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Old Dec 17, 2007, 10:45 AM   #1
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So trying to take better pictures of my daughter, using the 540 flash bouncing it off the ceiling but still images look dark with the kit lens. Suggestions for a hopefully low cost lens appreciated, thanks
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Old Dec 17, 2007, 11:37 AM   #2
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With a flash the kit lens should do just fine. But you'll have to do some experimenting to learn how the camera, lens, flash and environment work together. Maybe you'll have to do some EV setting adjustments to get it right.

For a low light portrait lens you can't go wrong with a Pentax 50 mm lens, f1.7 or 1.4. If AF is of no importance, you have a choiche between the M and the A series. If you wantautofocus there are the F and FA models. The only one of these still in production is the FA 50 mm f1.4, but all can be found on e-bay on a daily basis. Not always cheap though.

Stepping up the price ladder there are the Pentax Limited series, FA 77 mm 1.8 (still in production) and the marvellous 85 mm lenses FA* and A* 1.4. Definitely not low price, but ooooh so gooooood.

Kjell

Sample, FA 50mm 1.4, no flash
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Old Dec 17, 2007, 12:17 PM   #3
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The Kit lens does pretty good inside without a flash as long as you have adequite ambient light such as a window with some sunlight streaming in..Here are a couple of examples of what I mean...And keep in mind they require the subject to be still for a split second or two.








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Old Dec 17, 2007, 12:48 PM   #4
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The 50mm 1:1.7 or the 50mm 1:1.4 are sharper lens than the 18-55 kit lens but the kit lens itself is not to bad either....

First the photo..


Then a crop of the photo...Yes that is me staring back at you in the reflection. Same photo just a very tight crop.


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Old Dec 17, 2007, 1:08 PM   #5
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Thanks all,

I often find that my pictures seem really dark, or darker than I would like, though I have very little knowledge of what is a good approach to "fixing" things in other programs or whatever. I pretty much use the default settings of the camera in portrait mode and the flash I just leave on the PTTL auto mode, I also have a 5-200 lens which I find takes better images but is more difficult to use because I have to be so far back to get a good shot.


Is there any easy way to fix pictures and make them brighter, or are there any settings in the camera I should focus on to help with the darkness? I will try to post images when I get home, thanks
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Old Dec 17, 2007, 1:39 PM   #6
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I use a free program from Mediachance.com call Auto Enhance...It is a plugin for Photoshop that loads into the filter plugins and is then available in the filter menu of photoshop when post processing a photo. It also has an exposure compensation filter and a portrait skin cleaner that do wonders on portraits...All a free download. As for the darker exposures I usually shoot quite a few test shots and adjust the exposure compensation in camera to get what I need...Got to remember this is like free film with a digital camera and you can shoot lots of bad ones to get a good one with no cost involved...Also shoot multiple photos in burst mode..This is better done without the flash but can be done with a flash but some will not be as well exposed. Try try and try again is the way you will learn with this camera...Try different settings and exposure methods...I do quite well in all manual settings moving the aperture and shutter speed till I get what I want...Then post process to achieve even better results...Just my way and it may not be the best way..Just my way!

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Old Dec 17, 2007, 3:43 PM   #7
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Your camera has a button to press in order to get a so called EV compensation (brighter or darker pictures) for certain situations when the in-camera metering can't get it right. I've got an older (DS) model, but maybe someone with a K100D can chime in and tell where this button is located on your camera? It's easy to use for a shot or two and change back again. It's necessary to use when you want to take pictures of very dark objects against a light background or take pictures in a snowy landscape, so it's a good idea to learn how to use it anyway. And lenses do vary to some extent, so for some lenses you need to overexpose a step on all shots to get them right.

It's always better to get the picture right from the beginning, but I think all post processing programs have features to brighten or darken the picture. Tell us what program you use in your computer and someone with specific knowledge of that program will assist you.

Kjell
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Old Dec 17, 2007, 4:59 PM   #8
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Hi Mathew,

I've had good success with the 540 and both the DS and K10. The K100 is different, but should not be too much tho. . . I would first suggest that you used either spot or center weighted metering. Remember that P-TTL uses you camera's metering system to meter the exposure, so the metering mode makes a difference. I'd experiment with both of these modes and see if this changes things.

The other major issue with P-TTL metered flash is that it doesn't deal well with reflections of the flash in the frame. You can see the preflash through your viewfinder just before the mirror lifts and the VF blacks out for the exposure. If you see any bright flash reflections, just before the VF blacks out, you will probably get a radically underexposed frame for that shot. Most of the time, by moving a step to either side will keep the reflection from coming straight back at the camera, and will probably result in a properly exposed shot.

Other causes of underexposure would be a very small aperture (usually smaller than f8 or f11), too much distance to the subject, or a too high or dark ceiling to bounce effectively from.

The 540 will let you dial in up to +1 stop of flash compensation on the flash. If you still have consistent underexposure problems, you can dial in some flash compensation each time you turn on the flash. I know that the K10 also allows you to use Ev compensation in the camera for flash exposures. I'm not sure about the K100, but if you can do this, then you have an additional +1 stop that you can adjust in the camera to get more exposure.

Hope this might help some.

Scott
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Old Dec 18, 2007, 1:16 PM   #9
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If you are using a flash within 10' or so of the subject, excessive "darkness" of photos will have little to do with any lens 4.0 or faster. It has everything to do with your camera settings and how you are bouncing the flash. How far away from the subject and camera is the bounced flash coming off of? A regular white 8' high ceiling? An adjacent white wall?

I've used my 50mm f1.4 for portraits (75mmfull frameequiv.). Some might prefer 70 or 80 mm (105 to 120full frameequiv.), but the faster lens is definitely nice because it providesa bit more lighting flexibilty. But you should be able to get well lighted portraits with f2.8 or f3.5 lenses and bounce flash. But because of the greater depth of field, the smaller aperture won't provide the nice soft backgrounds that the f1.4, f1.8 or f2.0 lens will provide.
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