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10-30-2011, 12:03 AM   #1
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Need Night Photo Tips!!!

In a few days, I have to shoot our local dog park's Halloween Contest: outdoors, not so much light. I've got a K10 DSLR : standard zoom Kit Lens... dog park is in Valencia Spain: Ayora Dog Park. I don't have much success shooting the dogs at night.
I need any inside advice I can get. my site is dotfur (google it or just put in dotfur no ".com" and go)
here's a link to some night pics from the other night: even these are just the few that were barely useable: shame to miss so many shots of the dogs in their costumes.
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Marty


Last edited by voicelit; 10-30-2011 at 10:00 AM. Reason: notification change
10-30-2011, 12:28 AM   #2
hcc
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The best tip I was given for low-light shooting was: "get a fast prime". And this is most true

The kit lenses, all-round zoom lenses, and more generally most zoom lenses are simply not fast engouh in low light. You do need a fast lens with large aperture (f1.8 or better f1.4). Manual focus lenses are great bargains because you may need to shoot MF in very low light conditions. There are several great fast fities (~50mm f1.4) for Pentax and it is worth to consider.

Hope that the comments may help in the long term.
10-30-2011, 01:42 AM   #3
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Quite right. The tools for night shooting are:

1) fast prime lens
2) tripod or flash
3) a newer camera!

The K10D is a fine device but it is NOT good at high ISO. Neither is my K20D -- it's a bit better, but not enough. With a K5 or Kr or Kx, you could shoot at higher ISO and not have to worry so much about a super-fast lens. And although I have a few f/1.4 Fifties, they are not easy to use with moving subjects in low light. Higher ISO will allow good use of f/1.8 or f/2 or even f/2.8 lenses.

If you cannot afford a faster camera and lens, use flash. If you cannot use flash, use a tripod. If that is not possible, shoot as close as you can in the best light available. And when all else fails, boost the ISO anyway and live with the noise. Any picture is better than no picture.
10-30-2011, 09:58 AM   #4
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thanks RioRico,

I also have a Pentax Prime smc FA 35 that opens to to 2.0 . I have such trouble with Manual focus on my K10: the green beep that says I'm in focus always seems to be off focus... and of course the auto foc is horrible in low light... My f-N laptop's battery is broke: I could use that to see if I'm in focus! Maybe I'll try & borrow a laptop.

Marty

10-30-2011, 11:14 AM   #5
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Like Rico said, go if you don't have any other options, boost the ISO as high as needed and shoot in Raw. It's amazing what lightroom 3 can do with noise reduction.
10-30-2011, 12:09 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by voicelit Quote
thanks RioRico,

I also have a Pentax Prime smc FA 35 that opens to to 2.0 . I have such trouble with Manual focus on my K10: the green beep that says I'm in focus always seems to be off focus... and of course the auto foc is horrible in low light... My f-N laptop's battery is broke: I could use that to see if I'm in focus! Maybe I'll try & borrow a laptop.

Marty
There is a 'range' of 'in-focus' for all Pentax DSLRs so if you usually focus your lens in the one direction then you may get a low keeper rate. It's easy to find out if your lens is an 'infinity to min-focus' or 'min-focus to infinity' lens. Try both directions at least 5 times (rotating the focusing barrel away from focus each time before re-focusing) and then check the results. Pixel-peep and you'll find that one direction always gives you the true in-focus.
10-30-2011, 02:07 PM   #7
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thanks - more info..

things seemed to be going better wit prime today - haven't checked on computer yet. need help with the concept "direction" & 'min-focus to infinity' lens 'infinity to min-focus'

why shoot in RAW?

I'll check out lightbox 3

marty
10-30-2011, 06:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by voicelit Quote
things seemed to be going better wit prime today - haven't checked on computer yet. need help with the concept "direction" & 'min-focus to infinity' lens 'infinity to min-focus'
That means, are you focusing in, or focusing out? It's like tuning a guitar -- most times, tuning up to a note is more accurate than turning down to it. The AF system (including Focus Confirmation and CIF) has a zone of possible in-focus locales. That zone may be wider than what you think is acceptable for in-focus shots. And when an AF system hunts for focus, it often stops at the first convenient point, not quite where you want the focus. That point will differ if you're focusing-in or focusing-out.

So maybe we're shooting a portrait and aiming for the eyes sharp and all the rest soft and indistinct from thin DOF. So we aim at the eye, and focus-out from a close distance out to where it's sharp, and press the shutter. And the AF picks out the nose. So we get a nice sharp nose and blurry eyes. Try it the other way: start at infinity-focus and focus-down to the eyes. And the AF picks up the forehead. Nice sharp forehead, everything else OOF (out of focus). Bugger all.

Then we complain, "The lens has FF or BF issues! It sucks!" or "My KY can't AF, it sucks!" et cetera. Happens all the time. Ah, but we do some test shots and find that the AF is much better if we focus UP from close-focus to spot-on, rather than DOWN from infinity-focus.

So, the cure: Before any portrait-distance (or greater) shot, first point the camera down at the ground and half-press the shutter, or hit the AF button if your cam has that. Now raise the camera and shoot. BINGO!

And why? Because DOF is thinner in front of the subject than behind it. So if you have a focusing error going UP, there's a smaller zone for that bad hit, than if you were focusing DOWN. Does that make sense?

QuoteQuote:
why shoot in RAW?
So you can control what the picture looks like -- the RAW file contains much more data, that you can bend to your will. JPG-making destroys much data. So you can make adjustments you should have made when you shot. So you can try to outsmart the engineers who programmed the camera's RAW-to-JPG engine. So that as you learn more, you can return to original 'negatives' and develop them in newer ways. So that you own the picture.

And mostly so you can fix the White Balance, which is almost always wrong if you use AWB. Every digicam I've owned has lousy AWB. My most-used PaintShopPro filter is RemoveColorCast. Shooting and developing RAW, you can set the WB / color temp to whatever is right. This is justification enough for RAW.

10-30-2011, 06:59 PM   #9
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awesome reply need more info

can't reply so much now - watching eagles football on my laptop... i'm in spain...
need advice on anyway to check if a pic is in focus - in camera ... never get this right using the preview led monitor... whay looks good - lousy when i get home....

explanations were brilliant !!!! thanks..

marty
10-31-2011, 09:54 AM   #10
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A fash lens and a big flash gun appear to be the order of the day...
10-31-2011, 10:05 AM   #11
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No money or time for that. Exposure seems passable with the prime lens: just need a way to confirm focus.
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