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04-05-2014, 12:25 PM   #1
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Pentax k3 for aquarium pics

I will like to get help I have been looking to buy our first camera for my business I was sold on the other brands but a friend of mine suggest me a Pentax! But since all I see in retail are the other didn't had a clue Pentax make Dsrl cam. Im in the aquarium business and need a camera for macro photography for our fish and corals but also a camera that we can use for out doors sport family activities etc . He suggested the k3 what lens do you recomend me to get? Mi other business friends use different cameras such as nikon or canon etc mostly the lens they use are in between 35mm to 100mm

This are samples and videos
L


Anything helps
Thank you

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04-05-2014, 01:25 PM   #2
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Assuming you'll be doing basic close-ups and not macros, this lens should get the job done both for that and for family photos:
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4 Contemporary - Introduction - PentaxForums.com
Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro HSM Lens for Pentax 884109 B&H

One nice thing about the K-3 is that it has a very good auto white balance system, which means the colors in your pictures will look true-to-life most of the time without any significant need for adjustments.

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04-05-2014, 01:59 PM   #3
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I took a K-5 IIs and the Sigma 17-70 Contemporary to the Baltimore Aquarium a while back. Shooting mostly in the 2.8-3.5 range at 17-35 mm, I found that the lens is not quite fast enough for an aquarium. Fish move really fast, so you need a reasonably fast (1/400 or better) shutter speed. I found that f/2.8 was just not quite fast enough; plus the lens isn't super sharp wide open.

If you're not shooting in a public aquarium, you don't have to worry about people getting in the way. You really shouldn't need a macro lens, just one that will focus reasonably close. I'd recommend one of the following lenses:
FA 50 f/1.7 or F50 f/1.7 (or one of the 1.4 versions)
DA 50 f/1.8
FA 77 f/1.8 Limited

The first two are fast, great at low apertures and available for not much money. The third one is quite expensive but really good!
04-05-2014, 02:47 PM   #4
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I agree with the sigma 17-70. I'm assuming you will use a flash to get the vibrant colours. With flash the large end of the 17-70 sigma lens will mean you will probably need to get the flash off the camera. (end of the lens can cast a shadow) My preference for aquariums is to have a bracket for the flash so it's on the side of the camera and I use a flash cable to hook up to the hot shoe. I have a ring flash (sigma it actually has 2 small flashes not a ring.) I leave it loose over the lens and using my finger tilt it from underneath backwards to reduce reflections. I have not tried lighting for video for aquariums, but it might be tricky and at least require some serious output.

On the K3 the WR 100mm macro works really well. It does a lot less hunting. It will get those really difficult close up shots. You could use the flash on the camera and reflect some of the light down with some white plastic or card strapped to the top of the flash.

04-05-2014, 03:42 PM   #5
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Assuming you have full freedom to move around and setup lighting, the camera itself is pretty insignificant. Light is a huge deal, I use a flash hanging above the tank with a gel on it to simulate the tank light color temperature.

This was with a 300mm lens that can focus fairly close. I also like to use a 100mm macro and sometimes just a plain old 28 or 50..
04-05-2014, 05:55 PM   #6
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I already feel like family here thank you for all your recommendation also elliot is good to see a fellow aquarist in this forum any more photo of your corals?
04-05-2014, 06:01 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by naldopr Quote
I already feel like family here thank you for all your recommendation also elliot is good to see a fellow aquarist in this forum any more photo of your corals?
Not mine, my mother's actually. She can't take a decent picture of them to save her life and has me do it. I try my best to get the colors right when I post process them, but it isn't really easy.

Here are a few others I took that are up on her Photobucket:




04-05-2014, 06:16 PM   #8
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Looking good I can tell she have good husbandry! What camera and lens you use?

04-05-2014, 06:42 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by naldopr Quote
What camera and lens you use?
I have a K-5 now, but third picture I posted was done with my old K100D (6mp body from 2006).

I use all kinds of lenses and different methods, just whatever I feel like using or have handy at the time. The first two I posted were shot with an old Sears branded 60-300 f4-5.6, I only know that because it was fairly recent and I have been really growing to like that lens. The other two were from a while ago I'm not sure what I used, the one with a bunch of different things in it says 20mm on the EXIF, which could have been my Super Lentar (Tokina) 21mm f3.8. The last one I have no clue since apparently I did a long exposure on the tripod with the SR off and I don't have a focal length to go on.

I've got a Vivitar 2x macro teleconverter that turns my cheap 50mm f1.4 into a 100mm f2.8 macro, that works well. I think a 100mm macro would be a good choice for you, it gives you some decent working distance to reach things in the back of the tank.

I posted this one the other day for someone as an example of what an old K100D can do at 1600 ISO, no flash in this one, just tank lights. Just used a cheap old Russian Industar 50-2 because that was what was on the camera at the time. Not the best shot, but I was giving an example of what you can do if you really push that old body. I didn't even post process it at all, just set the camera to JPG and let it do its thing.

Full Resolution


Just about anything you get will give you decent shots with good light and technique. Having really nice new stuff probably does make it easier though. I like to see what I can get out of cheap thrift store lenses, it is a fun challenge.
04-07-2014, 07:05 AM   #10
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Look at the minimum focus distance on lenses you're considering. For some of those shots, you'll want a pretty long focal length but if you want a nice wide macro lens the 28-35 range is good.

The 17-70 does seem a good option, though. They're supposed to be nice and sharp. Since you'll be on a tripod you can really let the camera do some good work.
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