Advise on low-light photography at a festival

Started Jun 2, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Yanko Kitanov
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Advise on low-light photography at a festival
Jun 2, 2011

I am going on a photo trip to Sri-Lanka soon, now I am planing gear, places, timing, dusk/dawn hours, shooting positions etc.

I will have to make some photo story at the Perahera Buddhist festival. The festival is a street session - very colourful and picturesque. It takes place after sunset. The lighting is mainly fires, torches and candles. You can see illustration images bellow (The photos are not my copyright and are used just for illustration of my question) :

The DSLR body I use is K-x and I have to try to keep the ISO lower as I will have to make big prints, I have a Metz 58-AF flash, but it is not an option there, not because it is not allowed, but because it will spoil the overall feeling to the happening. That is why I need an advise regarding fast glass.

I have two options - to go for a focusing screen and use MF glass, or to go for a fast AF lens. LV no matter how fast I can use it is not an option, even more so given that you must not only magnify to focus, but go back to the full frame and recompose - really not an option with moving people and really shallow DoF.

All the fast glass I have is manual (I dislike AF lenses in my everyday shooting), and I don't have a focusing screen installed. The fastest lens to focus from my gear is the MC Cosina 55mm f/1.2, it will also do great because it is really fast. I am afraid that no focusing screen will be precise enough for large prints at f/1.2

Which fast glass AF glass can you recommend if I go for AF? I know that the Sigma 50 f/1.4 is quite sharp and has excellent OOF rendering, on the other hand it is "too corrected" so it lacks the 3d-ish volume rendering and the focus transitions of the less corrected, but softer and with busier bokeh FA 50 f/1.4...

Shall I go for the focusing screen, or for the FA 50 f/1.4, or for the Sigma 50 f/1.4, or for something else? Any ideas and advise is welcome!

Thanks!

Have a great day/evening,
Yanko
--
Kind Regards,
Yanko Kitanov

I am dreaming to enhance the sensitivity of my own perception and not the sensitivity of my camera's sensor...

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