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07-17-2011, 07:40 PM   #1
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Aquarium photos

What would be the best mode to use at the aquarium for taking photos of the jelly fish, sharks, etc using my K-x and with what lens?

07-17-2011, 07:42 PM   #2
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Any - Ideally as long as you use something like a CPL (Circular Polarizing Filter) on the lens to kill the reflections.

I'd also probably move off of matrix metering to using center-weight or spot mode and then use the AE-L button with the centre of the frame on the brightest object in the frame, and recompose. This should ensure that in the Auto modes that it exposes correctly and doesn't get thrown by the tank lights or ambient...
07-17-2011, 07:54 PM   #3
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I think a CPL may not be necessary in the likes of the Steinhart or Monterey Bay aquarium (assuming you're going to one of these or the likes). The lighting is usually so nicely done, imho, that what you might gain from a CPL isn't worth the speed loss. From my own experience at Monterey Bay I just wouldn't even think to use one there.

Also, with the low light you'll want a fast lens and bump the ISO to stop the motion.
07-17-2011, 07:58 PM   #4
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Fair 'nuff - have no ideas on the specifics - and to be honest, I was picturing shooting a large tank in a loungeroom, not a proper aquarium

07-17-2011, 08:28 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasser Quote
I think a CPL may not be necessary in the likes of the Steinhart or Monterey Bay aquarium (assuming you're going to one of these or the likes). The lighting is usually so nicely done, imho, that what you might gain from a CPL isn't worth the speed loss. From my own experience at Monterey Bay I just wouldn't even think to use one there.

Also, with the low light you'll want a fast lens and bump the ISO to stop the motion.
Yes, SF or Monterey will be my options for now. I have my kit lenses that came with my Kx, plus a Super Albinar 1:2.8 135mm, an SMC Pentax-M 1:2 50mm, and a Promaster AF 80-210 1:4.5-5.6 to play with.
07-17-2011, 08:33 PM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by wasser Quote
Also, with the low light you'll want a fast lens and bump the ISO to stop the motion.
Good advice. With the K-x I wouldn't hesitate to shoot at 1600, or even 3200 if you need to. The shot the picture below last summer at the Baltimore National Aquarium using my K-x and 31, taken at f/2.8, 1/400s, iso1600.


Last edited by dgaies; 07-17-2011 at 08:49 PM.
07-17-2011, 08:49 PM   #7
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I find the quality of aquarium photos depends if it is glass or perspex. Glass provides a good image. I get better images through perspex using a fisheye when it is something large, but perspex gives a distorted out of focus image from a small to a large degree.

Most my shots are taken with a flash. I use a flash mounted to the side of the camera or use my ring flash hanging from my lens. I use a finger to point the ring flash down. I have the camera and flash on manual settings. You will loose two or more stops of light with your flash as the light travels into and out of the aquarium.
07-17-2011, 09:55 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
Glass provides a good image..
+1
Glass is much better for shooting photographs, compared to polycarbonate and perspex.

07-17-2011, 10:19 PM   #9
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to minimize chromatic aberration, ripples, etc., try to keep the front of your lens parallel to the surface of the glass and use as long a lens as you can. use a large aperture to blur out any dust, scratches or algae on the glass. if you'll be using flash, try to keep it from hitting the section of glass you're shooting through.
07-18-2011, 01:16 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by maltfalc Quote
to minimize chromatic aberration, ripples, etc., try to keep the front of your lens parallel to the surface of the glass and use as long a lens as you can. use a large aperture to blur out any dust, scratches or algae on the glass. if you'll be using flash, try to keep it from hitting the section of glass you're shooting through.
To that end, you can buy rubber lens hoods that will allow you to press the lens against the glass and block out reflections from a flash or other lights. They are usually fairly cheap. Check ebay.
07-18-2011, 01:16 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by dgaies Quote
Good advice. With the K-x I wouldn't hesitate to shoot at 1600, or even 3200 if you need to. The shot the picture below last summer at the Baltimore National Aquarium using my K-x and 31, taken at f/2.8, 1/400s, iso1600.
That's a gorgeous shot, Dan!

Last edited by rfortson; 07-18-2011 at 02:18 PM.
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