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10-14-2013, 11:38 AM   #1
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Q7 with D FA 100mm - Ultimate Festival Shooter?

A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Photography rules for this fest have shifted over the years. In the early years, there was a "no interchangeable lenses" rule. Now it's okay to have a DSLR with stock lenses (whatever that means), but professional equipment, including detachable zoom lenses (again, this is their terminology, not mine) is still prohibited.

I interpreted this as follows: bring your DSLR if you wish, but please don't show up with something the size of a howitzer hanging off your lens mount. So, rather than go into the lens smuggling business, I simply took my S95 and did what I could.

I've been thinking, though: is the Q7 the ultimate camera for this application? The 02 standard zoom would cover most situations, and the Pentax K/Q adapter coupled with my D FA 100mm f2.8 would be great (in my mind, anyway) for the super long-range shots when you can't approach the stage. And its small size would pretty much prevent anyone from raising objections.

I've seen many examples on the Q forum where people have shot birds, insects, etc with the adapted D FA 100mm; but I still don't have a good sense of what I could expect in the setting of a festival. A few questions, please:

1) How is the handling of the D FA when focusing manually? Is the long throw helpful?
2) Is it practical to manually focus on a subject in daylight that might move a bit (like Thom Yorke in the midst of a performance conniption) at longer focal lengths? In this case, we are talking about an effective 460mm.
3) Regarding number 2, would this be at all possible at night, handheld, aimed at a stage quite far away? Or would I be better off just getting an 06 Telephoto Zoom, and settling for the drastically decreased reach?

I realize, of course, that my description of the conditions (distance, lighting, etc) is rather vague; but there is considerable variation. I suppose I'm seeking feedback for general day/night festival conditions. I appreciate any and all thoughts on the subject.

10-14-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ephophex Quote
A couple of weekends ago, I attended the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Photography rules for this fest have shifted over the years. In the early years, there was a "no interchangeable lenses" rule. Now it's okay to have a DSLR with stock lenses (whatever that means), but professional equipment, including detachable zoom lenses (again, this is their terminology, not mine) is still prohibited.

I interpreted this as follows: bring your DSLR if you wish, but please don't show up with something the size of a howitzer hanging off your lens mount. So, rather than go into the lens smuggling business, I simply took my S95 and did what I could.

I've been thinking, though: is the Q7 the ultimate camera for this application? The 02 standard zoom would cover most situations, and the Pentax K/Q adapter coupled with my D FA 100mm f2.8 would be great (in my mind, anyway) for the super long-range shots when you can't approach the stage. And its small size would pretty much prevent anyone from raising objections.

I've seen many examples on the Q forum where people have shot birds, insects, etc with the adapted D FA 100mm; but I still don't have a good sense of what I could expect in the setting of a festival. A few questions, please:

1) How is the handling of the D FA when focusing manually? Is the long throw helpful?
2) Is it practical to manually focus on a subject in daylight that might move a bit (like Thom Yorke in the midst of a performance conniption) at longer focal lengths? In this case, we are talking about an effective 460mm.
3) Regarding number 2, would this be at all possible at night, handheld, aimed at a stage quite far away? Or would I be better off just getting an 06 Telephoto Zoom, and settling for the drastically decreased reach?

I realize, of course, that my description of the conditions (distance, lighting, etc) is rather vague; but there is considerable variation. I suppose I'm seeking feedback for general day/night festival conditions. I appreciate any and all thoughts on the subject.
I've taken the Q into several concerts and even with full size lenses, they let me in. Actually one concert they saw my 55-300 and said nononono but I pointed out my only camera was my q. They then let me in...

That said, I never did use the manual focus lenses in the venue - found the AF was adequate and the range was fine w/ the #6 zoom lens.

black angels @ the wonder ballroom

Sigur Ross at Bend ampitheater
10-14-2013, 04:37 PM   #3
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For the 100 on the Q, handling will take a little practice and if the subject is moving it may be difficult.
The long focus throw is helpful.

A LCD loupe will help not only to see the focus point better but also to help steady the camera vs holding it out in front of you.

The 06 is an easy solution but obviously not as long a throw. It produces nice results IMO.
Here it is on Q before I had Q7.

10-14-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
I've taken the Q into several concerts and even with full size lenses, they let me in. Actually one concert they saw my 55-300 and said nononono but I pointed out my only camera was my q. They then let me in...

That said, I never did use the manual focus lenses in the venue - found the AF was adequate and the range was fine w/ the #6 zoom lens.

black angels @ the wonder ballroom

Sigur Ross at Bend ampitheater
Thanks for validating my thoughts on the unobtrusive nature of the Q, vagrant10. Given the relatively compact size of the 55-300mm, I'm somewhat surprised they paid any attention to it at all. But if you managed to get that in, I'd imagine most would not look twice at my dinky 100mm. Also, thanks for the sample shots - the Q appears to acquit itself quite well under these conditions.

10-14-2013, 05:17 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
For the 100 on the Q, handling will take a little practice and if the subject is moving it may be difficult.
The long focus throw is helpful.

A LCD loupe will help not only to see the focus point better but also to help steady the camera vs holding it out in front of you.

The 06 is an easy solution but obviously not as long a throw. It produces nice results IMO.
Here it is on Q before I had Q7.

Crewl1, thanks for the loupe suggestion, as it makes sense for both the reasons you cited. I'll likely source one of those if I do indeed go down this route, provided I stick with the adapter and K-mount idea (which I likely will, as it is not uncommon to find oneself quite far away from the stage at larger shows, and the 06 would likely be a bit short).

That Pickler shot is almost shockingly good, given the apparently challenging conditions.
10-14-2013, 05:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by vagrant10 Quote
I've taken the Q into several concerts and even with full size lenses, they let me in. Actually one concert they saw my 55-300 and said nononono but I pointed out my only camera was my q. They then let me in...

That said, I never did use the manual focus lenses in the venue - found the AF was adequate and the range was fine w/ the #6 zoom lens.

black angels @ the wonder ballroom

Sigur Ross at Bend ampitheater
Terrific concert shots in your Flickr set!
01-09-2014, 01:52 PM   #7
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Following up, all, I've had a chance to take the Q7 + 100mm macro to a show (Berlin, a freebie during the Austin Formula One Fan Fest).

Berlin at Austin Formula One Fan Fest - a set on Flickr

A few observations:

1) Manual focus can be a bit challenging under night time concert conditions. I missed. A *lot*.
2) I had waaaaaay too much lens, considering how close w were to the stage. But, it was more important to hang out with friends, rather than zooming with my feet. My primary goal was to try out the combo. Otherwise, the 06 would have been perfect for this setting.
3) The 100mm was cranked wide open, and ISO was generally very high (1600-3200). So, even the in-focus bits aren't super sharp. Perhaps a 77mm Ltd would have been better...
4) I love the long, leisurely, buttery focus throw of the 100mm.

The takeaway? Not a bad performer under these circumstances. In fact, the results compare surprisingly well with those of a friend who shot with a Canon DSLR immediately next to me (although he managed a couple of *cracking* good shots that were better than my best).

The experiment will continue...
01-10-2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ephophex Quote
Following up, all, I've had a chance to take the Q7 + 100mm macro to a show (Berlin, a freebie during the Austin Formula One Fan Fest).

Berlin at Austin Formula One Fan Fest - a set on Flickr

A few observations:

1) Manual focus can be a bit challenging under night time concert conditions. I missed. A *lot*.
2) I had waaaaaay too much lens, considering how close w were to the stage. But, it was more important to hang out with friends, rather than zooming with my feet. My primary goal was to try out the combo. Otherwise, the 06 would have been perfect for this setting.
3) The 100mm was cranked wide open, and ISO was generally very high (1600-3200). So, even the in-focus bits aren't super sharp. Perhaps a 77mm Ltd would have been better...
4) I love the long, leisurely, buttery focus throw of the 100mm.

The takeaway? Not a bad performer under these circumstances. In fact, the results compare surprisingly well with those of a friend who shot with a Canon DSLR immediately next to me (although he managed a couple of *cracking* good shots that were better than my best).

The experiment will continue...
Those shots look good!

01-10-2014, 06:14 AM   #9
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Unless you're waaaaay in the back, a 100mm might be too much lens. It's equivalent to a 560mm lens on the Q. I'd toss in a 50 (280mm equiv.) to be on the safe side.
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