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04-08-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
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low light concert lens?

i just ordered my pentax k-x and ill have it on monday

i shoot alot of concerts and inside of clubs lighting is the worst...

i know the kit one sucks pretty bad

anyone wanna give some suggestions
something affordable .. if possible 200$ range?? hopefully

04-08-2010, 12:39 PM   #2
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Well the lens that I would be fastest to recommend is either the Pentax F 50mm f/1.7 or the Pentax FA 50mm f/1.4. Of course the 1.4 costs a little more (and by little I literally mean maybe 10 bucks) but the image quality isn't quite as good as the former lens. With either of those you'll be able to get some really good low light stuff, better than any other lens in that focal range (ideal for portraits, but I'm not entire sure about concerts).
04-08-2010, 12:42 PM   #3
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How close are you able to get to the stage? Shooting from the back of the Hollywood Bowl and shooting from the lip of the stage are two different matters entirely.
04-08-2010, 12:55 PM   #4
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i shoot from the stage or the side of the stage or very front of the stage

i do not shoot from the audience :P

04-08-2010, 01:41 PM   #5
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Of the Pentax lenses maybe the 17-70mm zoom would be a good lens for your situation. (If 70mm is long enough for your tastes). I would want it wide enough to get the whole band in the frame, long enough on the other end to isolate a single guitarist.

That Pentax sells for about $480 U.S. It is a f/4 lens which might not be fast enough for your low light needs. Sigma makes a 17-70mm that is about $100 less and is variable aperture 2.8-4.5.

There is a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 that sells for around $570.

I'm not sure that the lenses under $200 are going to be an improvement on the kit lens.
04-08-2010, 01:47 PM   #6
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I don't agree that kit lens sucks pretty bad. Actually it is a pretty good lens. I do agree it is too slow for concerts.

Look for Tamron 28-70/2.8 or any Pentax prime between 30-80mm and 2.8 or faster. If it's possibe then maybe two primes. FA 35/2 + DA 70/2.4 ltd for example.
04-08-2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jyrkira Quote
I don't agree that kit lens sucks pretty bad. Actually it is a pretty good lens. I do agree it is too slow for concerts.

Look for Tamron 28-70/2.8 or any Pentax prime between 30-80mm and 2.8 or faster. If it's possibe then maybe two primes. FA 35/2 + DA 70/2.4 ltd for example.
Agreed on both counts.

I do not think you have to go for ultimate aperture, because shooting at f/1.2 or f/1.4 simply isn't going to give you enough DOF to get many keepers. f/2 is fast enough, and a good place to begin.

I use the FA43 and FA77 quite successfully.
04-08-2010, 02:54 PM   #8
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Sean Harrold plays slide in Mahlon Sweet Field



That's the FA77.

04-08-2010, 03:02 PM   #9
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I love my FA50 1.4, but I love my DA 70 LTD soo much more. I would personally suggest trying a DA 16-45 f/4. They are surprising good in lower light. If you are onstage. I would think it might have enough throw, if not the FA 28 - 70 f/4 can be had for $50 and it could give you a chance to test that focal range before getting good glass. (If you cannot find the FA cheap PM and I'll sell you one cheap)
04-08-2010, 05:27 PM   #10
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You might want to check out my blog article on equipment for shooting concerts:

Marc Sabatella: Concert Photography - Equipment

In it, I show images shot mostly from pretty close up using a variety of different focal length, which should help you get a sense of what they look like. But really, I'd recommend shooting with a cheap (too slow to be useful) zoom first to *really* understand the focal lengths that work for you, before committing any serious money to a lens that may or may not end up fitting your own style.

Me, I shoot from pretty close and like what are essentially portraits with instrument. 100mm is kind of the sweet spot for me; anything a little wider or a little longer would do as well. So if I were to go with a zoom, the 50-135 is the obvious choice. Others prefer a wider view; others shoot from farther away and need longer lenses to get the same basic framing I get with a 100 or 135 at most.

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 04-09-2010 at 01:53 PM.
04-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #11
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The 50-135mm F2.8 is a great lens, but not in the $200 range.

I would look at M 50mm F1.7 and M 100 F2.8. I think you can get both for $200.
I use M 85mm F2 and K 135mm F2.5, which is a great combo. It will cost you approx $400-500.
M 85mm F2 + M 135mm F3.5 is also a good combo. If you're lucky you'll get both for 300$.

Kind regards
.lars
04-09-2010, 08:06 AM   #12
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Isn't focusing a pain with manual lenses. I find focusing difficult under low light with the K-x.
04-09-2010, 08:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by vize Quote
Isn't focusing a pain with manual lenses. I find focusing difficult under low light with the K-x.
Yes, it can be. Get the Pentax Eye Magnifier or/and a split prism focus screen.
I have used AF lenses in concerts but in very low light the AF is often inaccurate, typically focusing on the microphone/instrument instead of the artist. Many times I will switch to manual focus even though I have mounted an AF lens, and AF-lenses usually have an uncomfortable focus ring with little possibility to fine tune. Of this reason I am better off with manual lenses that are actually designed for manual focusing.

I have the k10d so things can be different with the K-X.

Kind regards
.lars
04-09-2010, 08:37 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by vize Quote
Isn't focusing a pain with manual lenses. I find focusing difficult under low light with the K-x.
I actually prefer manually focusing with my K20D in many difficult situations. In low light where the FA77 will hunt I can get focus myself much quicker. I might take three shots focus bracketed just to be sure.

I have tried focus aids but came back to the default screen as the best.
04-09-2010, 08:39 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by vize Quote
Isn't focusing a pain with manual lenses. I find focusing difficult under low light with the K-x.

Focusing isn't so bad with manual lenses. The key is swapping out the original focusing screen for a KatzEye or other aftermarket screen. Check out thier site:

Pentax DSLRs - KatzEye Optics

These screens are similar to those you would find in an old SLR. I shoot manually almost all the time and find the KatzEye the perfect solution. I'm not familiar with your particular camera but check your user's manual to see if you can change the screen.

If you can't change the screen I wouldn't bother with MF lenses at least the longer ones. I found it almost impssible to get a good shot with the original screen and a manual focus lens. I am talking about 300mm and 400mm lenses here. The depth of field is so shallow the in focus indicator was practicaly useless on the K10.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 04-09-2010 at 09:59 AM. Reason: typo
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