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02-13-2012, 05:34 AM   #1
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Telephoto lens with fast AF and improving dog action shots

Hi everybody,

once again my LBA is emerging and I'd like to have a telephoto lens with fast AF. I mostly like to shoot "dog action" with it, e.g. our black lab while it's running towards me Currently I have the following set up: K5, DA15, DA40, DA70, M50 1.4 and 1.7 as well as the 18-135 WR which I usually don't use because it can't compete with the IQ of my limiteds. When we are outside I mostly used the DA70 to photograph my dog but I really miss the longer reach of a telephoto zoom.

I considered the DA*50-135 or the Sigma 70-200 OS HMS. I searched the forum and googled a lot (this was not very helpful for my LBA ) and I feel that the longer reach would be great to deal with the dogs when they are running far away. Plus, I was wondering wether the 50-135 is fast enough in AFC to catch the dog. Yes I know, some people might say "do manual focussing" but I really like to have a fast AF Nevertheless, my technique needs to be improved as well

I was also wondering if the Tamron 70-200 would be good for my needs (just thinking from my wallets perspective )

Furthermore, I attached two pictures to get some advice on my technique. Both were made in AFC and high speed burst with the DA70 in manual mode (I currently don't have the EXIF). I'm very lucky with the photo of the two dogs running towards me. The photo with the black dog (my dog) shows what usually happens. The AF is hunting and in case of any luck the tail of the dog gets sharp. And that happens for each of the lets say 5 photographs I took I should mention that I just started shooting this kind of stuff. Any advice on that?

And what shall I do with my LBA?

Thanks a lot for any advice!
Ben

EXIF:
The photo with the two dogs: ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/2000
The photo with our dog: ISO 3200, f/8, 1/1000

Edit: I usually set one focus point and try to catch the dog with it in AFC continuously pressing the AF button on the back of my camera.

Attached Images
   

Last edited by 123ben; 02-13-2012 at 11:56 AM. Reason: Added EXIF
02-13-2012, 05:46 AM   #2
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I could be wrong Ben but I think with the K5/DA70/2.4 combo you might already have the fastest AF in the Pentax system. The IQ of the DA70 will be hard to top with any other lens.

Dogs are very fast moving and I suspect honing your manual focusing skills may be the answer. I'm sure other forum members will have further advice.

As for your LBA there is no cure.

Tom G
02-13-2012, 06:12 AM   #3
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Thanks Tom!
QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
I could be wrong Ben but I think with the K5/DA70/2.4 combo you might already have the fastest AF in the Pentax system.
So generally I have to manual focus this kind of shots? This would be an argument for the 50-135 or the 60-250... don't know yet which focal length it should be...

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
The IQ of the DA70 will be hard to top with any other lens.
Yes, I like the IQ of the DA70 very much but it's a little bit short and a zoom would be great. Thus, I accept sacrifices on IQ for the longer reach and flexibility. And of course, it have to be better than the 18-135 (I think I will sell it)

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
As for your LBA there is no cure.
That is what I've feared

Last edited by 123ben; 02-13-2012 at 06:41 AM.
02-13-2012, 07:56 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by 123ben Quote
Thanks Tom!

So generally I have to manual focus this kind of shots? This would be an argument for the 50-135 or the 60-250... don't know yet which focal length it should be...


Not necessarily. If you shoot at higher ISOs you should be able to get greater depth of field and get the nose to tail focus you want. The dynamic range of the K5 is tremendous in this regard. With 16 megapixels you should be able to crop the image and still get a good shot.

If you go the manual route there are lots of old telephotos in the 100 to 300mm range you might consider. As you can see from my signature I have a lot of them I use all the time. It would take some time and effort to hone those MF skills but if you have the patience and don't mind a lot of failures it is worth the effort.

If you must have AF either one of those zooms would be nice to have.

Tom G

Tom G

02-13-2012, 09:36 AM   #5
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Both the Sigma and Tamron 70-200's are big chunks of glass and will require some practice getting quick shots of your dogs. Focus will be more critical using them also. Often, in fast action and unpredictable movement such as playing dogs, crops from a shorter lens will result in a higher keeper count. Owning a fast tele zoom has other benefits however and I understand your LBA flare up.
02-13-2012, 11:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for your responds!

I've looked for the EXIF information.
The photo with the two dogs: ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/2000
The photo with our dog: ISO 3200, f/8, 1/1000

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
With 16 megapixels you should be able to crop the image and still get a good shot.
Yes, I did that for many DA70 shots.

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
If you shoot at higher ISOs you should be able to get greater depth of field and get the nose to tail focus you want.
I tried this for the second shot... Unfortunately the AF was hunting :/ The focus is just behind the dog.

QuoteOriginally posted by 8540tomg Quote
If you go the manual route there are lots of old telephotos in the 100 to 300mm range you might consider. As you can se from my signature I have a lot of them I use all the time. It would take some time and effort to hone those MF skills but if you have the patience and don't mind a lot of failures it is worth the effort.
I used the M50's a lot for portraiture and I got some photographs that are really awesome! Nevertheless, I'm a bit lazy sometimes and AF is very comfortable I might add an old telephoto in the future, but first I'd like to have an AF representative.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
Both the Sigma and Tamron 70-200's are big chunks of glass and will require some practice getting quick shots of your dogs.
That is why I also consider the 50-135 or the 50-150 which provides a faster AF. In the upcoming days, I will mount my 18-135 to the cam and see wether I need a longer reach.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
Often, in fast action and unpredictable movement such as playing dogs, crops from a shorter lens will result in a higher keeper count.
Oh yes! When they go crazy it's pretty hard to focus. Maybe it's better to prefocus and just fire a high burst when they are in the focus area. It's like gambling :/ But, when I'm calling for her (our dog) she will come and it's likely predictable where she runs towards me. But, still it is very hard for me to catch a tack sharp photograph as the AF is hunting.

Currently, it is very hard for me to decide which lens would fit best. Sigma 70-200 OS HSM, Sigma 50-150 (if I can get a used one), Tamron 70-200, DA* 50-135 or even the DA* 60-250??? Which one would you get for this purpose?
02-13-2012, 01:24 PM   #7
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I was just wondering if AF fine adjustment could be helpful. Maybe a value between +3 and +5. A fast switching between the modes could be achieved by setting a user mode especially for this kind of shots and setting the AF fine adjustment to a experienced value. What do you think about that?
02-13-2012, 05:57 PM   #8
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The further away you can get, the less the relative movement will be. (Think of the scenario of standing on the side of the road and trying to turn your head to follow a car going past - the further away you stand the easier it is to do...)
Therefore, your best current 'dog in flight' lens should be the 18-135 as you can get further away at 135mm and have same amount of dog in the picture.
The solution would be to get a 300mm lens - it's aperture and focus speed won't matter so much as the focal length. That way you could be 10m away from your dogs and frame the same shot.

02-14-2012, 12:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
The further away you can get, the less the relative movement will be. (Think of the scenario of standing on the side of the road and trying to turn your head to follow a car going past - the further away you stand the easier it is to do...)
Interesting! Never thought about that...

QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
Therefore, your best current 'dog in flight' lens should be the 18-135 as you can get further away at 135mm and have same amount of dog in the picture.
I will have a try at 135 today.

QuoteOriginally posted by calsan Quote
The solution would be to get a 300mm lens - it's aperture and focus speed won't matter so much as the focal length. That way you could be 10m away from your dogs and frame the same shot.
Could be understood as a plus for the 60-250 as I really would like to have a zoom and not a lens with fixed focal length

I've also searched a german forum for sample photographs of dogs and found an interesting thread about the Sig 50-150 and 70-200 OS Link. I'm very pleased with their results and also in high burst the keeper rate was much higher than mine at present. Makes the Sig very interesting...

Damn LBA!!! Why it has to be that expensive? Couldn't anyone convince me to buy the tammy?
02-14-2012, 11:00 AM   #10
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For my uses, the Sigma 70-200/2.8 would work the best and I'm considering purchasing one soon. It's fast, has good IQ and the Sigma TC's work excellently with the lens. The Tamron is said to be very good also and is a couple of hundred cheaper. There is a pretty good review of both in the forum. I have had excellent results form a relatively cheap Sigma 70-300 so that's the reason for my leaning in that direction. My experience with Sigma's have been good. The Tamron has a lot of fans and you will probably have good results from either. Long, fast glass = big $$$$$$$ no matter whose name is on the label.

Lenses like the 18-135 can't really be compared to zooms like the Sigma 70-200 and I could give you dozens of reasons to buy both. How's that for some LBA fuel?
02-14-2012, 08:40 PM   #11
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The F (and FA I believe) 135mm f/2.8 lenses focus really fast. Might be something for which to watch out.Great IQ, too. No zoom, however.
02-15-2012, 02:47 AM   #12
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LBA was too big!!! Just 2 minutes ago I bought the Sig 70-200 OS in new condition from amazon warehouse deals for a very decent price! I'll keep you updated with new dog photographs and experiences.

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
For my uses, the Sigma 70-200/2.8 would work the best and I'm considering purchasing one soon. It's fast, has good IQ and the Sigma TC's work excellently with the lens. The Tamron is said to be very good also and is a couple of hundred cheaper. There is a pretty good review of both in the forum. I have had excellent results form a relatively cheap Sigma 70-300 so that's the reason for my leaning in that direction. My experience with Sigma's have been good. The Tamron has a lot of fans and you will probably have good results from either.
Many thanks for your suggestions. You said that the Sigma TC works with the lens... Wasn't there a thread in the forum quoting that the Sig TC won't provide AF with the new OS version of the 70-200?!

QuoteOriginally posted by reeftool Quote
How's that for some LBA fuel?
As you see... It was too much I just bought that lens

Last edited by 123ben; 02-15-2012 at 03:24 AM.
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