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07-19-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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Help with K-x indoor pics

Hi everyone

I just recently bought a Pentax K-x as my point&shoot was not cutting it for pics inside.

My wife and I just had our first child(a baby girl, 4 weeks old)

So needless to say, we will be taking lots of pictures.

Most of these pictures are indoors in less than ideal lighting conditions.
Although the camera has already done a better job than our point&shoot i feel there is much more potential.

Could you offer me some tips for indoor low light shooting?
Ive been bumping up the ISO and Aperture so that I can go with a faster shutter speed.

I am by no means looking for professional quality photos, just reliable lower light shooting with very little post production editing.

Also, I'm not completely against buying a new(faster) lens as well. I would probably do so off eBay and purchase an older prime lens, any suggestions? the less expensive the better since the camera purchase was already a stretch for us.

I tried searching but did not find the answers i was looking for.

I am new to DSLR shooting but have been reading/listening to learn as much as I can.

Thanks in advance
-Eddie

07-19-2011, 02:18 PM   #2
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It is not easy to give you direct/immediate tips without more information on the lens.

Let us assume that you use the kit lens 18-55mm. While not a bad kit lens overall, the lens might not be fast enough for indoor shooting without flash. You have really two options: use a flash (preferable an external one), or use a fast lens with large aperture (low f).

Personnaly, I found that children and babies are more natural if you shoot without flash. This implies that you have a fast lens (f1.8 or better f1.4). There are several excellent fast primes including some 50mm f1.4. If you are prepared to go for MF lenses, you will be email to get some some fast lens for less than $200.

Hope that the comment will assist, and we look ofrward to see your shots.
07-19-2011, 02:33 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply, yes i do have the standard kit lens. I do want to avoid using the flash as my little girl is still so young i wouldnt want to hurt her eyes.

As far as a new lens goes, do you have any recomendations that I could look for off of ebay/craigslist?

I would like them to be as cheap as possible (an older manual focus used lens would be fine as long as it is fast enough)
07-19-2011, 03:10 PM   #4
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also, are there any older lenses that still allow for AF to work?
since I have a kit lens I do not have an aperture ring, is that a problem?

07-19-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillsam Quote
also, are there any older lenses that still allow for AF to work?
since I have a kit lens I do not have an aperture ring, is that a problem?
Apologies if you know some or all of the following already....

1. For used lenses--manual and autofocus--I've always been more than satisfied with the used camera/lens dealer Buy & Sell New & Used Cameras ? Canon, Nikon, Hasselblad, Leica & More - KEH.com. Keh grades conservatively (what Keh calls "bargain" quality usually is fine, and about what many other dealers will call "excellent.") And they give you a 14 day or so return policy (you just pay return shipping) if you're not happy, and I think there's some kind of 30 or 60 day warranty. (I've no connection to Keh other than as satisfied customer for a number of years.) Note that Keh lists Pentax lenses in separate categories--Pentax digital, pentax autofocus, pentax manual, pentax screwmount. Keh should have a variety of manual Pentax brand and third-party Pentax mount lenses in focal lengths from 24mm to 50mm, at f1.4 to f2.8, in the $75 to $200 range.

2. To my knowledge any manual lens will come with an aperture ring, and you can use it on your K-X. You should be able to easily find instructions in PentaxForums or online that help spell out the how-to-use-manual-lenses information in your K-X manual. They're readily available, so I won't repeat the details here. See, for example, the "using manual lenses" instructions that is a "sticky" entry in the forum "beginner's corner".

3. Note: some non-Pentax, but pentax mount, manual lenses will go onto your camera but be difficult, at best, to remove. These are certain Ricoh brand lenses, but maybe one or two other more obscure names as well. Just google "Ricoh pin" and "pentax" at the same time, and you'll find tales of woe about this. So you're warned.

4. You might not easily find lower priced manual lenses wide enough to take in an entire room on your K-X, as the less than full format sensor on the K-X means that, say, a 35mm full format lens (any manual lens) will function like about 50mm. However, if you can find an inexpensive 24mm lens, that would function about like a full-format (35mm film) 35mm lens; and a 50mm lens would function at 75mm, suitable for portraits. A 70mm or 75 or so also might be good for close-ups of faces (=full format 105mm).

5. Read the user reviews of Pentax and third party brand lenses here at the forum; they're very helpful, especially for the older manual lenses for which you won't often find reviews elsewhere.

6. As for autofocus: yes, you can use it, but you have to turn the focus ring, obviously. If you've got autofocus enabled (which you likely do from using your kit lens), you'll just need to compose the photo in the viewfinder and turn the lens' focus ring until the "in focus" green indicator comes on (and the camera beeps, if you've got sound turned on). Or you can use the catch-in-focus function to have it automatically trigger the shutter when things are in focus. Note: I'd suggest setting the autofocus to use only the center spot, so you know just what it is focusing on. At wider lens openings, focus becomes more critical because usable depth of field is shallower (apologies if you already know this). And if this manual-with-autofocus-assist process doesn't seem to work, turn the focus ring more slowly; it's possible to move it faster than the autofocus can figure things out.

Hope this helps.... good luck, and congratulations on the new baby.
07-19-2011, 03:45 PM   #6
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Also, if you could either describe just what it is you don't like with the photos you've taken (out of focus, blurred from motion (not the same as out of focus), too dark/too light, etc.), or better yet post an actual image (along with information about shutter speed, lens opening, focal length, ISO setting), it would be easier for people to give you somewhat more detailed tips.
07-19-2011, 03:48 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillsam Quote
Thank you for the reply, yes i do have the standard kit lens. I do want to avoid using the flash as my little girl is still so young i wouldnt want to hurt her eyes.

As far as a new lens goes, do you have any recomendations that I could look for off of ebay/craigslist?

I would like them to be as cheap as possible (an older manual focus used lens would be fine as long as it is fast enough)

also, are there any older lenses that still allow for AF to work?
since I have a kit lens I do not have an aperture ring, is that a problem?
Before heading off to evilBay do some research on prices. KEH, Adorama, & B&H all have used listings. To me, KEH sets the base price. The FA50/1.4 is about $290 on KEH, the A50/1.4 about $150. The A50/1.7 is about $80. I was able to acquire my A50/1.4 for less than $100. You will want a lens with the A setting so you can use AV or TV.

Not having an aperture ring is not a problem at all because the aperture is set on the camera.

This set was taken in the afternoon with the shades drawn.

Jul 10, 2011 - a set on Flickr

I shot at f/5.6, 1/100th and ISO1600. I probably could have shot a ISO800 and 1/50th.

Last edited by boriscleto; 07-25-2011 at 02:31 PM.
07-19-2011, 04:35 PM   #8
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Thank you all for the replies.
I will check those sites before doing the ebay thing.

This is a little off topic (and could be a very dumb question) but I just found that my dad has a few lenses from an old 35mm SLR he has been hanging on to.

Any chance lenses that fit a 35mm Nikon SLR would work with my K-x (with or without an adapter)?
My hunch is no, but with all the adapters out there i thought there might be a chance.

07-19-2011, 04:50 PM   #9
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Pre-ai Nikon lenses (1960's - mid 70's) can be force fit without an adapter. AI lenses need an optically corrected adapter that acts like a short tele-converter.
07-19-2011, 06:09 PM   #10
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Throwing money at a faster lens wont be nearly as good as spending $200 on an external flash and learning how to use it. External flashes used properly do not hurt anyones eyes, to say that just shows a lack of understanding. External flash should be used bounced with the head pointed well away from the subjects eyes, you actually want to avoid any direct lighting at all on the subject from the flash.

I own a bunch of fast lenses including a couple of FA limiteds, but I consider my flash to be my most valuable tool for good indoor low light shots.
07-19-2011, 08:06 PM   #11
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I +1 the indoor flash idea. I bounce mine off the nearest ceiling or wall indoors for my photos of the kids. I also use a FA50 lens, but would prefer a shorter focal length indoors. I should also mention, you will find autofocus lens worth their weight with kids. I struggled with manual and keeping my busy kids in focus.

Last edited by NicoleAu; 07-19-2011 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Added info
07-19-2011, 08:31 PM   #12
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+2 on the external flash!
Aside for indoor low light shots, Im fairly certain youd want to take some outdoor shots as well. Unfortunately, not every outdoor occasions especially with a new born or kids in general will have the perfect lighting. Youd be surprised how many times youll find yourself taking photos in harsh daylight. A flash with High Speed Sync (HSS) would be invaluable for these situations and virtually eliminate face shadows that makes your subject(s) as if they're wearing sunglasses or worse, ends up as silhouette in the frame since the camera metered on the harsh background lighting. IMHO, a Metz 50 or a used Metz 48 would be an excellent investment.

As for lens, portraiture in particular, I think it's worth mentioning the Tamron 28-75 f2.8. I contemplated between this and Tamron 17-50 f2.8 and ended up with the latter since I mostly shoot on the wide end.

Congratulations on your new born

Cheers!
07-19-2011, 09:20 PM   #13
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You can use an external flash and bounce it off the ceiling or walls (hopefully, you still have some white walls at your place). A less expensive option is to use Professor Kobre's Light Scoop adapter to allow you to bounce your camera flash. Both these approaches will allow you to use slower lenses like your kit lens. Bounced light won't hurt your kid's eyes, but it will probably get their attention.

If you don't want to use a flash, I collected my thoughts on available light photography some time ago here.
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