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08-10-2010, 11:45 AM   #1
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Hi all,

I'm looking to invest in a Pentax Film SLR. I will using this for band photo shoots and gigs. I currently use a Pentax K1000 and have had some decent results but I struggle with the metering at concert venues. I tend to shoot 1600 and 3200 ASA film indoors and 400 outdoors.

I'm looking at the Pentax Super ME or LX as I've been told these have much more reliable metering. I will be keeping my M 50mm 1.7 which has been a great lens for me but I am also looking for some fast primes for concert photography and that can double up as portrait lenses. Any recommendations would be great?

Any help or feedback would be much appreciated

cheers

08-10-2010, 12:57 PM   #2
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If you like your camera, how about getting a light meter?
08-10-2010, 01:40 PM   #3
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LX probably is overkill, the ME Super or either of the Program bodies will do you good. You can use your M lens on the Program, which simply default to aperture priority. I don't have experience with the ME but my Program Plus meters very reliably and to very low light situations (e.g. a pinhole).
08-10-2010, 03:24 PM   #4
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The LX has the best low light metering capabilites of any Pentax manual focus camera.
But if you will be taking photos of your band on stage you won't be using long exposures.

The ME Super and original LX bodies have film speeds settings to 1600.
The later version of the LX extends to 3200.

If you can get by with 1600 maximum film speed I vote for the ME Super.

Chris


Last edited by ChrisPlatt; 08-11-2010 at 04:36 PM.
08-11-2010, 08:43 AM   #5
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The ME Super has lights in the view finder to indicate shutter speed so that would be a big help in under those shooting conditions. So it's one good possibility.
08-11-2010, 05:27 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
The ME Super has lights in the view finder to indicate shutter speed so that would be a big help in under those shooting conditions. So it's one good possibility.
Yes, that and the LX are more useful in that regard. My one disappointment with my SuperProgram bodies is the LCD visability.
08-12-2010, 08:12 AM   #7
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I would recommend the LX, as a well put together piece of pro kit that wont let you down.

Bright, bright viewfinders ideal for low light work, plus a whole heap of accessories to get the job done including interchangeable viewfinders.
08-12-2010, 02:18 PM   #8
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FWIW an ME Super would be easier and far cheaper to replace if it "disappears" at a gig...

Chris

08-12-2010, 04:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by BlankGeneration Quote
Hi all,

I'm looking to invest in a Pentax Film SLR. I will using this for band photo shoots and gigs. I currently use a Pentax K1000 and have had some decent results but I struggle with the metering at concert venues. I tend to shoot 1600 and 3200 ASA film indoors and 400 outdoors.

I'm looking at the Pentax Super ME or LX as I've been told these have much more reliable metering. I will be keeping my M 50mm 1.7 which has been a great lens for me but I am also looking for some fast primes for concert photography and that can double up as portrait lenses. Any recommendations would be great?

Any help or feedback would be much appreciated

cheers
Both the cameras you are considering would be more convenient than a K1000 for photographing concerts. As others have mentioned, ease of focusing, bright shutter speed displays and greater meter sensitivity are nice. However, they won't solve all your problems. A K1000 properly handled will still produce better results than an LX used by someone who doesn't understand TTL light metering.

My guess is that your level of experience is such that you have limited awareness that light meters can easily be fooled. For example, a subject that is very light overall will cause underexposure. A very dark subject causes overexposure. A very light subject surrnounded by a large dark background will often end up overexposed, depending on the TTL meter's sensitivity pattern. (I'd expect that to happen quite a bit with spotlighted musicians against a dark background.)

My impression is that you are on a low budget. If so, I suggest that you spend a bit of money on an old used photography book or two and read up on metering before you blow a whole lot of money on a different camera. You might also look for Web tutorials.

If you are working in a small venue where you have access to the stage, you could arrange with the lighting person to go on stage prior to the performance and meter at the positions of the musicians.

Larger venues with limited access are a whole other game. I used to work with a 1 degree spot meter- made things very simple. I could meter the players' faces and know exactly what I was getting. Some film cameras have spot metering functions, usually around 3 to 5 degrees.

If you are working in a very low-budget venue you may find that lighting levels are low enough that fast primes are essential. As for me, I'd check on whether working with zooms wide open is a possiblity. At many concerts I've been able to pull off 1/125 at f/4 with ISO 400 film, which is doable with a zoom. An affordable lens that would work in that situation is the M 70-150, which has a constant f/4 maximum aperture and is an excellent lens overall.

I think you'd be better off buying a K-X with a couple of kit lenses than throwing money at fast primes other than a 50. The high ISO performance of the K-X reduces the need for fast lenses, you avoid the cost of film, and you have instant feedback on exposure. (A 50 would be a lovely lens to work with on a K-X in a small venue.)

I continue to shoot film for certain things, but would certainly go digital for serious concert photography. Even my nasty old K20 would blow nearly any film camera away.

John
08-17-2010, 01:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
Both the cameras you are considering would be more convenient than a K1000 for photographing concerts. As others have mentioned, ease of focusing, bright shutter speed displays and greater meter sensitivity are nice. However, they won't solve all your problems. A K1000 properly handled will still produce better results than an LX used by someone who doesn't understand TTL light metering.

My guess is that your level of experience is such that you have limited awareness that light meters can easily be fooled. For example, a subject that is very light overall will cause underexposure. A very dark subject causes overexposure. A very light subject surrnounded by a large dark background will often end up overexposed, depending on the TTL meter's sensitivity pattern. (I'd expect that to happen quite a bit with spotlighted musicians against a dark background.)

My impression is that you are on a low budget. If so, I suggest that you spend a bit of money on an old used photography book or two and read up on metering before you blow a whole lot of money on a different camera. You might also look for Web tutorials.

If you are working in a small venue where you have access to the stage, you could arrange with the lighting person to go on stage prior to the performance and meter at the positions of the musicians.

Larger venues with limited access are a whole other game. I used to work with a 1 degree spot meter- made things very simple. I could meter the players' faces and know exactly what I was getting. Some film cameras have spot metering functions, usually around 3 to 5 degrees.

If you are working in a very low-budget venue you may find that lighting levels are low enough that fast primes are essential. As for me, I'd check on whether working with zooms wide open is a possiblity. At many concerts I've been able to pull off 1/125 at f/4 with ISO 400 film, which is doable with a zoom. An affordable lens that would work in that situation is the M 70-150, which has a constant f/4 maximum aperture and is an excellent lens overall.

I think you'd be better off buying a K-X with a couple of kit lenses than throwing money at fast primes other than a 50. The high ISO performance of the K-X reduces the need for fast lenses, you avoid the cost of film, and you have instant feedback on exposure. (A 50 would be a lovely lens to work with on a K-X in a small venue.)

I continue to shoot film for certain things, but would certainly go digital for serious concert photography. Even my nasty old K20 would blow nearly any film camera away.

John
Very good explanation. Consider to replace the 50mm 1.7 for a little faster one 50mm 1.4. Or if you have the budget get the 50mm 1.2
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