View Full Version : Lens For Dance Performance

09-08-2005, 09:30 PM
My camera is a Pentax *ist DS. I want a lens that will take shots of my daughter in dance performances. The lighting is poor and I can not use a flash. I need somewhat of a zoom since I'll be somewhere in a theater. And of course these are all action shots. What can you recommend for me under $1,000.00, any brand with quality.

09-09-2005, 09:37 PM
I take similar pictures of my children using a recently discontinued Sigma 28-300 lens which I got from London Drugs for only $300Cdn ($599 list). It's a little soft at full telephoto, but certainly the best option for the discounted price. I would purchase it again.

I would focus on use of the camera, invest in a good zoom flash, and buy a 28-300 Sigma. You'll need to shoot in RAW, so you'll need a couple more SD cards. You should still be below 1G, and you'll have versitile accessories.

Here are some tips I use when shooting in similar environments:
1. I get as close as possible. Arriving very early or offering to take shots of the whole group usually puts me in the first or second row.
2. I prefocus on the stage and set to manual focus. Reduces AF hunt.
3. If permitted, I use an adjustable zoom flash. Allows lower ISO settings and ensures sharper images.
4. Focal length X 1.5 gives a minimum shutter speed. Use this and optimize your ISO selection for minimal noise.
5. I use a tripod. Reduces blur.
6. I use a tripod. Unless I am willing to risk losing my best shot.
7. Set the white balance ahead of time... manual.
8. Shoot in RAW. JPEG does NOT allow for extensive editing. Marginal shots can be exceptional, but not when the depth is tossed by JPEG compression.
9. I use Rawshooter Essentials to optimize images. It's free. It's easy. It's essential.

Best of luck with your daughter's dance performance!

09-10-2005, 06:15 AM
You'll need fast lens so you can get quicker exposures in this low light setting. Unfortunately fast zooms are very expensive. It would probably cost you around $800 to get a zoom that's F/2.8 and with 200mm focal length. I think a 135mm F/2.5 used from ebay would be a great low priced lens for this application. It should only cost around $80. You won't get the versatility of a zoom though. But you can get very nice closeup shots with it(it's equivalent to a 200mm on the *ist DS).


These lens would probably be your best bet if you can afford them.

09-12-2005, 07:05 PM
Thank you both very much! When searching for a lens on ebay, how do I tell that the lens will fit my Pentax *ist ds? I have looked on B & H and it clearly says to fit Pentax. On ebay I'm getting confused. I've found: Nikkor 135mm f/2 AF DC Portrait Lens w/Defocus Control. Will this work with my camera? I've check my operating Manual, still need some help. Can you set me straight? I recently got my camera and have lots to learn.

09-12-2005, 07:45 PM
Sorry for not stating this in my previous post, but only Pentax lenses will fit with your camera.
Fortunately, just about any pentax lens will fit your camera.

Pentax Takumar 135mm F/2 (http://cgi.ebay.com/PENTAX-TAKUMAR-F2-5-135MM-BAYONET-LENS-EXCELLENT-COND_W0QQitemZ7545690105QQcategoryZ4688QQrdZ1QQcmd ZViewItem)

Another Pentax Takumar 135mm F/2 (http://cgi.ebay.com/PENTAX-TAKUMAR-135mm-1-2-5-Telephoto-Lens-Lense_W0QQitemZ7544890219QQcategoryZ4688QQrdZ1QQcm dZViewItem)

Here are two different listings of the lens that I was referring to. You might have to get another 85mm F/2 lens for those wider angle shots. It's a bit of a hassle to change the lenses, but it's a tradeoff for the quality and savings you get with these old fixed focal length lenses.
Here's a really fast F/1.8 one (http://cgi.ebay.com/PENTAX-SMC-K-85mm-f1-8-MF-RARE-LENS-IN-EXC-COND-CASE_W0QQitemZ7545369946QQcategoryZ4688QQssPageNam eZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)
85mm in F/2, but in a bit newer model (http://cgi.ebay.com/SMC-Pentax-M-85mm-f2-for-ZX-series-ist-DS-BEAUTY_W0QQitemZ7545888407QQcategoryZ4688QQssPageN ameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem)

If you could get a really closeup seat, a fast short zoom would work well without breaking the bank. This would probably be your best bet in terms of ease of use.


This lens goes from about 1x to 2x zoom. The 135mm in comparison will give you about 4x zoom, and about 3x zoom for the 85mm. However, the non zoom lenses will still be a tad brighter than the zoom as the aperture is larger(the lower the F/ number, then larger the aperture, resulting in brighter pictures).

09-12-2005, 09:39 PM
Thanks for all the help! I've just purchased one of the 135mm f/2.5 from ebay! I can't wait! My daughter is performing at the end of this week. Not one of her major shows, but a good one for me to practice my shots. She performs in some of our local town shows and she's a member of the advance class at her high school. She's always dancing somewhere! Anyway I couldn't have gotten a lens soon enough without your help, thanks so so much.

09-14-2005, 07:28 AM
For in the future, Is there a lens for my Pentax ist*ds that is 135mm or 200mm with f/2.0 or faster? cost?

09-14-2005, 06:54 PM
I think the F/2.5 is the fastest lens you can get for the 135mm
There is an F/2.8 for a 300mm lens, but that costs $4000+!

The fastest lens with the highest focal length you can get is probably the 85mm F/1.4. That'll set you back around $800 for a used one though.

Oh and when you receive your lens, you will need to go into the menu of the camera, and go to the third tab where there are extra options, and turn on the extra custom options. There you will find a setting that allows the aperture ring to be used. This option MUST be enabled in order to use these older lens.

09-14-2005, 09:17 PM
That's what I wanted to know, thank you. I did receive one of my used lens just today and wondered why it wouldn't work. But after reading a bit and somewhat playing with all the options, I found the setting you speak of. I'm now good to go. I've got much to learn. Thanks again for all your help.

09-15-2005, 02:59 AM
That's good to hear! :)
I hope you can take some great pics.. then show us what your great little $60 lens can do :)

Joe Davis
09-18-2005, 08:11 AM
Somebody mentioned shooting in RAW. Is there a big difference in that? And doesn't the Pentax have a slower response when shooting in Raw? Doesn't it take longer to process the larger file on the card.

Also, while you are in the custom menu you might want to turn up the ISO to 3200 from the default of 1600 if you will be shooting in an auditorium without a flash.

I use a *ist D so these may be mute points and sorry if these are bad replies. I am a NIT (newbie in training). :D

Good luck