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01-24-2017, 04:25 PM - 5 Likes   #1
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A concert photographed with K-3 II and Sigma 18-35 Art.

Last week, January 19th there was a concert in Tallinn, Estonia. Three bands (two warm-up acts and the main act). It was the first concert, when I decided to ask for a photo permit. The venue was rather small and dimly lit. The crowd was rather tame during the first two performances, so I shot from the audience, to be able to get wider shots. For the main act I went behind the crowd barrier.
The lens + camera combo performed in a rather unpredictable fashion, when it came to focusing. I have to admit, that after a while I learned how to overcome those quirks, but such a behaviour annoyed me. PDAF hit rate, was too low, so I switched to Live View. In certain cases the camera refused to lock focus. I had to wait for the stage lights to change or for the fog / smoke to disappear. Majority of the shots were done at F1.8 or F2.8. Later on, for the sake of experiment I did some shots at F3.2. Naturally the more I closed the aperture, the more forgiving was AF. All of the shots were intentionally underexposed, to keep the shutter speed high and ISO around 3200. Some were underexposed by up to two stops. Post processing was performed in DxO 10. Most images were heavily cropped. Some were converted to B&W to combat the consequences of annoying stage lights and fog.

Gonoreas.




More photos from this band's performance can be found in this album.

Nervosa.






More photos here

Destruction.






The rest of the photos from their performance can be found here

01-24-2017, 05:21 PM   #2
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Your shots look pretty good to me, especially given the adverse lighting conditions. Actually, the few minor technical anomalies help give them more of a rock-n-roll feel.
01-24-2017, 05:36 PM   #3
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That's not a lens I would have chosen for such a task. Glad you made such a good fist of it, despite the difficulties.
01-24-2017, 06:24 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by E-man:
Your shots look pretty good to me, especially given the adverse lighting conditions. Actually, the few minor technical anomalies help give them more of a rock-n-roll feel
Thanks ! I do think, that I managed to capture the atmosphere well and managed to capture the characters of various performers, despite certain technical imperfections.

QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman:
That's not a lens I would have chosen for such a task.
I needed a wide / standard zoom, F2.8 or faster, sharp at any focal length already at fastest aperture. In the pentax land, there are only three zooms, that match these criteria Sigma 17-50, Tamron 17-50 and Sigma 18-35. There is Pentax 16-50, but it is unacceptably soft at 2.8, especially at 50 mm. And I do not own either of 17-50 lenses. Besides I am not sure they perform better than 18-35 at their widest apertures.
A prime lens would be a limiting factor in this case, because it lacks versatility of a zoom. Again, fast wide and normal primes (faster than 2.8) in the pentax land are scarce (I am talking about those being currently in production). Two fast fifties, 35mm F2.4, Sigma 35mm F1.4 art, 31 limited and then there is a gap, with next lens being 14mm F2.8, which is reportedly not exactly sharp wide open. Fifties are too long for such a tight space, 35 and 31 might be ok, for some shots, but not wide enough for the rest of the scenes. 14 is way too wide, even for such a tight space and shots from it would require even more cropping. This means, that in such situations you cannot avoid zooms.

01-24-2017, 09:02 PM   #5
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I think you got some great shots. I recently started trying the sigma 18-35 for the same reasons. Af is tough but when it works its great. Even live view seemed hard because its hard to see. I had used my 40xs before which focused great but not wide enough for many shots and f1.8 to 2.8 keeps 3200 iso on those dark scenes.
01-24-2017, 11:21 PM   #6
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I like them. Great job giving the difficult lighting!!
01-26-2017, 02:18 PM   #7
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That's a good set!
Did you share with the bands?
01-26-2017, 02:20 PM   #8
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Awesome shots with great color and feel as well as some "grit" to them. You did an excellent job here.

01-26-2017, 03:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR]:
That's a good set! Did you share with the bands
Thanks ! I shared the photos with the two support acts, because I managed to chat with them and get their contact info. I sent them download links. Nervosa were very satisfied with the shots. The guitar player even shared one of the photos (the third one) of facebook crediting me as the author. I could try getting the photos to the main band, via the support acts.
QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey:
Awesome shots with great color and feel as well as some "grit" to them. You did an excellent job here/
Thank you ! Some of the shots ended up with weird and even annoying colours due to the stage lights. So I had to convert them to black and white. Those, which still retain, their colour, required quite some post-processing. There are some exceptions though.
01-27-2017, 07:34 AM   #10
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The LED stage lights are a challenge, there are some threads on the forum about them. B&W does seem a really good option, it can hide "clutter" as well, something I had never considered. You could also play around with monochrome but not B&W, just selecting the dominant stagelight color for each scene, I wonder how that might look, give it a 1970s vibe.
Like that first Nervosa shot, just go all green, the two neutral spots in the center are a little distracting. The red ones below it are essentially monochrome already.
02-02-2017, 03:43 PM   #11
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Some really nice shots.DxO seems to do a good job with the noise at ISO3200. Assume you shoot and process in RAW. How do you find DxO as I have been tempted by the claims, mainly of the Pro version and the PRIME noise reduction system. I currently use Lightroom to clean up the noise, which isn't too bad. Not sure whether the cost of DxO would giveme much cleaner photos.

I've shot a few gigs and while the K5 was OK at that ISO 3200 I find the noise levels at ISO 1600 with the K3 are about the same..But I bought both the Sigma 17-50 f2,8 and the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 to compensate for that lack of a stop (and now have 2 bodies to avoid changing lenses, never a brilliant idea at a gig). Obviously the shorter lens gives better DoF wide open but I do love the close-ups at 200mm, even with wafer thin focus. Also set my EVA to between -1 and -2 after some trial and error. Usually towards -2 to get a faster speed, but the downside is the processing adds more artefacts. oh for a full frame camera! Alternatively it would be nice if some bands/venues were just a little better lit :-)
02-03-2017, 06:25 AM   #12
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I always shoot in RAW and for concert shots I use M mode. I shoot with post-processing in mind :
* I deliberately underexpose to get faster shutter speeds. I've learned that I can easily compensate up to two stops in post-processing. That's when DXO comes in handy. The smart lighting tool in 10th version works like a charm.
* I typically shoot at wider angles, to maintain correct perspective. So most of the images you see are crops.
* PRIME engine is very powerful, but you have to use it carefully. Typically I adjust the amount of noise reduction based on the final size of image. The smaller the size, the less noise reduction I apply. Normally I make a couple of versions with different processing parameters and then compare them.
* I compared lr 5 with DxO 10, and the latter was far better than LR when it came to shadow and highlight recovery. Noise reduction is also better, but requires more tweaking.
I hope I answered your questions. For the fun of it I can upload a full size jpeg, so that you you can judge the quality of processing.
02-03-2017, 07:32 AM   #13
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That's an important reminder, to underexpose for conditions and preserve shutter speeds.

I do hand-held field macro, and this year started shooting in P mode with a ringflash in manual mode. A lot of the images are a bit underexposed, but at ISO 100 I have a LOT of space for work. I'm using LR as well, though I'm not generally lifting shadows as much, and need no noise reduction. Of course, I'm usually in the sun, but it lets me keep my aperture closed down for better macro.
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