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10-20-2009, 04:26 PM   #16
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Wow, lot of replies.. don't know where to start.


QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Dumb question, but since you are all new to this, as you said ('coz you might have missed this and it wasn't mentioned too), have you first ever tried changing the ISO to a higher one?
I'm not sure if this can be done with the K-m but I assume it should be able to.
Set it to 1600 maybe?
@GerryL - Yea, I've changed the ISO and made it higher. Didn't like all the noise in the picture though. So I had to use pretty slow shutter speed and hold as still as I possibly could and hope that whoever I was photographing didn't move too much. I managed to get some decent pictures like this.

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
If you really want to try your hand at low light, I suggest pushing for a f1.4 regardless if its a M, A, FA, or Tak. Considering a tight financial situation, look into a Super Tak, S-M-C. or SMC Tak or maybe even one of the 55mm f1.8 Taks.
@Blue - I'd love to go for a f1.4 but that's probably more money then I can spend right now. I'll definitely start looking into a better low light lens next year but I need something to hold me over for the holidays.

QuoteOriginally posted by impact Quote
Try to get the FA version, otherwise you'll miss autofocus. Manual focus kinda sucks.
@impact - Most people I've talked to actually prefer to use manual focus. I know autofocus pisses me off once in a while because it won't focus on what I want it to. I also think that having complete control will make the whole experience more rewarding.


QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
No way should the A50/1.7 cost anyone more than $100. Keep looking; it shouldn't be hard to find one for less.

Since you use the K2000 owner, I'd be especially inclined to hold out for the A version, since A and M lenses work differently even in M mode. With A lenses, you can set the aperture using the camera just like you do with your current lenses, and the aperture displays in the viewfinder along with a meter reading that shows you how much over or under you are just as is the case with your current lenses. With M lenses, you set the aperture using the ring, meaning it won't display in the viewfinder, and more importantly, the amera can't display a meter reading. The +/- button still works to set shutter seed (like the Green button on other recent models), but the meter is only active for that brief moment that the lens stops down - it won't keep showing you a reading as you scan around the scene change aperture or shutter speed, or as the light changes. With all models *but* the K2000, you can do an optical DOF preview to get this "live" meter, but the K2000 lacks that. So there is no way to get a "live" meter reading on an M lens with the K2000.
Most of the A50/1.7 I've seen go for around $100 with shipping. As for the second part, won't it display a meter reading but just for the lens wide open? I'll probably end up taking most of my shots with the lens wide, or close to wide open. Also, since I've never had to manually stop down lenses, does it hold it there while you hold the button? If so, couldn't I just stop down, see what the meter reads and adjust shutter speed and stop down again? I guess this could cause some inconvenience but it'd still be better than not being able to shoot in bad lighting. I mean, if it's so bad to the point that I won't want to shot I guess I could hold out and buy the A lens but I probably won't have that money until after the holidays.

QuoteOriginally posted by flippedgazelle Quote
... but here's what I do with my M 50: I usually have a little bit of an idea of what shutter speed I need in a given situation, so I set that and fire away. I then review the histogram in the LCD, see how much I'm off in terms of desired exposure, and adjust shutter (or possibly ISO) accordingly. Yeah, I know, it's kinda lame...
That's what I've been doing in my grandparent's house. The lighting there is really dim and it comes from all different directions. I'll just shoot in M mode and try to get the correct exposure. I snap a picture and then view it. If it's blurry, I know I need to increase shutter speed but if it's dark then I know I need to decrease it. I also play around with ISO settings but I try not to put it too high. If it's too dark AND blurry... well.... I haven't figured that out yet. I know this could be solved by using flash but I don't like the shadows it creates. I guess I need to figure out how to mess around with the flash settings.


Last edited by Iann Cannon; 10-20-2009 at 04:32 PM.
10-20-2009, 06:10 PM   #17
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QuoteQuote:
Most of the A50/1.7 I've seen go for around $100 with shipping. As for the second part, won't it display a meter reading but just for the lens wide open? I'll probably end up taking most of my shots with the lens wide, or close to wide open.
An A type lens will act just like an automatic lens that you manually focus. Set the aperture ring on "A" and choose the aperture you want in the viewfinder; the camera will meter and compute the exposure required. Focus & push the shutter button.

The camera will automatically close the aperture, meter and shoot.
10-20-2009, 06:46 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by GerryL Quote
Dumb question, but since you are all new to this, as you said ('coz you might have missed this and it wasn't mentioned too), have you first ever tried changing the ISO to a higher one?
You might find that the 75mm effective FOV with the 50mm lens is too long for shooting your family indoors, unless it's portraits. I had forgotten that with my Oly camera when I put the Zuiko 50mm on it last week. That's 100mm FOV on the Olympus 4/3's sensor, and while the f1.8 was bright, I was glad I had my K100D with the 16:45 with me because 100mm was not what I wanted.

The other issue is that focus is oh so critical when the lens is wide open at F1.7 since depth of field is very narrow. Not a deal breaker with portraits if you have time. Might be difficult for candids.


Try ISO 1600 too. If you don't like the noise, noise removal software and shooting in RAW mode really makes a big difference. I believe you can still get a stand alone RAW converter as a free download . If you don't like the lite Pentax version ( I hate it). Also, there are free standalone noise removal programs. Imagnomics/Noiseware offered one.

Then again, a 50m lens is relatively cheap. Have fun.





.

Last edited by chedoy; 10-20-2009 at 06:56 PM.
10-20-2009, 07:01 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
An A type lens will act just like an automatic lens that you manually focus. Set the aperture ring on "A" and choose the aperture you want in the viewfinder; the camera will meter and compute the exposure required. Focus & push the shutter button.

The camera will automatically close the aperture, meter and shoot.
Sorry if I was unclear. I was referring to the M lens.

QuoteOriginally posted by chedoy Quote
You might find that the 75mm effective FOV with the 50mm lens is too long for shooting your family indoors, unless it's portraits. I had forgotten that with my Oly camera when I put the Zuiko 50mm on it last week. That's 100mm FOV on the Olympus 4/3's sensor, and while the f1.8 was bright, I was glad I had my K100D with the 16:45 with me because 100mm was not what I wanted.

The other issue is that focus is oh so critical when the lens is wide open at F1.7 since depth of field is very narrow. Not a deal breaker with portraits if you have time. Might be difficult for candids.


Try ISO 1600 too. If you don't like the noise, noise removal software and shooting in RAW mode really makes a big difference. I believe you can still get a stand alone RAW converter as a free download . If you don't like the lite Pentax version ( I hate it). Also, there are free standalone noise removal programs. Imagnomics/Noiseware offered one.

Then again, a 50m lens is relatively cheap. Have fun.


.
Yea, I guess it'd only be good for portrait shots if I'm in close quarters, which is still great since I want it for that as well. I guess this means I'd also need a wider lens for my purposes?

I'll try ISO 1600 again I guess. I'm shooting in JPEG right now and while I really do want to shot in RAW, it seems like I'll be filling up hard drives very quickly as the files are large.

10-20-2009, 09:17 PM   #20
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RAW files aren't *that* much larger than JPEG on average (at least, not if you use PEF, which is compressed). Plus there is an advantage in that with JPEG, you presumably make a copy of your file every time you edit to avoid overwriting the original, but with RAW, this is unecessary, since editing is non-destructive. Although you can only reap that advantage if you use a program like Lightroom or Aperture or ACDSee Pro or Lightzone that doesn't force you to convert to JEG or another format just to preserve your changes.

Anyhow, while a faster lens helps, realistically, in low light, you need both wide aperture *and* high ISO. So might as well get used to a little noise. It looks worse if you pixel peep (viewing images at 100%) but shouldn't be that much of an issue just viewing normally or printing at any size you can generally print at home. But most RAW processing programs do a decent job of controllng it.
10-21-2009, 07:29 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
RAW files aren't *that* much larger than JPEG on average (at least, not if you use PEF, which is compressed). Plus there is an advantage in that with JPEG, you presumably make a copy of your file every time you edit to avoid overwriting the original, but with RAW, this is unecessary, since editing is non-destructive. Although you can only reap that advantage if you use a program like Lightroom or Aperture or ACDSee Pro or Lightzone that doesn't force you to convert to JEG or another format just to preserve your changes.

Anyhow, while a faster lens helps, realistically, in low light, you need both wide aperture *and* high ISO. So might as well get used to a little noise. It looks worse if you pixel peep (viewing images at 100%) but shouldn't be that much of an issue just viewing normally or printing at any size you can generally print at home. But most RAW processing programs do a decent job of controllng it.
Right now shooting JPEG @ 10megapixels at the highest quality I get about 3500 with the space left on my card. If I put it to RAW I'm getting about 900, even less if I put RAW+. Makes no difference between PEF and DNG. So that's about 4x as big. I mean, I guess I could just buy another terrabyte hard drive especially since they are so cheap now. Especially if the benefits of RAW far outweigh those of JPEG.
10-21-2009, 11:00 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iann Cannon Quote
Right now shooting JPEG @ 10megapixels at the highest quality I get about 3500 with the space left on my card. If I put it to RAW I'm getting about 900, even less if I put RAW+. Makes no difference between PEF and DNG.
You're *actually* getting 900 images or the camera guesses that you will be able to fit 900 images on there? The camera consistently underestimates the number for PEF, because it doesn't know how much it will be able to compress the files - the amount varies according the amount of detail in the image. High ISO shots tend to compress better than low because they typically have less detail (unfortunately!). I find I get about twice as many high ISO shots as the camera guesses I will.

Simple way to test for sure - take some shots, and compare file sizes. I suppose if you are not using highest resolution / highest quality JPEG, you might be getting more JPEG's per card than I would be expecting, but if that's the case, you are already degrading your image quality right there. But I find with my K200D, average RAW file size is around 10MB - a bit over that for low ISO nature shots, but definitely below that for high ISO shots. Maybe 9MB on average. Whereas highest resolution / highest quality JPEG's are around 4K. So it's really more like a factor of 2, not 4. And like I said, given that shooting JPEG requires you to maintain two separate full size copies of your files when post processing (assuming you don't want to overwrite your originals), that advantage basically disappears right there.

QuoteQuote:
Especially if the benefits of RAW far outweigh those of JPEG.
They do if you need to mess much with white balance or exposure / curves corrections or do much NR. In other words, all the things one tends to need to do when shooting in low light.
10-21-2009, 12:21 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
Autofocus kind of sucks. If you miss on manual, you are too slow or you need your eyes testing.
I was slow to catch on but I now get a lot more keepers.
Are we still talking about a stock K2000 (no aftermarket focusing screen etc...)? The AF is accurate and fast. I really doubt one could consistently match it's performance when MF'ing.

10-21-2009, 12:52 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by impact Quote
Are we still talking about a stock K2000 (no aftermarket focusing screen etc...)? The AF is accurate and fast. I really doubt one could consistently match it's performance when MF'ing.
I could see someone with mf experience getting more keepers on a consistent basis than af in low light.
10-21-2009, 12:54 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iann Cannon Quote
. . .
@Blue - I'd love to go for a f1.4 but that's probably more money then I can spend right now. I'll definitely start looking into a better low light lens next year but I need something to hold me over for the holidays.

. . .
That's why I suggested the Taks and even the M f1.4 lens. Those can be had under $100 or even lower. I just picked up a S-M-C. Super Tak for $50.
10-21-2009, 01:03 PM   #26
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I have used M, A, F, and FA 50s, with f1,4, f1,7, and f2 apertures.

I'd say the f1,7 was the best wide open. The f1,4 was not as good at f1,8 as the f1,7 wide open.

AF is useful but not necessary, especially since the OP wants to experiment.

BUT... given that this lens will be used indoors, I think 50 mm might be a little bit too tight and might not be good for anything except portraits. Group shots and room shots are out of the question.

Maybe a 28 mm f2,8 could be another option. Or something like the Sigma 17-70 f2,8 f4,5 (though it's more expensive than a M50 f1,7...)
10-21-2009, 01:05 PM   #27
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bdery,

I'll bet you the f1.2 is better at f1.2 or f1.4 than the f1.7 is.
10-21-2009, 03:23 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
You're *actually* getting 900 images or the camera guesses that you will be able to fit 900 images on there? The camera consistently underestimates the number for PEF, because it doesn't know how much it will be able to compress the files - the amount varies according the amount of detail in the image. High ISO shots tend to compress better than low because they typically have less detail (unfortunately!). I find I get about twice as many high ISO shots as the camera guesses I will.

Simple way to test for sure - take some shots, and compare file sizes. I suppose if you are not using highest resolution / highest quality JPEG, you might be getting more JPEG's per card than I would be expecting, but if that's the case, you are already degrading your image quality right there. But I find with my K200D, average RAW file size is around 10MB - a bit over that for low ISO nature shots, but definitely below that for high ISO shots. Maybe 9MB on average. Whereas highest resolution / highest quality JPEG's are around 4K. So it's really more like a factor of 2, not 4. And like I said, given that shooting JPEG requires you to maintain two separate full size copies of your files when post processing (assuming you don't want to overwrite your originals), that advantage basically disappears right there.



They do if you need to mess much with white balance or exposure / curves corrections or do much NR. In other words, all the things one tends to need to do when shooting in low light.
I'm just going by what the camera estimates I will get. I'll just set my camera to raw for now and see how big the files are next time I upload them to my computer. I just need to look at the pros/cons of PEF/DNG. Right now I take my JPEGS at the highest quality I can get. I see what you mean about having copies of JPEGS on my computer so I don't mess up the originals. I guess the hdd usage balances out in the end. Now to find a simple program that will let me process my RAWs. I'm still a newb at post production.

QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
I have used M, A, F, and FA 50s, with f1,4, f1,7, and f2 apertures.

I'd say the f1,7 was the best wide open. The f1,4 was not as good at f1,8 as the f1,7 wide open.

AF is useful but not necessary, especially since the OP wants to experiment.

BUT... given that this lens will be used indoors, I think 50 mm might be a little bit too tight and might not be good for anything except portraits. Group shots and room shots are out of the question.

Maybe a 28 mm f2,8 could be another option. Or something like the Sigma 17-70 f2,8 f4,5 (though it's more expensive than a M50 f1,7...)
Well, I still want the 50mm for low light shooting because I'll have plenty of opportunities to use it outdoors. I'll definitely use it for portraits as well. I'm looking at 28mm f2.8 now as they seem to run cheap as well.

QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
That's why I suggested the Taks and even the M f1.4 lens. Those can be had under $100 or even lower. I just picked up a S-M-C. Super Tak for $50.
I was looking at screw mount lenses on ebay and they do seem to run really cheap. I need to read about how easy it is to convert this to k mount and how much that process will cost me before I seriously consider buying one. [edit] After looking around, it seems I can just get one adapter and use it for all the m42 lenses I get. Seems like it wouldn't be too expensive considering all the money I would save by buying the m42 lenses. Only problem is that I see lots of complaints about 3rd party adapters. I guess I should go with the genuine Pentax adapter straight from their website.. [/edit]

Thanks for all the great replies. I'm getting a lot out of this. Unfortunately, I'm starting to constantly think about the lenses I want to try out. I think the addiction is starting....

Last edited by Iann Cannon; 10-21-2009 at 03:38 PM.
10-21-2009, 03:51 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by impact Quote
Are we still talking about a stock K2000 (no aftermarket focusing screen etc...)? The AF is accurate and fast. I really doubt one could consistently match it's performance when MF'ing.
There are always doubters, I was one too. If you are going to stick your subject dead centre for every shot then you're probably right (I've looked at a few of your images and that does seem to be the case) and a P&S would probably be even better, otherwise MF is more consistent.
I try and reserve AF for those occasions when I don't have time to MF.
10-21-2009, 04:10 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Iann Cannon Quote
After looking around, it seems I can just get one adapter and use it for all the m42 lenses I get. Seems like it wouldn't be too expensive considering all the money I would save by buying the m42 lenses. Only problem is that I see lots of complaints about 3rd party adapters.

I have a number of m42 lenses, each of which has a 3rd party no flange (~$15) adapter mounted.

This has worked quite well for me. I remove the adapter's spring & just leave the adapter on the lens. Some drill an indent into the lens base for the camera's locking pin to engage.


Dave in Iowa
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