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10-02-2012, 10:14 AM   #1
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inexpensive, fast telephoto prime or zoom for indoor sports photography

The subject line says it all.

I'm using a Pentax K-r. so far i have used the kit lens as my only other option is an old Sigma tele-zoom(85-250mm I think) but it's not very fast either. i will try that one at this Thursday's game.

For now my daughter is in volleyball so the action isn't as fast. After volleyball might come basketball and I feel like I really need something in the f2.8 - f3.5 range all through the zoom range to stop the action in some shots. i want something fairly good wide open but some CA can be tolerated because I don't think I'll be getting many large print quality shots.

I am open to older lenses to keep the price down below $200-300. I'm also open to FD canon lenses as they can be easily adapted.

Thanks ahead for any advice.

10-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #2
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It sounds like you're willing to concede the need to go for an older manual lens to get into this price range, which is a good first step! There is a tokina 80-200mm f2.8 (this lens) at one of thelocal shops (national camera, chain with 6 stores) here in minneapolis. They do ship for free, and are asking a very good price compared with the listed prices in the lens review link I posted above - here is the link to the listing on their website -

National Camera Exchange: PENTAX/TOKINA 80-200MM F2.8

Unfortunately they don't put any details about their used gear on their website. I have visually inspected this lens myself and it was in excellent condition, came very close to buying it myself. I think it has an A setting to allow auto aperture, but your best bet would be to give them a call and discuss the lens with them - the phone number for that particular store (they have several locations) is 763.546.6831. They could probably do the sale over the phone too if you end up wanting to buy.
10-02-2012, 10:26 AM   #3
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Does this mean Manual Focus is OK?
10-02-2012, 10:31 AM   #4
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I would look at something a little different. A good and fast zoom will get you one stop at best, ok maybe 1 1/3 stops if you get an F2.8 zoom.

why not look at a couople of primes. Although not a Tele lens, a MF 50m F1.4 is an excellent performer, easy to focus and gives a bright viewfinder. in longer lenses an 85/2 or faster may also be a good bet, and in the real short tele market the K135/2.5 is a real winner.

these are all fast and sharp wide open lenses (relitively) and above all FAST compared to any zoom

10-02-2012, 10:32 AM   #5
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The A135/2.8 should be well within your price range. The A100/2.8 as well.

SMC Pentax-A 100mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

SMC Pentax-A 135mm F2.8 Reviews - A Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

Contrary to what Lowell said, the 50 is a short telephoto on APS-C. I would suggest avoiding FD lenses.

Last edited by boriscleto; 10-02-2012 at 10:40 AM.
10-02-2012, 10:33 AM   #6
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Manual focus or AF?

inexpensive, fast, and telephoto don't usually work well together

There are all kinds of older 135/2.8s that are pretty good.

I've seen the odd Tokina AT-X 80-200/2.8 sell in your price range.

I used to own a Soligor 200/2.8 which is inexpensive but I found it soft at 2.8

There is an old CZJ? 200/2.8 as well as a russian 200/2.8 but I don't really know much about them.

I don't really know much about FD mount lense.
10-02-2012, 11:01 AM   #7
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Wouldn't a used 300mm kit lens be cheapest? I forget its widest, 55mm?
10-02-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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not fast enough and 300mm is too long for most local school gyms, you are better off going for something shorter.

10-02-2012, 11:13 AM   #9
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thanks for the info pxpaulx I'll give them a call.

Lowell Goudge: I have read about the K135 f2.5 and it looks very nice. Do you think it would get me a shot with my daughter singled out at around 50-60 meters? That's my main concern. The kit lens at 50mm doesn't get near close enough when she's at that distance. I will be trying my 85-200 with me to the next game to see how much zoom I'd like.

Na Horuk: I'm looking for something a little faster, even if it only gets me another stop or so.
10-02-2012, 12:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by monkadelicd Quote
thanks for the info pxpaulx I'll give them a call.

Lowell Goudge: I have read about the K135 f2.5 and it looks very nice. Do you think it would get me a shot with my daughter singled out at around 50-60 meters? That's my main concern. The kit lens at 50mm doesn't get near close enough when she's at that distance. I will be trying my 85-200 with me to the next game to see how much zoom I'd like.

Na Horuk: I'm looking for something a little faster, even if it only gets me another stop or so.
ok here is the thing, if you want 50-60 meters, and lets assume your daughter is 1.5 meters (5 feet). do the math

Image size = subject size x focal lenght / distance

so 1.5 x .135 / 50 = 4 mm or 1/4 the frame height of your camera in landscape mode, but 50 meters is a long way away for a school gym when you consider that an NBA basketball court is 28 meters by 15.

Even considering some bleachers, you are talking about shooting diagonally from one corner of a gym to the other. and that is a long long way shooting at 25 meters will fill 1/2 the frame standing, less arms stretched over her head. which would give a good crop. You need to try, obviously, but in my mind it would do the trick. In a zoom, you are really left with the 50/135 or a 70-200/2.8 which are expensive and not always the best performers wide open.
10-02-2012, 04:19 PM   #11
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I'll have to remember that equation. Is that for digital aps-c or film?
10-02-2012, 04:22 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by monkadelicd Quote
I'll have to remember that equation. Is that for digital aps-c or film?
Magnification is magnification. What differs is the sensor size, that's all. Film is 36 x 24 mm Pentax ApS-C sensors are 24 x 16 mm

That is the only difference
10-02-2012, 05:36 PM   #13
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A scene projected onto an APS-C sensor from the same lens compared with a full frame sensor or 35mm film would be effectively cropped, right? So in the scenario above with the subject 1.5m tall at 50m filling 1/4 the frame, is that 1/4 of a full frame and not the frame of an APS-C sensor camera, or is an APS-C sensor camera working things out to capture the same exact scene? From the casual reading I've done I assumed the scene is projected the same but the sensor is only picking up a smaller area in the center making the subjects appear to fill the frame more than they would with a full frame sensor or 35mm film.

I don't want to turn this into a debate on crop factor and whether a 50mm lens functions exactly like an 75mm on a APS-C or not. I just need clarification on that equation and whether the subject would fill 1/4 of the frame on both a 35mm sensor and an APS-C sensor or just one or the other. I'm thinking that is probably an equation from the film days and just multiplying by the crop factor would give the resulting subject size on an APS-C sensor.

Sorry if that isn't clear. I tried to explain as clearly as I could.
10-02-2012, 09:16 PM   #14
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This was taken with a 135mm Makinon f2.8 from about 25 feet behind the batter. Through the mesh in a fence...cropped only enough to make it fit 1024x768 after resizing, 3584x2688 I'm pretty sure, so this is around 80% of the original shot.



I've taken shots at soccer games before, but not volleyball. Usually if on the sidelines at center of the field, you should be able to get close to this with a 135mm lens. I think I used the same lens or the 70-210 Tokina with 35mm, probably the ME Super but I don't remember, it's been around 15 years. But it got shots comparable to this when my niece was in the center field area where I was standing. A 135mm on the K-r should be able to get close to this if you can get within 50 feet or so. I'm pretty sure I was more than 50 feet from the pitcher in this shot. For volleyball, I'm not sure how close you can get but there again probably close enough to match this.
10-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by monkadelicd Quote
A scene projected onto an APS-C sensor from the same lens compared with a full frame sensor or 35mm film would be effectively cropped, right? So in the scenario above with the subject 1.5m tall at 50m filling 1/4 the frame, is that 1/4 of a full frame and not the frame of an APS-C sensor camera, or is an APS-C sensor camera working things out to capture the same exact scene? From the casual reading I've done I assumed the scene is projected the same but the sensor is only picking up a smaller area in the center making the subjects appear to fill the frame more than they would with a full frame sensor or 35mm film.

I don't want to turn this into a debate on crop factor and whether a 50mm lens functions exactly like an 75mm on a APS-C or not. I just need clarification on that equation and whether the subject would fill 1/4 of the frame on both a 35mm sensor and an APS-C sensor or just one or the other. I'm thinking that is probably an equation from the film days and just multiplying by the crop factor would give the resulting subject size on an APS-C sensor.

Sorry if that isn't clear. I tried to explain as clearly as I could.
He gave the formula to give the projected image height on the sensor as 4mm. The APS-C sensor is 24 wide by 16 tall, so 4mm/16mm is 1/4.

On a full frame (36x24), it'd be 4mm/24mm, or 1/6.
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