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05-28-2010, 07:48 AM   #1
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how is the Pentax 50-135mm f2.8 SDM for sports?

Like basketball, gymnastics, martial arts?

I am able to shoot from the sidelines with my K20D.

My only worry is that the K20D is not quick enough at 2.5fps compared to other brands 8~10fps monsters.


Last edited by Reportage; 05-28-2010 at 07:53 AM.
05-28-2010, 07:58 AM   #2
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Here's a shoot of mine with the FA 135 at f2.8, the stage was more than 60 meter away from where i was standing.
I know it wasn't done with the DA*, but i think it can help to figure if it's long enough @ 135mm for yours need.
05-28-2010, 09:39 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reportage Quote

My only worry is that the K20D is not quick enough at 2.5fps compared to other brands 8~10fps monsters.
People were shooting sport (and most other things) quite successfully before 8-10fps monsters came along...

No offence intended, this is just a general rant, but why do so many folk out there now think that you need IS0 12,800 and 8fps before you can take photographs?

I propose a new law - if you want to spend over 400 on a camera you are first given a Holga and a role of ISO 100 film and told to come back with six decent shots before you are allowed to proceed with your purchase

[thread hijack over - move along - nothing to see here...]
05-28-2010, 09:49 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Reportage Quote
Like basketball, gymnastics, martial arts?

I am able to shoot from the sidelines with my K20D.

My only worry is that the K20D is not quick enough at 2.5fps compared to other brands 8~10fps monsters.
So what is your concern? The AF speed of the DA50-135 or the K20D' fps or both?
I own the combo and to be honest, they are not speed demon.
Don't expect any tracking AF, you'll be disappointed.
Don't expect more than 3fps, that's a K20D's shutter limitation.
DA * 50-135 is on the slow side for focusing compared to most Pentax lens but very silent.
If you're expecting a very good IQ from a zoom lens, DA*50-135 is the best. Almost like a prime lens.
I'd suggest to try a Sigma HSM 70-200. People have been saying that it has a very fast motor but maybe you'll get that advantage using K-7 or Kx.
K20D's AF motor is nothing to brag about.

For reference, I had a hard time to track a walking people on a wedding's chuch ceremony with this combo on AF-S or AF-C.
I ended up using manual focus.
There you go, I hope that helps.

05-28-2010, 10:08 AM   #5
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"People were shooting sport (and most other things) quite successfully before 8-10fps monsters came along... "

So how did they do it then? Any web links or tutorials of such sport photography from such a time?
05-28-2010, 10:28 AM   #6
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I do quite a bit of sports photography. As has been said a countless times, you don't need high fps for sports. That is nothing new, and really doesn't apply in this instance since the OP is asking about a lens, not a camera body.

What is more helpful, is quick focussing. I am not talking about tracking here. I prefer not to use tracking at all on Pentax cameras because I think it is slow and somewhat unreliable. But I do appreciate a lens and camera that I can turn on a subject, and get a lock quickly. Sure I can do it manually like I used to, but that is why I paid for AF...

The DA* 50-135 is excellent optically. It is however probably the slowest focusing AF lens I have ever used. When I used to shoot basketball, I would often use "old-school" prefocus techniques when I shot the 50-135 to avoid the frustration. I usually just ended up switching to a prime. The 50-135 is so slow that I remember shooting my sons graduation with it (indoors). The combination of the slow DA* combined with SAFOX, had trouble sometimes locking on to my son during the procession.
05-28-2010, 10:30 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talisker Quote
People were shooting sport (and most other things) quite successfully before 8-10fps monsters came along...
I agree, I shot motorsports with my K100D for 2 years, along with baseball games, soccer and MANY others.

There is no real need for 8-10fps, IMO it just leaves you with 1000's of images to delete.

If you want to see my old stuff poke back through my threads or my flickr Flickr: Gaelen Norman's Photostream

the 50-135 has proven to be a fantastic lense for me
05-28-2010, 01:02 PM   #8
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QuoteQuote:
So how did they do it then? Any web links or tutorials of such sport photography from such a time?
I shot many excellent sports pictures with a compact P&S. And many more with my K20D and a manual lens (manual focus and exposure). And now I often shoot sports (and got two football pictures accepted in the PPG) with the K20D and the FA 100-300 f4,7-f5,8. Not a fancy 2000$ lens at all

First, anticipate. Be ready for the action. You ought to know where it will happen, roughly. You can even pre-focus there. "slow" AF (which is still fast compared to even a few years ago) should not be an issue if you anticipate well.

Exposure will not be an issue with an automatic lens.

Practice and remember that not all your shots will be keepers.

Practice, and learn your tool. I rarely use the burst mode with my K20D, but 3 fps is PLENTY for sports, unless you want to aim blindly and fire away hoping the magic will happen.

There's nothing special to it, really. A fast lens will help to bring the action closer and to isolate the background. But action shots were shot with fully manual cameras and lenses. The gear is just a tool, you're the one using it. So use it right.

05-28-2010, 01:06 PM   #9
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This lens is too short for the purpose, IMO, and the SDM hunts too much. I'd recommend a sigma/tamron 70-200 or the Pentax 80-200/2.8.
05-28-2010, 09:03 PM   #10
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indoor da*50-135 is probably ok
outdoor, recommends da*60-250
05-28-2010, 11:59 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Talisker Quote
No offence intended, this is just a general rant, but why do so many folk out there now think that you need IS0 12,800 and 8fps before you can take photographs?
No doubt! I was shooting a rowing event (regatta), and the Canon guy next to me felt it necessary to shoot everything at 5+ fps- I mean, how fast does a rowboat really move anyway? Just more crap to weed out in the editing later.

Back on topic, I found the DA*50-135 quite suitable for indoor swim meets; while it was too short and SDM too slow, for soccer matches- there the Tamron 70-200/2.8 was a more useful focal length, with faster AF.

As far as the regatta, I did very well alternating between the 50-135 for dock shots, and the DA*300 for more distant water shots. Had I brought the Tamron that day, it alone would probably have sufficed.
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