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Old Jul 10, 2008, 11:25 PM   #1
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I went downtown tonight to snap a few shots with the Sigma 18-50 Ex DC f2.8 in low-light conditions. Each of these was shot at f2.8 and ISO 1600 in JPEG. No sharpening, levels, or noise reduction...simply minor cropping of extraneous elements and resizing for the forum.

Statue shot at 50mm(Don't blame either the camera, the lens, or the photographer for the blown highlights on the deer. The spotlights are so horribly placed that it appears blown to the naked eye.)



The statue is located in front of the historic Arlington Hotel, chiefly known as Al Capone's Southern residence during the 30's....shot at 18mm



Kind of unusual for a summer's evening, but the downtown was virtually deserted...just this gentleman slowly window shopping...shot at 21mm



Finally, a shot of the National Park's Service's Visitor's Center, the former Fordyce Bathouse. There was flare on the lights directly in front of the building, but I thought the detail showed up relatively well. Shot at 21mm



All shots with the K20d. Hope this helps you.

Paul
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 8:19 AM   #2
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Thanks. I guess it's back to the drawing board for my photographic skills as your shots are very good quality. Maybe it's the difference between the K20 and my K10. Below is the best example I have been able to produce. Shot at a theater production. I used every mode and turned every wheel.
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Old Jul 11, 2008, 9:25 AM   #3
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I wasn't sure which camera you were using; that's why I stayed at ISO 1600. I also own a K10 and have shot several theatre productions with it.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I think the shot you posted is pretty good, and you don't indicate what displeases you with it. However, I'm guessing that the problem with which you're not satisfied is caused by a slight oversaturation. This is very easy to get when you're shooting from a darkened arena into an extreme hot spot of light. When shooting theatre, I find I almost always have to slightly desaturate in post processing.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I took the photo below a few months ago with the K10, an FA 50mm f1.4 set at f2.5.(I didn't have the Sigma lens then.)ISO was 1600 and I set a negative Exposure Compensation of 0.7. Shutter speed was 1/30.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"I hope you don't mind, but I played with your image a little in Paint Shop Pro. I adjusted saturation down 40 points, then applied an Unsharp Mask. See what you think.

style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #000000"Paul


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Old Jul 11, 2008, 8:31 PM   #4
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pboerger wrote:
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Thanks. I guess it's back to the drawing board for my photographic skills as your shots are very good quality. Maybe it's the difference between the K20 and my K10. Below is the best example I have been able to produce. Shot at a theater production. I used every mode and turned every wheel.
Hi pboerger! The exif data was not present in your image (at least it was not there using the method I used, viewing exif has become much harder for me using Vista). Under that kind of lighting you are going to have to develop a strategy and accept the limitations of your strategy. It looks like you used a wide open setting that gave you a thin depth of field, thus the actors further back were out of focus. Nothing wrong with that, but if it bothers you, then the other strategy would be to bump you ISO to maximum so you could use a smaller aperture and gain DOF at the expense of increased noise. I could not see your shutter speed, so you may have wiggle room there, but I am assuming that your shutter speed is already as slow as you can reasonably hand hold.

In my experience, the K20d may be slightly better at high ISO but the difference is not as great as I believed when I ordered it If the actors are reasonably stationary, you could always use a tripod and benefit by using both smaller aperture and lower ISO. Of course, you lose mobility and the ability to freeze the actor's movement.

Whenever you have low light it will be a compromise situation. You just need to decide what is most important to you in that circumstance and accept the compromises that attend to that decision.

Tim
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Old Jul 12, 2008, 7:44 AM   #5
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Thanks folks. This is very instructive. The EXIF got stripped out in noise reduction. K10D, f2.8, 1/100 sec, +0.3 ev, 28 mm. Maybe I am asking too much. I kept the high ISO and large aperature to freeze the action. The desaturation is a huge improvement, but what I didn't like is the lack of sharpness. You also improved that. It is sharper in the desaturated picture.Low lightreally is a compromise. Thanks again.
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