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02-21-2009, 05:54 PM   #1
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Low light solutions? K22D

today i tried taking a few shots of my niece at her concert, it was held in a school gym, lights off except for the stage and everything i tried just wasn't good enough. I tried auto, i tried TV mode, set at about 1/20, 1/30 etc, with flash to try and keep it bright enough, with the E.V cranked to 2, flash at its brightest, using mostly the 18 - 55 kit lens, and a few shots with a 70-300 quantaray (yes i know its a shitty lens i will replace asap!) and the white balance at a few different settings. Everything was coming out still too dark, or blurry.. any help to figure this out would be great.

thanks

rollin

02-21-2009, 05:57 PM   #2
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oh yeah iso was at 400 and 800..
02-21-2009, 06:10 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by rollin Quote
oh yeah iso was at 400 and 800..
That's a part of the problem right there. You should use 1600 or higher.

I would recommed manual exposure, set the f/stop to the largest opening (smallest number), make some test shots to get the shutter speed right, and then you're all set. Perhaps matrix metering in Av would also work - still - use the largest aperture you have.

The built in flash is too weak to reach the stage unless you're up really close.
02-21-2009, 07:53 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rollin Quote
today i tried taking a few shots of my niece at her concert, it was held in a school gym, lights off except for the stage and everything i tried just wasn't good enough. I tried auto, i tried TV mode, set at about 1/20, 1/30 etc, with flash to try and keep it bright enough, with the E.V cranked to 2, flash at its brightest, using mostly the 18 - 55 kit lens, and a few shots with a 70-300 quantaray (yes i know its a shitty lens i will replace asap!) and the white balance at a few different settings. Everything was coming out still too dark, or blurry.. any help to figure this out would be great.
Rollin,

Remember that you have only three ways to adjust the exposure: shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity. You'd have four, if you could control the light. But you can't here. As Ole pointed out, your flash is worthless unless you're pretty close to the subject. So, you've got shutter speed, aperture and sensitivity.

Shutter speed is constrained by your need to freeze the action. Aperture is constrained by your need for acceptable depth of field - and that's affected by your distance from the subject. Finally, you've got sensitivity (ISO). What's sensitivity constrained by? Not much, other than your concern about noise. So what you need to do here is figure out the shutter speed and aperture, and let the camera figure out the ISO.

That's precisely the raison d'etre of the K10D/K20D's TAv mode. Set the ISO to auto and give it a range from 400 to 1600 or higher. After you've done that, figure out how wide you can open the aperture: you can probably go to f/2.8 in this situation. And how slow do you dare set the shutter? That depends on the action. At a wedding where the bride and groom are standing still, and given the shake reduction built into the K10D/K20D, I sometimes go as slow as 1/30th second. These are your hard settings - pretty non-negotiable, at least past a point.

And you leave the rest to the auto-ISO. Again, that's the point of Tav mode.

If it's dark, ISO 400 is definitely NOT going to cut it and ISO 800 is almost certainly inadequate, too. But if you use TAv, the camera will figure it out for you. I would expect to have to shoot at ISO 1600.

Will

02-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #5
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Neither of the two lenses you used are fast enough. I don't know about the Quantaray but I guess it's widest aperture is F4. I'm assuming you were zooming with whatever lens you were using so that would make your widest aperture F6 maybe. The only way they would have worked is if you were just a few feet from the stage.
ISO will help you but like WBMP said, you're going to get noise.
If you are going to be doing a lot of shooting like this, you need to invest in faster lenses.(or front row seats)

Can you post some of what you did take for us to look at, it might help? Don't forget to include Aperture, Exposure etc.
02-21-2009, 09:47 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rollin Quote
today i tried taking a few shots of my niece at her concert, it was held in a school gym, lights off except for the stage and everything i tried just wasn't good enough. I tried auto, i tried TV mode, set at about 1/20, 1/30 etc, with flash to try and keep it bright enough, with the E.V cranked to 2, flash at its brightest, using mostly the 18 - 55 kit lens, and a few shots with a 70-300 quantaray (yes i know its a shitty lens i will replace asap!) and the white balance at a few different settings. Everything was coming out still too dark, or blurry.. any help to figure this out would be great.

thanks

rollin
Firstly turn off the flash. It wont work and it will give the wrong exposure.

Set ISO1600 and F4 in M mode, and adjust shutter speed to get it about right.

WB would be tungsten roughly but to be accurate you will need to take a shot and refine it manually on the camera, then you can save is as a custom temperature.
02-21-2009, 09:52 PM   #7
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My advice for a concert would be to spot meter a few shots on the stage light falling on one of the performers then switch to manual to get consistent exposures. Also a fast zoom (f/2.8) or prime lens works best for this...also crank up the ISO to at least 800.
02-22-2009, 10:58 AM   #8
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Don't be afraid of high ISO. It's your only chance. The K20D is better at high ISO, but you can still go above ISO800 with the K200D. Look at some of the shots from Marc Sabatella, though he uses a fast lens.

As for fast lenses, get a manual 50mm f/1.7. Cheap and great in low light. If you need longer reach, get a manual 135mm f/2.8 lens (any of them). You can get some great shots with those as well, and you can bump your shutter speed up a couple of notches over what you're using now.

This is true with whatever camera you shoot. Read "Understanding Exposure" by Brian Peterson. Great explanation of how all these things work together.

02-22-2009, 06:22 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rfortson Quote
Don't be afraid of high ISO. It's your only chance. The K20D is better at high ISO, but you can still go above ISO800 with the K200D. Look at some of the shots from Marc Sabatella, though he uses a fast lens.
I suppose I should should post some K200D ISO 1600 samples here, then :-). And since it seems relevant in this case, here is one taken with a slower lens: the DA50-200 at 200mm, f/5.6, 1/30".



It's rare to have enough light for a decent exposure at 1/30" if f/5.6 is the best you can do, and of course, 1/30" is borderline, especially at 200mm. Having an f/2.8 lens helps *a lot*. Here's the M100/2.8 at f/2.8, which allowed for 1/90" in this case:


Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 02-22-2009 at 11:27 PM.
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