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08-06-2012, 01:18 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
This is why I think people should not jump right into micro AF adjustment when they notice front- or back-focus.
I used SpyderLensCal to make my micro adjustments. Was quick, easy and reliable.

08-06-2012, 01:21 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
@Ray - one more possible alternative, although I do not know if you tried it or if it will help:
Use quickshift on the DA* lenses to get the focus where you need it, and the microadjust on the AF to lock.

But yeah, that Sigma 50-150 is supposed to be fast.
I had the same problem as the OP: I was in the blinding sun and could not see even the histogram in most cases.

In addition, while the viewfinder on the K5 is about as good as you can buy for APS, it is not large enough, bright enough and also does not show DOF below about 2.8 or so, so manual tweak of the focus is all but impossible, especially when moving fast.

I did set both cameras to focus priority, so the camera at least thought the action photos were in focus, bujt it clearly quite often wasn't fast enough looking at the images later.

Finding a Sigma 50-150 for Pentax is like looking for the proverbial needle in a haystack it seems. It is also a shame since the 50-135 is so good otherwise.

Ray
08-06-2012, 01:37 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
Thanks for sharing, Ray! Primes aren't adequate for the ceremony part, you need a zoom, so the Sigma 50-150 is the only real valid choice, I myself have decided to move on to the D800 to be paired with the 70-200, 24-70 and two primes, probably the 85G and the 28G.
Good choices, but based upon what I am reading about D800 AF issues, I would wait a bit longer for Nikon to sort things out. The D700 is a solid choice (as you know) and can double as a second camera to the 800. The other issue is the cost of buying the basic Nikon kit. I have an extensive Pentax collection, including most of the best lenses they offer, and many were purchased well before the current pricing, so I can probably break even, but it would take every penny I could scrape up to get a 2 body solution with pro level zooms and flash.

As they say in hot-rodding: "Speed costs money, how fast do you want to go?"

I did shoot more than a few weddings in the film days with mainly primes, and also manual focus, so it can be done, but who wants to add even more stress to the situation?

QuoteQuote:
I too had my AF540 set up on a monopod with umbrella. No PW though, just CyberSyncs. I had a helper from the wedding (a friend of the bride). I think he had a lot of fun.
I actually shoot with a couple of older (non-current) Nikon Speedlights for off-camera lighting. I have shot them on body in A mode (I removed all pins in the foot but the center one) or via pocketwizrds off camera. They are very solid, have full manual control with zoom, plus A mode. The only downside is the 1/180 max sync speed when shooting in manual mode.

QuoteQuote:
I can also echo your frustration with P-TTL. I can't trust or rely on it. I prefer to do everything manually and rely on the histogram.
The only downside to manual is when you are moving fast and the lighting conditions are dramatically different (deep shade to bright sun, for example). P-TTL has always been a bit mysterious, but on the older bodies I had them dialed in reasonably well, and fill flash worked ok. One would think that with the DR of the K5, fill flash would be easier and less critical, but since the K7 at least, the flash no longer behaves like the older cameras.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do. The path of least resistance for me at the moment is to buy and test the Sigma zooms and then see what Pentax releases between now and the first part of next year. I do not make my living in photography so I can afford to wait a bit.

Ray
08-06-2012, 01:56 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ray Pulley Quote
Good choices, but based upon what I am reading about D800 AF issues, I would wait a bit longer for Nikon to sort things out. The D700 is a solid choice (as you know) and can double as a second camera to the 800.
I've planned to do the switch in January, since December is my big cha-ching month. Hopefully by then the AF issues will be resolved!

08-06-2012, 02:05 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by FrancisK7 Quote
Like I said, it's my failure above all else. I was worried about noise and wanted to capture the background sky light, so opened right up to 2.8 but kept ISO at 100. I could easily have bumped ISO to 800 and gotten a one second exposure with the same result (with flash powered way down). Because I was in a hurry and the pic looked sharp on the LCD I said we were good to go. My mistake.

Still, getting AF to lock on them was a chore in and on itself. And as demonstrated above, AF can miss even in broad daylight without subject motion coming into the equation, so I should have known better.

I learned a good lesson.
I will 'fess up to learning a simlar lesson a weekend ago as well:

The minister was disabled and sat between the coule during the vows. He had silver-white hair and beard and a dark suit on. During the rehearsal, he was not dressed the same, did not sit as close between them, and the lighting was far different as it was early evening (much lower contrast).

In trying to shoot the hands for the placement of the rings during the actual ceremony, the camera locked on the higher contrast minister just behind the couple. Rookie mistake and very predictable had I spent 2 seconds thinking about it. There was a ton of clutter in the background anyway (forest and daylight peeking through), and I shoot at least some shots with enough DOF to cover most minor misses, but to say I was not so happy when I could finally see the images would be an understatement. However, I cannot blame the camera in that case. I should have shifted a focus point to something on the bride or groom well away from the minister in the center. Live and learn.

I have a sneaking suspicion that much of your trouble in the daylight shot was the red jacket. We have seen some posts here where the shooter could not get good AF lock no matter what, and many of the shots had significant red content. I had minor, but consistent AF misses on a purple dress, and have seen pretty consistent misses (albeit not huge) on pink faces that fill the FOV (think young caucasian children).

I think that the K5 AF was improved with the Tungsten firmware release (1.03, I think) but much like an AWB calculation, the color sensor and algorithm in the PDAF system might be less than perfect with certain wavelengths. Oddly, the Nikon d7000, with the same sensor as the K5, and released at a similar time, I believe also has a color sensing element in the PDAF, and there have been no end of AF complaints about that camera.

At least I remembered my earlier hard lessons about turing off SR for almost all shots, as it takes too long to spool up and can make for soft images if you do not wait for it. It isn't needed for much of anything at a daylight wedding anyway.

One tip that might help you with dark shots where you do not have the spot beam assisting from the 540 (the green body beam is weak and not very useful except very close in) is to carry a small led light on your belt. Flash it on the subject and acquire focus lock, then take the shot. The K5 is stupid in that it will lock in light that is well below specifications, but it is almost always wrong in such cases, usually front focused. It should just refuse to lock, but it often locks and gives you flase confidence that things are in focus.

Ray
08-06-2012, 02:06 PM   #36
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a LCD hood is very useful when shoot outside..
08-07-2012, 02:15 AM   #37
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For weddings all I now use is either a old but good sigma 24-60 f2.8, or a Tokina 28-70 F2.8 and a Tamron 70-200 F2.8.

Primes are fine and have loads of + points that we all know about and are great for fixed formal shots, but these days with the current demand in the UK for "reportage", "Fly on the wall" shots you miss too many of those instant across the room shots of laughter etc.if you try to stick to primes
08-10-2012, 08:00 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edvinas Quote
Then it's not subject movement. Flash light is short enough to "stop" flying bullet, not to mention posing people...
Sorry, but I'm going to have to disagree this point. Yes a flash can stop a bullet mid flight, but that's assuming there is no ambient light in the scene, plus the bullet in only in the one spot for a split second. In his case, I don't think (if focus was dead on) a Pentax, Canon, Nikon, etc, would have made a difference. Yes the initial flash would have froze them, but the rest of the 8 seconds of the exposure (because of the obvious ambient light), any slight motion would have been slowly smudging over the previously frozen shot. Best case would have been if he used Rear Curtain, then at least the couple would have actually been frozen in time, but I'd bet that they would have a blurry halo around them because of the rest of the 8 seconds before the flash went off. I think in this case, as was mentioned, higher ISO, slower shutter and lower flash power would have been the best solution. As it was shot, I don't think there was a hope in hell of getting that shot as planned.

Just to note, I am FAR from a flash expert, so if I am wrong, please feel free to jump in and correct me. I (like everyone else) am always learning.

08-10-2012, 08:37 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by eccs19 Quote
Yes the initial flash would have froze them, but the rest of the 8 seconds of the exposure (because of the obvious ambient light), any slight motion would have been slowly smudging over the previously frozen shot.
Agreed. It's just logical.

The flash may indeed have frozen the couple sharply at second 1, but since the shutter was still open, in seconds 2-8 any movement by the couple would also be recorded right on top of the frozen shot recorded at second 1, due to the other light available in the scene.
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