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11-25-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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Help with K5 settings for an indoor party

I am new to DSLR photography and the K5 is my first proper camera which allows you to change and make adjustments.

I am still get to know the camera and have taken 800 outdoor photos which the results are amazing.

I have been asked to take some photos at an indoor birthday party and I want to set the camera up so I can basically point and shoot and make changes later on the computer.

From experience or lack of I have found when ever I take photos indoors in low light conditions the photos are always blurry especially when people are moving.

Is there any one who can tell me what settings to set the camera too?

The party will be in relatively low light with disco lights and people dancing moving around so I would like to capture this.

The party is tomorrow and as an extra present I will get the photos turned into a book, I hope.

I know my way around the camera I just need to know a fail safe setting and what you would do.

I will be shooting in raw.

Thankyou


Last edited by jazon; 11-25-2011 at 11:53 AM. Reason: spelling
11-25-2011, 12:03 PM - 1 Like   #2
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If you don't use flash... TAv mode is your friend, use a fast lens (2.8 or faster if you can) and use larger aperture (but not wide open) and shutter speed of 1/125 or where-about depending of subject movement, let the camera choose whatever iso needed. Also, I would use center-weight metering; adjust EC accordingly.
11-25-2011, 12:11 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
If you don't use flash... TAv mode is your friend, use a fast lens (2.8 or faster if you can) and use larger aperture (but not wide open) and shutter speed of 1/125 or where-about depending of subject movement, let the camera choose whatever iso needed. Also, I would use center-weight metering; adjust EC accordingly.
Thanks aleonx3 I am using a DA 18-55mm F.35-5.8 AL WR lens (The one which came with the camera )
11-25-2011, 12:18 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I'd put it on auto ISO (hold the ISO button near the shutter and press the green button at the same time), then go to the settings and make sure auto-ISO goes up to 6400 or so, then use TV mode at 1/100 or so.

Depending on the light, the camera will adjust the sensitivity as necessary. When things get dark the camera will use high ISO values, such as 6400. Most cameras can't do much at ISO 6400, but in my experience the K-5 can.

11-25-2011, 12:47 PM - 1 Like   #5
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The most important thing is to just practice today at home in your own home to see how it works with only some partylight.

O and if you are in the nabourhood of a Pentax store that has the DA 35mm/f2.4 lens for a nice price: My advice is to buy it, it is cheap and will be your best friend for all indoor party-, snap- and familyshots for years to come.
11-25-2011, 12:50 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Without complicating matters. Use your pop-up flash but you MUST diffuse it and you'll get excellent results. It also means you don't have to worry about having a fast lens. Shoot at f5.6 to f8 unless you plan to get artistic and low DoF (f2.8 or under), just to make sure everyone is in focus (and that's pretty much all that they will demand). I use one of these when I have to use the pop-up (and make sure you have a spare fully charged battery) :-

Camera flash cloth diffuser with high quality products, buy Camera flash cloth diffuser with high quality products from alibaba.com

though this works equally well :

http://www.amazon.com/Screen-Diffuser-Premium-Microfiber-Cleaning/dp/B0045DGSMC
11-25-2011, 02:31 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
I'd put it on auto ISO (hold the ISO button near the shutter and press the green button at the same time), then go to the settings and make sure auto-ISO goes up to 6400 or so, then use TV mode at 1/100 or so.

Depending on the light, the camera will adjust the sensitivity as necessary. When things get dark the camera will use high ISO values, such as 6400. Most cameras can't do much at ISO 6400, but in my experience the K-5 can.
Practicing with the TV setting and getting some great results Aegon Also I will be able to post process if they are too dark. The K5 was able to capture very fast movement under a 40w light bulb. I am very surprised actually.

Thankyou to everyone for your help.
11-25-2011, 02:44 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jazon Quote
Practicing with the TV setting and getting some great results Aegon Also I will be able to post process if they are too dark. The K5 was able to capture very fast movement under a 40w light bulb. I am very surprised actually.

Thankyou to everyone for your help.
Jazon, using Tv mode (suggested by Aegon) is good, but keeping in mind that the camera will keep the aperture wide-open which may or may not be what you want (as not every lens is sharp wide-open).

11-25-2011, 03:39 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by aleonx3 Quote
Jazon, using Tv mode (suggested by Aegon) is good, but keeping in mind that the camera will keep the aperture wide-open which may or may not be what you want (as not every lens is sharp wide-open).
Yes when viewed full size on the computer they are not so sharp.

The best setting is the green mode LOL The photo (non movement) is perfect.

A good way around this is to take some shots in green mode and then change the settings accordingly in the TAv mode to match but adjust for movement.

In Tv mode the aperture maximum/minimum? was F4.0 is that right with a lens of F3.5-5.8?

I have never understood aperture no matter how many times I read the manual or that ebook. It seems back to front, like my brain as I'm getting older.

I wish there was a dedicated class for the K5.

I know I have an amazing camera but to get the best out of it will be a long learning curve.
11-25-2011, 04:11 PM - 1 Like   #10
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On that lens (18-55) the maximum aperture varies from 3.5 to 5.8 with 3.5 being the maximum at the 18mm end and 5.8 being the maximum at the 55mm end. Some lenses will be described like this: FA 28-70 f/4. This means the maximum aperture is f/4 at all focal lengths, this is called a constant aperture lens. Put the camera in Av mode, zoom the lens to the 18mm setting and change the aperture to 3.5 using the scroll wheel. Now watch the aperture indicator as you slowly zoom the lens out to 55mm, you should see it change as you zoom because the camera knows the lowest setting for each zoom focal length.

I would suggest a book by Brian Peterson called "Understanding Exposure" It helped me tremendously to understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed and ISO and when to change what.

The problem with indoor shots like you are looking for is that the subjects move. Which throws another variable into the mix. Which is why the suggestions for using TAv or Tv mode as you can set the shutter speed to something that will remove the motion blur. A rule of thumb I use is you need 3x the focal length as the shutter speed to control motion blur. Of course faster subjects require even more speed. Birds in flight are maybe 1/1250 or even faster.

Much of the motion blur can be handled by using flash as that 'freezes' the motion since the flash discharge might last only 1/2000 of a second or less but at a party like you describe flash may not be appropriate.
11-25-2011, 04:26 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Jazon, aperture is easy to understand once one remembers it is a ratio. F/2 for example . It simply means the focal length of the lens in use (say 50mm) divided by 2. Therefore the area of the hole (the aperture) is 25mm2. If the lens was an exotic F/1 the area of the hole would be 50mm2, or in other words it lets in twice the amount of light. F/4 would be 12.5mm2, and so on.

In other words the aperture gets LARGER as the divisor gets smaller. Therefore more light is available to your sensor. The more light that is available, the shorter the shutter open time can be.

Lets say the camera tells you (in P mode) that for a given scene the 'correct'* exposure is say, F/4 at 1/100 sec ISO 100.

If we alter any of these three variables, we must compensate by altering one or both of the others.

Suppose we switch from P or green mode to full Manual mode. We may not be happy with a setting of F/4 because we want shallower depth of field. (the larger the aperture, the thiner the slice of in focus area will be), so we change our aperture setting to be open to F2.8. This lets in exactly twice as much light, so if we did not compensate using one of the other two variables, our exposure would be terribly over exposed (according to the camera's meter, this may in fact be what you, the photographer, would like to achieve) to compensate we must either set the ISO sensitivity to 50 (half of 100) or open the shutter for half the amount of time - 1/200th sec. (ISO 50 is not available on your K-5 btw, so that would not be an option in this case)

The three settings -iso, aperture and shutter speed - are inter-related and can be used to great effect depending on the type of shot you are looking for. Sports action freeze frame? Up the shutter speed to around 1/1250th sec and make the other adustments as required to bring the exposure into the visable range. Milky soft water scene? Change the shutter speed to something like 1 second or even longer and then adjust the aperture 'down' to F/11 or F/16 and adjust the ISO as required to meet the exposure requirements.

I hope this makes sense.

*There is no such thing as a correct exposure. You, as the photographer decides what is correct for your taste and vision. Camera meters simply try to 'best guess' what it is the photographer will want.
11-25-2011, 04:27 PM - 2 Likes   #12
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Tons of good advice above. Given than you have a K5 and a DA18-55WR, some of your choices boil down to:

* Can you use flash? Then put a thin white infant sock over the pop-up flash, as a diffuser; use P mode and hope for the best. Practice a bit first, eh?

* Do you want sharp main subjects and don't care so much about their surroundings? Then use Tv mode with the shutter at 1/100 and let the ISO float up to 10k or whatever.

* Do you want more DOF so larger groups of subjects are in focus? Then use TAv mode with shutter at 1/100 and the aperture at f/8, again letting the ISO float up.

Note: High-ISO noise can be fixed in PP; motion blur can't.
11-25-2011, 04:49 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Brian Peterson called "Understanding Exposure"
Thanks for suggesting this book. I have now bought it on ebay.

QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
A rule of thumb I use is you need 3x the focal length as the shutter speed to control motion blur.
Not too sure I understand this. I am trying to visualize it and compare with the numbers changing on the screen.
QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Put the camera in Av mode, zoom the lens to the 18mm setting and change the aperture to 3.5 using the scroll wheel. Now watch the aperture indicator as you slowly zoom the lens out to 55mm, you should see it change as you zoom because the camera knows the lowest setting for each zoom focal length.
The Peterson book will help. From what I can gather though this 18-55mm lens is rather limiting. To capture fast motion I would need a longer lens. So a telephoto lens is not just about photographing objects further away but being able to capture in better detail fast moving subjects. Is that right?

Last edited by jazon; 11-25-2011 at 04:50 PM. Reason: spelling
11-25-2011, 05:03 PM - 1 Like   #14
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If you do end up using the camera flash note if you use very wide angles you will get a shadow on the bottom of your picture.
Use less than 18mm and omit the hood to avoid the shadow.
11-25-2011, 09:35 PM - 1 Like   #15
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Just a couple more comments looking through the good advice you have been given already.

You will need a shutter speed of at least 1/80 if they are standing still (posing) and you are not using flash, slower will work too but it only takes one to move slightly to ruin an otherwise good shot, if they are moving (not posing) then 1/340 thru 1/500 should be enough.

x3 by your focal length won't work indoors.

Flash is around 1/10,000 of a sec regardless of your shutter speed - which is why it freezes action. If you're at a party then many others will have P&S cameras and be taking shots ... all will have flash since a P&S will pop these up automatically, so I don't see why this would be an issue at all. Get yourself the little cloth or plastic diffuser, 10 mins practicing with it and you'll know how much flash power you need for what distance - practice at different distances so you know what you need (use the flash power adjuster - click the flash icon on the back of your camera and increase / lower the power of your pop-up flash via the wheel at the top of your camera. It only takes a couple of seconds to change it for any shot once you are used to using it.

If you are not going to use flash use the TAv mode (the camera will automatically adjust your ISO - you can set the maximum you want in the menus, I'd suggest 6,400), set your camera to f5.6 and 1/180 and you're ready for most shots at the party, if not those with excessive movement - which you can compensate for by increasing the shutter speed to around 1/340 or a touch more. The problem with the Green mode is it will reduce your shutter speed and / or open up your aperture in low light - which you don't want to keep a group in focus and reduce focus blur. TAv is much better because you have the control.

Oh and if there are people wearing glasses they can do one of to things to stop reflections a) take the glasses off ! b) ask them to just tilt their heads down just little so the the angle of incidence doesn't the flash back at the camera.

Last edited by Frogfish; 11-25-2011 at 09:41 PM.
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