View Full Version : Dark ride photography with a Pentax?

06-01-2011, 04:14 PM
My wife and I are going to WDW this August and hope to get some usable dark ride shots. So, I'm turning to the Pentax users to give me some advice.

I have a K20D and my wife has a K-x.

We have a 28mm f2.8 and a 50mm f1.4. Due to the better ISO on the K-x would it be better to put the 28mm on it and use the 50mm on the K20?

Last time we went (2009) I had a K100d super and the main problem was getting the camera to focus quickly enough. I understand that Pentax is not the best at low-light focussing. What tips do the experts advice?

Would continuous focus be better or would it confuse the system?
Multi focus points or one single focus point?
Should we shoot in burst mode?
Also, would using the OK button to focus be bettter and then using quick shift to alter the focus or should I go full manual focus? I'm not that good yet at MF especially in the dark.

Sorry for the multitude of questions but any tips would be greatly appreciated.

06-01-2011, 07:38 PM
I don't have a Pentax, but I once read a tip that using continuos focus was better with really fast lenses because the DOF is so small. That has seemed to work for many situations, but I found the single shot mode worked better for me on dark rides. My AF was all over the place on continuos mode looking for something to lock on to.

Single point focus worked best for me, but I use single point 99% of the time to ensure I am focusing on what I want to. MF was really difficult, especially with a 50mm f/1.4 because the DOF is very thin and the light is so low.

Burst mode is a great idea, I would take 10+ shots at a time and occasionally you will get a tack sharp image in with a lot of junk shots. But you only need one...

Your experience may be different with Pentax, but this is what worked best for me shooting Canon. I came away with a few really fun shots from Pirates, Great Movie Ride, The Haunted Mansion, etc.

Good luck and have fun!

06-01-2011, 11:13 PM
Your plan sounds solid to me.

Is it the FA 50mm f/1.4? Mine is a great lens, but not really the fastest at focusing. I have the new 35mm f/2.4 and it seems to focus much faster, but I have not been able to do any WDW dark rides with it. I do not know about the 28mm, but is it typically faster to focus? If it is, then even more reason to go with your plan because the focus on your K20d should be faster and better than the K-x. It is sort of leveling the playing field.

06-02-2011, 12:01 AM
Last weekend I tried to get some shots of the Dragon that lives insode of Canadas Wonderland mountain, it is Pitch dark inside, wxcept for just glowing low wattage lights around the dragon when you go around him on the coaster. I used my Kr at 25600 ISO, my DA 12-24 lens set to manual focus at around 14mm, (I thought I was at 12) shutter speed was at 1/125 and this was what I got, remember it was VERY dark! and am not a flash guy.

Now for any members who are really good with PS please LMK, and I will gladly send you the file to see what detail you can bring out, I would love to see how its done!

Next time I am there I will try my 24mm f2.8 and see what I can come up with with that extra stop!

Now I know the photo isn't much, especially for those who have never seen this ride, trust me, its very very dark inside!


06-03-2011, 01:08 PM
Thansk for the tips and advice

Kshark - I tend to use single point focus most of the time. I thought, perhaps, that multi-point would give the camera a chance to lock on to something but following your advice, I'll sticjk to single point. Also glad to here that you also found manual focus challenging - I thought it was just me. Burst mode seems a good idea.

UKCatFan - I'm not sure how fast the 28mm is compared to the 50mm but I'll think I'll stick with my plan. The high ISO on the K-x is awesome comapred to my K20D.

Daisy14'sDH - that shot shows how great Pentax have got with their ISO. 25600 Wow - the noise is very low. At 3200 I'm getting very noticeable noise.

Here's the best shot I've managed in the Phantom Manor at DLP - its taken at 1/20th f1.4 ISO6400
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2253/5788385174_a8556a89cf_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56691981@N08/5788385174/)
Phantom Manor (http://www.flickr.com/photos/56691981@N08/5788385174/) by makingplansfor (http://www.flickr.com/people/56691981@N08/), on Flickr

06-03-2011, 07:50 PM
I shoot Canon, but got these shots with a 2.8 lens with 6400 ISO. I had the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 in my bag...... guess I was too lazy to change or forgot or something. Of course, these are about the 3 brightest scenes in HM. I'd sure like to break some new ground there next time. Just not sure what that will be....... I need my Doom Buggy to break down or something!