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02-26-2010, 12:30 PM   #1
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Pentax Wedding Photography

Hello to all!
I will start making wedding photography (also), and wanted to buy Pentax gear (K7+17-70 + flash OR k20D+17-70 + flash), but I've read that many people complain about low light focusing of the Pentax cameras.
I read in this forum that there are many members, who are succesfull wedding photographers with Pentax gear.
What they think about this issue?
Thanks in advance

02-26-2010, 12:47 PM   #2
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I've never taken wedding photos so can't comment on that. But my K7 focuses quite happily in candle light. It does focus a little more slowly but that has never proven to be a problem.
02-26-2010, 12:50 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply!
What lens(es) do you own?
02-26-2010, 01:00 PM   #4
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I've shot 1 wedding with my gear so far with a few more in the works this summer. I used my kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (mostly at 18mm) for many shots because I like that wide angle look. The focus worked pretty well on that in the low light. I used my smc 50mm f/1.4 a few times but it was just to dark to focus manually and quickly.

For most shots, I used my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. The focal range is great and its fast for the low light. However, I could barely get it to focus in the dark. It was a pain. I don't know if its a 3rd party thing, or if it had trouble locking on moving subjects, but it was a pain in the ass. Its great if you have enough light. That being said, I am looking for genuine pentax lenses now to see if they don't have the same focusing trouble.

You can see some of the shots here
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02-26-2010, 01:11 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by indy1984 Quote
Thanks for the quick reply!
What lens(es) do you own?
Sigma 50mm F2.8 Macro and Sigma 18-125
(and I am actively coveting many more lenses!!)
02-26-2010, 01:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by indy1984 Quote
I will start making wedding photography (also), and wanted to buy Pentax gear (K7+17-70 + flash OR k20D+17-70 + flash), but I've read that many people complain about low light focusing of the Pentax cameras. I read in this forum that there are many members, who are succesfull wedding photographers with Pentax gear. What they think about this issue?
Indy,

I shoot weddings and do portraits, using Pentax gear.

In retrospect, I'm not sure I would pick Pentax if I were starting all over from scratch—especially if I had a bigger budget. I think I would go with Nikon today, if I could, for a couple of reasons.
  1. Nikon's i-TTL flash system SEEMS to be the best around, better than Canon's and much better than Pentax's P-TTL. I have to say "SEEMS" because I have no direct personal experience with it. But I've talked to an awful lot of Nikon photographers who do have experience, and seen a lot of photos, and that's the way it seems to me.
  2. In the USA at least (can't speak about Romania!) it's much easier to rent Nikon or Canon-compatible gear like lenses and flash units than it is to rent stuff that will work in a Pentax system.
  3. Every book or article about wedding photography assumes you're using Nikon or Canon equipment and it's occasionally depressing to be reminded that I'm not. This forum may be one of the best photography forums on the planet; but there's a lot more help available for Nikon/Canon shooters.
  4. Don't know if Pentax has a full frame camera in its future or not, but if I were shooting Nikon, it would be nice to dream one day of upgrading to a D3X or something like that.

Nevertheless, I think Pentax can be a very good system for wedding photography. Works for me!

I've decided to go almost entirely with prime lenses, which allow me to stay fast (helps with low light) and get great image quality. I shoot now mainly with a Sigma 28 f/1.7; Pentax 40 f/2.8; Pentax 35 f/2.0; Pentax 50 f/1.4; Pentax 70 f/2.4; and a Sigma 105 f/2.8. I do take a couple of zooms with me to weddings and other events but I don't use them much any more.

The K20D can take fine photos at ISO 1600 and I'm sure the K-7 can too. Keep in mind that the problem of shooting in low light occurs mainly during the wedding ceremony itself, in the church. In the USA, most of the churches that I shoot in prohibit the use of flash. However, at the reception, you can easily compete with any other system from Nikon or Canon, provided you know how to use your flash equipment, how to bounce, etc.

If you know how to use wireless radio triggers, you won't have to use Pentax flash units, which I have found personally not to be very well made. (I'm speaking here about the 540 FGZ.) With wireless triggers, you can use cheap units made by Nikon, Canon or anybody—doesn't matter. I work with a couple of Pentax flashes, a Metz, and a Nikon.

Will
02-26-2010, 01:36 PM   #7
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Thanks WMBP for the infos
Here in Romania I can use flash in 'every' church.
Question: is the flash unit's autofocus light enough to focus in dim light for you camera, the K20D/K10D?
I also thought to buy the D90, which seems to be a good camera, but I like VERY much the rich feature set of the K7 - hard choice...
02-26-2010, 01:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by indy1984 Quote
Thanks WMBP for the infos
Here in Romania I can use flash in 'every' church.
Really? That surprises me. But if it's true, then that's good for you and perhaps for your clients.

I tend not to use flash in church even if the priest doesn't mind.


QuoteQuote:
Question: is the flash unit's autofocus light enough to focus in dim light for you camera, the K20D/K10D?(
Well, I'm not sure. I don't use the autofocus light much, to be honest. As I said, in church—where it might be helpful—I don't shoot with flash.

If I run into trouble focusing, I focus manually. At receptions, I don't recall it being a problem very often, even when things get quite dark.

Will

02-26-2010, 08:20 PM   #9
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William

not sure if you have the K-7, but from my experience the K-7 and the 540 FGZ is a much improved combo now. It may not be Nikon standard but the K-7 is a vast improvement over previos models when using flash.


Cheers

Neil
02-26-2010, 08:53 PM   #10
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There are a number of us here on the forum that do weddings, and would share Will's sentiments about the Pentax system for this application. Nevertheless, once mastered, Pentax gear can be used effectively to get the job done, and not miss the important stuff on the big days.

It may have to do more with fast glass, but the biggest obstacle is indeed the focusing system, which can lag behind the action of these fast-paced events. Even with this important 'deficiency' I haven't been too disappointed with my own work - yes, the clients have been pleased as well...
02-26-2010, 09:07 PM   #11
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Since I do a bit of wedding work, I might just throw in my 2 cents worth.

For low light focusing, I try to use lens that can focus better (read high contrast), hence reduce chances of hunting. I general I find the DA primes are very fast and good. FA tends to be a bit slower, and contrast a bit lacking when wide open.

For venue that allows flash, I find DA 21 focuses very fast and spot on even when the venue is very dark. Think of the dance party time in a reception. Thats the type of lighting level I'm referring here.
02-27-2010, 04:31 AM   #12
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I tend to use the FA31 and FA77 in the church while doing weddings. I also try to anticipate what will happen, so I'm always ready to push the shutter button at the right time. For group shot, I use mainly the FA14, and during the reception, I'll use mainly the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 and flashes.

The K-7's AF is much faster than the K20D's AF in low light, so I put the lens I use most on the K-7.
02-27-2010, 12:09 PM   #13
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I'm surprised no one has suggested the K-x as a body option.

If you are going with a two body solution, instead of the K20D, get a K-x. It has a improved AF system and few will dispute that it has better high ISO performance than the K-20D (or K-7). Good high-ISO is just what you need for shooting weddings in churches etc. Couple the K-x with a fast sharp zooom like the Tamron 28-75 2.8, or Tamron 17-50 2.8 (or DA* 16-50 of course) and you have a very good wedding camera solution.
02-27-2010, 03:20 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
I'm surprised no one has suggested the K-x as a body option.

If you are going with a two body solution, instead of the K20D, get a K-x. It has a improved AF system and few will dispute that it has better high ISO performance than the K-20D (or K-7). Good high-ISO is just what you need for shooting weddings in churches etc. Couple the K-x with a fast sharp zooom like the Tamron 28-75 2.8, or Tamron 17-50 2.8 (or DA* 16-50 of course) and you have a very good wedding camera solution.
The K-x looks like a very nice little camera indeed. However, I can't imagine myself ever buying another camera that doesn't have two e-dials (the K-x has only one). And low-light performance isn't everything, indeed, it's only a small part—no more than 25%—of what I need from a camera on the day of the wedding. I get very acceptable low-light performance from my K20D shooting raw. I use fast primes; I don't have anything that can't go at least to f/2.8.

Still, I don't mean to disagree with rawr. As I said, the K-x looks like a fine camera.

Will
02-27-2010, 06:23 PM   #15
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I've used the Kx as my second body in a wedding. The main drawback is that I need to limit myself to centre focus only, and no second dial to change ISO setting.

The low light performance is good, but I will still limit myself to 1600 max, as I find the detail destruction too great after that.
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