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09-12-2015, 06:09 PM   #1
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Live view during night pictures

Hi I am shooting with a K50 and a pentx 50 mm and f1.8 lens. i have been shooting with manual focus but has been having trouble getting my images in focus via the lens finder. I have tried to use live view, but it only shows pitched black and doesn't help to focus. any ideas or suggestions?

09-12-2015, 06:11 PM   #2
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If there's not enough light, you're out of luck. You may have to resort to trial-and-error or try using PDAF confirmation (catch in focus).

Newer models do support real-time exposure preview in M mode, but the K-50 just tries to boost the exposure within the limits of the sensor/aperture.

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09-12-2015, 06:47 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by hey13163 Quote
Hi I am shooting with a K50 and a pentx 50 mm and f1.8 lens. i have been shooting with manual focus but has been having trouble getting my images in focus via the lens finder. I have tried to use live view, but it only shows pitched black and doesn't help to focus. any ideas or suggestions?
Are you just talking about shooting in the dark,
or are you saying that the LCD screen is never showing anything?

In the dark, you can use an LED flashlight to light up where you want to focus.
09-12-2015, 07:05 PM   #4
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The trouble with night photography is there is very little contrast,this is why focus confirmation is hard to achieve.I've over come this problem by using the center focus point and focusing on an area in the scene that has sufficient contrast,once focus is achieved recompose and take the shot.Hope this helps.

09-12-2015, 08:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Are you just talking about shooting in the dark,
or are you saying that the LCD screen is never showing anything?

In the dark, you can use an LED flashlight to light up where you want to focus.
I have tried using a head lamp and flashlight find a focal length, but I have been trying to do mountain/wooded scenery in addition to stars and focusing has still been difficult.

With regards to the black common, its the live view LCD screen will be black even though when i am shooting i have some lighting availible. I can see contrast when in my view finders just not the live view.
09-12-2015, 09:42 PM   #6
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Take a shot, look at it and adjust the focus. There isn't enough light for live view or the PDAF focus to work with.
09-12-2015, 10:53 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Yep! Derekkite is right! What you need to do is actually crank up the ISO to the max, takes shots first then adjust accordingly. It's not LiveView's fault because you probably can't focus with PDAF anyway. When low light situation like that, it's just a bit more practices.. Or.. You can just use Sony A7S or A7SII.
09-13-2015, 06:03 AM   #8
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I always use live view at night and focus manually because that's when focus peaking really shines. But if there is nothing showing there's just nor enough light. There are a couple of good suggesting here.I think you could try.

09-13-2015, 07:36 AM   #9
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Good Morning,

I feel your pain. Friday afternoon, I drove up to Sedona (a dark sky city/town) with a list of things/locations I wanted to try to shoot at sunset, night and at sunrise. I know and understand the limitations of Pentax and I do have some fast glass for the task (Sigma 18-35/f1.8), and also use the GPS unit. I do try to choose simple compositions to shoot - with lighting situations that tend to help. I also, try to pre-focus the lens in the early evening to infinity and tape the focus ring down (that doe help, but when you adjust the focus length, that does not necessarily guarantee that you will retain your previous focus). Having said all of that - it's still painful.
  • I ran in to a couple who were chasing the Milky Way. It was their last night in town. They had a Nikon D750 with a 14-24/2.8. He was able to AF on the stars and just shoot. Amazing. We talked for a while, I gave them a list of locations I had worked out with google earth, and they were off with their Hertz GPS. He was telling me about a fire road that he came across the previous night, that had the MW standing on end at the end of it (highway to the stars).
  • Later Friday evening, I drove up to a bridge in Oak Creek Canyon to check out some ideas I had. There was another gentleman there shooting the city lights of Sedona (at the bottom of the canyon/valley) with the Milky Way over head. We talked for a bit while he was shooting. I mentioned that I had seen an image of the Brooklyn Bridge, where it was shot from underneath, with the city lights lighting up the beams of the structure. I was thinking that the early morning twilight might supply enough light for me. He somewhat excitedly scoots to his truck and pulls out a light and says, let's go try something. So, he has this amazing old army surplus flashlight that lit up the entire bridge structure (across the whole canyon) in an amazing way (lots of diffused light). We wound up each shooting the bridge for the next 3 hours. He was shooting time lapse Milky Way shots (Canon 5DIII and 5DS) - bridge in the foreground, city lights in the background - through the bridge structure, car headlights coming up the canyon road, with the Milky Way standing on end at the head of the bridge - Fantastic!. I couldn't even start to do a fraction of that - I was struggling to just get focus. I had to wind up choosing a fast lens (the 18-35, with stitching) or a much slower (8-16) to get the entire structure, with out any flaring (from the headlights) - with a much higher ISO (as in 10000 to 51200 - although I did manage get some at 1600 to 3200). It was a constant struggle. Problem solving on the fly, just to get some basic shots, that captured a scene - that I did not anticipate having access to.
It turn out this guy is an asst prof up at NAU in Flagstaff (teaches photography), shoots for the BBC and NatGeo - and is currently doing an assignment for the IDA, the group that certifies/promotes dark sky cities/towns - (Flagstaff,AZ was the first one, Sedona is the sixth one). He is going around to each of the areas, shooting the stars/MW over the city, town, area, etc. His main focus is complex compositions that show that with proper low lighting, towns can actually have the streetlights, and access to seeing the stars. He started over in Europe, then the east coast, and now here in AZ. Had some wonderful MW shots of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. He was on his way down to Tuscon, Kit Peak, White Sands, then on to the big island of Hawaii.
So the moral of the story is to choose your subjects/areas and lighting carefully. Not once did any of the folks try to promote either C or N. They were just helpful and interested in trying to capture the light. I continually learn, and find different approaches (I gotta find one of those flashlights). I do hate to change lenses, once I get stuff in focus. Pentax can do a great job - when it's put in a position that it's capable of capturing (and that is what I am constantly trying to find). My K5IIs is still more camera than I have skill. My problem is throttling back the ideas/situations that exceed both my skill and the camera's capability. Do I wish that Pentax would hurry up and get some really low light AF - absolutely!!!

09-13-2015, 09:18 AM - 1 Like   #10
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It really helps to do lots of this stuff. Every time I go out I have to relearn the stuff I figured out the last time.

Some basics. Figure out the right lens. Some work some don't, with distortion you won't see in other photography.

It is dark. The very handy green screen lighting up can ruin your night vision. It is hard to do two handed tasks like mounting a camera on a tripod while holding a flashlight. That wonderful floodlight great for following a path or painting a scene will blind you for 15 minutes if you use it to find a button you need to press. What are you going to do during the 10 minutes or 30 minutes? Don't open the car door, stomping your feet to stay warm will introduce vibrations. It isn't time to figure out a technique you never used. You can't see.

Seriously, taking a few minutes to walk through the setup of a technique when you can see makes a difference.

Things happen surprisingly quickly. Shooting the planets earlier this year, the time it took to set the camera to new settings was long enough for the planet to move substantially in the viewfinder. Things take longer in the dark and a stunning scene may disappear before you are ready. How long does it take for the opgs device to find itself?

The exposure is at the edge of capability, noise and other distortions can overwhelm the subject you are trying to capture. There are definite sweet spots, it takes time to find them.

When it all works out is very satisfying. I was out one evening a few years ago. I heard noise on a nearby hill side. Some deer were wandering by. I was able to set up and frame a shot with the sky and the animals frozen and painted with my flashlight. But, I don't mind photographing bears when I can see them. At night it is a different proposition.
09-13-2015, 01:33 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by derekkite Quote
It really helps to do lots of this stuff. Every time I go out I have to relearn the stuff I figured out the last time. That is the absolute truth!!!!! I always get home and look at the take, then wonder why I had missed some aspect, that should have been apparent.

Some basics. Figure out the right lens. Some work some don't, with distortion you won't see in other photography. - Yes!!!It is all a bunch of little things, that I keep forgetting. If I could only get everything right for a change. I find that the more I shoot the better I get - or really I remember to actually do all the little things

It is dark. The very handy green screen lighting up can ruin your night vision. It is hard to do two handed tasks like mounting a camera on a tripod while holding a flashlight. That wonderful floodlight great for following a path or painting a scene will blind you for 15 minutes if you use it to find a button you need to press. What are you going to do during the 10 minutes or 30 minutes? Don't open the car door, stomping your feet to stay warm will introduce vibrations. It isn't time to figure out a technique you never used. You can't see.

Seriously, taking a few minutes to walk through the setup of a technique when you can see makes a difference. - Yes!! I have taken to setting up the camera, lens and remote at the truck, before I go off

Things happen surprisingly quickly. Shooting the planets earlier this year, the time it took to set the camera to new settings was long enough for the planet to move substantially in the viewfinder. Things take longer in the dark and a stunning scene may disappear before you are ready. How long does it take for the opgs device to find itself? Yup!!! Having everything "already put together" makes things go 100x faster. I finally the other night, just removed the strap on the body.

The exposure is at the edge of capability, noise and other distortions can overwhelm the subject you are trying to capture. There are definite sweet spots, it takes time to find them. And then to actually remember them the next time you go out. I have actually gone out with the sole purpose of fixing one thing, only to forget to do several other things. It's a constant game of "wack-a-mole" with myself"
..........
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