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01-04-2016, 06:10 AM - 1 Like   #16
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I use manual focus in theatre, concerts. If I can be close the object, DA 35/2,4 is good enough. ISO 3200 or higher.

01-04-2016, 07:47 AM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by przemomir Quote
I use manual focus in theatre, concerts. If I can be close the object, DA 35/2,4 is good enough. ISO 3200 or higher.
I used my F 50 f/1.7 in a stage setting myself. I shot at f/2 or 2.8 as I recall also at 3200 ISO with manual white balance most of the time. I too used manual focus - essentially - I used AF to get focus and then adjusted it slightly with the body set to manual focus and I left it there since my position didn't change.
01-04-2016, 08:26 AM - 1 Like   #18
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Sometimes I have the body set to AF mode, half press the shutter to get the lens into a zone of focus and press the lens mount release for "quick shift" manual focus adjustment within that area.
01-04-2016, 12:05 PM   #19
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Hello everyone

A few points in response to those you've kindly made.

I have a Pentax K-r, so I'm pretty low down the scale. It's my first ever dSLR. I'm aware of the better models that have been mention e.g. k5 (ii). Would love to get something superior, but finances are tight now.

I fully realise that I'm not using suitable lenses, but they are all I have right now. I hope to get more as money allows. I shoot these events for free, as I'm involved in the night anyway - it's not a professional, paid gig.

I think I didn't explain too well - I'm not expecting to use autofocus really. It's simply not an option at the moment, but I realise that better lenses might help.

I like manual focus normally, but struggle to see through the viewfinder in such low light and live view seems more "clunky".

I guess I was looking for as wide an aperture lens as possible, in order to maximise the light, as I don't want to use flash. I'd happily use f2, f2.8 etc, but I imagine I'd have to push the ISO really high. The K-r is (to these untrained eyes), quite noisy at ISO3200.

I don't have Lightroom/Photoshop, but I'll look into it and the possibility of removing noise.

I do shot in RAW now, so I guess post production and also upping the exposure at that point are options for me.

I guess my plan was to stop shooting at narrower apertures and use a wide aperture lens at its widest in the hope that enough light would get in to save having to use the flash.

01-04-2016, 12:09 PM - 1 Like   #20
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DXO has a really strong noise reduction component in the Elite version of their Optics software. It's currently on sale at 50% off... might be worth considering for reducing noise. A 50mm f/2 or f/1.7 M or A lens would be very inexpensive and let you try some low light with brighter viewfinder and wider aperture shots without a major investment.
01-04-2016, 12:27 PM - 1 Like   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Popty Ping Quote
I have a Pentax K-r, so I'm pretty low down the scale. It's my first ever dSLR. I'm aware of the better models that have been mention e.g. k5 (ii). Would love to get something superior, but finances are tight now.
K-r is still pretty decent at high ISO so you might not be that far behind.


QuoteQuote:
I like manual focus normally, but struggle to see through the viewfinder in such low light and live view seems more "clunky".
That's where better lenses also come in, more light wide open means easier and more precise focusing.

QuoteQuote:
I don't have Lightroom/Photoshop, but I'll look into it and the possibility of removing noise.
If your need specifically is noise reduction and not so much image editing, you might be better off purchasing a low-cost stand-alone NR package such as NoiseNinja or NeatImage and team that up with free editing and raw conversion software (RawTherapee, Gimp, Digikam, Picasa etc.). Those standalone nr packages don't cost a bundle and are far more efficient at noise reduction than the nr routines of "all-round" editing software.

QuoteQuote:
I guess my plan was to stop shooting at narrower apertures and use a wide aperture lens at its widest in the hope that enough light would get in to save having to use the flash.
I suppose that would result in fewer keepers as your DOF will decrease by using the widest apertures. On top of that, most lenses don't really perform at their best wide open. I'd suggest a bit of both would do the trick: using a wider-aperture lens to make focusing easier because of a brighter viewfinder and then closing it down 1 or 2 stops.

So: getting a Pentax DA35mm/f2.4 won't break the bank (depending where you live should be around $100-$120 and acquiring NoiseNinja ($129) or NeatImage (from $40 up, depending on the package) should help you immensely. BTW, both NR packages have trial versions available for download so you can see what they do for your own shots. If you'd care to share some shots, I could give you an example of what can be done.
01-04-2016, 08:28 PM - 1 Like   #22
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I've got a couple lenses I would let go for cheap.

SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7
Vivitar 28mm f2.5 (m42) - you would need an M42 to K adapter for this.

PM me if you are interested in either or both.
01-05-2016, 07:19 AM   #23
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Hello folks

Thanks again for all the excellent advice - I'm genuinely bowled over that people are willing to give me their time on this.

I'm still digesting all the information, so may reply in more detail once I've done that.

I will certainly look into noise reduction software. Thank you for the heads-up on that Mikey.

Cyclone - I'll look into those lenses. Are you in the U.S.? I'm in the UK (Wales).

One more question if I may (no worries if ice already exhausted your patience!).

I didn't realise that a wider aperture lens would provide a brighter image in the viewfinder. Am I right in thinking that you would see the image of in the viewfinder at the widest aperture (and therefore at its brightest) even if you stopped down, say from f1.8 to f2.8?

I think that's the case - that's why you need a DoF preview function isn't it?

Please forgive my ignorance!

01-05-2016, 07:57 AM - 1 Like   #24
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You are correct. Only manual aperture lenses would stop down prior to the shutter firing.
01-05-2016, 08:04 AM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Sometimes I have the body set to AF mode, half press the shutter to get the lens into a zone of focus and press the lens mount release for "quick shift" manual focus adjustment within that area.
You learn something new everyday! Thanks for this great tip.
01-05-2016, 08:08 AM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by Popty Ping Quote
Hello folks

Thanks again for all the excellent advice - I'm genuinely bowled over that people are willing to give me their time on this.

I'm still digesting all the information, so may reply in more detail once I've done that.

I will certainly look into noise reduction software. Thank you for the heads-up on that Mikey.

Cyclone - I'll look into those lenses. Are you in the U.S.? I'm in the UK (Wales).

One more question if I may (no worries if ice already exhausted your patience!).

I didn't realise that a wider aperture lens would provide a brighter image in the viewfinder. Am I right in thinking that you would see the image of in the viewfinder at the widest aperture (and therefore at its brightest) even if you stopped down, say from f1.8 to f2.8?

I think that's the case - that's why you need a DoF preview function isn't it?

Please forgive my ignorance!
Yeah, I'm in the U.S. May not be worth it due to shipping then.

---------- Post added 01-05-16 at 09:57 AM ----------

Have you tried looking for lenses on Ebay? Not sure what your budget is, but a 50mm f1.4 fully manual goes for around 65 pounds, and I see a SMC Pentax A 50mm 1.4 for 90 pounds.

Pentax bayonet mount Pentax A SMC 50 1.4 lens with case and caps | eBay

Also, depending on the shipping and if you are ok with shooting fully manual, you could use the 55mm 1.4 m42 lens off of this camera. It is a BIN for $52 + shipping from the U.S.
VINTAGE TLS 35mm Film Camera 55mm F/1.4 Prime lens Student Set Sears M42 Ricoh

I actually have a copy of the lens that is on that camera. It is a pretty nice lens and probably the fastest you are going to get for that cheap. The SMC Pentax 50mm A is nicer though. Not sure if it would make any difference in low light though.

There are some other ~50mm 1.4 lenses on the US ebay site for pretty cheap as well.
01-05-2016, 09:52 AM - 1 Like   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Popty Ping Quote
I'm in the UK (Wales)!
Try SRS Microsystems (in Watford) as they usually have quite a bit of used and new Pentax stuff.
01-05-2016, 03:23 PM - 1 Like   #28
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Hi all - thanks again.

Cylcone - no worries and thanks for the offer and looking up that information. I think I got a bit fixated on that Sigma 18-35. I'm definitely starting to think that a cheaper prime will be the way to go. It would be good discipline to shoot with a prime anyway. I shot film for the first time in years at a workshop in the summer and loved the sharpness. I think the next question for me will be which focal length. I shoot close to the dancers/crowd at the soul night. I'm often in the middle of the dancefloor. I suspect 50mm will be too long therefore. I've looked at my EXIF data before and most are shot at 18mm to 35mm. I've attached some photos to show the kind of shots. Some are individuals, but I take wider shots of the crowd too. Wow - those photos are big!

Mikey - I'm almost certain I bought my K-r from them, so I'll look at them again.

Vanya - thank you for confirming

Crayboy - glad you got something out of the thread too.
Attached Images
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-r  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-r  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K-r  Photo 
01-05-2016, 04:02 PM - 1 Like   #29
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Looking at those shots. I think you may want to use an off camera flash with a modifier in one hand and the onboard flash triggering it and adding to the exposure. This will allow you to reduce the harsh shadows caused by the lighting. But if you prefer not to do that - never fear - the advice you got will help.
01-05-2016, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #30
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Sigma makes a 24mm 1.8 lens in Pentax mount. It is not very cheap though.

You can also get decently fast 28mm lenses for not that much.

Do you have an add-on flash or are you just using the built in flash?

An add-on flash and using it as a bounce flash will give you much better lighting / less harsh shadows.
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