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05-12-2017, 12:32 PM - 1 Like   #1
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A Quick Portrait at Home

I wanted to share this recent portrait shot here, as it shows how we can get some lighting going even in fairly small and cluttered domestic situations ....


Its a Two-Flash Manual mode set-up, using a Pentax AF-540FGZ in SL2 (optical slave) mode, triggered by a Cactus RF60 / V6 combo ....


Please click through to my thread at PentaxUser.com .... Thanks for viewing and any thoughts
Nigel


https://www.pentaxuser.com/forum/topic/a-portrait-58764

05-12-2017, 01:18 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Please click through to my thread at PentaxUser.com .... Thanks for viewing and any thoughts
Wow! Cute child, very well presented. You really know what you are doing. Did you need much in the way of PP?
05-12-2017, 01:25 PM   #3
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Great idea to have some different kinds of posts here, showing the result of a certain lighting set up. Well done.
05-12-2017, 02:34 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jlstrawman Quote
.... You really know what you are doing ......
Thanks, I really like to give off that impression



QuoteOriginally posted by jlstrawman Quote
... Did you need much in the way of PP?

What is great with this sort of controlled lighting is that there's nothing to do at all with exposure, brightness and contrast adjustments in PP .... its very easy, its all there ready as soon as you open the file on the computer.


I've done a few standard sort of portrait tweaks .... eye sharpening, raising highlights in the eyes and extra blue/green saturation .... plus some colour noise reduction on the skin, which had some yellow colour noise .... then a very little bit of selective skin smoothing.


QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
Great idea to have some different kinds of posts here, showing the result of a certain lighting set up. Well done.

Yes, and DO try this at home folks ! Thanks for your comments guys ....


Last edited by mcgregni; 05-12-2017 at 02:41 PM.
05-12-2017, 05:24 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I sent this to my nieces and nephews who are all having kids - pointing out how much better these results are than they will get with their iPhones!

Thanks for a good example of why you need a REAL camera.
05-12-2017, 07:28 PM   #6
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Thanks ! Yes, a DSLR is a very versatile type of system, and the camera itself plus the various accessories that can be used with it all add up to greater potential ultimately.

I wonder if you can trigger flashes with an iPhone ?.... I suppose it must be possible with some sort of NFC app and receiver ...
05-12-2017, 07:31 PM   #7
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Great work!

QuoteOriginally posted by AstroDave Quote
Thanks for a good example of why you need a REAL camera.
Nah, you just need a lighting setup and the know how to use it. There is even a little gadget that lets you sync a flash with an iphone, limited sync speed but that's not usually a problem indoors. An enormous chunk of the crappy photos out of smartphones or P&S are due to crappy lighting. Actually, that's probably true for 'real' cameras as well...
05-12-2017, 08:07 PM   #8
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Hmm, some interesting points .... what's better, the latest iPhone ... or a K7 ?

I suppose in resolution and colour terms, at least for web use and up to A3 prints, the iPhone would do the job perfectly well .... Assuming that the flashes can be triggered and synced then the lighting would look the same. But the lens would be an issue, surely ? Could an iPhone produce the optical look of the D FA28-105mm at 88mm and F11 ?

And how important is the fully manual exposure control I used on the K7 .?... ISO200 / F11 1/180th sec. That all contributed a lot to a steady capture and sharp image with no ambient light to mess up the contrast . Could that control be exerted on the iPhone ?

I know for sure that I don't think I would enjoy the photography as much with the iPhone!

05-13-2017, 03:05 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Hmm, some interesting points .... what's better, the latest iPhone ... or a K7 ?!
Which one fits in my pocket

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Could an iPhone produce the optical look of the D FA28-105mm at 88mm and F11 ?
90+% of parents probably won't be able to tell the difference. In-focus, clear, bright photo of their child and they're probably gushing



There are some limitations with the phone's exposure settings, aperture is fixed at something like f/1.8-2.8 (depending on the model) and with the gizmo, the sync was limited to 1/45 to 1/30 depending on the model. Should be fine for an indoor couch studio with an ND filter taped on.

I don't mean to get into a smartphone vs dslr debate, my basic point is - the camera is far, far, far less important when you have a solid light setup (like the lights you demonstrated). Kit lenses will do just dandy (you have enough light to shoot at optimal apertures), smaller sensors will be fine (you can shoot at optimal iso), and whiz bang gizmos like shake reduction also don't matter. For smaller prints and interwebs sharing, a k7 is massive overkill on the image quality front. No doubt much nicer to use than a smartphone.
05-13-2017, 11:52 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Yes, I see your point .... Once the lighting is in place, the actual capture device and sensor is less important because the lighting is actually optimizing the conditions, so it's not really pushing the capabilities of the camera. Lucky I'm so into flash, must be why I'm still so happy with the K7!

I'd be a bit worried shooting at 1/30th sec though .....I find the combination of Pentax SR with 1/180th sec assures me very sharp flash photography at any any aperture and long focal length.
05-13-2017, 04:01 PM   #11
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Well, let's continue this discussion a bit. As noted above, I sent the reference to mcgregni's shot to my nieces and nephews, hoping to lure them into a better camera. They all have kids, ranging in age from a week to 4 years.

I may now have a convert. He asked me for camera recommendations.

I have a Canon G15 which I love for quick shooting and portability. Its f1.8 - f2.8 aperture makes it great for low light and action (squirmy kids!) shooting. My wife uses it all the time when we travel - its her camera then, while I schlep my K3 or K1 and assorted lenses.

I would recommend the latest in the Canon G line, except I suspect price may be somewhat of a consideration. Im reluctant to push for a used G15, since anything used from Ebay could be a bit suspect, especially for a newbie - I dont want to scare him off! We live far apart (Arizona versus Boston), so I wont be there to hold his hand.

So, Id like to hear suggestions from Forum members for a good starter Point-n-Shoot camera. I see no need for extreme zoom range. Image quality and ease of use should rank high, along with a decent price (under $200?). I will check his price sensitivity, and if he can go higher, Ill probably push for the G line. Are there other great cameras in the $200-$400 range? There must be something between "the latest iPhone ... or a K7"!

Thanks for input!!
05-13-2017, 05:35 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Well I think we were saying that it wasn't so much the camera type or sensor that produced the results here, but rather the lighting and the manual control possibilities of the DSLR ..... so, really, a 'Point-n-Shoot' is not going to cut it. Perhaps you should be encouraging them to think about their lighting arrangements, and studying up on flashes, softboxes, umbrellas and trigger technologies .....


You could recommend them a K1 as the very best camera possible, but without the lighting set-up even a K1 couldn't produce the results of the shot here.
05-13-2017, 06:07 PM   #13
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It can't be stressed enough that Nigel's results were in large part due to his lights and his know-how. Drop that G15 (it has a hotshoe to sync with his lights) into his hands with the same setup and he'd take a great portrait. Drop that G15 into the hands of a snap shooting iphone user who pays no attention to the ambient lighting conditions, and you'll end up with a snapshot.

If a more advanced P&S would get your nephew interesting in learning about light and photography in general, that would be awesome! But if they're just going to drop a different camera in and use it like an iphone, I wouldn't bother.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Lucky I'm so into flash, must be why I'm still so happy with the K7!
Honestly, I think it helps! I went from a k100d to a k5iis. The k5iis has much better dynamic range and higher iso capabilities. These improvements meant very little for photos taken with a lighting setup as I can control the dynamic range of the scene with my lights, and also shoot at low iso. Other improvements were nice of course, but lights can certainly help you work with the imaging tech that's now ancient by today's standards. The greatest ISO-performing cameras and lenses are wonderful for shooting under marginal conditions, but lights can remove the need for some of these gains.

QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
I'd be a bit worried shooting at 1/30th sec though .....I find the combination of Pentax SR with 1/180th sec assures me very sharp flash photography at any any aperture and long focal length.
The 1/30th might make killing the ambient annoying, but it would be workable. The short flash duration should take care of any camera shake or motion issues. If you're trying to combine ambient and flash, the 1/30th would be more limiting. There's no doubt a dslr is more flexible and probably a much saner choice for anyone wanting to work with flashes.
05-13-2017, 06:16 PM   #14
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Yes, I think that's right Brian ..... and I feel that the real point and true advantage of a 'system' camera like a DSLR, is actually not the camera itself ....but the 'system'! Its often the peripherals and add-on equipment that make the real difference to images. Lenses and the extensive choice available for each particular type of shot are the obvious ones, but you can add things like Flashes, remote controls, extension tubes, reversing rings, converters, astro-tracer etc also .... they all extend the functionality and versatility of a DSLR to well beyond the capabilities of any stand-alone camera type.


And yes, I would like a K1 .... its time my K7 got a break!
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