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01-30-2012, 06:54 AM   #1
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Frustrated Pentax owner

Hello everyone. This is my first intro as I have been a lurker for some time, but have never introduced myself. I have been a Pentax K-R owner now for 3 months. This is my first DSLR, as I have gone through 4 cameras in the last year looking for the perfect one. I became frustrated with the low light capabilities of my super zooms and point and shoots. After researching and reading and comparing for months, I chose the K-R. My biggest requirement was for low light action as my 7 year old competes in TaeKwonDO. I, of course, needed good quality at higher ISOs. The K-R performs, however, I have recently become interested in faster lenses than the kit lens offers. As of now, I shoot at ISO 3200-6400 and photoshop away the noise. It would be nice to get better quality photos at a lower ISO. HOWEVER, the lenses that I am interested in seem to be the same lenses that everyone else is interested in. I have now lost 4 out of 4 bids on Ebay. What gives? I can't justify spending twice as much money as the Canon/Nikon equivolent lenses. Am I stuck with my kit lens? If that's the case, I may sell my Pentax system and get a Nikon. This is very frustrating as one of the reasons for buying a Pentax was that it can use older lenses, therefore, in theory, open up more possibilies while keeping prices down. Apparently, that was wishful thinking as the lens prices are unobtainable for the hobbiest. My brother just got a Nikon D5100, and comparing the 50mm 1.7 Pentax to the Nikon 50mm 1.8, we're talking about twice as much. All I want is a 50mm 1.4 or 1.7, A or FA. But apparently, so does everyone else. Should I just cut my losses and go to Nikon, or continue editing my 6400 ISO pics? This is frustrating. By the way, excellent Forum and info at this place. Glad to be a part.


Last edited by Khoff2; 01-30-2012 at 06:56 AM. Reason: spelling
01-30-2012, 07:19 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Khoff2 Quote
Hello everyone. This is my first intro as I have been a lurker for some time, but have never introduced myself. I have been a Pentax K-R owner now for 3 months. This is my first DSLR, as I have gone through 4 cameras in the last year looking for the perfect one. I became frustrated with the low light capabilities of my super zooms and point and shoots. After researching and reading and comparing for months, I chose the K-R. My biggest requirement was for low light action as my 7 year old competes in TaeKwonDO. I, of course, needed good quality at higher ISOs. The K-R performs, however, I have recently become interested in faster lenses than the kit lens offers. As of now, I shoot at ISO 3200-6400 and photoshop away the noise. It would be nice to get better quality photos at a lower ISO. HOWEVER, the lenses that I am interested in seem to be the same lenses that everyone else is interested in. I have now lost 4 out of 4 bids on Ebay. What gives? I can't justify spending twice as much money as the Canon/Nikon equivolent lenses. Am I stuck with my kit lens? If that's the case, I may sell my Pentax system and get a Nikon. This is very frustrating as one of the reasons for buying a Pentax was that it can use older lenses, therefore, in theory, open up more possibilies while keeping prices down. Apparently, that was wishful thinking as the lens prices are unobtainable for the hobbiest. My brother just got a Nikon D5100, and comparing the 50mm 1.7 Pentax to the Nikon 50mm 1.8, we're talking about twice as much. All I want is a 50mm 1.4 or 1.7, A or FA. But apparently, so does everyone else. Should I just cut my losses and go to Nikon, or continue editing my 6400 ISO pics? This is frustrating. By the way, excellent Forum and info at this place. Glad to be a part.
My best advice to you is be patient. 4 bids out of 4 is nothing especially if you bid low. Try to use some sniping tools on eBay to avoid staying glued to your monitor

Have you tried the Marketplace here and keh.com? You can really get bargains if you're patient enough.

Have you thought of getting a M50/1.7 instead of the A version? The M50/1.7 is widely available for 30-40 bucks and gives excellent results.
01-30-2012, 07:24 AM   #3
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Unfortunately, we have a tournament in 2 weeks that I really wanted to give a new lens a try. Patience is not part of my character (just ask my wife ). Anyway, looks like there are a few A50 1.7's on ebay for around $100. Still a lot more $ than the average reviewer paid according to the lens databases. Will this lens be ok for me? I don't mind manually focusing, but definately want at least an A for the auto ap and exposures.
Thanks again.
01-30-2012, 07:29 AM   #4
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To understand your problem and just how short of light in these venues you are: When you shoot at 3200 ISO what aperture and shutter speed are you using? High ISO noise aside, are the results correctly exposed or are you still suffering underexposure? Are you shooting in raw or jpeg?

And about how much do you want to spend improving things?

01-30-2012, 07:29 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Khoff2 Quote
Unfortunately, we have a tournament in 2 weeks that I really wanted to give a new lens a try. Patience is not part of my character (just ask my wife ). Anyway, looks like there are a few A50 1.7's on ebay for around $100. Still a lot more $ than the average reviewer paid according to the lens databases. Will this lens be ok for me? I don't mind manually focusing, but definately want at least an A for the auto ap and exposures.
Thanks again.
Don't just look at the average price for the whole period. Prices have gone up quite a bit for past two years. So if you look at the average price for last 2 years, I would say $80-90 is a fair price.

Yes the A50/1.7 is an excellent lens for low light, but I would go first with M50/1.7 or even M50/1.4 as I don't mind pressing the green button for stop down metering Also, the build quality of the M series is much better.
01-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #6
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Hello Khoff2m,

Could you tell me and the others what kind of photos you are shooting? I am novice in DSLR. However, I have noticed hat in mot cases it is possible to get along with standard kit lenses without using ISO 6400. If you are shooting in light conditions that corresponds to exposure value 5 EV or higher, you can get along with shutter speed 1/25 or higher at aperture 4.0 and ISO 1600. Such exposure parameters are achievable by standard kit lenses. Usually indoor lightning corresponds to 5 EV or higher.
I have heard that Pentax K-r works very well at extremely high ISO and has good SR. So you can try to shoot without extremely fast lenses. Of course, if you want to shoot at extremely low light or shoot fast moving objects in low light, you should have fast lenses.
In my mind, fast lenses are not panacea as wide aperture decreases DOF. It will be a problem especially if you shoot close objects. If you want to shout night landscapes or similar photos better solution can be to use a tripod because it will allow using closer aperture (allow achieving larger DOF).

Alberts
01-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #7
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I can't answer your question about the Nikon vs the Pentax but I did want to comment on your ebay problems. I'm not sure how you do your bidding on ebay but one strategy that I have found that really works for me is to wait until the last few seconds before placing your bid. Put your max bid in the box and wait until the last 20-30 seconds to confirm your bid. This really help me swoop in at the last minute and get the item I want. Now you can never beat someone who is willing to spend more that you, but this might give you and edge in the bidding process. If you do this already then I don't really know what to tell you other than try bidding higher Hope this helps and good luck.
01-30-2012, 07:39 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by smack1019 Quote
I can't answer your question about the Nikon vs the Pentax but I did want to comment on your ebay problems. I'm not sure how you do your bidding on ebay but one strategy that I have found that really works for me is to wait until the last few seconds before placing your bid. Put your max bid in the box and wait until the last 20-30 seconds to confirm your bid. This really help me swoop in at the last minute and get the item I want. Now you can never beat someone who is willing to spend more that you, but this might give you and edge in the bidding process. If you do this already then I don't really know what to tell you other than try bidding higher Hope this helps and good luck.
Or better yet, use a third-party piece of software/service do it for you. With a few exceptions*, I have never bid on an eBay item outside the last five second of the end of the auction. I personally used bidnip.com, but there are lots of similar services that essentially do the same thing. You can obviously do it manually by waiting until there are a few seconds left, but that requires you to be at your computer, watching the clock tick down as the auction ends.

*The exceptions were times when it was there was both an auction and a buy-it-now price. In these case, I placed a low, minimum bid to cancel out the buy-it-now price and then set my "snipe" for the actual maximum amount I was willing to pay. This ensured that someone else wouldn't buy it for the buy-it-now price while still allowing me the benefits of bidding at the last possible second.

01-30-2012, 07:49 AM   #9
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I am mainly shooting my kids (with the camera, of course). At ISO 3200, indoor gym, and trying to freeze action, I am able to get about a shutter speed of around 200-250. Still better than my P&S, but still unwanted noise. I would like to get the ISO down to 800 with same shutter speeds. Built in flash doesn't help much as those distances, plus I like to use burst shooting. As for ebay, I use AuctionSniper with a 5 sec lead time. I lost my last auction by 1 sec and 1 dollar. Like I said, frustrating. Thanks again for everyones advice on here.
01-30-2012, 07:57 AM   #10
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Khoff2... Stick with it. I got my M 50 1.7 for $20 off of ebay just a few months ago, stuck to the front of a film camera. I'd also advise checking local ads, as well. I just picked up an A 50 1.7 (with camera, flash, bag, filters, ...) for only $20, too! Pawn shops are also worth a check.
01-30-2012, 08:09 AM   #11
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I shoot hockey and floorball (low-light sports) with these settings with a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8 HSM II and a K-7 (now upgraded to K-5):
Shutter 1/400-1/640
Aperture 2.8-4
ISO 1600-3200

You should be able to go with a slower shutter (if the light is the same as for me) as you don't have to freeze action to the same level. I bought my Sigma at 400€ and you can't really go cheaper than that for a equal lens.

Edit: I also used a Pentax 70mm 2.4 Ltd with good results.
01-30-2012, 08:10 AM   #12
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Assuming that you shoot at aperture F4.0 or so, your exposure parameters correspond to EV 7.0 To achieve the same exposure value (EV 7.0) with ISO 800 and shutter speed 1/250, you need to use aperture F2.0 At such an aperture you will have very shallow (narrow) DOF. I recommend to see thread about DOF and its calculations. https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-beginners-corner-q/163961-question...pth-field.html
I thing you can use ISO 1600. Even my Pentax K-x produces quite acceptable photos at SIO 1600. K-r should perform even better. By using ISO 1600 you can shoot at aperture F2.8. It is also very fast aperture but not so fast as F2.0.
01-30-2012, 08:24 AM   #13
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F2.8 sounds about right. My understanding of lenses is that they produce the sharpest results at about 2 stops down from wide open. This is why I have been looking for a 1.4 or 1.7. Am I wrong in thinking this way or should I just look for a 2.0-2.8?
Thanks again.
01-30-2012, 08:45 AM - 1 Like   #14
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So you're getting a bit of noise at ISO levels that, with film, would be nothing BUT noise? Tsk. Noise can be dealt with in PP. My dad shot his very active kids (my sisters and I) using a TLR with (at best) a 75/3.5 lens. That was from my later childhood. Earlier, his TLR had a 75/4.5 lens. And he shot ASA 100 film. How? Shooting in adequate light, and social engineering. H'e softly call HEY, we'd stop momentarily, he'd shoot, and all would proceed. And that's how I shoot my grandkids (among other tricks).

Oh, these youngsters today, no patience! So you want to stop your kids movement, and ISO 3200 ain't enough, and Pentax glass is expensive? So don't just bid on A/M/K 50s. The Chinon-made Sears 50s are good at a fraction of the price. If you're not afraid to do a little Dremel cutting, you can easily mod Yashica C/Y and Olympus OM lenses to fit PK mount. Good Yashinon and Zuiko 50s are available, cheap. If you're not afraid of adapters, many great M42 Fifties can be found. The Yashinon DX 50/1.7; Meyer Oreston / Pentacon Electric 50/1.8; Super Takumar 55/1.8; Helios-44 58/2; many other good candidates labeled Ricoh, Mamiya, Petri, Porst, Vivitar. They ain't rare.

Other good fast focal lengths needn't be expensive either. I have cheap Vivitar 24/2 and 28/2 glass; and pretty inexpensive Nikkor 35/2 and 85/2 lenses that I easily modded for PK. I could probably save myself some trouble by just getting a Tamron 17-50/2.8 but I like fast primes.

You've had good advice on sniping. I'm a photo-gear-trader on eBay. I currently have ~225 lenses and ~45 cameras, and I've sold another ~110 lenses and ~30 cameras (to help pay for the keepers). Here are my rules of buying:

1) If it costs less than a sandwich or burger, buy it. If it costs more than a deluxe pizza, think hard about it. If it costs more than a good dinner out with your partner, ask here!
2) Bid low. Bid often. Lose 99% of auctions. Don't worry; another will be along momentarily.
3) Decide what any lens is worth to you. Bid no more than US$5 over that amount. Unless you go mad, of course.

QuoteOriginally posted by Khoff2 Quote
F2.8 sounds about right. My understanding of lenses is that they produce the sharpest results at about 2 stops down from wide open. This is why I have been looking for a 1.4 or 1.7. Am I wrong in thinking this way or should I just look for a 2.0-2.8?
The sweet spot for almost all lenses on APS-C camras is around f/8. This assumes that you want edge-to-edge sharpness. We don't normally use fast lenses wide-open for such sharpness -- we want to grab images that are otherwise impossible. Most lenses sharpen-up considerable just 1 stop down, even less. An f/1.7 lens looks sharper than an f/1.4 because it IS sharper wide-open, with thicker DOF, but they'll probably be equivalent from f/2 onwards. Most f/1.4 lenses are very sharp, but only within a very thin DOF range.

So the basic trick for action shooting is to use a fast-enough shutter, nail the focus, and fix everything else in PP. Noise can be fixed, contrast and saturation can be fixed, sharpness can be fixed -- motion blur can't.

Have fun!

Last edited by RioRico; 01-30-2012 at 08:58 AM.
01-30-2012, 09:08 AM   #15
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Thanks so much for the advice. I am a dremel maniac . Anyway, if I didn't mention it, I am using the kit 18-55 lens and doing some post processing with Lightroom 3. Just trying to find better options.
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