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09-22-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
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Pentax K5 50-200 WR + horses

In prep for getting my K5II, i borrowed a friends K5 with 50-200 WR to give me some idea if the camera could do what I wanted it to do. I like to take pics of horses and results are below.

I am happy enough with the shots as you see them, but at full res they are very soft. Saying that, I will probably not need them any bigger than A4.

Also, there are so many adjustments on the K5 there are probably ways to get better sharpness!

My main question is about the lens. I will be pretty short of funds after the K5, but think that some better glass would improve my shots a lot. So what would people recommend for sports on a budget or if I did manage some more funds - not on a budget lol!

The AFC on the K5 did alright though, better than expected, which does boad well when the K5 II should be even better.

So here are a few pics, hope you enjoy!

Most shots in TV mode around 1/500th using AUTO ISO which was ranging between 200 & 800.

















09-22-2012, 03:09 PM   #2
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Welcome to PF. I think you asked two questions - 1. A tele on a budget that was sufficient for some sports, and 2. A tele for sports NOT on a budget. I don't have an answer for Question 2, as that is still my up-line, should I choose to go there. For Question 1, I have used the DA 55-300 (not the DAL, though that would appear to be optically the same/as good). I have managed some good sports shots with the 55-300, even with the (now) relatively slow k100d Super. So the 55-300 would be my recommended tele zoom on a budget. You could get a 55-300 used for $250-300, I think. The DAL version would be some cheaper. This lens with the K-5, K-5 II, or K-30 would, I am guessing, perform considerably quicker than on my K100d Super. Regrettably, the 55-300 is NOT WR, so if that is a priority, your tele options are limited. In fact, the 50-200 WR might be your only "cheap" option available, unless you could make do with the 18-135 WR, but that starts to limit the long end quite a bit.
09-22-2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Nice shots!

The 50-200 WR has a fantastic low price, but can be a bit on the soft side if used fully open.

Softness should mostly vanish stopped down by 2 steps.
For your purpose, you may need short exposure times, meaning to use the 50-200 wide open.

For sports photography, this can be the main problem. That's why professionals use very fast glass, which ist extremely expensive.
I suggest searching in our lens section for some affordable compromise.
09-22-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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Looking at the exif of the photos, there are all shot with the lens wide open (f4-f5.6). As RKKS08 says, these consumer zooms will be a bit soft wide open, but sharpen up nicely if stopped down a stop or two,

I also noticed that you were shooting in shutter priority, which given the moving subject matter, is appropriate. But, when shooting in shutter priority with one of these lenses, unless you are in very bright conditions, will keep the lens wide open.

I've had both lenses - DA 50-200 and DA 55-300 - while the 55-300 might have the slightest edge on sharpness, I honestly feel that both lenses gain a great deal if stopped down a little.

If you still have your friends camera to use, try shooting the same type pics in TaV mode as a test. In TaV mode you are setting the shutter speed and aperture manually, and the ISO will float to give you the proper exposure. In the pics you posted, I see you used 1/400 and 1/500 sec shutter speed. Set either of those as your shutter speed, and set your aperture at a stop or two down from wide open (depending on the zoom level). This should give you some sharper images I think.

As far as a lens similar to this to buy once you have your K-5:

DA 50-200 (WR) - if WR is important to you, this is your only choice in consumer zooms in this range.
DA 55-300 - quite a bit more reach - might be just slightly sharper, but still needs to be stopped down a little for the best IQ

Higher end:

DA*50-135 - phenomenal sharpness and speed - can shoot it wide open all day and get stunning IQ (expensive compared to above)
DA*60-250 - same as above but very expensive.

It is all a trade off - you will pay a lot more for glass that you can shoot wide open and get great IQ. I would try my suggestion above with your friends camera/lens and see if you find the difference in IQ that is better enough to satisfy you.

09-22-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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You also need to realize DOF is quite shallow when using a telephoto lens at wide aperture. Only a relatively thin sliver of the image will be in focus. So you can't judge sharpness by how the image looks anywhere but within that thin sliver.
09-23-2012, 01:53 AM   #6
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Thanks guys, that is extremely useful information that will help a lot. Will have an experiment again next weekend an have a look at the expensive stuff too!
09-23-2012, 07:19 PM   #7
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You really need to test a lens on a non-moving object to determine what it's capable of. There are so many factors that can affect sharpness - autofocus adjustment (if not correct), camera movement, focus on wrong subject, etc. It's easy enough to mount the camera on a hefty support and photograph a still object. I've used printed test targets, street signs, etc. It's very helpful to have a same-focal-length lens for comparison, but not necessary. It's also helpful to have at least 2 camera bodies, to help identify any camera-specific issues.

I've owned two lenses, one sigma and one (55-300, as it happens) pentax, that weren't reasonably sharp across the field at any focal length. Some lenses are just unsharp, but significant differences between corners or side-to-side, which these lenses exhibited, usually indicate a defective lens. Another lens I still have, another pentax, has the same problem, but, to a lesser extent, and only at certain focal lengths. So that's a significant percentage of the (new, incidentally) lenses I've owned that have been defective. But it's difficult to identify issues like that with just ordinary use.

So, despite what reputations certain lenses may have, the performance of your camera/lens combination may not reflect that reputation.

Paul
09-27-2012, 03:46 AM   #8
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Your shots are a bit softer than I would expect from that lens. Do you have a UV filter on it ? If so, take it off. Otherwise a bit of sharpening in post-procesing might help.

For moving subjects such as this try playing with shooting in the one of the continuous modes, then just delete all the out of focus / badly framed / etc shots. Your chances of capturing the right moment improve by doing that.

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