
I wonder how concert photos were taken before AF.
09-19-2009, 08:49 AM   #7
Pentaxian
hinman's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Fremont, CA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,427
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Focus limiters tend to be found primarily on macro lenses as far as I know.

I find AF not veyr reliably in concerts - besides the fact that it is very likely to focus on something other than my subject (a mic, and instrument, a stand, etc), it also tends to be no faster than doing it myself.

AF is also not a fix for one of the other problems with concert photography: if your subject is moving, the lag between when the focus locks and the shutter fires may put your subject OOF if the DOF is too thin,

And thin DOF is one reason I virtually never shoot at apertures larger than f/2.4, even when using my A50/1.7 that could go a stop faster if needed.

All that said, sure, the FA77 should work fine, as long as you don't AF to work miracles and acceptbale the shallow DOF you'll get using it beyond f/2.8.
Marc is right on the subjects. Can't say it better as he has much more in-depth experience to share in concert photography.

@Marc: can you share us again the link in your outstanding blog about Concert Photography? I am going to include your blog into my Pentaxian Blogroll and display recent posts in bottom. And I will be honored if you have a link of my blog page in your page. Not required, but a favor to ask.

The FA 77mm /1.8 would do wonderful for concert if you are in a good seating position. I would think it would be a bit too short. Last when I attempted a indoor stage performance for a Indian cultural dance with fast movement, I wrote up my experience in comparing Pentax FA 77mm f/1.8 and Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 for that particular low light staged performance. The dancer moved in a rapid pace around the platform and 1/250 sec shutter was needed to catch up with her.

I would think for concert, the users would not be moving as much and my blog post might not apply to you. But I do think f/2.8 might be good point to base on. In using my 77mm at f/2.0 and f/2.2 in the dance, I did run into more user errors due to narrow DOF accompanied with fast movement from the dancer.

The other factors that you needed to consider besides the aperture are the use of tripod. The monopod or some bean-bed cushion for support.

I will write some more when ideas come to mind ...

Thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 09-19-2009 at 08:58 AM.
09-19-2009, 11:54 AM   #8
Senior Member
superfuzzy's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NJ, USA (close to NYC)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 278
Original Poster
I appreciate all of the replies
I'm not new to shooting concerts, and have had pretty good success. At the venues I go to I'm issued a photo pass shoot from the pit. As kerrowdown mentioned, for most shows there is the 3 song limit, so I use two bodies - longer lens and the second with something wider.

Maybe half of the other photographers use FF's - 5d mk II and D700's, and I've never heard anyone mention they used MF. If I did use MF I think I'd need a split prism focus screen, and I don't want to go that way.

This is why I need f/1.8 instead of f/2.8. These are choices for identical lighting. If there's an error please point it out:


ISO........f stop...shutter
1600......2.8.......1/15
1600......2.0.......1/30
1600......1.8...... 1/40
----------------------------
3200......2.8.......1/30
3200......2.0.......1/60
3200......1.8.......1/80


I can deal with the limited DOF using the f/1.8. I use the center focus point and use the head, guitar, or whatever and just take many shots, RAW only.

So the 77MM Ltd should do the job and will order one this weekend from Tri-State. Seems to have the best price.

09-19-2009, 01:38 PM   #9
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
Hin - my relevant blog articles are:

Marc Sabatella: Concert Photography - Equipment
Marc Sabatella: Concert Photography - Technique

And yeah, once I get the hang of how this whole blog site thing works, I'd be happy to add a link to yours :-)

QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
I appreciate all of the replies
I'm not new to shooting concerts, and have had pretty good success.
Gotcha. Sorry, I didn't really want to assume one way or the other there, but didn't have anything to go on.

QuoteQuote:
Maybe half of the other photographers use FF's - 5d mk II and D700's, and I've never heard anyone mention they used MF.
FWIW, most other concert photographers I see use 70-200/2.8's mostly, whether on FF or APS-C (and like you, for lack of a better stat, I'd say half FF, half APS-C). I see quite a lot of MF going on, mostly from the folks using monopods and taking their time, as opposed to the quicker snappers. So I know I'm not the only one who uses it. No idea if they all use split screen, but I don't - I don't find it *that* difficult to get the hang of MF using the stock screen. It does take practice, but no more so than anything else. With the smaller pentamirror viewfinders, I find the O-ME53 magnifier helps, though.

Anyhow, given the equipment being used, most of these guys are not dealing with DOF as shallow as the FA77 would produce wide open. Not to say it wouldn't be usable - of course it would. Just that it really is something to take into consideration. I'm sure someone with your experience will be able to make effective use of it. Luckily, no one is forcing you to use it wide open all the time. You might find, for example, stopping down to somewhere between f/2 and f/2.4 a good compromise. If you've got the money for it, then great!

QuoteQuote:
This is why I need f/1.8 instead of f/2.8. These are choices for identical lighting. If there's an error please point it out:
No errors, per se - I'd just point out that no one forces you to use the shutter speeds suggested by the camera meter. I routinely underexpose at ISO 1600 and then push process (giving me the equivalent of ISO 3200 or more) to get the shutter speed I want. I avoid shooting at 1/15" unless my subject is perfectly still and I can brace myself well, and I don't like shooting 1/20" as a matter of course either, but 1/30" is doable most of the time, and 1/45" really quite comfortable for me. If I were routinely shooting in conditions in which I couldn't get a usable (with appropriate PP) exposure at 1/30" or 1/45", I too would be looking at faster lenses. But in practice, I find that is not the case very often, and when it is, it is usually *tiny* clubs where I'm right on top of the bandstand (no stage per se) and can make do with my A50/1.7.
09-21-2009, 07:55 AM   #10
Senior Member
superfuzzy's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NJ, USA (close to NYC)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 278
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I routinely underexpose at ISO 1600 and then push process (giving me the equivalent of ISO 3200 or more) to get the shutter speed I want. I avoid shooting at 1/15" unless my subject is perfectly still and I can brace myself well, and I don't like shooting 1/20" as a matter of course either, but 1/30" is doable most of the time, and 1/45" really quite comfortable for me. If I were routinely shooting in conditions in which I couldn't get a usable (with appropriate PP) exposure at 1/30" or 1/45", I too would be looking at faster lenses. But in practice, I find that is not the case very often, and when it is, it is usually *tiny* clubs where I'm right on top of the bandstand (no stage per se) and can make do with my A50/1.7.

Marc, thanks and duly noted. I should point out that I consider the ability to shoot at f/1.8 as another arrow in my quiver, to be used when needed. I sometimes shoot ISO1600 and underexpose 1/3 to 2/3 EV to get acceptable shutter speed.

Do you ever shoot at ISO3200 or I take it you prefer to shoot ISO1600 underexposed? What's the advantage of shooting ISO1600 and pushing to emulate ISO3200? I assume you're using k20/k7.
09-21-2009, 09:35 AM   #11
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,399
QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
Thanks but I can't do the MF
The subject are usually moving, but nice when they stay still for a moment so I can get a clean shot...
they may be moving but unless you are at the side of the stage, or very close in front then they may not be moving away or towards you, only side to side.
09-21-2009, 09:38 AM   #12
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,399
QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
I appreciate all of the replies
I'm not new to shooting concerts, and have had pretty good success. At the venues I go to I'm issued a photo pass shoot from the pit. As kerrowdown mentioned, for most shows there is the 3 song limit, so I use two bodies - longer lens and the second with something wider.

Maybe half of the other photographers use FF's - 5d mk II and D700's, and I've never heard anyone mention they used MF. If I did use MF I think I'd need a split prism focus screen, and I don't want to go that way.

This is why I need f/1.8 instead of f/2.8. These are choices for identical lighting. If there's an error please point it out:


ISO........f stop...shutter
1600......2.8.......1/15
1600......2.0.......1/30
1600......1.8...... 1/40
----------------------------
3200......2.8.......1/30
3200......2.0.......1/60
3200......1.8.......1/80


I can deal with the limited DOF using the f/1.8. I use the center focus point and use the head, guitar, or whatever and just take many shots, RAW only.

So the 77MM Ltd should do the job and will order one this weekend from Tri-State. Seems to have the best price.
i am surprised at the lighting a little, I have shot a lot of indoor concerts and stage productions with my 70-200F2.8, and find at ISO3200 I am in the 1/250th. you are 3 stops i.e. 3ev below this. Is it really that dark?
09-21-2009, 09:49 AM   #13
Senior Member
superfuzzy's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NJ, USA (close to NYC)
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 278
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
i am surprised at the lighting a little, I have shot a lot of indoor concerts and stage productions with my 70-200F2.8, and find at ISO3200 I am in the 1/250th. you are 3 stops i.e. 3ev below this. Is it really that dark?
At some shows, yes, it is that dark, but of course not always. I've covered shows where I really had to struggle to get a few dozen acceptable shots (over 3 songs) with an f/2.8 lens. At one recent show I was saved because as part of the performance they projected images on the performers and background. I'll take any kind of light

This minimalistic lighting isn't so unusual, and is a PITA to say the least!
09-21-2009, 10:50 AM   #14
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,399
QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
At some shows, yes, it is that dark, but of course not always. I've covered shows where I really had to struggle to get a few dozen acceptable shots (over 3 songs) with an f/2.8 lens. At one recent show I was saved because as part of the performance they projected images on the performers and background. I'll take any kind of light

This minimalistic lighting isn't so unusual, and is a PITA to say the least!
in this case, the trade off is that any really fast lens gets a little soft wide open.

I have the vivitar 85mmF1.4 and it is a little soft but sharpens up by about F1.8-F2.

This gives you 1 full stop over an F2.8 and I would not expect any other combo to give much more, the problem is, at this exposure you will not freeze a moving subject, as at F2 we are talking 1/60th.

so, you will not have a sharp image any way. I think you are on an impossible quest until we get cameras with acceptable sensitivity at ISO12800
09-21-2009, 11:16 AM   #15
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
QuoteOriginally posted by superfuzzy Quote
Marc, thanks and duly noted. I should point out that I consider the ability to shoot at f/1.8 as another arrow in my quiver, to be used when needed.
Same here. The fact that I have that option at 50mm is good enough for me, I find, although if someone were to offer me an FA77 in trade for my A50/1.7, I certainly wouldn't object :-).

QuoteQuote:
Do you ever shoot at ISO3200 or I take it you prefer to shoot ISO1600 underexposed? What's the advantage of shooting ISO1600 and pushing to emulate ISO3200? I assume you're using k20/k7.
No, I'm using the K200D, which has no ISO 3200. Although really, even on the K20D or K-7 the difference between shooting ISO 3200 versus pushing ISO 1600 a stop should be negligible. In fact, on some models (eg, *ist series, K100D) that's exactly how ISO 3200 is implemented.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 09-21-2009 at 11:39 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
77mm, 77mm ltd, k-mount, light, light concert, pentax lens, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Available Light Concert Photography Richter Welcomes and Introductions 3 04-28-2010 10:59 AM
low light concert lens? jupzchris Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 42 04-15-2010 06:30 PM
Low light telephoto candid photography auto210035 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 26 03-02-2010 07:06 AM
Low Light Photography Iann Cannon Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 37 10-22-2009 11:51 AM
Tips on concert photography, low light, fast objects... praterkeith Photographic Technique 4 04-28-2008 02:47 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:29 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top