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11-14-2012, 12:49 PM   #1
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Using Kit Lens (K-5) in Low Light?

So I'm going to a small dark bar to see a band play and would love to take some pics. However, I have not bought any good lenses yet, and my experience with trying to use flash has been awful. Do you think there's any chance of being able to use the kit lens to get any good shots, or lost cause? (And if lost cause... can you recommend some lenses under $300 that would work well in this kind of situation?)

THANKS!!

11-14-2012, 12:50 PM   #2
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bump up the ISO and give it a try. You could get the DA 35mm 2.4 for under $300.
11-14-2012, 12:52 PM   #3
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I might try it and see.. I am just crazy about having too much noise in a photo, lol... thanks
11-14-2012, 03:36 PM   #4
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Manual focus but a M 50 F1.7 or 1.4 are both safely inside $100.

11-14-2012, 04:05 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
I might try it and see.. I am just crazy about having too much noise in a photo, lol... thanks
Before you go for the big event, try playing with the Tav-mode. You can then have the exposure time you need in order not to get blurred pictures and you will get as high ISO as the situation calls for - but no more. There will always be some noise to deal with when one shoots in very low light so, consider shooting RAW or RAW+ images. Anyway, the K-5 is still one of the most capable cameras when it comes to low light and high ISO.

Regarding lenses, the DA 35mm f/2.4 appears (I have no personal experiences with that lens) to be a good recommendation for an APS-C camera, but you might also consider the FA 50mm f/1.4 or, the earlier M types as suggested above - if you don't mind fully manual operation and don't care about the T-av option.
11-15-2012, 02:03 PM - 1 Like   #6
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keep in mind, the general rule of thumb about camera shake is for any given focal length, you shouldnt go below 1/(focal length) in shutter speed (unless you have very steady hands). So for example if you are shooting zoomed in with the kit at say 50 then 1/50 second shutter will most likely be enough. If you can get close to the band to use wide angle rather than zoom, and given the K-5's awesome high iso capability you should be okay I think

Last edited by oxidized; 11-15-2012 at 02:11 PM.
11-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #7
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ISO 10 000 and then PP with Topaz De-Noise. Try the free trial and see if it would be beneficial for cleaning up some of the noise.www.topazlabs.com/denoise/

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-16-2012 at 03:45 AM.
11-15-2012, 08:30 PM - 1 Like   #8
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The kit lens can deliver usable results in low light, without flash. Crank the AUTO ISO ceiling up to ISO 6400 or thereabouts, shoot with the aperture wide-open, anticipate the action as much as possible if the subject is moving a lot, set a reasonable shutter speed to suit the subject's movement (eg 1/60 or even 1/30 may be OK for a seated pianist, but 1/125 or even 1/250 may be better for a dynamic lead vocalist), watch the placement of lights and lighting on the stage, and ideally shoot RAW or RAW+JPEG to help with any post-processing for noise or colour-balance adjustment.

If you have any doubts about the ability to shoot bands in dimly lit bars with the K-5 and it's kit lens, look at this thread and see how UnknownVT has managed to shoot probably hundreds of acts over recent years in very dimly lit bars with his K-x and it's kit lenses. If the K-x can do it, the K-5 can too, I'm sure:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-dslr-discussion/82293-kx-use.html

11-23-2012, 10:24 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the great tips everyone! I do have Topaz and I love it. I have not played around much yet with the RAW images, but it is on my list of to-do's! I am overall very happy I went with the K-5 (even thought most of my friends use Canon). I appreciate everyone being so helpful and I will experiment and do some more research, thanks!!
11-24-2012, 11:04 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I have had acceptable results with ISO 12800 using the K5 and a little noise reduction in Lightroom. There is a free edition of Noiseware that will do a decent job although the plug ins you pay for are a little better. The kit lens is ok but my go to lens for low light is the DA 40 Limited as it's excellent wide open at f2.8. The cheaper plastic DA's are said to be very good but I have no hands on experience myself. They can be had for under $200 this weekend.
11-24-2012, 09:10 PM   #11
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I was playing around with my kit lens today, inside the house, in decently lit rooms, and even at ISO1600 I was getting quite a bit of noise. I can correct some of it, but if you have to correct it too much, you end up with a very fake plastic looking picture because it is smoothed out too much and you start losing detail & sharpness. With that much noise, I wouldn't consider a photo to be print quality, even at a 4x6 (I guess I am a lot pickier than others when it comes to noise lol). I know I am probably asking for a miracle to get a clean sharp image in low light conditions without the use of flash or an outside light source, but any time I have used flash it has gone very bad. (Keep in mind I've only had my DSLR since March of this year.) I've used my art programs for 15 years, but only this year started to learn more things directed toward photography. Photoshop, Lightroom, I know the basics... I always used Paint Shop Pro 9 for my digital art needs but that doesn't seem to be geared toward photography as much so I'm using it less and less now. Oh and an FYI, I picked up the OLD manual 50mm 1.7 lens on ebay a while back to experiment with, and I do love the manual focus, no issues with that. That one, I don't know if it's the age of the lens or what, just doesn't give good pics at all in low light, and the color is always washed out.

ANYWAY, I am leading up to something with my rambling... my friend asked me to take some pics at their xmas party next month, which surprise surprise is at a dark bar, UGH. I think I am going to RENT a lens. I know the greatest possible lenses I could use probably aren't up for rental. From what I can find online, I've kind of narrowed it down to these. What do you think??
1. Pentax 43mm f/1.9 Limited -- SMC Pentax-FA 43mm F1.9 Limited Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
2. Pentax 55mm f/1.4 DA SDM -- SMC Pentax-DA* 55mm F1.4 SDM Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
3. Pentax 50mm f/1.4 smcP-FA --
4. Pentax 14mm f/2.8 ED AL (IF) smcP-DA -- SMC Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED [IF] Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database
5. Sigma 28MM f/1.8 -- Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG Aspherical DG DF Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

I kind of figured I was just going to get the 50mm 1.4 and be done with it, but then I started looking through some of the others that were available, I'm kind of afraid the 50mm will be difficult for me to get all of the pictures I want because I might not be able to stand that far back for all my shots... but my number one concern is getting a decent quality photo. WHAT DO YOU THINK?? Thanks!!!
11-25-2012, 05:47 AM - 1 Like   #12
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As much as this might seem crazy, bump up the ISO and overexpose slightly (as in, 0.3-0.7 of a step). Noise is much more prominent in dark areas of images.
11-25-2012, 06:20 AM   #13
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With one focal length there is always a risk you may not be able to get the shot. But then again, having change lens isnt much help either, as you are also most likely going to miss the shot. A solution is to go for something like Tamron 17-50, however in that case you lose speed as the max aperture is only F2.8. You just have to know what you are looking to achieve.

The 50mm i think will be suitable for indoor portraits. It does act like a 75, so it might be 'too zoomed out' for some shots but the depth of field will make it perfect for portaits. I would recommend you get a SMC takumar with an M42 adapter. If you dont mind the manual focus it is a fantastic lens. It is sharp, renders beautifully and amazing bang for the buck.

If you want to get a second lens, something wider would be good. Not too wide though. I think going wider than 20mm can be cool for certain shots, but most of the time ends up being too distorted. For instance, the DA 21mm would be suitable candidate.

Another alternative is to get a FA 31mm and not bother with any other lens. Thats what I have and the 31 is on my camera like 90% of the time. It will be a nice compromise between zoom and wide and also very fast! Nothing beats normal view for getting those creative shots
11-25-2012, 07:16 AM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Giklab Quote
As much as this might seem crazy, bump up the ISO and overexpose slightly (as in, 0.3-0.7 of a step). Noise is much more prominent in dark areas of images.
Yes, that is an important thing to remember. The K5 has great dynamic range and it's very easy to bring up the shadows in PP when shooting at ISO100. You don't have that range at a high ISO and bringing up the shadows can get very ugly while slightly overexposing and turning down the highlights in PP can work. Cropping can make the noise look worse. You really need to nail your shot.
11-26-2012, 05:25 AM - 1 Like   #15
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14mm will be too wide for general purpose; 50 and 55 probably too long. Leaves 28 and 43; the latter might also be too long so my conclusion would be the 28mm (or Sigma 30/1.4 if available).

QuoteOriginally posted by laughlady99 Quote
Oh and an FYI, I picked up the OLD manual 50mm 1.7 lens on ebay a while back to experiment with, and I do love the manual focus, no issues with that. That one, I don't know if it's the age of the lens or what, just doesn't give good pics at all in low light, and the color is always washed out.
If color is washed out, it might be overexposed. Post some samples in a new thread and people might be able to advise.
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