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01-15-2011, 06:03 PM   #136
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
I know I can probably find this in the manual, but how do you get Iso over 3200?
you're right....
it is in the manual -
setting of the ISO/sensitivity is one of most basic fundamental things to know.

How to set:

Things to note:

The K-x has spec'd normal sensitivity range of ISO200-ISO6400
there is also as explained in the manual excerpt above a way to expand the range to ISO100 and ISO12800.

ISO5000 is in 1/3 step EV sensitivity which means that one has to set the EV step
(bottom of the gray panel in second excerpt above) -
shown on page 108 of the manual -

Hope that helps.

Last edited by UnknownVT; 01-18-2011 at 09:45 PM.
01-18-2011, 10:06 PM   #137
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Thanks. I haven't had time to do much more than mess around with the camera. I'm still new to a lot about photography. What would be the benefit of using the step down?
01-18-2011, 11:40 PM   #138
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
What would be the benefit of using the step down?
I hope I've understood what you're asking -
the benefit of stepping down that 1/3 stop EV at ISO5000 instead of ISO6400?

Noise increases with increasing sensitivity -
so ISO5000 is slightly less noisy than ISO6400.

I did a bunch of my own testing at various ISO and even reduced the photo size to 10Mp to see what I found acceptable - and 10Mp at ISO5000 was my threshold where I thought the pics were acceptable to my eyes.

Please see: Kx (jpg) ISO Performance
01-19-2011, 11:36 AM   #139
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Ok, I wasn't sure if there was another benefit I was just missing.

01-19-2011, 12:00 PM   #140
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
Ok, I wasn't sure if there was another benefit I was just missing.
As you use your camera more you'll eventually discover more -

It probably is worth your while doing your own testing at all the ISO settings -
I literally took shots at every 1/3 step of the ISO range and then looked at the photos and decided what was my maximum acceptable ISO -
I even experimented with setting the image size to 10Mp since reducing the size also self-cancels some noise (6Mp would have been too small)

You may have to think about your target/subject - and try to simulate the typical conditions you may be shooting under.

In my case since I was mainly interested in HighISO - my target was under low artificial light - with areas to check for noise - ie: highlight and shadow - as well as a detailed target to check sharpness. (for more detailed explanations see: Kx (jpg) ISO Performance).

Hope that helps
01-21-2011, 08:15 PM   #141
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more from the dark jazz venue last night....

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/20, 40mm

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/30, 38mm

ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/6, 55mm (18-55 zoom)

ISO4000, f/4.5, 1/16, 35mm

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/5, 18mm - my kryptonite nemesis caught!

ISO5000 f/4.5, 1/30, 35mm

ISO5000, f/4, 1/10, 33mm
01-24-2011, 05:25 PM   #142
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Where is this place?
01-25-2011, 10:57 AM   #143
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QuoteOriginally posted by mojoe_24 Quote
Where is this place?

Churchill Grounds
, Atlanta

the band is Pure Soundz - every Thursday -
usually there are just as many who come to sit-in as there are in the band.

Some pretty big names too like Grammy nominated - Russell Gunn

and Lil John Roberts (w Janet Jackson)

01-28-2011, 07:08 PM   #144
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After over a year's worth of use I still find the K-x a boon for my type of shooting -
I bought the K-x mainly for larger venue musical events and low light venues.

In both the K-x has excelled for me - I can get away using only the two "kit" zooms - 18-55mm Mk1 and 50-200mm both bought when I first bought my K100D in 2006.

I should add neither of these two lenses are hardly what one could call the "best" in the world, in fact there are many who cannot get along with, and denigrate, them.

Anyway it was a 3 gig'ger last night -

First a larger well lit venue (**see later)

ISO200, f/3.5, 1/60, 18mm
see that - well lit - and I was able get ISO200 - the lower limit of my AutoISO range
(I have highlight correction On with expanded ISO)

So that looks pretty bright -
but same show, same subject, and same lights set up -

looks good even if I say so myself....
BUT** ISO5000!!! f/4.5, 1/50, 40mm
WoW! I never expected that, and would not have believed it myself
- until I saw it in the EXIF - but it's true.

Now only because of the K-x Auto ISO was I able to shoot without having to worry about sensitivity.......

ISO800, f/4.5, 1/80, 43mm - this is more like what I was expecting.....

Notice the water bottle in the holder - that I had to lower brightness/contrast and blur in pp - otherwise it'd be very distracting
- there was no way to avoid it, as that was the best angle I could get for her.

That's the luminous Sonia Leigh - who is getting very popular with a solid following - check her out.

My favorite of that session:

love all the flying hairs.....
ISO4000, f/5.6, 1/100, 55mm on 18-55 zoom -
wide-open at long end of zoom - probably worst possible setting -
but not too much wanting with that shot......

Next venue had LED only lighting.....
but managed this shot:

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/60, 18mm
visible grain which I didn't reduce as it kind of adds to the atmosphere?

That's because I had to up the brightness quite a bit - as the shot was underexposed due to the very strong back lighting that was into the lens.....
Here's the non-PP original:

My favorite shot of that session was:

Unfortunately it's a ringer -
taken on my compact Canon G10
using weak slow-sync flash (-1 2/3 stop compensation)
I ended up shooting most of my shots with the G10 using slow-sync flash - as the available light shots were just too strongly mono-colored.

Then on to....
yes, you've guessed it
my favorite low light jazz club -

K-x, ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/15, 18mm

Notice the bass player in the deep shadows
to the right edge of the frame,
only just about discernible -

ISO5000, f/4, 1/8, 28mm -
this was grossly under exposed -
probably due to being past the lower metering limit -
so I had to bring up the brightness/contrast quite a bit to make it visible.

same again, exceeded the lower limit of the metering since I was using the 50-200 zoom:

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/13, 88mm
I'm actually shocked by how well that shot turned out -
I mean I can hardly see the details in the dark picture -
yet simply bringing up the brightness/contrast and using only standard sharpening - I got the result seen.

[NOTE: I have replaced the PP increased brightness shots -
because although on my monitor they looked just fine -
I happened to look at them on an over bright huge wide-screen Mac monitor
and the shadow/black areas looked pretty cruddy -
so I just ran these small pp jpgs through deNoise.]

Even under the main lights the K-x still chose ISO5000 -

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/25, 40mm

The other noteworthy point is that I shoot with AWB (w subtle tungsten correction) - on all of these shots - and one can see how varied and changing the lighting was.

The K-x has one of the best AWB in a dSLR (normally a weak point for most dSLRs)

Last edited by UnknownVT; 02-14-2011 at 10:43 PM.
02-05-2011, 03:42 PM   #145
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I am still continuing to learn more and more about pp color balance -
this is starting to get more and more a matter of course for me as LED stage lighting is getting more and more prevalent.

Let's take an example of a shot I took last night
(this was not LED lighting - merely strong almost mono-color lighting)

EXIF should be attached - (caveat - PhotoBucket can drop metadata)

I really struggloed with this subject/lighting - varying the white balance -
but in the end I settled on AWB - because it allowed me to get better shots elsewhere on the stage -
I could not see that much difference if I had set Tungsten Balance (but see later) -

I was hoping to be able to address this pp -
of course the chorus will now rise up that I should have been shooting RAW....
right -
here's my end result - from a JPG -

this is not to stick it to the RAW advocates -
but to show how powerful some pp functions are.

OK a half step back
- what if I had set Tungsten balance to begin with?
well Pentax DCU (Digital Camera Utility - the Lab part) can open JPGs and apply almost anything that it can to RAW...

So I merely opened the original shot and applied Tungsten balance and got this:

yes it is "better" but not much - no wonder I could not see it at the scene -

So what did I do to transform my pretty abysmal almost mono-red original shot?

Well there is a function in PhotoImpact - called Auto-Level -
which I used to use at the very last step of my processing as a sort of re-assurance look-see -
to see if an auto adjustment can improve my processing.

Most of the time it actually screws things up and I have to back out/undo it -
so much so that I had given up that extraneous step -
until this shot from last night -
I was struggling to get a good balance -
and when I got what I thought was the "best"
I hit the Auto Level button and viola! I got the end result......
close to "miraculous"!

What if I had hit the auto level to begin with?

it is pretty good but still not quite as good as my end result -
I think it was the brightness/contrast adjustments and color balancing I did before I hit the auto level button
that gave the different (more pleasing to me) result.

So this kind of shows that our editors can be extremely powerful even on JPGs -

JPGs are not as limited as they may seem
and even with a simple editor sometimes good stuff can still be done.
02-12-2011, 01:50 PM   #146
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I continue to go back to my low light jazz venue....
However this last Thursday was a bit special.

After all the prompting by some - that I really ought to shoot with a fast prime at this venue - I bought an excellent condition Pentax-A 50mm f/2.

First a caveat it has a mixed reputation - after all it was the cheapest kit lens for Pentax - BUT a prime ought to be better than any zoom - especially the two cheapo kit zooms, right?

Well I did some tests before taking the lens to the venue - just as well I really needed revision and practice with my manual focusing - and this is despite years of experience with manual focusing with pre-AF film SLRs. (see: my review with comparison samples)

However I got myself to a state where I found my focusing acceptable enough.

Anyway back to venue -

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/13, 18-55 zoom @ 18mm
my kryptonite nemesis the pianist in the dark......
is to the extreme left of the frame - you can just make him out.

f/2 a luxury....
not so fast .... on MF I found I just could not focus fast enough -
plus even at the modest f/2 the focus was a lot more critical than at the f/4 or f/3.5 of the kit zooms.

So I managed to get:

ISO5000 f/2, 1/13, A50f/2 lens
EXIF re-attached (PhotoBucket can drop metadata)
pretty good for f/2 which in my tests seemed soft -
I now don't think it's the resolution but low contrast in the lens wide-open and f/2.8.

BUT my 50-200 kit zoom can only meter to f/4 @ 1/13 (light level is below the K-x meter spec) so I get underexposed shots by 2 stops exactly:

ISO5000 f/4, 1/13 50-200 zoom @50mm - underexposed by 2 stops adjusted brightness/contrast pp.
I like this shot better.

But what if I kept the lens at a better aperture like f/3.5 or smaller - well first it kind of defeats the wider aperture - but I tried it anyway - musician in a dark corner:

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/6 - A50f/2 lens
This is actually pretty good

But it is not better than this:

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/4, 18-55 zoom @ 18mm

or much better than this:

ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50-200 zoom @ 50mm underexposed by almost 2 stops brightness/contrast adjusted pp (I kept this shot a bit darker more in keeping with the actual scene) - note again this is almost 2 stops below the K-x spec'd meter limit.

Once back on AF - I really appreciated how fast and positive the K-x AF was with even these humble lenses.

I do realize in tests Pentax dSLRs AF seem to be slower than the CaNikons -
and at the lowest light levels almost by a factor of 2x -

BUT I am actually shooting at a very dark venue with some areas actually below the K-x specs for both AF and exposure - yet I did not feel that the K-x really lacked anything for AF speed - yes, perhaps I have built up a tolerance/acceptance - but I am shooting live musicians that move constantly - I think even if I had high tolerance I would be frustrated if the K-x and kit lenses wouldn't focus quickly enough - and I keep coming back to this venue and although I like a challenge - I don't think I have any masochistic tendencies

I was so impressed (re-impressed?) with the K-x AF that I did something I normally didn't - during a number I heard this beautiful muted trumpet from behind me - now I know it's really dark there - and I had my 50-200 zoom on the K-x with its max aperture of f/4 - but it was too good an opportunity to miss -

ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50-200zoom @ 50mm EXIF attached
Now I would be the last to claim any particular photo quality to this shot -
it was so underexposed I had to work hard to bring up the brightness/contrast
and because of that the noise was pretty bad so I ran it through some simple NR pp -
but man, am I impressed that the K-x managed to even focus,
and this shot turned out at all -
here's the un-pp original:

Since I was kind of on a roll - how about these:

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/4, 18-55 zoom @ 18mm

ISO5000, f/4, 1/15, 50-200 zoom @ 50mm
in lit by candle only audience area.....that's night street lighting out the window....

Last edited by UnknownVT; 02-14-2011 at 11:39 AM.
02-18-2011, 04:25 PM   #147
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Ha! - fifth week in a row -
you would have thought I liked them or

This week (yesterday) when I walked in
I thought they might have been saving on electricity -

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/15, 18mm -
that's candle light on the tables -
no lights in the alcove for the drummer and the bassist (behind the flugelhorn player) and to the extreme right of the frame is that corner -
dark enough for ya?
well maybe not as dark as a black cat in a coal cellar.......

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/4, 18mm -
lower limit to the metering range with the 18-55 zoom,
so probably underexposed by 1/2 to 1 stop -
but just as well - because I cannot handhold below about 1/4 sec with the K-x.

Well it gets more ludicrous....

ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50mm -
yes, on the 50-200 zoom the EV is the lowest metering that combination can get - so this is probably over -2 stops underexposed - so I obviously had to bring up brightness/contrast pp - this would in turn tend to make the shot noisy - however I often leave things the way they are (ie: no additional pp NR) since it kind of reflects the conditions I was under.

My nemesis?

piece of cake in comparison -
ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50mm
(again below metering limit - underexposed by about 2 stops)
I've taken to shooting him from further away using the 50-200 zoom at 50mm - why? well the closer one is the more movement is emphasized - and I think that was part of the difficulty I could not focus on this face - but used to have to focus on the keys by his hands.....
further away I can try focusing on his glasses, or the corner between his hat and peak and face - or last night on his shirt collar......
notice his baseball hat - which puts his face in the shadows most of the time - so I have to point focus wait for his face to come out of the shadow, and be in the right pose (I now have a neck-ache)

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/13, 63mm (below metering limit)

ISO5000, f/4, 1/13, 50mm

Both these shots were again below the K-x metering limit for the 50-200 zoom by probably 1.5 stops - later on I used Manual exposure using the 1/8 - 1/10 with the lens set for wide-open - like this shot:

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/10, 63mm
the gain of 1/3 stop exposure really doesn't do that much better.

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/30, 73mm
the only area of any light last night was in the spot light -
so exposure is similar to any other night there......

ISIO5000, f/4.5, 1/40, 68mm
why would a black shirt scene require less exposure to one with a white shirt?
Simply I was using exposure compensation of +2/3 stop on the white shirt scene to bring out the face under the hat peak.......

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/25, 80mm
different part of the stage (light area)

Last edited by UnknownVT; 02-18-2011 at 05:23 PM.
02-20-2011, 03:08 PM   #148
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ISO640, f/3.5, 1/50, 18mm

ISO1000, f/4.5, 1/60, 35mm

ISO3200, f/4.5, 1/80, 40mm -
yes, he posed for me - substantial difference in lighting and level in different parts of the stage.

ISO3200, f/4.5, 1/125, 88mm - my favorite shot of the night -
thank goodness for central spot focusing -
Look at the first overall shot - the drum kit basically completely hides the drummer -
there was only one angle/spot where his face could be seen -
even then it was through a small gap between the drum kit -
normally if I ask politely most people would allow me to take their spot for a moment to take a few shots -
this time no dice
(anyone has the absolute right to refuse - just seemed a bit on the nasty side)
- so I shot over the head - this shot is a bit cropped -
the slight out of focus blur to the bottom left corner is the top of that person's head........

ISO800, f/3.5, 1/50, 18mm

ISO1250, f/4.5, 1/80, 40mm

ISO640, f/4.5, 1/18, 40mm

ISO500, f/4.5, 1/80, 40mm

ISO800, f/5.6, 1/100, 55mm
(55mm long end of the 18-55Mk1 - wide-open -
the reputed worst performance setting
- looks fine to me....)
02-25-2011, 02:41 PM   #149
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ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/25, 18mm

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/100, 73mm
(seems brighter in center of stage - there still only were the overhead center two track lighting on - but probably the dimmer was set brighter)

So enough reflected light from stage center to get my kryptonite nemesis - who also wore his baseball hat backwards as a concession to me......
(only after I threatened to bring a clip-on light for his cap peak )

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/10, 18mm (yes, it was brighter there last night)
went against my own new rule to shooting him from further away with the longer zoom - this was at 18mm with the humble kit 18-55 - wide-open (so it must be unusable?) - the shot is cropped slightly for better composition and I did apply very light NR other than that no fancy pp - as I am lazy and can't be bothered to work too hard.

Whole horn section off stage in audience area....

ISO5000, f/4, 1/6, 21mm (yes, it's still dark off stage)

The brighter/harsher center stage lighting actually makes for good shots -

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/80, 68mm

and yes, that was a tabla player right of the stage:

ISO5000, f/3.5, 1/6, 18mm
So it's not just interesting challenging photography -
but very interesting and eccentric music too.

ISO2500, f/4.5, 1/60, 35mm
I was a bit surprised at the Auto ISO selection -
it was bright enough stage center to drop it to ISO2500.

So that's 6 weeks in a row -
makes me feel like I'm almost a member of the band....
(yeah, I wish)
02-27-2011, 10:43 AM   #150
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Something slightly different -
yesterday evening I had the opportunity to photograph an Oud Master at an University Recital hall.

There were a few hoops - I was restricted to 4 specific numbers to take photos -
there was supposed to be no flash photography - and the real irony - there were plenty of flash pops - during numbers I was not even supposed to take photos.

But the Dean and admin person I was asked to present myself to beforehand were very kind, friendly, and in fact grateful
- myself, I felt privileged and honored.

I got there early and got myself a good seat on the edge of the first row behind the reserved seating - so basically because of the concerns of possible distraction to the conductor and audience - I didn't even leave my seat - except for the shots at the end final bow......

The event was called Baghdad in Exile - featured Oud Master Rahim AlHaj

ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/160, 200mm
yes the 50-200 zoom at full extension - and wide-open
(can't possibly be satisfactory? ....)

the band

ISO800, f/4, 1/50, 24mm

One of the highlights was the wooden flute playing by Oliver Santana
- who had just one day to learn how to play it
- and it is not an easy instrument to play
- note how it actually sits in the mouth against the teeth?

ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/80, 200mm

EDIT to ADD - the flute is a "Ney" - and apparently it is very difficult to even produce a sound - having such a different embouchure - I asked Oliver how he learned to play it (in one day!) - he told me he found lessons on YouTube!

I liked this series -
where he encouraged the audience to sing to the song he was playing -

ISO3200, f/4, 1/100, 50mm (50-200)
I brightened the organ pipes.

ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/100, 150mm

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/160, 138mm

ISO5000, f/4.5, 1/160, 138mm

Last edited by UnknownVT; 02-28-2011 at 11:30 AM.

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