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12-05-2014, 05:06 PM   #1
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New to big cameras and Pentax


I'm brand new to the world of big cameras (aka real cameras - aside from some point & shoots or cell phone cameras) and I just received a Pentax K-50 for Christmas, a bit early.

I have 3 growing sons and want to capture as much as I can with them with my grandparents, so any and all tips, tricks and suggestions I would welcome wholeheartedly.

Thank you all so much, I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

12-05-2014, 05:56 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Welcome, and the K-50 is a great camera! You'll find lots of information here.
12-05-2014, 06:00 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Hi and welcome to the forums! Have fun with your new K-50 during the holidays, and may you capture all those moments and remember them fondly afterwards!
12-05-2014, 06:08 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by tsimshiangoddess Quote

I'm brand new to the world of big cameras (aka real cameras - aside from some point & shoots or cell phone cameras) and I just received a Pentax K-50 for Christmas, a bit early.

I have 3 growing sons and want to capture as much as I can with them with my grandparents, so any and all tips, tricks and suggestions I would welcome wholeheartedly.
Congratulations on the K-50, this is the place for suggestions and tips.Maybe the best way to start is takle photos and post them here. Especially pics that you maybe didn't get just what you wanted. You'll be amazed at the responses, and you'll find out there are many ways to achieve good results. If you have good post production software, like Lightroom, I would suggest shooting in raw. Raw records a lot of information and can help you rescue photos that had the wrong white balance.

There are also some how to articles on the site that are very good. Try getting involved in some of the challenges and you be "challenged" to do things you may not have thought of. Best of all there are a lot of helpful people here, you'll hone your skills faster just hanging out here.

12-05-2014, 06:38 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I take a lot of photos of grandkids, nieces, nephews and so forth. Birthdays, Christmas, holidays, you name it, Uncle Jim is the "official family photog." And a lot of paid shoots as well over the years.

Best advice I can offer to a beginner is to invest a few dollars in a hotshoe flash with an adjustable head. It doesn't have to be the best there is, just one that lets you rotate the flash head up/down and side to side. Do not fire this monster directly at your subjects, which can flatten out faces and leave nasty black shadows behind them. In most cases, in private homes with light-colored ceilings, I rotate the head up so it is pointing just slightly forward of straight up, bouncing the light mostly off the ceiling, or if I am near a light wall, I occasionally rotate it to bounce the light off the wall. This will soften the light and give a nice look to the kids' skin without harsh shadows. You can't do this with the little flash built in to the camera. If the bounced light is under-exposing, you can adjust that with the exposure compensation dial on the camera. A plus is that the fast flash will help in stopping motion of twitchy kids. When shooting people, I use a soft, under-powered flash even outdoors, to fill in harsh shadows left by sunlight.

With or without flash, Pro Tip #1 for shooting kids is to get down at their level. Cell phone shooters tend to stand up and shoot down at kids. That doesn't make the kids look good at all, foreshortening and distorting proportions. Sit on the floor, use a low chair or just drop down on one knee but get the lens at or slightly below the subject's eye level for more flattering shots.
12-05-2014, 07:44 PM - 1 Like   #6

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K-50 is a cinch to use in 'P' mode. I often chose it when capturing cats,
You didn't mention anything about which lens you have? With a fast lens and Auto ISO you'll rarely miss a shot.
12-05-2014, 08:36 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Get a prime lens(lens that doesn't zoom) 50mm is my favorite. Shooting with a prime makes learning a lot easier and are usually better quality than zooms.
For portraits shoot A setting f2.8~5.6.
Don't shoot handheld much lower than the focal length of your camera lens
Example 50mm =1/50th sec or less , 135mm = 1/100th or less
Set your Iso to auto
If it is dark don't automatically assume flash is best option, often a high Iso is more attractive than the on camera flash. Drop you exposure level down a step or 2 in darker rooms to get nice accents with available light
12-06-2014, 02:01 PM   #8
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Thank you all so much! I am a newbie for sure.
I got these 2 lenses with my camera, a kit deal, DA 18mm to 55mm WR lens, DA 50mm to 200mm WR lens.
I've take about 50 photos of my family and around the house, but nothing exciting, and only in auto mode.

Is there a good beginner course? (I haven't had a chance to check out the forums much yet)

Sorry, so many questions, but where do I start looking for lenses and accessories? Are there brands to stay away from? Software I really need to invest in?

Thank you all so much!

12-07-2014, 01:54 AM   #9
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Welcome to the forum, Santa has indeed been good to you.

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