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12-19-2010, 07:38 AM   #1
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School Xmas party - thoughts about equipment

We had a Xmas party at our kids school (actually a different, much larger venue than the school) a couple of days ago, so I was very excited to use my K-x. Anticipating relatively low-light indoors, I took my Tamron 28-75, no bag or flash.
After the event, some thoughts and questions:
-It was surprising to me how many parents had dSLRs. Mostly Nikon/Canon, no Pentax as far as I could tell. A few magazooms (Nikon Coolpix type) also. On the dSLR front, it seemed like very few kit lenses, unless they had the long zoom of a dual lens kit.
- To the same point, one guy had a big canon (I think 5D MK II) with what I thought for sure was the 70-200 L and a flash, along with a shorter telezoom (not sure which one, not that familiar with all Canon lenses). SO that got me thinking...
- The pictures I got where OK but not spectacular. The main problem was lighting ( I had to push ISO to 3200, noise was acceptable but not as good as I have gotten before?) and distance. With a herd of parent-photographers, the 75 mm was barely enough to get some close shots during "stage performance" - singing etc.
- The video function on the k-x is not bad. The MF is of course a bit of a pain but manageable. I am happy I opted for a dSLR with that feature, as it can be used without having to carry a separate camcorder etc.

SO after all these observations, my question is: how could/should I improve results in this situation? A longer telezoom with a flash? (I have the 55-200 kit lens and the Tamron 70-300, likely both would be too slow for this situation without flash). A longer fast zoom? (Tamron 70-200 2.8 comes to mind but the $$ is not insignificant.) A TC (I have no experience with them)? A different brand? (just kidding)

There is no need for any sports shooting yet, but I have thought that eventually I may have to get a faster telezoom. It seems that currently the Tamron 70-200 is the best deal (50-135 a little short, plus SDM issues, 60-250 is f/4 and too $$$ and Sigma has reportedly lower IQ although focuses faster) unless Pentax comes out with a different lens in the nextcouple of years. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks

12-19-2010, 07:41 AM   #2
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I use tamron 70-200/2.8 for the purpose
12-19-2010, 08:18 AM   #3
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so was this a party or a concert type of event? I'm a big confused on the question at hand.

From my experience for a party I would really bring a wide angle type of lens something with a large field of view. However for a concert I would want a fast telephoto lens. I wouldn't really go for anything above 300mm as your field of view maybe too narrow. In either cases a fast lens if your not using a flash. The kit and the tamron would be too slow for both applications unless it was a well lit stage which is very rare in my opinion.
12-19-2010, 10:53 AM   #4
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Not really a concert, but there was an average lit "stage" for some christmas carols. Flash was allowed.
I have been playing around the house with the 50-200 and the sigma 530 flash - it may be a very reasonable alternative to a fast tele-zoom whenever flash is allowed.

12-19-2010, 10:54 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by netuser Quote
I use tamron 70-200/2.8 for the purpose
How is that working out? Do you still need flash?
12-19-2010, 12:18 PM   #6
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I think the Tamron 70-200:2.8 is about the best zoom choice (based on what I read) to augment your 28-75:2.8 if you need that length wide open.

Or, if just a little more length would help and manual focus is ok, the Rokinon 85:1.4 is good wide open & with a 1.7X TC it is about 130:2.5

There's always the Pentax Takumar 135:2.5 (not the bayonet version); a superb lens.

Dave

PS I think I'd take my 28-75:2.8, a 50:1.7, 85:1.4 and 135:2.5 with me (I don't have the 70-200:2.8.)
12-19-2010, 06:38 PM   #7
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I have a 28-75 f2.8 and a 70-200 f2.8 and recently bought a 50-150 f2.8 for indoor soccer and other events the 70-200 is a monster of a lens and Iuse it on a monopod usually. I shoot a lot of soccer. The 28-75 wasn't enough for indoor soccer, band and banquets for me. If sigma or tamron made a 60-250 f4 I'd buy one.
12-19-2010, 07:15 PM   #8
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The Tamron 70-200 is a very good lens and excellent value.

12-20-2010, 06:31 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tbirdas Quote
How is that working out? Do you still need flash?
I use 70-200/2.8 and 28-75/2.8 (with flash when needed)

Using available light anda higher iso (of flash is needed/allowed) I get the images I need for printing memories

But I prefe without the flash.
12-20-2010, 10:05 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by tbirdas Quote
We had a Xmas party at our kids school (actually a different, much larger venue than the school) a couple of days ago, so I was very excited to use my K-x. Anticipating relatively low-light indoors, I took my Tamron 28-75, no bag or flash.
After the event, some thoughts and questions:
-It was surprising to me how many parents had dSLRs. Mostly Nikon/Canon, no Pentax as far as I could tell. A few magazooms (Nikon Coolpix type) also. On the dSLR front, it seemed like very few kit lenses, unless they had the long zoom of a dual lens kit.
- To the same point, one guy had a big canon (I think 5D MK II) with what I thought for sure was the 70-200 L and a flash, along with a shorter telezoom (not sure which one, not that familiar with all Canon lenses). SO that got me thinking...
- The pictures I got where OK but not spectacular. The main problem was lighting ( I had to push ISO to 3200, noise was acceptable but not as good as I have gotten before?) and distance. With a herd of parent-photographers, the 75 mm was barely enough to get some close shots during "stage performance" - singing etc.
- The video function on the k-x is not bad. The MF is of course a bit of a pain but manageable. I am happy I opted for a dSLR with that feature, as it can be used without having to carry a separate camcorder etc.

SO after all these observations, my question is: how could/should I improve results in this situation? A longer telezoom with a flash? (I have the 55-200 kit lens and the Tamron 70-300, likely both would be too slow for this situation without flash). A longer fast zoom? (Tamron 70-200 2.8 comes to mind but the $$ is not insignificant.) A TC (I have no experience with them)? A different brand? (just kidding)

There is no need for any sports shooting yet, but I have thought that eventually I may have to get a faster telezoom. It seems that currently the Tamron 70-200 is the best deal (50-135 a little short, plus SDM issues, 60-250 is f/4 and too $$$ and Sigma has reportedly lower IQ although focuses faster) unless Pentax comes out with a different lens in the nextcouple of years. Any thoughts on that?

Thanks
Use a mono-pod at iso1600 and do a 50% crop with the 28-75 Tammy at 75/2.8 with SR. I think that it has a constant aperture, right? I picked up a nice mono-pod at Walmart for $15 the other day. The monopod should give you a extra stop to improve quality at iso 1600.

Dave
12-20-2010, 09:23 PM   #11
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I just shot my school concert using my K-x at ISO 400 with my af360 flash. I used the 18-55 as I was able to move around.

I also shot my kids' dance recital recently. There I used the 55-300 and af360 flash.

In both situations the pics came out great. I have also shot without flash and with proper exposure, high ISOs come out great.
12-21-2010, 05:01 PM   #12
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I shoot concerts with the 50-135 F2.8 on a KX and it's wonderful. I've hard that the 70-200 F2.8 lenses are heavy but the 50-135 isn't.

All of these shows were shot with either my Sigma 24-60mm F2.8 or my DA* 50-135mm F2.8 in very low and poor light.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnrudolph/collections/72157624492303549/

Last edited by john5100; 12-22-2010 at 10:29 AM.
12-21-2010, 05:20 PM   #13
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You can't go wrong with any of the f/2.8 telezooms. The added 2+ stops of light these have over the consumer telezooms mean that not only can you get good shutter speeds at lower ISO, but you get more aesthetically pleasing results in isolating your subjects.

You can still use a flash with a 70-200, but you'll find that when doing so, you end up with the typical hash frontlighting that is less pleasing than captures using ambient stage-lighting only.
12-22-2010, 01:29 AM   #14
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Hi tbirdas,

I have similar challenges in the last weeks. I just uploaded several pics in my folder as sample.

hoanpham's Album: Flash fun - PentaxForums.com

See my comments in the pictures. Hope you can enjoy them ;-)
12-22-2010, 05:20 AM   #15
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So, basically you want to know what fast lens is available that is 200mm and f2.8? Tamron and Sigma both make zooms like that (may be able to pick up a used one on the marketplace for a reasonable amount). Obviously there is the 200mm f2.8 prime from Pentax, but that is quite a bit of money and less flexible for the situation you are looking at.

Not seeing your photos, I have to guess as to what would improve them. If shutter speeds are on the slow side, the only solutions are to add light (external flash) or, use a faster lens (like an 85mm f1.4). A monopod will help with your camera shake, but wouldn't really help with subject movement. You can shoot at higher isos than what you are shooting and invest in something like Topaz Denoise, which will do a better job of cleaning up your photos with less detail loss than in camera processing.

Good luck!
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