Last night i was at a gig, and as usual had my camera and decided to take some shots. Firstly, im using a sony alpha 100, and have the sony 18mm-70mm lens. a vivitar 28mm-200mm, and a sony 75mm-300mm lens. I started using the 18mm-70mm lens, which has an f rating of 3.5/5.6 I assumed (im still quite new at all this) that I could, when in manual mode use this lens, at any focal length at f3.5? Is this true?? Becasue last night, i used it and when the lens was set to its widest length (18mm) it would take one photo at f3.5, then it would jump up to f4.5. which meant i had to alter the settings after each photo. Then as soon as i zoomed in to anything greater than 18mm, it jumped up to f5.6 at the gig i was at last night, it was basically running off four tiny stage lights, with coloured filters over them. with a black curtain all round the stage, and all the band members wearing black. so as you can imagine. There wasnt much light available. I know my lens' arent the greatest for this kind of shooting. but i thought thatif a lens had a rating of f3.5, it could be used at that at any focal length? am i wrong, or have i broke my lens/camera? I also decided that i was going to shoot RAW, Usally, the lighting conditions have been better than in that horrible venue i was in last night (ie it wasnt pitch black with no lights lol) and im usually pretty comftable with using manual mode on my camera, and i get some decent results. And im quite good with photoshop so i can adjust the odd picture here and there. Also, i like using continuous shooting when imshooting paintball photography, so i normally shoot in JPEG. cos its write time is slignificantly less than RAW. But last night, cos i was already pretty hacked off at the fact mycamera wasnt doing what i told it to do, i decided to give RAW a try. The results, i must admit are pretty good. Even the basic editing package that came with my camera is pretty snazzy. There were a few pics that i took last night (i got bored and started playing with my flash) that i thought the exposure wasnt quite right, now iv taken them into this editing package and played with them a little and the results are far better. Only downside is, It takes ages to process them! I should be able to batch process them into JPEGS, but then if im going to do that straight away, why hsould i bother using RAW to shoot with anyway? wastes time and space on the card. In future, i think if im going to take a small number of important photos. ill use RAW. But if im taking a large volume of pictures, or have little time available to edit. I think ill stick to JPEG. If anyone (who gets this far without getting bored) knows of a RAW preview program, that can preview RAW's without opening them into an editing package. that would be great. it would also help me convert over to the dark side, and use RAW more often end of pointlessness.