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Old Jul 20, 2010, 5:44 PM   #11
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Thanks for making things unmistakable clear. That makes things a little bit more complicated as I had expected. It seems my little Fuji had once been a very good choice...

I've just searched for the EXIF-info. The camera had been set to ISO 200 (??), the aperture had been 2.8 most of the time and the shutter speed had been very slow (1/4 up to 1/30s).

Considering a shutter speed of about 1/250s I would have to use ISO 3200, right?
Changing the lens to f/5.6... I think I understood... (now THAT is "low light").

Getting a brighter lens seems the only way to go - but I probably do need a new DSLR too (as my E-510 is only usable up to ISO 800 without too much noise).
If I'm looking for a brighter lens though, I could only find zooms with f/2.8 - those being quite expensive. Maybe I'd better look for a fixed focal length maybe even brighter.

There doesn't seem to be a chance to find a solution within the budget I mentioned earlier (800 EUR / 1000 $)... or is it?

What would I need to suit my expectations?
Should I reduce my expectations? What seems reasonable?
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 5:52 PM   #12
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The k-x has a edge in low light over the d5000. And when shooting in low light select your own points, do not use auto af points. If you are shooting is really low light, get a fast prime. Something in the f1.8 or better range.

Here is some samples of the k-x at very high iso.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/ge...canon-t1i.html

I shoot in very low light allot, lower then concert lighting. And the K-x on center point and at 3200-6400 iso is not bad if you can get close with a 50mm 1.4 lens. A bit better then my canon in noise. Here are some very low light shots with my canon. The pentax was a bit cleaner.

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/pe...s-dancing.html

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Originally Posted by Hanseat View Post
Thanks for your comment. I think that both the K-x and the D5000 would be quite a stepup from what I have. But you're probably right, that my pics would suffer because of the moving subjects.

As I'm leaning towards the Nikon D5000 (because some reviews mention highlight clipping of the Pentax and the absence of AF-indicator in the viewfinder), I'd like to know what you'd suggest.
I did not want to invest a fortune, and just a prime lens (with maybe f/1.4) seems to be a little bit restricting. I really like to have a wideangle perspective and focus on details in other pics. Changing lenses within the concert seems to be a problem.

I do not have samples on hand taken with my E-510 - I do have some samples from a concert two years ago - pictures taken with a small Fuji S5500 - heavy blurred, but you may get an idea about the light conditions.

http://www.gymnasium-allermoehe.de/G...vy%202009.html
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 6:11 PM   #13
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I'm just trying to set expectations, since you're mentioning poster size prints.

You can get some keepers at slower shutter speeds using a dimmer lens at higher ISO speeds with practice (and you'll need to work at it). But, if there is any subject movement, you can expect some blur (which will be more obvious as print sizes get larger).

So, you'll need to learn to carefully time your shots (waiting for longer notes when they're not moving, waiting to take a shot just as they change directions when swaying back and forth, etc.) to get more keepers, and learn to wait until the lights are on them (or they're leaning into light) to get good exposure (as when they're in shadows, you may not be able to get acceptable results if you have the camera setup for proper exposure for brighter subjects). The more performers in a group, the harder it will be to get any keepers without one or more of them showing blur (trying to catch a shot with all of them still at the same time).

Note that chances are, your 1/4 second photos at ISO 200 were very overexposed with that much range between the longest and fastest shutter speeds used). Your 1/30 second photos at ISO 200 and f/2.8 sounds about right for proper exposure of performers when they're "in the lights" with very good stage lighting (not dimmer lighting that you'll find at some smaller clubs).

A common mistake taking concert photos is trying to let the camera meter the scene when there are a lot of darker areas on stage (as is typical when you have performers in spotlights, with the rest of the stage much darker), as it's not uncommon for cameras to overexpose that type of scene using their default metering.

Metering behavior will vary between camera models, so that's not always the case, as I have seen cameras underexpose in the same conditions, trying to make sure the spotslights are not overxposed). In any event, stage lighting is very difficult for a camera's metering system, usually resulting in very inconsistent exposure using defaults.

Manual exposure is usually a better bet, trying to get an average setting combo to use when your subjects are "in the lights" (or at a minimum, changing metering modes to center weighted or spot so that your subjects are given more weight). Costume color will influence what works best, and if you don't use manual exposure, you'll need to use exposure compensation to help out to give you a brighter or darker exposure as needed, depending on your camera's metering behavior.

Now, you can go above ISO 3200 OK with some of the newer camera models. But, I wouldn't expect great quality for poster size prints if you do go higher (as the higher you go, the less detail you'll have due to noise and/or noise reduction).

A brighter lens would be a better way to go if budget permits.
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 6:43 PM   #14
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Thanks, great advice!

I have looked for a useful zoom and found the Tamron 2,8/28-75 (about 42-113mm euivalent). It's not very expensive and seems to be a good lens (though I found dissapointed canon-users with serious problems LINK).

On the other hand I could try to use a fixed focal length - a f/1.4 50mm lens will be somewhat brighter - but most of them seem to be quite soft when used open. If I need to close them down, there's no much difference to the Tamron. Am I wrong?

What would you recommend ?
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 6:47 PM   #15
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the tamron is soft also wide open at 2.8, the 50mm 1.4 at 2.5-2.8 is sharp with my ef 50 1.4, while with the tammy you need to stop down to about 4 to increase sharpness.
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 6:53 PM   #16
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That depends on how close you can get. ;-)

Typically, if I'm shooting anything in stage lighting, I'll use a 100mm f/2 with my camera (Sony A700), usually at ISO 3200; sometimes bringing along a Tamron SP 35-105mm f/2.8 for wider shots, swapping lenses as needed. How close you can get, what distractions are in between you and the stage, and what type of shots you want all enter the equation (do you want wider shots of the stage as well as tighter shots of individual performers, etc.).

If you can get close enough to use it, and use your feet for zoom, the prime is probably a better bet, as you don't have to use it a wide open apertures, as you could stop it down (for example, f/2, f/2.2, f/2.5, f/2.8) as needed for sharper photos with a bit more depth of field. Yet, a zoom with give you more framing flexibility. There are pros and cons to any solution, and a lot of what works best will depend on your positioning and shooting style.
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 7:23 PM   #17
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Thanks again.

I can get quite close, but I can't get on stage (drummer will be out of reach). And yes, I do like to get wider shots. Maybe I'll buy a zoom first and a fixed length later.

Jim, how do you like your A700? Would this be one more option when choosing the body (compared to D5000 and K-x)?
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 7:35 PM   #18
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There are pros and cons to any of them. If you've got the ability to move around and can get as close as desired, I'd probably do the opposite for low light shooting (go with the brighter prime first, then get a zoom later), assuming you also have a typical kit lens to use for other shots (18-55mm, etc.), when you're not shooting in low light and/or you can use a flash.

That way, you'd have a brighter lens if you needed it, with a lower up front cost to get a better feel for what to expect at a given aperture and ISO speed (and the prime is going to be sharper at the same aperture settings as the zoom).

As for the A700, I'm quite fond of it. It's using a Sony 12MP CMOS Sensor (as do the Nikon D5000, Pentax K-x, and a number of other models like the Nikon D300, D300s and D90). It's Noise Reduction algorithms are not quite as sophisticated as some of the newer models (although they're not too bad using the latest V4 firmware). But, it's got a better body design (build quality, ergonomics, etc.) with faster performance compared to the entry level cameras; and you can shoot raw to get better Image Quality if you're "pushing the limits" with it. But note that it's a discontinued camera model now (although you can still find one if you do some digging).
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Old Jul 20, 2010, 7:43 PM   #19
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P.S.

Just in case you're not aware of it... you'll have a narrower angle of view using a camera with an APS-C size sensor with a given focal length lens, as compared to the same focal length lens on a 35mm camera. With cameras using a Sony APS-C size sensor (as in the models like the K-x and D5000 you're looking at), just multiply by 1.5x to see how they compare. For example, a 50mm lens on the Pentax or Nikon dSLR models you're looking at will give you the same angle of view you'd have using a 75mm lens on a 35mm camera.

With Canon dSLR models using a Canon APS-C size sensor, multiply by 1.6x to see how they compare. For example, a 50mm lens on a model like the Canon T1i (500D) would give you the same angle of view you'd have using an 80mm lens on a 35mm camera.
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Old Jul 21, 2010, 3:59 AM   #20
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I have been searching for useful lenses that could fit into my budget. This is what I found:
(I could get all of lenses marked with (X) for about 300 EUR each.)

Nikon 60mm (90mm) f/2.8 - 450 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...ct/1175/cat/12
A very good lens! The effective aperture varies with distance... but at the distance I'd be using it won't fall below f/3.0

Sigma 70mm (105mm) f/2.8 - 430 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/964/cat/30 (X)
This looks like an exceptional good lens and the focal length would work for my purpose (though I'd need a wide angle lens too).

Tamron 90mm (135mm) f/2.8 - 400 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...duct/51/cat/22 (X)
Not as sharp as the previous two but just behind.

Sony 100mm (150mm) f/2.8 - 525 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/969/cat/82
Sharpness similar to the Tamron - CA best of the bunch

Tamron 17-50mm (25-75mm) f/2.8 - 400 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...uct/355/cat/23 (X)
The 17-50mm could be sonsidered a "better kit lens" covering the wide angle perfectly.
It seems to be quite sharp even when open - except the 50mm length.

Tamron 28-75mm (42mm-112mm) f/2.8 - 370 EUR http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showp...duct/49/cat/23 (X)
Considering the 1.5x factor, I'd like the Tamron 28-75mm most - because it would cover most of the focal lengths, that I prefer.
But except the 28mm length it get's sharp at f/4...

Maybe I could reduce my expectations regarding sharpness just a little bit and they could be my choice?

Most of the 50mm primes (1.4 or 1.8) I have found tested need to be closed down to about 2.8 to have similar sharpness as the 2.8-lenses I've listed here. There may also be better lenses - but they won't fit into my budget at all (1000$ and up just for one lens).

What do you think?

Last edited by Hanseat; Jul 21, 2010 at 6:59 AM.
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