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01-05-2016, 05:24 PM - 1 Like   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Popty Ping Quote
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.
You mentioned the Sigma 18-35 a while back. That's a pricey lens. You could spend less and upgrade to a newer body, which will have somewhat better high-ISO performance and a larger, brighter OVF so manual focusing would be easier. A newer camera would be an upgrade across the board, no just one focal length.

What's your budget, anyway?

01-06-2016, 05:02 AM   #32
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I just use built-in flash. I've learnt a fair bit about flash and would like to get an external one - it'd definitely be better.

That said, I assumed the photos I took with the built in one would be a lot worse than they are, so I've stuck with with. I'd definitely buy one at some point, but I've been investigating whether I could shoot without flash with a fast lens, as it's less obtrusive. I take a lot of photos at the events, so there's a lot of flash going off!

I can't see who made the last comment, but I don't really have a fixed budget. Money is tight, but I was hoping to stretch to the cost of a Sigma 18-35mm sometime this year. I fully understand that the money might be better invested in a better body. I'll reflect on that.

I was thinking more of the lens because of this regular photography commitment I now have and what could make the photos better.

I didn't consider that better cameras would have better/brighter viewfinders. That's an interesting consideration.

I've just looked at the photos I have from the event on Flickr. The majority are at 18mm, including two of the attached ones. I guessing that means I'm shooting at a wide angle, but moving in close (I do crop). I'm trying to figure whether getting a 24mm or 35mm would work. I'd need to step back I guess, but I'm confused, as to what that would do. It's a narrower angle of view than 18mm but further away.

Thanks again for all the help.
01-06-2016, 05:22 AM - 1 Like   #33
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A decent swivel/bounce P-TTL hot shoe flash comes a good deal cheaper than a Sigma 18-35/1.8 and will give you much more flexibility, making all your lenses sharper by virtue of the smaller apertures possible and very short flash duration.
Unless you are doing commercial gig photography, where flash is largely prohibited, I reckon your money would be better spent on a flash.
01-06-2016, 08:00 AM - 1 Like   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Popty Ping Quote
I just use built-in flash. I've learnt a fair bit about flash and would like to get an external one - it'd definitely be better.

That said, I assumed the photos I took with the built in one would be a lot worse than they are, so I've stuck with with. I'd definitely buy one at some point, but I've been investigating whether I could shoot without flash with a fast lens, as it's less obtrusive. I take a lot of photos at the events, so there's a lot of flash going off!

I can't see who made the last comment, but I don't really have a fixed budget. Money is tight, but I was hoping to stretch to the cost of a Sigma 18-35mm sometime this year. I fully understand that the money might be better invested in a better body. I'll reflect on that.

I was thinking more of the lens because of this regular photography commitment I now have and what could make the photos better.

I didn't consider that better cameras would have better/brighter viewfinders. That's an interesting consideration.

I've just looked at the photos I have from the event on Flickr. The majority are at 18mm, including two of the attached ones. I guessing that means I'm shooting at a wide angle, but moving in close (I do crop). I'm trying to figure whether getting a 24mm or 35mm would work. I'd need to step back I guess, but I'm confused, as to what that would do. It's a narrower angle of view than 18mm but further away.

Thanks again for all the help.
The further away you are form the subject will give you more depth of field at the same aperture. It should also have a small positive effect on how fast the shutter speed would need to be in order to freeze motion.

01-13-2016, 03:38 AM   #35
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Hi all

Sorry, been away from this thread for a while.

I really appreciate all the replies. I think the idea of the Sigma 18-35 was wrong now. I'm thinking I'm going to get a cheaper prime or two and experiment with them. Even if they don't do the job for my nights at the music event, it'd be good to have them.

I'd like to get a 50mm prime, but on an APS-C sensor I imagine it's too long a focal length for my needs. I'll look into it. One thing I thought I would do is "fix" my zoom at certain focal length for a certain time and see how that effects what I do. I can't quite picture what the impact of using 35mm, 50mm would be in the club environment. I suspect that I will find both long lengths.

I appreciate the comments about flash. If I continue to use flash, I will definitely get an external one at some point. The starting point for this though was to figure out whether I could shoot without using flash like proper concert/club photographers often do. It is a bit intrusive having the flash going off all the time.
01-13-2016, 08:08 AM   #36
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I've used my Sigma 28mm f1.8 wide open at parties etc, and in pretty dark reception rooms. It works better than I had expected, I have been quite pleasantly surprised.

Remember, though, with the newer bodies you can go pretty high on ISO and get good images. Use RAW+ and then decide whether the in-camera JPG or your own processing is better - and don't crop too heavily.

The new 210 flash can bounce behind you, which is handy in rooms. You can also get diffusers or bouncers to soften the flash burst. But yes, I also find the flash can be distracting to guests.
01-14-2016, 11:26 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
Use RAW+ and then decide whether the in-camera JPG or your own processing is better - and don't crop too heavily.
TEE-OR could you explain what you mean here? I assume the RAW+ means you capture a jpg at the same time right? So do you go the highest res with that jpg and what is the camera processing you are referring to?

I ask because I just use the raw file with the exception of if I want to pop the card out right way and get a bigger look on my laptop then I capture the smallest version of jpg too but don't ever do anything with it.
01-14-2016, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #38
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Yeah, the camera records the RAW image and a processed full-sized JPG image with whatever choices you keep. This can be handy in challenging situations if you mostly trust the camera's JPG processing. I used to do this a lot, but it does yield a lot of images. A lot of the time, though, the in-camera JPG image is fine for posting online, since it will be down-sized anyway.

The advantage is the camera does the highlight and shadow recovery, noise reduction etc. and can save you a lot of time if you're just grabbing snapshots. You still have the RAW if there are better images or something you want to process yourself.

01-15-2016, 12:30 AM   #39
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Thanks for the new replies guys.

I have recently started shooting RAW+JPEG. I don't think I do enough post-processing to justify it at the minute though and it's more in case I want to work on photos in the future when I do have the software etc.

I knew that JPEGs compressed files and stripped out information, but I didn't realise that they tried to "improve" the image as part of that. Useful to know. I did notice the difference in brightness etc of the two files when viewed next to each other though.

I think I'm just going to take a plunge and get a prime and try at the next event I shoot at. Ideally I'd get a 50mm one, but the equivalent length of 85mm is going to be far too tight I think. Means spending more to get a wider lens and losing a stop or two, but I suspect f1.8 would have been great for letting light flood in, but difficult to get accurate focus on dancers etc.

I may well end up sticking with flash!

Thanks again.



Si
01-15-2016, 12:48 AM - 1 Like   #40
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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.
I just tried that with my DA 35mm plastic fantastic. Who said it doesn't have quick shift lol! It works great!
01-15-2016, 06:23 AM   #41
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You can turn select the options you want the camera to do, like lens correction etc. If you want to speed up your burst shoot in RAW only or turn off a bunch of the processing options. It does take some time to do, so you might consider saving your preferred JPG options in a User Mode. Those are really handy.
01-15-2016, 02:39 PM   #42
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OP I have never shot a 35 in a club but I have shot enough band stuff in my day to feel the 50 would be a better choice. Of course it completely depends on the size of the venue but over all I think the 50 would mean less cropping. Don't be afraid to zoom with your feet even if the best framing is in the middle of the dance floor or from behind the bar. The 15 seconds you block some ones view is well worth it for good shots.

Really helpful TER-OR thank you. I run everything through light room whether I do anything with the shot or not so no real advantage in the jpg that I can see.

I've really gotten a lot out of this thread thank you all and post up some of your stuff when you settle into that 50 Popty. Looking forward to seeing your work!
01-16-2016, 02:22 AM   #43
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Thanks all

charChri4 - thanks for the advice. I've surprised myself actually - I'm quite prepared to take photos in the middle of a busy dancefloor and get in close. It helps we have a loyal crowd and lots of people know me, or at least know what I do.

Given that, I assumed a 50mm on APSC would be too tight. It's not a big venue really. Having said that, I do crop quite a bit. Most of my
photos are around 18-32mm.

I'm definitely keen to move around more and "work" the scene with a prime. I did it for the first time with a prime on a photo walk last summer and really enjoyed the discipline of that. I guess with a 50mm, I be swapping using a short focal length like 18mm and cropping in to the subject for stepping back more with a prime. I can't quite work out what that will do to the angle of view and composition, but it'd be worth trying.

A 50mm would be great too, as they are cheap!

What I might do is take my zoom one more time and "fix" it at 50mm (and then other lengths) to get a feel for using a prime.

Thanks for the continued help - I'm finding dicovering more about photography a real joy.
01-17-2016, 04:55 AM - 1 Like   #44
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Great! Keep in mind it also depends on how much stage you want to grab. Sounds like you would be better off with the 35 to be close in and still grab the whole band but if you ever wanted a head shot you would have to be really close with it!

These pix were shot with my Pentax DA 18-85 and maybe the perspective will help.
This one is at 48mm 1/25 at f4.5 (it was our bass players 60th birthday so he was a bit wacky that night)


This one is from the same distance from the stage but 10 paces to the shooters right at 75mm 1/25 at f5.6


Don't know if that's worth anything to you. I do mostly video with my cameras at gigs so not too many shots and these were taken but a fan I trust with my camera.

Last edited by charchri4; 01-17-2016 at 05:02 AM.
01-17-2016, 10:17 AM - 1 Like   #45
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I can't add to any of the technical recommendations, but I do want to suggest that DOF is an artistic choice. To have only certain details from a slim plane of focus sharp in a crowd (or other) scene is a powerful way to direct the viewer's attention. Or to slow the shutter (and in the process increase depth of field) will turn the purpose of blur into depicting movement -- perhaps especially valuable for the subject matter mentioned b the original poster. As for focusing in low light, there is always the old trick of focusing on a location and shooting when your principal subject moves into focus there.
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