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07-25-2010, 02:27 PM   #1
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Anyone else do this? ISO 100 and compensate with flash/EV/aperture?

Does anyone else shoot like this in low light? I have a K200D which, among the Pentax line up, doesn't do as well in low light. What I have been doing is keeping the ISO at 100 and compensate with flash, EV, and aperture adjustments. Pictures taken like this come out much sharper than ones taken when I let the ISO go auto (or maybe it's just my technique).

All of my photography is for my own enjoyment, so there's no need to worry about restrictions on flash. I suppose if I ever were shooting in a flash restricted environment, I'd be in trouble. If I had a K-x I think I'd be more adventuresome.

Just wondering

07-25-2010, 02:44 PM   #2
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I think nearly everyone does that.
07-25-2010, 02:53 PM   #3
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I had this feeling that most people use ISO for low light stuff, but maybe that assumption is a false one.
07-25-2010, 02:54 PM   #4
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Flash as a way of dealing with low light, sure that's pretty universal. But for the cases where you don't want to or can't use flash, there's basically no option but increasing ISO. You can shoot low ISO and underexpose, but when you brighten in PP, the results are *exactly* the same as shooting higher ISO in the first place.

ISO 1600 performance isn't particularly bad on the K200D. I shoot that way a ton. Just apply a judicious amount of NR - either in camera or, preferably, in NR. Just last week I printed this one 8.5x11" and it looks great:



07-25-2010, 03:05 PM   #5
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Only if flash is an option otherwise using higher ISO just as you would in the good old days of film using higher rated asa film 3200 (i can't remember if there was a 6400asa?)

Then the last resort would be digital darkroom like pushing or pulling film then dodging and burning, different papers, chemicals yada yada
07-26-2010, 03:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChooseAName Quote
Does anyone else shoot like this in low light? I have a K200D which, among the Pentax line up, doesn't do as well in low light. What I have been doing is keeping the ISO at 100 and compensate with flash, EV, and aperture adjustments.
I usually set ISO to 200 or 400 when using bounced flash, and depending on the amount of ambient light I also "drag the shutter" so I change to M mode, set aperture for DOF, shutter to somewhere between 1/30 and 1/60. This way I can balance ambient and flash light, and usually get more pleasing results.
With ISO100 and faster (1/100-180) shutter the flash becomes almost the only light source - whether a "flash only" pic is more pleasing depends on the situation and personal preference. I prefer the more balanced pics where it's not (very) obvious that I used flash.
07-26-2010, 05:05 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by simico Quote
I usually set ISO to 200 or 400 when using bounced flash, and depending on the amount of ambient light I also "drag the shutter" so I change to M mode, set aperture for DOF, shutter to somewhere between 1/30 and 1/60. This way I can balance ambient and flash light, and usually get more pleasing results.
With ISO100 and faster (1/100-180) shutter the flash becomes almost the only light source - whether a "flash only" pic is more pleasing depends on the situation and personal preference. I prefer the more balanced pics where it's not (very) obvious that I used flash.
I would go with 200 at least because that is where you will get the most DR on that sensor IIRC.
07-28-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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All I have currently is OBF, so I generally opt for no flash/higher ISO. I've used the flash 1x, and that was the evening of my 7 year old's bday. Even with the ISO at 6400 (eta - more likely only 3200), in manual mode, I was dragging the shutter too long for all the movement in the scene, so I lowered ISO and switched on the flash to capture the action with less/no blur. But I really hate the way OBF flattens the image, and I need to get an external flash that I can bounce. Until then, I generally prefer the results I get with no flash and a higher ISO. But that is just my personal preference.


Last edited by kmwsbabe; 07-28-2010 at 09:49 AM. Reason: clarification
07-28-2010, 10:02 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by kmwsbabe Quote
All I have currently is OBF, so I generally opt for no flash/higher ISO. I've used the flash 1x, and that was the evening of my 7 year old's bday. Even with the ISO at 6400 (eta - more likely only 3200), in manual mode, I was dragging the shutter too long for all the movement in the scene, so I lowered ISO and switched on the flash to capture the action with less/no blur. But I really hate the way OBF flattens the image, and I need to get an external flash that I can bounce. Until then, I generally prefer the results I get with no flash and a higher ISO. But that is just my personal preference.
If you really need some extra light, you could always pop the flash up and hold an index card in front of it. That's what I did for a little while before I got a flash. There are also plenty of DIY instructions on making flash diffusers for on-board flash.
07-28-2010, 10:15 AM   #10
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The Gary Fong Puffer works very well for softening on-board flash. It reduces the intensity of the already weak built-in flash, so I bump the ISO to 400 or higher to compensate.



PS This is not my photo, it's just linked from a website.
07-28-2010, 07:56 PM   #11
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Thanks ChooseAName and Dan. I appreciate the ideas.
07-28-2010, 08:31 PM   #12
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You can also use a small led light panel placed off to the side to put light closer to the subject.
07-28-2010, 08:41 PM   #13
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I generally don't like high ISO and avoid it as much as I can, but I can get good results at ISO 1600 on the K20D and ISO 800 on the K10D if I expose correctly in the first instance.

But as for fill flash and low ISO - I actually don't use that combo all that much, especially when hand-holding. I try to balance out the background light as much as I can to avoid the loss of background ambience by boosting ISO and just using fill flash to concentrate on lighting the subject. So a lot of my indoor bounced flash shots turn out best with an ISO set from 200-800.
07-29-2010, 09:42 AM   #14
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I use it all the time
even if the Kx do well in low light,
07-29-2010, 09:59 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The Gary Fong Puffer works very well for softening on-board flash.
At many discount stores in USA, a small package of infants' socks (thin, white) can be purchased for about a buck. A sock over the flash makes a great cheap diffuser.

Put a sock ON it, not IN it, as it were.

Or, those still using 135 film or at least having access to its debris, can put a translucent film-cart cannister over the flash, for similar effect.
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