Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax / Samsung dSLR, K Mount Mirrorless

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Dec 4, 2008, 7:20 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Robert Barnett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 323
Default

Hello,

I want to photograph Christmas lights at night (they aren't as nice during the day ) I have a K20D and the Pentax 50mm f1.4. I am thinking that if I set the aperture to 1.4 and let the camera handle the shutter speed that I should be able to shoot the lights hand held. I plant to test this out tight.

Any suggestions?

Robert
Robert Barnett is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Dec 4, 2008, 7:28 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

You might want to reduce the ISO and use a tripod for better results.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 4, 2008, 7:31 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Robert Barnett's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 323
Default

I thought about a tripod and will use one if I have no choice. But I would rather not have to carry one. They really are not travel friendly.

Robert
Robert Barnett is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 4, 2008, 11:40 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,056
Default

I know what you mean about tripods being unfriendly. Good luck with it - I know I've taken some successful holiday light pictures hand-held, but they tended to be the exception rather than the rule. Don't remember what lens I used. I'll probably give it a try this weekend.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 6:09 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
thkn777's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,831
Default

Hi,
I am somewhat in the same boat as you are and already tried some shots. These were taken with a DL2 and a M 50/1.4 lens. I used the selftimer or hand-held shots depending on available "natural tripods" . Aperture was f/1.4 or f/2, ISO200, shutter speeds 0.8s ... 1/60s.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...mp;forum_id=81

I can usually hand-hold 1/20s and if I really push things and waste some continuously taken images I've been lucky enough to get keepers with 1/10s and 1/8s. That's WITHOUT shake reduction.

In your case (K20d) I'd be VERY confident to leave ISO at 100 or 200. Instead of raising ISO, shoot RAW and correct the exposure (+1, +2, whatever) via postprocessing/RAW development. Works best with LOW ISO, though. Shutter speed with SR --> can push your luck until 1/10s with confidence.

Visit dofmaster.com to get a feeling for DOF at certain apertures!

For a start I'd try to stop down to f/2 (1.4 is usable, but very soft - so for fine architecture details etc. f/2 works much better), ISO100-200 and try to stay at or faster than 1/10s handheld, everything else: lean on something, put camera on something and use selftimer.

If you own a wider lens (24/2, 28/2, 28/2.8, 35/2.8, 40/2.8 or the like), take these with you and try them wide open or stepped down once. Don't hesitate to TRY this, you'll be astonished how much light actually is available in a city illuminated by christmas lights. Again: low ISO and postprocessing is better than high ISO and lots of grain in most cases.

Good luck,
Th.
thkn777 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 6:57 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
Driver3's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 481
Default

At f8 andsmaller apertures,the aperture blades will make the nice star effect. This necessitates using a tripod.

Use base ISO and let the camera metering do it's thing on a tripod with the 2 sec timer for MLU. This way you won't have to turn off shake reduction, it is off automatically.





Dennis

Driver3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 10:01 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
ennacac's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4,198
Default

It will work out best if you use some sort of support for your camera and a small aperture such as f/8 but YMMV.

Tom
ennacac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 8:23 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

Here is an eye opener for you! This photo was taken with a Panasonic FZ-28 digicam set at ISO 800 and handheld! The results are rather amazing.

Take a look.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 9:00 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Posts: 1,381
Default

Hi Robert,

I have been playing around quite a bit with evening lights and the like. With a K100 I can only go down to ISO 200, and all my lenses are f4 (ok f3.5 for a couple) except an older manual 50/f1.7. So I have to revert to a tripod. I have found I can go up to ISO 400 and still get pretty acceptable results.

When using the 50/f1.7 I do get a lot of additional latitude with the shutter speed, however as thkn pointed out the dof becomes pretty thin even at infinity. Raising the ISO to 400 does help with the shutter speed obviously.

I was over in San Diego earlier this year and had a few good targets of opportunity shots. I am glad I immediately reviewed the shots and then pulled out the tripod (very reluctantly - and I am glad I packed it for the trip), and reduced the ISO. Anyway here is a citiscape and an old sailing ship at night...

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...san+diego+sail

hope to see you images!
interested_observer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Dec 5, 2008, 11:04 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default

interested-observer-

Christmas light photos are easier than you might think. if your camera has good IS, they can even be taken handheld at ISO 800, provided you are using a camera such as the Panasonic FZ-28.

Yes, using a tripod is the ideal approach, but they can be done handheld. Just take a look at these photos. Thanks! These two photos were taken with a Panasonic FZ-28, handheld,by a friend of mine named, Tullio. He does very nice work and is a very skilled and talented photographer.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 3:33 AM.