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Old Apr 25, 2009, 10:00 PM   #1
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I just bought a Pentax 75-300 telephoto lens for my camera but need help in how to use it. I was trying it inside as it was night time so too dark to try outside. I found I had to raise the ISO in order to have enough light for the pictures even when I used the flash on my camera. What ISO would you normally use? What is the best camera mode to use with it? I had it on P & was adjusting the aperture to try taking photos with different DOPs.

I had trouble even getting it to work in the beginning as when I zoomed to the full length the shutter release button wouldn't work. I am leaving for a holiday in Jamaica on Wed. & plan to take it with me if I am not too frustrated with it.

If anyone can offer some pointers on using this less it would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Janice
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 1:04 AM   #2
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Hi Janice,

I assume that the lens you have is the FAJ 75-300 f4.5-5.8. If this is the case, then normal indoor lighting is probably too dim to allow the Auto Focus to work well. Try focusing on something with contrast, like a dark picture frame on a light colored wall. The high contrast is more easily sensed in relatively dim light. If it fails to lock focus, you should be seeing a flashing hexagon at the bottom of your viewfinder. This would prevent the shutter from firing if your AF switch is on AF-S.

Many f5.6 or f5.8 lenses will struggle at these light levels, but are pretty much designed to be used outdoors in the sunlight. My guess is that it will work fine when there's enough light.

Scott
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 7:22 AM   #3
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I was hoping to use this lens to get photos of my son's graduation which will be held in a bit auditorium. I was told by the guy at my camera store that if I put the ISO to 1600 I wouldn't have any problem to use it hand held but now I am not so sure if there will be enough light even if use flash. I will have to zoom in to get a good close up. What do you think?
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 8:23 AM   #4
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jvanwees wrote:
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I was hoping to use this lens to get photos of my son's graduation which will be held in a bit auditorium. I was told by the guy at my camera store that if I put the ISO to 1600 I wouldn't have any problem to use it hand held but now I am not so sure if there will be enough light even if use flash. I will have to zoom in to get a good close up. What do you think?
Thank you for outlining the use you have in mind. The simple answer is that you're probably going to be okay. A couple of points of clarification, however, might help. With what camera are you shooting and I assume you're talking about the on-camera flash?

Since you mention going all the way up to ISO 1600, I'm going to start by assuming a K10d, since that's the top end of its ISO range, and I'm going to assume you're going to be shooting from the stands a long way away from the stage. With those assumptions in mind, I would do a few things.

I would shoot in Av mode, starting off with your ISO at 800. This mode will enable you to get the fastest shutter speed possible with the given lighting conditions. This is a problem faced often by those of use who shoot outdoor sports at night, where searching for adequate light is a way of life. I always put AF mode in AF-C. Do not use your flash unless you're going to be shooting within 10-15 feet of the stage. Otherwise, you'll light the area closest to you and greater distances will be much darker. Make sure you have shake reduction turned on, since I'm sure shooting from a tripod at such an event won't be an option.

If your pictures are still dark, or you're getting motion blur, you may have to go on up with the ISO. If we're talking about a K10d, one thing I would do, if you haven't done so already, is go into your Custom settings menu (use your manual for specific directions on how), and set you Ev compensation and ISO to 1/3 stop adjustments. With the default settings on the K10d, you jump from ISO 800 to ISO 1600. Making the change I suggest will give you two more interim steps at ISO 1000 and ISO 1250. With the K10d, I try to avoid going to ISO 1600 any time I can because of noise issues.

Remember, all of these suggestions are predicated on the assumption that the camera is a K10d. If you have a K20d, the process is the same, but you have more headroom before you start running into noise issues.

Since I have not worked that much with the other Pentax models, I can't tell you as specifically the best way to approach the situation, but the general principles will be the same.

Let us know the specifics, and I'm sure there will be others who will either add to, or offer alternative approaches, to what I've outlined.

Hope this is of help,

Paul


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Old Apr 26, 2009, 8:55 AM   #5
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Thank you for your suggestions. The camera is a K200D & the only flash I have right now is the one on the camera. I plan to get to the ceremony early so I can get a seat as close as possible to the stage. The problem with this type of event is I will have to be quick as I will only have one chance to capture my son accepting his degree. So I won't have time take a photo & readjust the settings if they aren't correct. I guess I should take photos of some other students who will be on stage before my son so I can gauge the exposure from that. There will not be room for a tripod & I have a monopod but have never used it & since I am inexperienced at this type of thing would prefer to do it hand held which will be easier when there is a time factor involved.

Janice
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 3:00 PM   #6
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jvanwees wrote:
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The problem with this type of event is I will have to be quick as I will only have one chance to capture my son accepting his degree. So I won't have time take a photo & readjust the settings if they aren't correct. I guess I should take photos of some other students who will be on stage before my son so I can gauge the exposure from that.

Janice
You've hit the nail on the head, Janice. But, that's also the great advantage of digital. You can take all the practice shots of people setting up mikes....the welcoming speakers, etc....so you have all your setting tested.....and it's not going to cost you anything.

One caution in choosing your seat, and whether it's an issue is controlled by how your school controls the crowd. You can get a great sight-line and have it ruined by someone running up to the front "just to get one shot." If parents, friends, etc. are allowed to crowd the aisles and front, you have to be doubly careful that the seat you choose isn't subject to getting blocked. (I do graduation every year, and our school does nothing to control this....It can be a nightmare.)

Good luck.

Paul
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 3:42 PM   #7
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Good advice for you so far. The better flash can be critical here as the on-board flash is quite anemic when trying to get out there at any kind of distance. Here are a couple I shot recently at a beauty walk my twin granddaughters participated in. Shot from around 50 feet distance at ISO 1600 and processed in photoshop. I used a Sigma 100-300mm lens with an F/stop of f/4.5-6.7 and a Vivitar 285 HV Zoom Thyristor flash.

Dawg

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Old Apr 26, 2009, 3:43 PM   #8
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Old Apr 26, 2009, 3:44 PM   #9
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Old May 5, 2009, 2:22 AM   #10
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jvanwees wrote:
Quote:
I just bought a Pentax 75-300 telephoto lens for my camera but need help in how to use it.¬* I was trying it inside as it was night time so too dark to try outside.¬* I found I had to raise¬* the ISO in order to have enough light for the pictures even when I used the flash on my camera.¬* What ISO would you normally use? What is the best camera mode to use with it?¬* I had it on P & was adjusting the aperture to try taking photos with different DOPs.¬*

¬*I had trouble even getting it to work in the beginning as when I zoomed to the full length the shutter release button wouldn't work.¬* I am leaving for a holiday in Jamaica on Wed. & plan to take it with me if I am not too frustrated with it.¬*

If anyone can offer some pointers on using this less it would be greatly appreciated.¬*

Thanks.

Janice
I have a couple of suggestion using this lens
1. Use the sweet spot of the focal length between 100-200mm unless it is abolutely required. BTW if you need the full zoom (like what you said), you can walk up a couple of steps towards the subject by using 200mm.
2. Like Dawg said, use the on-board flash

Have fun in your trip

Daniel
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