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02-02-2014, 10:11 AM   #1
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K-5ii and low light

Hello,

I used my K5-ii for the first time in very low light last night at an event to photograph my friend's 50th Birthday party. I was disappointed with its ability to get focus in low light situations.
I have the camera set for AF-S , select focus, 11 points and in situations where I felt there was enough light it just hunted and pecked. The lens I used were the 35mm 2.4 and the Sigma DC 17-70 F4 macro HSM. I was shooting at f4/800/80 and then moved to f4/1250 I also had the Sigma DG-610 flash (with a Lightsphere cloud dome bounced up without the cover) which is so slow and unpredictable in p-ttl ( use I would move my flash exposure compensation +-). I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw it into the wall. Between the flash and the focus issues I missed a lot of shots or people would be standing with a smile frozen tight on their faces while my flash and lens took 5 mins to focus and fire. I finally put my yn-460ii manual flash on the camera; that did improve the flash cycle time but the camera still hunted for focus and manual flash is a lot of work (to me) in an event as such as I have to keep trying to determine how much power to give it, and quite frankly I'm not that good yet that it comes easy to me.
If I'm doing something wrong please let me know. I'm open to any suggestions and I thank you in advance.

02-02-2014, 10:26 AM   #2
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The F4 lens was probably too slow for getting focus in low light. When shooting low light, I use center point focus - The centre point being the only sensor point that is the precise F2.8 variety.

This thread from the forum might be worth looking through. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/6-pentax-dslr-discussion/198596-k-5-ii-f...ml#post2093702
02-02-2014, 10:45 AM   #3
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Thanks Matt! I'm sorry I should have been more clear. I was using the F4 lens to shoot my backdrop and had an off camera monolight and umbrella setup. I was actually shooting it at F8/200/125 those were great except for about 10 times, so I'm not really complaining about that as those misses could have very well been me not the camera. lol
The problem came when I went away from the backdrop and starting shooting the 35mm 2.4 lens at f4 moving thru the event. I also use the center focus point. Thanks for the thread link; I will read it today.
02-02-2014, 12:49 PM   #4
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Why not just use manual focus? Unless it was so dark perhaps a thermal camera would be more useful?

02-02-2014, 04:01 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by nvarner Quote
Hello,

I used my K5-ii for the first time in very low light last night at an event to photograph my friend's 50th Birthday party. I was disappointed with its ability to get focus in low light situations.
I have the camera set for AF-S , select focus, 11 points and in situations where I felt there was enough light it just hunted and pecked. The lens I used were the 35mm 2.4 and the Sigma DC 17-70 F4 macro HSM. I was shooting at f4/800/80 and then moved to f4/1250 I also had the Sigma DG-610 flash (with a Lightsphere cloud dome bounced up without the cover) which is so slow and unpredictable in p-ttl ( use I would move my flash exposure compensation +-). I was so frustrated that I wanted to throw it into the wall. Between the flash and the focus issues I missed a lot of shots or people would be standing with a smile frozen tight on their faces while my flash and lens took 5 mins to focus and fire. I finally put my yn-460ii manual flash on the camera; that did improve the flash cycle time but the camera still hunted for focus and manual flash is a lot of work (to me) in an event as such as I have to keep trying to determine how much power to give it, and quite frankly I'm not that good yet that it comes easy to me.
If I'm doing something wrong please let me know. I'm open to any suggestions and I thank you in advance.
took 5 mins to focus and fire for each photo???
02-02-2014, 10:14 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tarragon Quote
Why not just use manual focus? Unless it was so dark perhaps a thermal camera would be more useful?
I find your response unhelpful . I am well aware that I can manual focus a lens . I'm not sure why people respond to be sarcastic and unhelpful ; it seems like a waste of energy and time to behave in such a negative manner.
02-03-2014, 07:23 AM   #7
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Relax!

Its a huge family, rather a huge gathering of people. Often you might hear a remark or two

Regarding your post, your lens is pretty slow. So is mine. I use the kit-lens 18-55. I had the same challenge. My friend with another entry level DSLR nailed perfect shots. I was struggling with my manual settings.

But eventually I did it.

So first thing you have to know is never shy away from pumping your ISO. As a Pentaxian you get that additional super-power. ISO 1600 - 3200 you can get some very decent results, without any loss of colors.

Use Flash -> I use the pop-up flash and I have notched down to -2. It gives great results for closeups. You can also use red-eye reduction.

1/60 is a friend. Stay at that, however for higher speed. You compensate, else you would see soft images.

Thats all that I can say. I am new as well.

Cheers!
02-03-2014, 12:26 PM   #8
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I agree with Deedee. I grew up on the K-x and I never went past 800 ISO because I HATE GRAIN. Now that I have the K5II, I will pump it up to 1600 with no problem. I don't mind a little noise reduction in post. I use the 18-135mm and either my FGZ360 flash on camera with the stofen or off camera with a small umbrella at low light events that need flash. I wish I had a flash that swiveled, though. I've got one of those rogue flash benders that would really come in handy.

02-03-2014, 12:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Deedee Quote
Relax!

Its a huge family, rather a huge gathering of people. Often you might hear a remark or two

Regarding your post, your lens is pretty slow. So is mine. I use the kit-lens 18-55. I had the same challenge. My friend with another entry level DSLR nailed perfect shots. I was struggling with my manual settings.

But eventually I did it.

So first thing you have to know is never shy away from pumping your ISO. As a Pentaxian you get that additional super-power. ISO 1600 - 3200 you can get some very decent results, without any loss of colors.

Use Flash -> I use the pop-up flash and I have notched down to -2. It gives great results for closeups. You can also use red-eye reduction.

1/60 is a friend. Stay at that, however for higher speed. You compensate, else you would see soft images.

Thats all that I can say. I am new as well.

Cheers!

Had same focusing issuw with 2.8 and 2.4 Limiteds. Pumping iso doesnt help really if you cannot get focus!
02-03-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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I always ask: do you have any UV or 'protection' filters on your lenses?
They can have a very negative impact on camera AF (and flash) sometimes, particularly in low-light.

Also using just the centre-point and AF-S, you should be able to comfortably focus using just about any lens even in very dark conditions, since the AF is rated down to -3 EV, and the centre point is particularly sensitive.
02-03-2014, 01:14 PM   #11
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How dark was it?
02-03-2014, 07:47 PM   #12
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Is the auto focus assist light turned on in your menu? I don't normally have it turned on, but if I'm shooting somewhere really dark, I will turn it on, and have no issues. I wouldn't use it during a concert or wedding, but if it's just a family gathering / event, I wouldn't hesitate to use it.
02-04-2014, 12:12 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sirjes2 Quote
I agree with Deedee. I grew up on the K-x and I never went past 800 ISO because I HATE GRAIN. Now that I have the K5II, I will pump it up to 1600 with no problem. I don't mind a little noise reduction in post. I use the 18-135mm and either my FGZ360 flash on camera with the stofen or off camera with a small umbrella at low light events that need flash. I wish I had a flash that swiveled, though. I've got one of those rogue flash benders that would really come in handy.
I had no UV filters on the lens. I only put them on when I store my lenses. I did have the auto-focus light turned on for the camera and I think the Sigma EF-610 has a focus assist beam also. I'm not sure I'll go in my closet and test if that is an accurate statement.
I think the EF-610 being really slow compacted the problem. My partner was shooting the K-30 with a Sigma EF-610 also and it was very painful. lol

I think I finally went to something like ISO 1250 still at F4 as I wanted to insure that I had enough DOF . I will post some example pics of the good and the disappointing. lol
I usually shoot my D7100 but I've hurt my rotator cuff so with the grip (3 batteries) and the heavy lens it's just too much, plus I love my K5-II and it's sealed nicely, just in case some overly liquid-happy person starts spilling things :-).

With regard to the level of darkness, it was probably comparable to a Steak House (like a Ruths Chris for those who have this in your area) but maybe not even that dark. I'll see if I can find a picture that gives a hint at the ambient light level. It was definitely not nightclub dark.

I will add that I was very impressed with the battery life . I started shooting at 7:00 pm and at midnight the battery indicator still wasn't at half. Wowzer !
02-04-2014, 03:44 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by nvarner Quote
I'll see if I can find a picture that gives a hint at the ambient light level.
Just have a good look at the EXIF for any of your JPEG or RAW. The ambient light levels will be recorded in there for each metering segment. Tools like exiftool or PhotoMe will help you read it out.
02-04-2014, 07:55 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Just have a good look at the EXIF for any of your JPEG or RAW. The ambient light levels will be recorded in there for each metering segment. Tools like exiftool or PhotoMe will help you read it out.
That's interesting. I never realized that info was captured. Cool.
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