Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-12-2010, 05:33 AM   #1
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bucharest
Photos: Albums
Posts: 20
focus hunting in low light

Hi!
I'm new to dslr, I had for years a P&S A710IS, and for last year I have used manual settings for most of the shots.
Last Friday I brought home the new k-x and started learing the basics of camera operations. so finally around mdnight I went to balcony and started shoting night pictures. The ones including high contrast areas were ok, I played with the night scene setings, night shots, manual shots, etc. Focus was ok, hunting a little, but not exagerated.
But whrere the contrast area were not that obvious, the camera was hunting for focus forever, and still was out of focus.
I tried for manual focus, but my dioptry is slightly bigger (-2,75) than the compensation on the camera (-2,5), and had a hard time to adjust the focus. In good light, I have no problem to MF

Another point are the indor shots in low light conditions. I was taking shots with D40 of my brother in law, comparing with k-x. The pictures are taken with default portrait settings, for both cameras, AUTO (no manual adjustment), and subject is my daughter. D40 shots are brighter. I have no doubt that the results will be in favor of k-x if I would take the time to setup corectly the camera, but I am talking fast snapshots here.

Q1: please advise about night shots in low light low contrast outside;
Q2: please comment on the AUTO portrait settings for indor low light;

P.S.
Please do not jump saying that DSLR is for compozition and thinking of pictures, not for P&S. I know that very well, just sometimes you have to take a snapshot, and the default AUTO settings should give a good result.


Last edited by sorin; 07-12-2010 at 05:53 AM.
07-12-2010, 05:42 AM   #2
Administrator
Site Webmaster
Adam's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 41,386
Q1: The best results are obtained at an ISO that allows for a relatively fast shutter speed. Therefore, I recommend you shoot at ISO 1600 or 3200 in low light. Also, make sure that you've enabled the in-camera noise reduction with at least the 'low' setting.

The good thing about DSLRs is that you can switch lenses, but this also means that not every lens is perfect for every situation. The kit lens, for example, goes from F3.5 at 18mm to F5.6 at 55mm. You would get much better low-light results at 18mm than at 55mm just because more light is being passed through the lens. However, F3.5 is still relatively slow, so I'd recommend getting something along the lines of a 50mm/1.4 if you're really into low-light shots.

Q2: Use flash or high-iso. If you want to brighten your shots, simply use +0.5 or +1 exposure compensation.

Adam
PentaxForums.com Webmaster (Site Usage Guide | Site Help | My Photography)



PentaxForums.com's high server and development costs are user-supported. You can help cover those costs by donating. Or, buy your photo gear from our affiliates, Adorama, B&H Photo, or Topaz Labs, and get FREE Marketplace access - click here to see how! Trusted Pentax retailers:

07-12-2010, 06:03 AM   #3
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bucharest
Photos: Albums
Posts: 20
Original Poster
Thank you Adam.
Q1: ISO was rocketed to 6400, the shot was noisy (I didn't care too much tough, since there were test shots), but my problem was lack of focus, even with long hunting. So your recomandation for future would be "faster lenses".
Q2: I'll do so, just wondering about the difference of in-camera picture processing.
And anyway 30 seconds with any photo editor is solving the issue.
07-12-2010, 09:59 AM   #4
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
My suggestion would be the learn the basics of exposure - what shutter speed, aperture, and ISO are, how they related, and how to control them. Even when shooting "snapshots" in an auto-exposure mode, you should expected to need to use exposure compensation sometimes. So learn when and how.

07-12-2010, 05:02 PM   #5
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,345
To answer your questions

All cameras have trouble focusing in low light
I don't know the kx but the k7 has a focus assist light for low light in close quarters. External flashes like the AF540FGZ gave a focus assist also

With respect to default image settings there has been a long debate about the different base exposure settings of canon vs pentax. I believe pentax pushes towArds over exposure slightly where as pentax exposes less to protect highlights

As others have suggested you need to learn your camera and basic exposure principles
07-12-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
Senior Member




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Mount Shasta
Posts: 185
I use the Pentax 50mm 1.4 and the Vivitar 24mm 2.8 with the Kx in low light and get fast focusing with good results at high ISO. I find spot metering to be faster in low light.
07-12-2010, 10:33 PM   #7
Veteran Member
mysticcowboy's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: port townsend, wa
Photos: Albums
Posts: 968
For a low priced SLR the K-x does pretty good in low light focus. However it does not have a focus assist lamp, and that will likely make it less capable than a camera like the D40, which does.

You can use the pop-up flash as a focus assist lamp and your focusing will be much quicker and more accurate. The short-low power flashes from the popup are a bit distracting, however.
07-12-2010, 10:33 PM   #8
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bucharest
Photos: Albums
Posts: 20
Original Poster
@lowel:
k-x doesn't have an assist lamp, instead it strobes (is this the word?) the internal flash to assist the focus.
@mark:
I do understand the basic of exposure, and the play of timing, aperture and sensitivity, and at least in theory, optics has little secrets for me. Field experience if harder to get than advanced physics classes in university.

I found the similar discussion on the beginner’s corner, regarding the underexposure of k-x, and it makes sense to preserve information from highlighted areas.

Thank you all.

07-13-2010, 07:09 AM   #9
Pentaxian
Lowell Goudge's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 15,345
QuoteOriginally posted by sorin Quote
@lowel:
k-x doesn't have an assist lamp, instead it strobes (is this the word?) the internal flash to assist the focus.
@mark:
Thanks, I was not sure what the KX offered for focus assist,
QuoteQuote:
I do understand the basic of exposure, and the play of timing, aperture and sensitivity, and at least in theory, optics has little secrets for me. Field experience if harder to get than advanced physics classes in university.

I found the similar discussion on the beginnerís corner, regarding the underexposure of k-x, and it makes sense to preserve information from highlighted areas.

Thank you all.
Gald we could clarify things. One thing you may find of interest, and again I am not sure the KX offers optical preview, or how focusing in optical preview mode works, but typical video using the image from the sensor can appear to focus better in low light. Many P&S cameras can focus using the image information in very low light situations.
07-13-2010, 10:15 PM   #10
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bucharest
Photos: Albums
Posts: 20
Original Poster
KX offers optical and digital preview, and has Live View function.
I'm just learning the way to use them
07-16-2010, 11:46 AM   #11
Moderator PEG Judges
Kerrowdown's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Highlands of Scotland.
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 31,360
In low light trying switching to manual focus, it's not as hard as you think and your results may well surprise you.

It's worth a try.
07-16-2010, 11:14 PM   #12
Inactive Account




Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Bucharest
Photos: Albums
Posts: 20
Original Poster
yes, but I'm definetelly in need of bigger apperture lenses. I am hunting now the tamron 55mmf1.8. I found one but I need an adapter to M42.
07-17-2010, 02:20 PM   #13
Site Supporter
vagrant10's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: portland
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,335
part of the kit I usually carry w/ me is a bright flashlight. if the subject is close enough, I'll shine the flashlight on it and then try to get the camera to focus. that has helped me immensely at times. one other neat thing is that w/ long exposures (say 5 seconds or more) you can use the flashlight to make a certain area of the scene brighter by illuminating those areas while the shutter is open (ie: painting with light). yeah I could use the onboard flash to strobe, but that seems more likely to draw (usually) unwanted attention to myself. the current flashlight I have has a cree type led bulb w/ adjustable focus - it is amazingly bright and can throw an intense light 50 (or more) feet away.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
auto, camera, contrast, dslr, focus, k-x, light, night, photography, pictures, settings, shots
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Low Light auto focus JohnKSA Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 6 03-10-2010 04:19 AM
Pentax Low Light Focus indy1984 Pentax DSLR Discussion 15 02-17-2010 09:42 AM
Manual focus in low light - technique? Judd Troubleshooting and Beginner Help 14 07-22-2009 02:00 AM
low light focus assist attachement? Gooshin General Talk 4 10-30-2008 02:06 PM
EV low light focus question tarsus Photographic Technique 3 06-26-2008 08:22 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:31 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top