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01-18-2011, 12:22 PM   #16
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People may well laugh at the fact I only have, and use, the two humble kit zooms -
yet I am claiming low available light work.

The K-x sterling HighISO performance mitigates a lot for not having wider apertures.

Well the proof of the pudding as if it were -
throughout the thread: Kx in Use - there have been numerous examples of my shoots in a very low light jazz club - and I didn't post just the good shots - I even showed really difficult results for discussion.

Low light venue....

ISO5000, f3.5, 1/25, 18mm
as usual it was not that well lit in there except stage center -
look at my favorite low light subject - the pianist to the left of the frame
dark enough for ya?

and almost as if he were deliberately challenging/teasing me -
he was wearing a baseball cap -
which put his face in the shadows almost all of the time!

ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50mm (using the 50-200) this shot was actually grossly under-exposed (the shutter speed should have been about 1/4 sec - after this - I realized I had exceeded the lower limit of the K-x meter system - in fact this shot is -1 stop below the K-x spec'd range - the 18-55 does even better at something like -2 2/3 stops better! see posts #131 and #132)
- I had to bring up the brightness on this shot quite a bit -

There was still focusing difficulties - but once I figured to focus on the rim of the cap peak it was fine.......

drummer in the shade -

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/15, 95mm

Of course as usual there was plenty of playing off stage from the audience area:

ISO5000, f/4, 1/5, 20mm

Not everything was nice and sharp - quite the contrary -
there were lots of shots that showed plenty of subject movement -
I mean we're talking about shutter speeds of 1/15 down to about 1/4 sec
and these musicians move a lot during play....

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/13, 80mm -
I was lucky to get this shot, and the movement kind of adds to the pic.

Even at stage center, light can be a challenge - the hat peak puts the face in the shade - shot with +2/3 stop compensation - then post process to bring up the facial details sacrificing some burnt out highlights like the hands.

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/15, 43mm.

Of course it takes some practice - but it wasn't that difficult.

01-18-2011, 01:36 PM   #17
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Nice photos VT! They show what can be done at high ISO.

What post processing do you routinely do for such superb results & what is the minimum post processing you'd expect for web display of 3200-5000 ISO photos with the K-x?

I'm not asking for your secrets, just trying to figure out what is practical for a naive K-x user who wants to take photos in a high school gymnasium etc..

Dave
01-18-2011, 01:42 PM   #18
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AF for close quarters i have to agree with a number of people above the new da 35 f2.4. it's not as quick as the manual fast fifties but the af will help. also at f1.7 or lower on a fast fifty even with a bigger viewfinder on a k7 and a focus screen it will be tough to nail the focus in low light from my experience and I've been manually focusing for 37 years, so you'll likely end up stopping down to the same range as the 35 to have a larger in focus zone. the wider FOV of the 35 will also let you capture more varied scenes indoors.
For shooting in a larger low light area though there is really no cheap alternative that also will get you close.
01-18-2011, 01:53 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
Vivitar 24mm f2.8 manual using Catch-in-Focus. $70. ISO 12,800 with the Kx.
Second this one. Given the indoor family events I did over Christmas and events leading up to it, this is the focal length I found I used most on my DA*16-50. I actually clicked the thread to suggest a 24mm f2 manual focus but the 2.8 will work nicely as well.

50mm is a little tight for most rooms I ever find myself taking indoor photos in. The 35mm f2.4 is probably a nice lens and would probably make a decent walk around catch all but even that may become too tight in some settings.



01-18-2011, 02:14 PM   #20
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the vivitar 28 2.8 would be good, but expanding on your idea jeff the Sigma 20 or 24 f1.8 would be ideal (not in the cheap area any longer though
I'm actually surprised i don't see more people with the fast wide primes sigma has been putting out(20-24-28 and30 all at 1.8 all under $600 or so for what are the fastest production lenses for Pentax in their size categories.
01-18-2011, 02:23 PM   #21
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For some reason I've never been a fan of the sigma lenses. That doesn't mean I don't think they are worthy, I've just never cared for them. Haven't been able to put my finger on it. I agree though, if we weren't dealing with the word 'cheap' a fast AF 20ish might be the way to go. I might have then suggested the FA*24 f2.0 but one cannot just walk into a shop (even e-walking) and pick one up.

01-18-2011, 02:29 PM   #22
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The older Sigma AF 24/2.8 or the older Sigma AF 28/1.8 might make good choices if you can find them used. They sell for $200-300 and are smaller than the newer Sigma primes.

Otherwise, the DA35/2.4 would make be a good option. My personal favorite is the FA31, but at 4-5x the cost, the new DA35/2.4 is the much better value.
01-18-2011, 02:43 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
Nice photos VT! They show what can be done at high ISO.

What post processing do you routinely do for such superb results & what is the minimum post processing you'd expect for web display of 3200-5000 ISO photos with the K-x?

I'm not asking for your secrets, just trying to figure out what is practical for a naive K-x user who wants to take photos in a high school gymnasium etc..
Dave - many thanks for your very kind words.

There isn't much secret to my PP.

I use mainly a very old version of PhotoImpact 8 that I got Free with a UK PC magazine!
Also have PS Elements 7 (with ACR 5.6) and the Pentax DCU 4.21 - (comes with every Pentax dSLR), BUT I use PhotoImpact 8 almost all the time

I am very lazy with my photos -

1) resize to 14% to get 551x367 (I shoot at 10Mp on the K-x) - this is so I won't even have to resize shots separately for orientation (that's how lazy this is....) or to width 768 pix for my larger photos.

2) adjust brightness/contrast in equal amounts PhotoImpact does this in steps of 12 "units" at a time - when I get close to the best looking I then fine-adjust to get it just right - to my eyes.

3) sharpen by using the Focus command +1 (ie: the minimum default)

4) add text for my name/credit/copyright

that's it, for most of my photos.

For the larger shot above where I did more to bring out the face in the shadow of the hat's peak - adjust brightness/contrast as above to get the overall shot right - ignoring the face - then use the select tool to delimit the face only - then apply brightness/contrast to that until it looks right to my eyes. - so that was a more complicated processing - as you see it is really "nothing" sophisticated.

It is all done by eye - so I may be inconsistent -
but it is to what I like on the day.......

I like the K-x and the zooms because I can frame my shot before I even take it - so there is virtually no cropping - none of those shots had any cropping - it was done by zooming - ie: cropping in the camera as if it were.

The K-x produces such great results at even ISO5000 (my max ISO in Auto ISO setting) that I don't normally have to do any adjustments re: color/white balance - for this venue I normally just shoot AWB with Subtle tungsten correction. I prefer to shoot strong tungsten correction when shooting into the dark parts of that venue - but often I don't have time to change the K-x settings - so I just shoot and may have to use color balance or white point selection to correct the balance - but the above, in the audience shot, was without any color/white balance correction.

That is also the reason I shoot almost exclusively JPGs - not even RAW - because the K-x gives me the results I like - and my PP is really pretty minimal.....

There is a lot more discussion in the long thread: Kx in Use

However I have to face very difficult lighting at times like the more and more prevalent LED stage lighting - and those can present some real photographic difficulties, if anyone's interested and patient enough there is another long thread:

Modern LED Stage Lighting & photography problems ( 1 2 3 ... Last Page)

one would think that RAW would be essential here -
I thought so too -
until I found I could use the same RAW manipulations
via the Pentax DCU (Digital Camera Utility) - Pentax LABs on the JPG -
and even ACR (Adobe Camera RAW) will open JPGs.

See post #86 for close to miraculous PP on a JPG -
using Pentax DCU on a really difficult shot.

Hope that helps
and now you know all of my secrets -
at least in photography.


Last edited by UnknownVT; 01-18-2011 at 02:55 PM.
01-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #24
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I go with the other people in here saying the DA 35mm f2.4.
01-18-2011, 05:44 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by UnknownVT Quote
Dave - many thanks for your very kind......
Thank you for the helpful info VT!

I'm even more impressed with the K-x's capabilities when I notice you start with jpegs & don't do special noise reduction!

Your work shows that it is possible to take a K-x and kit lens into almost any venue and come out with technically good photos. Of course composition, anticipating the right moment, and seeing the photo in your mind's eye like you do can't be expected from most people, but with a K-x kit even a newbie has a good start!

Dave
01-18-2011, 06:29 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
it is possible to take a K-x and kit lens into almost any venue and come out with technically good photos.
Yes, and I don't much more than "snap-shoot" -

However there is one big disadvantage
that one should note:
it's removed all my excuses for poor results -
as I can no longer blame the tools.....

and to think the tools are probably the lowest priced one can buy new right now -
the Pentax K-x twin lens 18-55 and 50-200mm, runs $530-$550 shipped from reputable vendors
- that's crazily well priced ........
01-18-2011, 09:28 PM   #27
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Yeah, I paid $530 for my kit. Maybe I should have used a higher iso. I was just afraid to go above 1600. Also, how do you get over 3200? I can't seem to go any higher.


Also, thanks for the vivatar recommendation. Any idea how much I could sell a 70-200mm Vivatar for? With my 50-200mm kit lens I find that I don't have a real need for it and would love to be able to sell that and maybe pick up the 24mm.
01-18-2011, 09:45 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
Maybe I should have used a higher iso. I was just afraid to go above 1600. Also, how do you get over 3200? I can't seem to go any higher.
Please see Post #136 in the thread Kx in Use where you asked this question.
01-18-2011, 09:47 PM   #29
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Ah, thanks. I knew I asked it somewhere, but couldn't remember where, lol. I could have sworn I did that and couldn't set it above 3200. Is there any reason not to just leave the Expanded Sensitivity on?

Last edited by mojoe_24; 01-18-2011 at 09:56 PM.
01-18-2011, 10:28 PM   #30
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to be honest, those pics at 5K iso isn't very good... sure you get a picture but it's grainy as hell, for my camera the high ISO is even worst, anything more than 400 or 800 i'm getting close to what he's getting @ 5k, so effectively the K-X is about 2 stops better than mine.

That brings me back to the point. fast lens is better, those shots above taken at ISO 5000 could have been 2500 with f/2.8 lens, if he was a prime f/1.4 he's shooting it 3 stops less, that's 5000/8 = less than ISO 800... now check out your camera @ ISO 800, much much better . yes the 50mm f/1.4 is alot of money, or the f/2.8 zoom is also alot of money, but IMO it's worth it.

I see alot of posts on here "look what I can do @ ISO 6400", yeah you got a picture, is it usable? maybe... for me I want a definitely "yes" when I ask that question. If I can see grains on my naked eyes on a computer screen that's not usable...
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