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Old Dec 27, 2011, 8:28 AM   #1
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Default K-x and low light snaps indoor tips

Hi Everyone

I could use some suggestions on using my K-x indoors for usual family snaps without flash. I typically use the K-x in aperture priority mode. I have tried the DA 35 2.4, and the FA 50 1.7 and most recently the DA 18-135 3.5.( Typically wide open) Most of pictures are typically blurry. (Not very sharp) This usually is because I cannot seem to get a High enough shutter speed. ISO is usually set to Auto. I have used an external flash and bounced the light this really helps. But then I am no longer a discreet shooter.
I am pretty new to this and was looking for better low light shooting than my bridge cameras had to offer, so far I haven't seen a great advantage in what I have invested in. I'm sure most of the problems have been do operator inexperience. But I have seen excellent pictures from both types of cameras. I have just not been able to figure out how it is accomplished. Irealize it ios practice but if you keep practicing wrong it still doesn't help.

Thanks again
Mark
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 9:15 AM   #2
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It's all about light, there is no magic that can be done. Crank the ISO up, get the aperture wide open and see what shutter speed you can get, if it is fast enough (with a 50mm on a K-x I would look for at least 1/100s and faster if they are moving lots (think about 1/400s. If you are not getting that sort of speed then go for using flash. If you are using flash then aperture priority isn't going to help as it will still try to get a good exposure which will mean slow shutter speed too and blur. If you are using flash hit manual settings, set something that will give a couple of stops under exposed without flash and then use the flash to give the correct exposure. This will fix the blur issue.
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 11:30 AM   #3
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Thanks Mark

Are you suggesting to try shutter priority to get the speed I need? I really had not thought about using that mode.
I will also give manual settings a try. Thanks for the input.
It's Greatly appreciated.

Mark
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 11:42 AM   #4
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That will get the shutter speed up but unless there is enough light then you will be under exposed (Av will always give the fastest shutter speed for what the camera believes to be the correct exposure), so you can use shutter priority and flash. I personally choose to use manual when with flash (well actually I use manual nearly all the time) as this allows me to get the shutter speed where I want and also close down the aperture for some extra depth of field if needed.

So back to what I was suggesting initially if using flash, see what the correct exposure is (the camera meter will give you a guide) and then under expose by a stop or 2 stops (you can do this by pumping the shutter speed just don't exceed the sync speed of the flash, or you can close down the aperture, or a mix of two). The reducing of the exposure will help take away what the ambient light is doing and bring the flash more into play, so even if there is a little blur the high speed flash pulse will hide nearly all of it.
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Mark - I don't own the K-X, but, from what I've heard, you can get very useable images at ISO 1600 and perhaps even higher. So instead of auto ISO, try setting it on up there, and see if you get faster shutter speeds...
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 6:01 PM   #6
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Hi Mark,

I'd do a lot of experimenting -- the "film" is free. . .

I'd try taking some casual (junk) shots at ISO settings all the way up to 12,800 to see how they come out -- don't wait for a situation where the images would have some importance -- just shoot stuff around the house for practice. I primarily shoot birds and bug macros, and shoot thousands of frames of junk over the winter while cooped up by the cold Chicago weather just to keep in practice and to try new techniques.

There will be noise at the higher ISO settings. The point is to find out at what point this noise becomes truly objectionable to you -- this is totally subjective and very dependent on the final output medium for the images. Do not go by what professional photographers and reviewers consider "acceptable" -- set your own standards for your won purposes. The all-too-common practice of pixel peeping is actually pretty counter-productive for most photographers.

You can get away with a quite a bit of noise if your final output is small (4x6) prints, e-mail or web viewing. For these, 900 x 600 pixels is probably all you really need, and just downsizing from your original 4288 x 2848 will eliminate a whole lot of the noise. A good tip is to downsize in steps to prevent losing a lot of detail (downsize the long side to 3500, then 3000, then 2500, 2000 etc instead of going straight from 4288 to 900). Try downsizing some shots at different ISO before making any final judgments about where to limit the ISO. Realize that in most cases 150 DPI is all you need for reasonable quality amateur prints, so all you really need is 1500 x 1200 pixels even for an 8x10.

There are also some pretty good free Noise Reduction programs available for download. Here's a good article to get you started:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...n-software.htm

Noiseware Community Edition can be very good if you use it judiciously (multiple small (weak) applications while resizing in between instead of one heavy application).

Personally, I use Topaz Denoise. For highly downsized output of noisy shots, I usually downsize the long side at least 30%, then apply enough NR to get rid of most of the noise, then continue downsizing in steps. Downsizing will naturally make the images a bit softer, so some sharpening will probably have to be done somewhere in the process. I won't go into a detailed description of how to do Post Processing -- just giving you some ideas what you can accomplish. . .

Another thing to experiment with is camera settings, especially if you're shooting jpegs. Many will suggest that you shoot RAW, then use NR in the RAW processing. Though this might be the best suggestion from a pure IQ standpoint, it's not really necessary if you don't want to get into RAW processing for snapshots. Try turning the Sharpening in your Image Settings down to "-4" from the default "0". This will lower the apparent noise in the images, and may allow you to use higher ISO settings. I'm just guessing, because I don't own a Kx or Kr, but I think that you should be able to shoot at ISO 6400 pretty easily, and maybe faster.

Unless you're shooting in very dark situations, your FA 50/1.7 should allow you to get some pretty decent results with the Kx and higher ISO, and you should even be able to stop down a bit to get deeper DOF. I'm currently shooting my K-5 in jpeg at ISO 10,000 with a very slow DA 18-250 f4.5-6.3 ultra zoom indoors. SR works well enough that at 250mm, I just have to keep shutter speeds over 1/125. Of course, I.m not using this for super critical available light work, but it works well enough for family get-togethers and informal events. With a little NR help, I can get very acceptable 8x10 prints for the family -- the wouldn't be even close to good enough for publication, but I've gotten my share of WOWs from family and friends.

Don't forget that proper low light technique is always going to give you better results -- concentrate on holding the camera loosely, relax, press the shutter button gently, lean against something solid if you can. support the camera with your left hand with your palm facing upward, rest your left elbow on your stomach. Brace the camera against your face using the veiwfinder. Grasp the camera gently with your right hand -- any muscle tension induces shake and fatigue. Wait to see the SR hand in the VF before taking the shot.

Hope this helps some. . .it should at least give you a place to start. . .

Scott
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 6:32 PM   #7
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You need higher shutter speeds. Don't worry about the ISO, the Kx can handle it. Start with 1/50 and move up until you catch the kids clearly. I use the Tamron 18-250, so the 18-135 should be fine. Once you get the shutter speed right, no blur, use burst to take a lot of shots. Something should come out.
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Old Dec 27, 2011, 7:19 PM   #8
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Thank you Scott

That will definately give me a place to start. You are right most of my shots this time of year are indoors and at night since it is night by the time i get home.

also thank you pboerger I just bought the 18-135 as a christmas present for myself as I stated I try to be at least a little inconspicuous as most people run away from the camera. I did play around with the ISO and meter in Manual mode to see what I was able to get as far as ISO and shutter speed at 135mm and f5.6 It was around 1/60 and ISO was at 6400. This was daylight in the house no sunshine at all.
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