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11-14-2013, 04:21 AM   #1
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Hello,

Depending on your definition, I can be a "semi pro" photographer. Do I make a living out of photography? NOPE! Do I make some money out of it? yes.
Anyways, my K20D is my go to camera 99% of the time. My K100DS is still used as a studio camera where I have full control of light (Gotta love that CCD sensor) and really big prints are not required like magazine articles and catalog items for the web.
BUT! (There is always a but...) One area where both come a little short is High ISO. I do frequent church events and theater performances that Hi ISO is the only way to go. I am dreaming of getting a K3 or even a K5IIs but that is not going to happen anytime soon. So I went another route: I got myself a good deal on a Kx from the marketplace.
I'll be shooting a ballet performance this weekend and last year my K20D struggled at ISO 2500 and beyond. My intention is to have the Kx at ISO3200-4000 with the F50f1.7 and the K20 with the 35f2.4 (Gotta love primes but that's another topic.)
Anybody else doing something like this? I'd like to hear your comments....

Thanks,

11-14-2013, 04:25 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Hello,

Depending on your definition, I can be a "semi pro" photographer. Do I make a living out of photography? NOPE! Do I make some money out of it? yes.
Anyways, my K20D is my go to camera 99% of the time. My K100DS is still used as a studio camera where I have full control of light (Gotta love that CCD sensor) and really big prints are not required like magazine articles and catalog items for the web.
BUT! (There is always a but...) One area where both come a little short is High ISO. I do frequent church events and theater performances that Hi ISO is the only way to go. I am dreaming of getting a K3 or even a K5IIs but that is not going to happen anytime soon. So I went another route: I got myself a good deal on a Kx from the marketplace.
I'll be shooting a ballet performance this weekend and last year my K20D struggled at ISO 2500 and beyond. My intention is to have the Kx at ISO3200-4000 with the F50f1.7 and the K20 with the 35f2.4 (Gotta love primes but that's another topic.)
Anybody else doing something like this? I'd like to hear your comments....

Thanks,
can't you shoot your church/theater events at f/1.2 or f/1.4? 85mm f/1.4 on your pentax k20d from a few rows back at iso 200 and shutter speed in the order of 1/25 to 1/60 depending on the lighting should give you what you want isn't there also a 135/2? that's 1.6 times as long as the 85 edit: do you really need ISO beyond 1600? are you using shutter speeds that fast? I've never photographed a ballet or anything so I don't know what kind of shutter speeds you need. at home on my k-5 even during the night with windows not letting any light in and only a dim lighting inside f/1.2 will work fine at 1/25-1/50 and iso 80-200, even if i point it at a dark corner... i'm not sure if those numbers are right but off the top of my head i think so! but for 1.7 I think it would be different, you'd need a little more light?
11-14-2013, 04:28 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
My intention is to have the Kx at ISO3200
I shoot Kr to 3200 all the time with out even thinking about it. That should do you fine.
11-14-2013, 04:38 AM   #4
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I just tried it in the "dark corner" i mentioned with only 2 low power ESL bulbs inside diffusing shades up in the ceiling and nothing else lighting the room (i don't think the theather can be too much dimmer than what I just photographed) at f/1.2 and 1/25 I needed ISO of 500-600 to get a proper exposure and at 1/50-1/60 I could still get proper exposure using ISO 1250... do you really need to go higher than that?

11-14-2013, 05:27 AM   #5
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Hello Ismael,
I've done somewhat of a similar choice, the K10D (also love the CCD rendering!) is used mostly with manual-focus legacy lenses, tripod or well-lit situations, and the K-5 when I know I'll need ISO 1600 and above. When only taking one body, it's the K-5, since it can do pretty much everything well.
I'm not personally familiar with the high-ISO performance of the K-x, but being newer than your other bodies, it should be better.

To Tripodquest,
I've found that shutter speeds of at least 1/125s or higher are needed to avoid motion blur of fast human motion, like dance. 1/60s just doesn't do it and 1/30s is way too slow. It all boils down to an acceptable keeper rate, the higher the shutter speed, the greater the useable-shot ratio. A high burst frame rate helps, too!
Of course faster glass can help, but not everyone can run out and purchase f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses in varying focal lengths, particularly when they already have f/1.7's or f/2.8's in the same length. Most of us make do with what we have.
I still get an occasional 'movement blur' shot in the 1/60s-1/100s range that look OK, a bit abstract with some parts sharp, others motion-blurred. This is with fairly fast glass including f/1.4, f/1.7, f/2.0 + f/2.4. Even then it's good to stop down one/half to a full stop, for better resolution, sharpness and depth-of-field, which is where good high-ISO performance is vital. A sharp photo that's 'noisy' is much better than a blurred photo with less noise!
If you get a chance to shoot some indoor performance, music or sports, give it a try! It's fun and a great learning experience.
Ron
11-14-2013, 05:40 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello Ismael,
I've found that shutter speeds of at least 1/125s or higher are needed to avoid motion blur of fast human motion, like dance. 1/60s just doesn't do it and 1/30s is way too slow. It all boils down to an acceptable keeper rate, the higher the shutter speed, the greater the useable-shot ratio. A high burst frame rate helps, too!
Of course faster glass can help, but not everyone can run out and purchase f/1.2 or f/1.4 lenses in varying focal lengths, particularly when they already have f/1.7's or f/2.8's in the same length. Most of us make do with what we have.
I still get an occasional 'movement blur' shot in the 1/60s-1/100s range that look OK, a bit abstract with some parts sharp, others motion-blurred. This is with fairly fast glass including f/1.4, f/1.7, f/2.0 + f/2.4. Even then it's good to stop down one/half to a full stop, for better resolution, sharpness and depth-of-field, which is where good high-ISO performance is vital. A sharp photo that's 'noisy' is much better than a blurred photo with less noise!
If you get a chance to shoot some indoor performance, music or sports, give it a try! It's fun and a great learning experience.
Ron
Like i said I haven't been photographing dance recitals/theater plays so I don't have experience with the shutter speeds needed for that (but what you said doesn't surprise me, I was pretty sure 1/30 is at least too slow and i wasn't sure about 1/60 but i thought it might be enough). Good to know, thank you and I'm sorry, I didn't mean to assume everyone can buy an unlimited amount of lenses (I can't either no one can), but if you have something you just feel you need a little more reach/light for and you know it you'll do it more than once then buying a new lens (or a body) for that might be a good idea
of course if you can't afford it or justify the cost then you just can't, that's a different matter. It also depends on the lens, my 55/1.2 is actually very sharp, way beyond usable, so it also depends on the glass. even then if you stop it down to somewhere between f/1.3 to f/1.4 you'll definitely get an even sharper picture. by the way, I didn't just run out and buy a bunch of 1.2/1.4/1.7/1.8's, i accumulated them because i was trying to be a cheapskate and buy slower/cheaper glass at first, then I realized it pays to just pay up (and i still didn't get the most expensive glass possible, just the glass that's good enough) and now I admit I have some lenses I'll be selling again, but it was also a valuable lesson, next time I'll make smarter choices and think about what i really need and what's the best way to get it without spending too much before trying to simply be a cheapskate.

when I have a chance i'll definitely try it, i've been wanting to but i don't have any plans atm to be in the audience of theater plays or sports events, but when I get the chance i'll be happy to try it
11-14-2013, 07:22 AM   #7
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The k-x was the first camera I ever took to iso5000, that's for sure; a bit of tweaking would be necessary up there, but that sensor is a marvel only slightly below the K-5's sweet-16.
11-14-2013, 11:26 AM   #8
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Thanks for the comments!

I'll be photographing the "Nutcracker" ballet for the second year. The action is quite fast. Shutter speeds of 1/100 or less have motion blur. I have to stay around 1/125 - 1/160 to freeze dancers in the air (The reason I sell pics to proud moms). I learned a while ago faster lenses don't always help here. (It does help LBA but that's another story )I tried 50f1.4 as well but the stage is huge with up to 60 dancers at the same time. Too thin DOF can be a challenge. Similarly, in the church events, I have found anything faster than f2.8 is not very usable, again due to too thin DOF. For outdoors, the thinner DOF the better. For this particular application, not mch so. Higher ISO is the way to go. I'm estimating that ISO 3200 will help me keep shutter around 1/200 and aperture around f4.


Thanks!


Last edited by ismaelg; 11-14-2013 at 11:31 AM.
11-14-2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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Could you get a used K5? That would be what I would recommend. Better viewfinder and decent auto focus (depending on the camera). I think a K5 could work for all of your shooting. Just saying...
11-14-2013, 01:28 PM   #10
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My plan is to get a used K5IIs in the next few months.....
11-14-2013, 05:53 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ismaelg Quote
Thanks for the comments!

I'll be photographing the "Nutcracker" ballet for the second year. The action is quite fast. Shutter speeds of 1/100 or less have motion blur. I have to stay around 1/125 - 1/160 to freeze dancers in the air (The reason I sell pics to proud moms). I learned a while ago faster lenses don't always help here. (It does help LBA but that's another story )I tried 50f1.4 as well but the stage is huge with up to 60 dancers at the same time. Too thin DOF can be a challenge. Similarly, in the church events, I have found anything faster than f2.8 is not very usable, again due to too thin DOF. For outdoors, the thinner DOF the better. For this particular application, not mch so. Higher ISO is the way to go. I'm estimating that ISO 3200 will help me keep shutter around 1/200 and aperture around f4.


Thanks!
here's and idea, it's what I would try: I don't know the burst rate/continuous shooting rate of your camera, but with the k-5 it's about 7.4 frames per second which it can keep up for about 25-pictures. that leaves 0.135 seconds between each frame, which is a huge time if the dances are dancing fast, but if you don't care about getting everyone frozen in the same moment, then it doesn't matter if the dances in the picture are "out of phase". What you can do is preview the focal distances in a certain range (for example 1 meter range from the front of the row to the back of the row, from toes to heels). How much of a turn on the focusing wheel does that 1m correspond to? mark that and make sure you get the front focus right, then start bursting while turning the focus ring to switch the focus from front to back all the while the camera keeps taking pictures. then you can composite the images to have the places you want in focus. anyway I've taken perfectly usable pictures of people with a 55/1.2, I don't find the DOF too thin at all when you're not doing macro. DOF is a function if distance: even 50mm f/1.2 or f/1.4 on an aps-c can have a whole meter of the z-axis in focus if you're taking the picture from far enough. use this: Photography Tips for better photographs digital or film you'll find that from a distance of 5 meters / 15 ft, the DOF at 1.4 is 54cm (21.2" ). that sounds about right from my experience. if you were using a 40/1.4, you'd have almost twice that, 87.5cm in focus. with a 30mm lens even at f/1 you'd still have over 1 meter (over 3 feet) of the z-axis in focus.

wanting to do a singe exposure, what you'd want to do is make sure you're far enough from the dancers, position yourself in a 90' angle from the stage/the row of the dances and wait for them to all be on the same x-axis and then photograph them. if it's the kind of dance where there are no rows, then I'd only focus on taking individual portraits, if you can use an 85/1.4 your DOF would be pretty thin (13cm/5.2" at 5m and only 5cm from 3m away) but if you only take portraits from the chest up then that would be fine if you get the eyes/the face in focus. you could try both, 85mm for the closeups and 50mm for the full body shots.

I just tried at 1/125 and iso 1600 and f/1.2 and got an acceptable result. it's underexposed by maybe 1 stop but it can easily be corrected when you develop the raw. you should only shoot in raw, that will give you the latitude you need in extreme situations.

Last edited by tripodquest; 11-14-2013 at 06:01 PM.
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