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04-22-2009, 12:44 PM   #76
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I think, ISO 3200 is not usable at all. I tried using ISO3200 in low light conditions and the result came out ugly, so I am using ISO800 and rarely ISO1600/3200.
Despite high ISO problem, I like this camera.

04-22-2009, 06:43 PM   #77
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Results at high ISO vary *tremendously* depending on lots of factors that can be hard to predict. 3200 *can* produce decent results, but you have to be more interested in the light areas than the shadows, you can't underexpose too much, etc. I've got pictures that lkook really pretty darned good at ISO 3200 on my DS and the equivalent on my K200D, but also pictures that are terrible. It also helps to experiment with the NR settings in camera when shooting JPEG, and in PP when shooting RAW. That's all pretty much standard advice with *any* camera.
04-22-2009, 08:11 PM   #78
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Marc. You go that right. I have shot in nightclubs where I didn't a get single good shot and in theaters where it seemed easy to get usable pictures. The lighting conditions, dark areas and movement vary tremendously.
04-23-2009, 06:43 PM   #79
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OK I did a few quick shots comparing the K20D and the K-m at ISO 1600 and 3200. The results are unsurprinsingly in favor of the K20D but not by that much. The K-m has much more chroma noise, If I set Chroma NR to 25 in Lightroom (the default) the gap between the 2 cameras is reducing.

K-m @3200:


K20D @3200:


K-m @1600:


K20D @1600:


04-23-2009, 06:49 PM   #80
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I used the same settings with the same lens (FA50 @f/2.0) under tungsten light. Shot in RAW, converted in Lightroom (Sharpening to 0 and NR to 0).
04-23-2009, 09:06 PM   #81
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Thanks for doing this! That looks about what I've seen in other apples-apples comparisons between the 10MP cameras and the K20D, too. The noise on the 10MP sensor is largely "chroma" and probably relatively easy to control if you so choose.

Anyhow, based on what I see here, I'd say the K-m at "real" ISO 3200 doesn't look any better than the "simulated" ISO 3200 you get on the K200D by underexposing at ISO 1600 and pushing the results in PP.
04-24-2009, 06:06 AM   #82
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ManuH, Thanks for the good work. Especially like that you used dark in the shots that really show noise levels. Below you'll find the KM2000 ISO 3200 pictures with a quick run through Noiseware and Topaz Adjust for noise. They could be tweaked even better. Looks really good to me. Top photo is Noiseware.

Last edited by tarsus; 12-23-2009 at 06:15 AM.
04-24-2009, 10:11 AM   #83
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i prefer the noise and detail if i wanted blurry noiseless photos id have gotten a nikon.

04-24-2009, 07:30 PM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
ManuH, Thanks for the good work. Especially like that you used dark in the shots that really show noise levels. Below you'll find the KM2000 ISO 3200 pictures with a quick run through Noiseware and Topaz Adjust for noise. They could be tweaked even better. Looks really good to me. Top photo is Noiseware.
Thank you for taking the time to denoise them. I don't like NR that much in general, I'm not allergic to noise like some people. Actually I'm more allergic to the plastic look. Noise is not really an issue for me as long as color is still faithful (and after that B&W is also very nice) and details are still presents.

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella:
Anyhow, based on what I see here, I'd say the K-m at "real" ISO 3200 doesn't look any better than the "simulated" ISO 3200 you get on the K200D by underexposing at ISO 1600 and pushing the results in PP.
I did a quick test of ISO 3200 vs ISO 1600 underexposed one stop on the K-m. I can't say I find a lot of differences. The histogram is slightly different though, it seems the camera may not be applying exactly a +1 push. Maybe a "curved" push?
Anyway I think it's safe to say that ISO 3200 is actually a pushed 1600. It would be nice if manufacturers would let us know what ISO is pushed and what ISO is really amplified. Still, it's convenient to have the 3200 option and not having to push them in PP.

On another note, sensor noise performance is just one element in a link to create better low-light pictures. If you want to have more chance:
1) Get a better lens, usually a prime to be able to get under f/2.8.
2) Use the SR as much as you can and find the shutter speed limit you're able to reach.
3) Expose to the right as much as possible.
4) Use a short focal length, they need less shutter speed (1/FL rule). For example the 31/1.8 will give better result in low-light than the 77/1.8. Because the 77 needs about 2x the shutter speed, you loose one stop vs the 31/1.8.
5) If you're shooting still life, you can solve everything with a tripod and shoot at f/8 ISO 100.
04-25-2009, 05:41 AM   #85
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This has been very instructive. I did not know that a shorter focal length delivers less noise, although I have always tried to get as close as practical when shooting for newspapers. Thanks for the tip. I too prefer a certain level of noise and better detail for personal pictures, but for newpaper publishing, that is not exactly what you would call high level studio printing in addition to the very grainy paper newspapers are printed on, noise really shows up unless the picture is smoothed out. The balance is delicate, but in my case I have to err on the side of smooth versus detail. Where I can, I shoot the classic Pentax 50mm prime. For closer work and where I have to zoom to catch the action, I use the Sigma 18-50 2.8. I have shot both lenses in the same situation and the prime is way better. Oh woe is me, I guess I will just have to get a shorter length prime. I have been playing with the K10D as if it were a K2000, turning off the focus spot and not using the two wheels. I am finding I might miss the two wheel control more than I thought. Being able to turn up the ISO and adjust the aperature while following the action and shooting is really elegant.
04-25-2009, 08:01 AM   #86
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QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
This has been very instructive. I did not know that a shorter focal length delivers less noise,
Just to make it clear for the casual reader, the shorter FL doesn't really deliver less noise, it just allow you to hand held the camera at a slower shutter speed, thus using a lower ISO, thus having less noise.

QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
but for newpaper publishing, that is not exactly what you would call high level studio printing in addition to the very grainy paper newspapers are printed on, noise really shows up unless the picture is smoothed out. The balance is delicate, but in my case I have to err on the side of smooth versus detail.
You're right, there are cases where NR is very useful. It's a tool you can abuse or not. My favourite is Noiseware BTW.

QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
Where I can, I shoot the classic Pentax 50mm prime. For closer work and where I have to zoom to catch the action, I use the Sigma 18-50 2.8. I have shot both lenses in the same situation and the prime is way better. Oh woe is me, I guess I will just have to get a shorter length prime.
The 35/2 or the 31/1.8 if you can afford it. Or the FA* 24/2 or the Sigma primes... There is no lack of choice in this range I also realized that DOF is not too short, even at f/2 with my FA35 : the 35mm @f2 has about the same DOF as a 50mm @2.8.

QuoteOriginally posted by tarsus Quote
I have been playing with the K10D as if it were a K2000, turning off the focus spot and not using the two wheels. I am finding I might miss the two wheel control more than I thought. Being able to turn up the ISO and adjust the aperature while following the action and shooting is really elegant.
Actually you can almost do that on the K-m because you can set the OK button to set the ISO. You press OK one time, then use the rear wheel to change the ISO.

It's well explained here:
Pentax K2000 Review: 7. Displays: Digital Photography Review

They change AF-C to AF-A but you can do the same with any label on the back screen. The camera is smart enough to remember which setting you changed last. So if you are changing constantly the ISO, you don't have the look the back LCD, just press OK, roll the wheel and you'll see the ISO changing in the viewfinder.

The K-m also allow you to use the center AF sensor only for the time you may want more precision.

So you see, you cannot say the K-m is just a K10D with one less wheel. The user interface has been reworked to make the K-m comfortable to use despite the lack of many buttons. That said, the K-m has also direct access button to drive mode, WB, flash comp and ISO the K10D doesn't have.
04-25-2009, 01:00 PM   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by ManuH Quote
Actually you can almost do that on the K-m because you can set the OK button to set the ISO. You press OK one time, then use the rear wheel to change the ISO.
That is *almost* cool enough to overcome my objection to lack of DOF preview :-). However, I'm guessing that means you can't also have the OK button programmed to temporarily cancel AF, and that to me is a far more important feature - one I'll use on quite a few shots in a given setting, whereas I typically only change ISO when I'm leaving one setting and entering another. So assuming the camera gives you that choice, I'd still pick the one where OK cancels AF.
04-25-2009, 07:44 PM   #88
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
That is *almost* cool enough to overcome my objection to lack of DOF preview :-). However, I'm guessing that means you can't also have the OK button programmed to temporarily cancel AF, and that to me is a far more important feature -
The K-m has an AF button that can be reprogrammed to do AE-L, Enable AF, Enable AF and disable AF on half-press and... Cancel AF

Now the only thing missing is the DOF preview For the way you're using it there is maybe a workaround. In Av mode the manual lens is constantly metering, you just have to select the aperture with the lens aperture ring. OK the viewfinder gets darker but you get your live metering. I just tested it on the K-m and it works well enough.
04-26-2009, 12:22 AM   #89
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This has been a great and instructive thread. I learned a lot about low light photography. Thanks to all of you who contributed. I suppose I must let you know what I have decide to buy. So far, it is to get a close range prime a Sigma 28mm 1.8 and see how it goes with what I have learned. I am tending towards the K2000 just on money alone. I suppose that my dream come true would be the K20D sensor on a 10 megapixel camera. Can you imagine how clean that would be at fast shutter speed and high ISO?
04-26-2009, 05:24 AM   #90
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QuoteOriginally posted by WerTicus Quote
i prefer the noise and detail if i wanted blurry noiseless photos id have gotten a nikon.
Keep fooling yourself that Pentax is the only good DSLR out there with detail at high ISOs

And on topic, I found that using my 'old' K20D, ISO 800 was normally my limit. I got a couple of decent 1600 shots out, but that was when the light was very good, which is normally not when I need the higher ISO

And back off topic for a second, it is so nice being able to shoot at ISO1600 with virtually no noise on the D700, it's just a pity they're all blurry because I'm using a Nikon
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