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07-23-2009, 06:39 AM   #1
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Shooting in low light

Hello,
I am new to photography and Pentax. I have a Pentax K20D and recently purchased a Sigma 70mm-200mm F1.3(I think that is what it is, it is at home and I am at work)anyway, I am shooting pictures at a rodeo. So there is fast action. The lens is great as long as it is daylight but as night moves in it is a problem. Can you help me? What setting do I need to have on my camera. I have it on shutter speed prioity during the day but as night set in I had to move it to Sensitivity with a higher ISO but I lose my fast shutter speed to capture the action. Is there something else I can do?

Thanks,
Lydia

07-23-2009, 07:10 AM   #2
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Light is something you will always need in order to maintain high shutter speeds. Can you post a picture to show us what conditions you are shooting? Other than bumping up the ISO and opening up your lens there isn't much else I can think of that could help. Assuming you are up in the stands shooting and not rail-side I do not know if an external flash will help you much.
07-23-2009, 07:39 AM   #3
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I am rail side but a flash dosen't help as they are still to far away. Are there any other places on the camera I should be fixing some of the settings in the menu? I am at work so I can't send a picture right now but there are alot of dark places in the arena. I was just hoping to get some good crisp clear pictures of the bucking bulls but sounds like I will have to try a different arena with better lighting.
Thanks.
07-23-2009, 08:01 AM   #4
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If there is one thing that I learned from the members here on the forum is that there are exactly three things you need to understand in order to get well exposed pictures: shutter speed, aperture setting and ISO. If you need to freeze motion you need a faster shutter speed which means you need to either open up your aperture, up your ISO or both in order to keep the exposure where you need it.

The only other thing that you could try doing is shoot in RAW to giveyou the most digital information available and under-expose your shots -1.0 or -1.5 and try and see if you can pull the details out with PP. You would be surprised at the amount of details you can recover by doing this.

07-24-2009, 01:40 PM   #5
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F1.3 is a very fast aperture and I don't think there is any SLR zoom lens that has it. Maybe 2.8? Hm, I see something at dpreview about an f2.8 zoom that does 1:3.5 macro; is that what you're thinking of?
I don't know the K20D but there must be a way to set ISO to 1600 and set the shutter speed too.
07-24-2009, 05:12 PM   #6
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With a sufficiently strong flash (eg, probably not the built-in one) you might be able to use it at the rodeo, especially if you've got your ISO turned up and a reaosnably large aperture. but otherwise, you just need to sert your aperture as large as it goes (meaning smallest f-stop) keep turning up the ISO higher and higher until you get a fast enough shutter speed. Unless it's an f/2.8 lens (it's mostly definitely *NOT* f/1.3 - there has never been any such zoom!), you'll probably have to crank up the ISO extremely high, and even then might not get a fast enough shutter speed to capture really fast action, so you'll have to work on timing your shots for moments when the action freezes for a moment - change of direction, for example.
07-25-2009, 02:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by justplainpaints Quote
Hello,
I am new to photography and Pentax. I have a Pentax K20D and recently purchased a Sigma 70mm-200mm F1.3(I think that is what it is, it is at home and I am at work)anyway, I am shooting pictures at a rodeo. So there is fast action. The lens is great as long as it is daylight but as night moves in it is a problem. Can you help me? What setting do I need to have on my camera. I have it on shutter speed prioity during the day but as night set in I had to move it to Sensitivity with a higher ISO but I lose my fast shutter speed to capture the action. Is there something else I can do?

Thanks,
Lydia
Exposure depends on the following three factors:
1. Shutter speed (this influences how long the sensor/film is exposed to light).
2. Aperture (this influences how much light the sensor/film is exposed to in any given instant).
3. The medium's sensitivity to light.

Your lens has a maximum aperture of f2.8. The general rule for hand holding and shutter speed is 1/x, where x is the focal length of your lens. With a crop camera, like yours, it is 1/x(1.5). Assuming your shooting at 200mm, your minimum shutter should be 1/350s. Your camera has built-in vibration reduction of the sensor shifting sort. I'm not certain to what degree it can compensate. However, if you're reaching the f2.8 and 1/350s bottleneck, your only choice is to raise the sensor's sensitivity and turn on the vibration reduction feature. There is no other way out unless you can add additional light to the scene, via a flash or some 10Ks... but you likely don't have a budget for 10Ks... and I'm talking about a few.

One last note though, vibration reduction will not reduce subject blur, only motion blur induced by unsteady hands. If subject motion is not a factor, and you can do less than 1/200s, then I would recommend you look into a monopod. They are not as stable as tripods, but they reduce two of the six possible vectors of motion (up and down). The other motion vectors are left, right, forward, and backward.
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