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04-17-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
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K-x low light shooting help

I just got a K-x, my first DSLR about 2 weeks ago. I took a few pictures indoors and noticed that I had to boost my ISO up to 5000 or 6400.


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In the 1st picture, the noise isn't that noticable, but the dog moved so there was some blur. For indoor pics like children or pets, should I leave the shutter speed and a high iso, or should I go for a lower noise but risk blur.

If I lower the ISO, then that would mean that the slower shutter. I have a hard time deciding between sharpness or noise.

Since I am a student, i have a very tight budget. I'm currently saving up for a faster lens like the 35mm f2.4, but that might take a few months.

Overall, I need some opinions on how to improve my low light shooting. I have this party coming up and I would like to shoot some nice pictures.

04-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
35mm f2.4
That will help a bit...or you can get a 50 mm f1.4, a bit long for some indoor shots...
Another way is to learn to use denoising software...or if you can't avoid noise, sometimes using B&W will make it look like film grain.

QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
For indoor pics like children or pets, should I leave the shutter speed and a high iso, or should I go for a lower noise but risk blur.
Try it out yourself...shoot in every configuration imaginable till you find the one you'll be comfortable with.

Another option is to get some flashes and radio triggers ( a pair of manual flashes...you can get those for a reasonable price ), it will vastly improve your low light capabilities and will provide with a fun way to learn lighting (wich is the most important factor in photography: understanding and using light).
Check out strobist.blogspot.com...they say something very true there:
A good pair of flashes is the best bang for the buck you can achieve for low light foto (as a great and really fast lens will probably cost a small fortune.).
04-17-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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Everything about photography is a compromise. Low light, non-flash photography can be done either with high ISO or fast, expensive lenses. If the subject is not moving or will hold still then use a tripod and the timer or a remote.

Like Coeurdechene said a flash is way cheaper than a fast lens. For a party, I assume inside, then the kit lens is fine but you will need a flash. And you will need to read up on using the flash as well. It is not as simple as you would think to do good flash pictures.

A simple ttl flash on camera will get you started though you might want to consider manual off-camera flash as well.
04-18-2011, 01:56 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Everything about photography is a compromise. Low light, non-flash photography can be done either with high ISO or fast, expensive lenses. If the subject is not moving or will hold still then use a tripod and the timer or a remote.

Like Coeurdechene said a flash is way cheaper than a fast lens. For a party, I assume inside, then the kit lens is fine but you will need a flash. And you will need to read up on using the flash as well. It is not as simple as you would think to do good flash pictures.

A simple ttl flash on camera will get you started though you might want to consider manual off-camera flash as well.
what is the difference between the camera flash and a hotshoe flash? dont they do the same thing? also can you explain to me how a flash is better than a faster lens. i dont like "blinding" people.

04-18-2011, 02:36 PM   #5
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The camera flash is usually weaker in power and is limited in sync speeds. Whereas external flashes give more versitility and power. Thus allowing flash fill in really bright conditions or illuminating at further distances. A fast lens usually is very expensive but even at f1.4 in low light your iso must still be set at 1600. Which produces more noise. A flash can help in this situation. Also at f1.4 you depth is really shallow and stuf in the foreground and background will be out of focus. Whereas with a flash you can use an smaller aperture no problem.
04-18-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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epqwerty explained perfectly...With a flash you can use the sweet spot of a decent lens...
And about blinding people if the flash is halfway decent it'll have tilt and swivel...that way you can bounce the light off ceilings and walls (and that way you won't hit people as hard as if you were a truck and they were deers on the road).
That's one of the reasons i also recomended flash triggers, variying the source of the light means you won't be shooting them straight to the face...
You can then start building a fine portable setup with reflective and see through umbrellas...off camera lighting + reflective surfaces really diminishes the light punch people have to bear when shot. And you get to learn lighting...A kit like that is still cheaper than a really fast lens and you will squeeze the best of the lenses you own.
Have you seen the strobist web and the flickr group?
04-20-2011, 01:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
I just got a K-x, my first DSLR about 2 weeks ago. I took a few pictures indoors and noticed that I had to boost my ISO up to 5000 or 6400.
This is fairly normal and many of us know where you're coming from...
You've received some really good advice already... I'll add what I can...

QuoteOriginally posted by jellyfish26 Quote
Since I am a student, i have a very tight budget. I'm currently saving up for a faster lens like the 35mm f2.4, but that might take a few months.
I'm a student too so I'm well aware of budget constraints but in the absence of fast-glass you need to improve your light...

Cheapest way is to use the onboard flash... It can look pretty harsh I know... Good way to soften it on 'the cheap' is to go to a camera store and ask (nicely) for a couple of empty (clear/translucent ones) 35mm-film-cans... Cut a hole in the side of the can so it slots onto the K-x's onboard flash... Bit of black gaffa (duct-tape?) on the back... PRESTO you have a diffuser..

But you can do better...

Second way is get a 2nd-hand hotshoe-flash... Something like a Pentax AF240z go for cheap but there's no P-ttl (thru the lens)... It does expose nicely in 'P' mode tho...

Third way is to get a new hotshoe flash... Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4 Digital Flash - Pentax Fit - Only 65.00 - SRS Microsystems Is the cheapest (65 pounds UK) P-ttl flash I could find in the UK... Its Big-bro gets very good reviews... This one does not have swivel so 'bouncing' is difficult in portrait orrientation...
I have a Yongnuo YN560 which was slightly cheaper... It does have swivel but lacks P-ttl being manual only... It is however more powerful than the metz36...

Swings and roundabouts...

Hope this is a help...
Dave
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