Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
03-14-2015, 01:33 AM   #1
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Amateur looking for answers

Hi all,
I've been using my Pentaxes since film days but time alone didn't teach me much. There are months when my lenses are capped and the camera bag stowed under the bed, and then there are odd days when I shoot hundreds of pictures. I'm an amateur.
That said, every now and then, when I check my screen I get bothered by why the pic looks bad and start questioning. This is where I hope to find the answers.

Some of my best pictures are at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiekszy/

03-14-2015, 08:07 AM - 1 Like   #2
Senior Member
Greenneck's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 136
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
Hi all,
I've been using my Pentaxes since film days but time alone didn't teach me much. There are months when my lenses are capped and the camera bag stowed under the bed, and then there are odd days when I shoot hundreds of pictures. I'm an amateur.
That said, every now and then, when I check my screen I get bothered by why the pic looks bad and start questioning. This is where I hope to find the answers.

Some of my best pictures are at
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiekszy/
I just took a quick look and what I saw was several low light pictures taken with probably the kit lens. The camera has to rack up the iso to compensate for the aperture in low light situations and as a result adds all the noise you see in a jpeg. I would recommend to try switching over to shooting in raw and getting Adobe Light room through the creative cloud for 10 a month. After that go on youtube and find learn light rooom but anthony morgantie and after maybe a couple hours of practice and his videos youre going to be much happier with the pictures you produce.
It also looks to me like either your main subjects frequently are not in focus 100% or just are not sharp. Im sure better people will come along with more advice.
03-14-2015, 12:49 PM   #3
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Original Poster
Thanks! Honestly I wasn't hoping to get advice on those photos but it's much appreciated. Also I should have written they're some of my favourites (sometimes for purely sentimental reasons), and some are just there to be shared with ppl I know.

The point about low light is true (so is the one about them being out of focus, manual lenses, low fstop, long exp time etc.)
My idea was to get an external flash, will get to pester you guys about it in the other section of the forum.
03-14-2015, 01:36 PM   #4
Site Supporter
RGlasel's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Saskatoon
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,237
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
My idea was to get an external flash
Just going by the photos you put on Flickr, external flash is a major undertaking for those shots. Unless you can set up multiple strobes in advance, you might as well stick with ambient light. The only problem I see is missed focus, otherwise it is an interesting collection of night-time images, which are always going to be a challenge. In case you want to eliminate some of the graininess of the ISO 6400 pictures, noise reduction in post-processing will definitely help. Or simply enjoy your pictures and use select-spot AF to increase the number of sharp pictures. Better to have low-light pictures look dark than to have them look unnaturally bright.

03-14-2015, 01:58 PM   #5
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 30,593
Welcome, take heart your among friends here, enjoy both the forum and your photography in equal amounts.
03-14-2015, 05:41 PM   #6
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
Welcome, take heart your among friends here, enjoy both the forum and your photography in equal amounts.
Actually, I am enjoying the welcome and your help in this thread so much that instead of just asking for an opinion on flashes, let me ask a more general question:

I've taken a look at some of my other photos and it looks like one recurring theme is people dancing (mostly oriental styles, no surprise here as this is a kind of events my wife does). It would be indoors rather than outdoors. Often in concert-style lights, sometimes I can get close to the stage, but would never have a chance to set up strobes or re-take a shot of a specific pose. Most other camera-wielding people there, some of whom later post the pictures to events' Facebook pages etc. use camera-mounted flash bouncing the light to generally good results (In terms of sharpness and exposure).

I know I need a lesson or two in post-processing, and probably need to start shooting raw instead of jpegs.

Other than that, can we play a bit of fantasy football with the gear and shooting technique here? My lineup is a k-30 in manual or aperture priority mode and ISO between 800 and 6400. I usually end up shooting with aperture wide open which I know costs me sharpness but seems to be the only way to stay within usable ISO (I know some ppl say that on k-30 usable ends with 800) and have shutter fast enough to freeze the dancers' movement and avoid camera shake.

My idea is to get a flash. I've had my sights on tilt and swivel with both pTTL and manual (Something like Metz 44).
On the other hand apart from the two kit lenss 18-55 and 55-200 I have the recent plastic 35mm prime and a few dusty prime manuals.

So, if you were to choose between these or add to them, what would you go with?

And the original flash question was going to be about that Metz 44 I mentioned vs. used Nikon sb-20-something (or in general any thyristor flash) and a fully manual yongnuo. Basically I'm looking for enjoyable experience of framing the shot and shooting rather than fumbling for buttons, but like to be in control of the exposure.

Am I correct in assuming that pTTL flash's output can be compensated the same way that a built in flash is; thyristor's effect (not the amount of light itself) is modified by changing the aperture; and manual flash offers the output power control (4 levels on the Metz in manual mode and even more on yongnuos) that can be further fine-tuned with the aperture?

I'm tempted to go with the manual (equally for the lower price and for the challenge - for me it's a hobby where I value the process more than the end result) but I'm afraid of the need to change the flash power for every step back (or front) that a dancer takes. I can't quite figure out how the distance, flash power (1/1, 1/2 etc.) and aperture related to each other in terms of exposure. Ie. does increase in distance from let's say 2 meters to 4 need 1 step flash power increase and/or 1 fstop more for the same exposure?
03-15-2015, 02:17 PM - 1 Like   #7
Site Supporter
RGlasel's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Saskatoon
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,237
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
I have the recent plastic 35mm prime and a few dusty prime manuals.
The problem with manual focus lenses is when you use a fast aperture, the shallow depth of field makes focusing extremely difficult. The problem with the DA 35 AL is the short focal length, so unless you can get close to the dancers, you can't isolate on a single dancer. You could crop, but with ISO 6400 you will need to apply significant noise reduction on the cropped image. The DA 50 f1.8 would be a better option than the DA 35.
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
Something like Metz 44
I got my son one of these for his Canon T4i; it doesn't have the power or capabilities of my 52 AF-1, but it still has a swivel head and works with your camera's automation, so I think it would be a good choice. What I have noticed in public places is the lack of bounceable surfaces, so you need to do something about harsh direct flash. Either a mini-softbox or get the flash off of your camera.
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
I can't quite figure out how the distance, flash power (1/1, 1/2 etc.) and aperture related to each other in terms of exposure
Even when you get it figured out, you won't be able to do the calculations in real time during the performances. Use manual for when you have an immobile subject and enough time to do exposure testing.
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
pTTL flash's output can be compensated the same way that a built in flash is
On the Metz 44, that is the only way to do PTTL exposure compensation (with the camera setting), the 52 has its own exposure compensation setting which is added to the camera's compensation. That shouldn't be a big problem, what I found is that the camera's compensation is less likely to overexpose than the flash's settings.

Everyone has their own taste preferences, but personally I would want flash to only light up the dancers' bodies, not the entire stage, and for the colour and atmosphere of the stage lighting to be clearly visible. Feel free to keep your ISO settings up there, even at ISO 12,800 a properly exposed scene looks much better than an underexposed scene. Definitely use PTTL, and experiment with over and under flash exposure compensation in combination with over and under compensation by the camera for ambient light. And speaking from experience, don't use the flash when there is a window or mirror in the frame!
03-30-2015, 02:26 PM   #8
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Original Poster
Thanks for your detailed reply, RGlasel!

I was considering buying the DA 50mm F1.4 you mentioned and opted for 35mm instead. Figured that I will always be able to crop, while in those dance events I go to, I might not be able to move away from stage (and could miss some composition opportunities). Then again, looking at the photos, I realized I'm keeping a bit of distance anyway.

On the other hand, I'm still waiting for the Metz 44 (there seems to be some distribution shortage for this particular model here in Poland), and started thinking about that 50mm in case there's no chance to get the new Metz.

03-31-2015, 01:53 AM   #9
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 30,593
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
I know I need a lesson or two in post-processing, and probably need to start shooting raw instead of jpegs
There are many good YouTube videos around to help you with the PP.
03-31-2015, 03:39 AM   #10
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Original Poster
For now I'm sticking with Anthony Morganti for Lightroom and B and H for everything else. There's a Tim Grey vid there with top 10 LR tips that's almost 2hrs long. And they call it "tips" (sigh)
03-31-2015, 05:48 AM   #11
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 30,593
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
10 LR tips that's almost 2hrs long. And they call it "tips"
Remember it's supposed to be fun, keep it light and enjoy.
03-31-2015, 06:33 AM   #12
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Dayton, OH
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,647
I didn't see this thread when you originally posted it a couple of weeks ago. You did a very nice job with the dance pictures, especially with the challenging stage lighting.

I've had very good luck using both kit lenses and flash shooting theater productions during dress rehearsals. I use a DIY flash reflecter/diffuser like the one shown here -> DIY Reflector-Diffuser

However, I do not mount the diffuser to my flash like they show in the above link. As you can see from the pictures below, I have the diffuser mounted on my flash with the head straight up and in the swivel position. The reason being is that when I hold my camera in the portrait position, I can tilt the head back to 90 degrees and diffuser will be in the correct position without having to re-position it.



Here are some examples of shots I've have taken.

DA 50-200


DA 18-55



DA 18-55


DA 50-200



Tim

Last edited by atupdate; 03-31-2015 at 04:14 PM.
03-31-2015, 12:39 PM   #13
New Member




Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 10
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Kerrowdown Quote
Remember it's supposed to be fun, keep it light and enjoy.
well, watching anything that long would take serious schedule-juggling on my part

QuoteOriginally posted by atupdate Quote
I didn't see this thread when you originally posted it a couple of weeks ago
I'm kind of surprised how much the discussion picked up here. Originally, I thought only to post an introduction in this thread (deliberately keeping the subject meaningless) and then ask my questions elsewhere. Actually, I do have a dance-related general call for good advice along with picture examples here.

I love how crispy your theatre pics are. Guess that's the effect of flash. Thanks for the diffusor tip, but would you mind telling me something about that flash? Is it a manual or thyristor? And either way, how does it work for live performances? Is it a lot of trial and error to get the correct exposure or can you figure it out and use consistent settings? (I guess I would just like to know the process of using a non-ttl flash - unless it is a ttl
03-31-2015, 02:26 PM   #14
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Dayton, OH
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 3,647
QuoteOriginally posted by chriswill Quote
would you mind telling me something about that flash?
That is my old Vivitar 3700 flash from my film days. I only used it to model the diffuser. It is not very easy to use with the digital. Most of my flash pictures were taken with a Sigma EF 500 DG Super. For my theater shots, I set the camera on manual, ISO 1600, 1/125 sec, and f5.6-8. Setting the camera to manual seems to put the flash into semi-TTL like mode (the sensor on the flash sets the flash intensity).

The newer Sigma 610 is more powerful than my Sigma 500 and might let you shot at ISO 800, depending on the distance you are shooting at. It would be reasonable to assume that I have applied some noise reduction to the theater pictures since I shot at ISO 1600 on my old DS.

Tim

Last edited by atupdate; 03-31-2015 at 04:05 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
amateur, answers, days, pictures
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Landscape More questions than answers Jim Gilbert Photo Critique 12 02-01-2015 05:31 PM
Pentax lens for an amateur Kev Visitors' Center 53 06-18-2012 11:05 AM
Need Answers Quick! Good price for Pentax-M 50mm f1.7? LadyRo Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 06-03-2010 04:25 AM
New "Amateur" looking for some pic help. MoparFreak69 Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 8 07-08-2009 02:42 PM
Newbie looking for answers. Rat Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 1 12-18-2008 05:57 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:47 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top