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09-08-2016, 10:05 PM   #1
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K-3 Low Light

What's everyone's experience with low-light performance on the (original) K-3? I've gotten decent low-light pics before, but this past weekend I was just unable to make it work. The picture I've linked to was taken with the DA 18-135 lens, 18mm @ f/3.5, 30s, at ISO 3200. Now it was the day after the new moon, so there was very little ambient light since what sliver of a moon there was hadn't risen yet. Is the problem my settings or just the lack of light? I just feel like it could have turned out better.

DNG: 2016_09_03 22-06-23.DNG - Google Drive

Edited: 2016_09_03 22-06-23.jpg - Google Drive

09-08-2016, 10:10 PM   #2
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I think it's a combination of soft sharpness wide open/DoF and possibly where you focused. Noise-wise the image isn't too bad.

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09-09-2016, 12:15 AM   #3
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Hi Scotty...

For frame-wide sharpness on the 18-135 at 18mm, you really want to be stopped down to f/7.1 to f/8. That will also help by increasing the depth of field.

As for the image noise, it looks about right for ISO 3200 to me. Your edited shot shows that the colour noise has been removed successfully. What software are you using for post-processing?
09-09-2016, 12:37 AM   #4
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What the hell did you photographed here nOISE is the last thing I would check out in this scene

09-09-2016, 11:48 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by scotty707 Quote
What's everyone's experience with low-light performance on the (original) K-3? I've gotten decent low-light pics before, but this past weekend I was just unable to make it work. The picture I've linked to was taken with the DA 18-135 lens, 18mm @ f/3.5, 30s, at ISO 3200. Now it was the day after the new moon, so there was very little ambient light since what sliver of a moon there was hadn't risen yet. Is the problem my settings or just the lack of light? I just feel like it could have turned out better.

DNG: 2016_09_03 22-06-23.DNG - Google Drive

Edited: 2016_09_03 22-06-23.jpg - Google Drive
I have shot several theatre shows, which have terrible lighting for photography, with a K3 and the DA* 50-135 f2.8. I use this wide open on aperture priority at IsO 1600 and have been very happy with the results. My images were selected by the show's producer over those of others using FF Sony and Canon equipment.
09-09-2016, 03:23 PM   #6
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The K3 is great at low light. My KS2 is great too.


K3

Anthrax
by John Rudolph, on Flickr


Alter Bridge
by John Rudolph, on Flickr

KS2

Saint Asonia
by John Rudolph, on Flickr


Saint Asonia
by John Rudolph, on Flickr
09-09-2016, 08:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by scotty707 Quote
DA 18-135 lens, 18mm @ f/3.5, 30s, at ISO 3200
Or was it 1/30s? I have no idea what would make sense under the conditions at the time.

QuoteOriginally posted by john5100 Quote
The K3 is great at low light. My KS2 is great too.
If the answer to the above is 30s (as opposed to 1/30s), then I'd say the comparison is not fair.
09-09-2016, 09:33 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by bxf Quote
Or was it 1/30s? I have no idea what would make sense under the conditions at the time.


If the answer to the above is 30s (as opposed to 1/30s), then I'd say the comparison is not fair.
30 seconds. Conditions were no moon, no ambient light other than a flashlight.

09-10-2016, 05:39 AM   #9
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When shooting higher ISO's on my K3 I have found it better to advoid shadow clipping. Recovering shadows on high ISO settings tends to really increase noise for me. I use Lightroom 5 right now and when I can not get enough noise out I finish in Denoise 6. I have also found DXO Optics Pro 10 to remove noise pretty well with their Prime Noise removal engine. I have the 18-135 like others said I would not shoot it wide open. For a shot like that it would probably be better to have a fast prime to shoot wide open.

This is a shot taken at sunset with the K3 and DA*16-50 at ISO 8000, 1/30 second.


This one was with the 50-135 at ISO 1000, 13 seconds.

09-10-2016, 06:24 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Scorpio71GR Quote
When shooting higher ISO's on my K3 I have found it better to advoid shadow clipping. Recovering shadows on high ISO settings tends to really increase noise for me.
Agreed, and that's the case with every camera I've used.

For the OP's particular shot where there is no movement, bracketed exposures could also be taken and merged to create an HDR image. That would help keep noise at bay in the shadows, and the multiple exposures will go some way to smoothing out the random noise.
09-10-2016, 06:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by scotty707 Quote
30 seconds. Conditions were no moon, no ambient light other than a flashlight.
Considering all that, I think it turned out pretty well. You can clearly see the Big Dipper, along with the foreground that is brighter with the flashlight. It does look like you might have focused on the weeds in the foreground rather than the center snag tree.
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