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03-31-2014, 11:05 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alpiner Quote
While skiing/snowboarding I carry the K5 on my chest with the LowePro 55AW with the 50-200mm attached. Subjects are anywhere from 20ft-150ft and looking through my photos most are shot in between 75-200mm but majority of those in the upper range. Some I donít crop but when I do itís at about 25-50%.

Problem/Issues:

ē Softness in images
ē AF hunts like crazy

For skiing I typically have enough light to shoot 1/1000, 5.6, 200mm but I feel like the lens is holding me back. In the summer, on the water there is tons of light too and I get okay images and at 200mm and with someone on the tube they will fill the frame 2/3. However, Iím getting really frustrated with this lens shooting fast action.

Iíve been considering the lenses listed
He's currently shooting 75-200mm, but it isn't working.

He crops enough that he's been considering a 300mm lens.

1/1000s takes care of any camera shake issues.

This forum is full of sports photos taken hand-held with a * 300 lens, as is my own site.



The problems he mentions are symptoms of trying to shoot sports with a kit lens.


Last edited by DSims; 03-31-2014 at 11:14 AM.
03-31-2014, 12:21 PM   #32
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alpiner, you should make a list of your needs in order of importance and then select from there as there are many possible solutions for you but not one clear winner.

It seems to me for your snow shooting, you want something WR and relatively small/light to hang from your chest when skiing or boarding, but I could be wrong.
Another thought could be to add the new 1.4x TC to a good 70-200 zoom to get some flexibility in range.

FWIW, I use a zoom (Tamron 70-200), sometimes with the Tamron 1.4x TC and then I also have the Pentax F*300/4.5 which has amazing IQ (superior to DA*300, IMO) and is small, and works well with the 1.4xTC. Neither of those are likely the best choice for you, however, so prioritize the features and research accordingly. good luck!
03-31-2014, 01:34 PM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeSF Quote
FWIW, I use a zoom (Tamron 70-200), sometimes with the Tamron 1.4x TC and then I also have the Pentax F*300/4.5 which has amazing IQ (superior to DA*300, IMO) and is small, and works well with the 1.4xTC. Neither of those are likely the best choice for you, however, so prioritize the features and research accordingly. good luck!
I agree that the F*300/4.5 could be a better solution because it has better IQ (which I noticed using them side-by-side), is even smaller/lighter, and (I now know) has faster AF than the DA*300/4. But I thought WR might be a priority in the snow or on a boat (though I'd probably just take my F*300 anyway).

If I were to go the 70-200 route the Tamron is also the one I'd get.
03-31-2014, 02:07 PM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I agree that the F*300/4.5 could be a better solution because it has better IQ (which I noticed using them side-by-side), is even smaller/lighter, and (I now know) has faster AF than the DA*300/4. But I thought WR might be a priority in the snow or on a boat (though I'd probably just take my F*300 anyway).

If I were to go the 70-200 route the Tamron is also the one I'd get.
I was actually saying I thought he needed a weather sealed lens; I was not necessarily recommending the lenses I use for his application.
off topic, I also got to compare the DA*300 side by side with the F*300 and the F*300 did indeed make better photos.

03-31-2014, 02:25 PM   #35
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To me, it sounds like there is a multiple lens solution that is required.

I would go with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 for indoor sports. There's a reason why people are willing to pay more money for f2.8 than a f4. Sometimes every stop counts especially with poorly lit amateur gyms. Even with f2.8, you're going to bumped up against ISO 6400 a lot trying to keep your shutter speed reasonable to freeze action.

Then for outdoors with a lot better lighting, you can go for the new 55-300mm WR.
03-31-2014, 03:21 PM - 2 Likes   #36
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this thread is a grab bag of speculation and hypotheticals.

the OP asked about the 60-250, the 200 and the 300.

he mentioned sports action and IQ.

im sorry, but the 55-300 is NOT in the same league as the 60-250 for IQ and the 60-250 is NOT in the same league as the SIGMA 70-200 for focus.
people keep bringing up weight. You aren't going to get a stellar performing lens with fast focus/high IQ that weighs 8 oz. That much glass, that much mechanism come at a price.

I love the IQ of the 60-250 when I played with it, but it focuses too slow to be called a sports lens. Yes people have posted "even a blind squirrel finds a nut" BIF with the 60-250, but no one considers it a wildlife lens. the keeper ratio is just way way too low for uncontrolled situations. if you're sitting in a blind for hours, it helps, but I call that static wildlife shooting, not dynamic stalk and shoot which is more the need of sports.

so he's shooting outdoor sports and he might want indoor sports. well 300mm is too long for most indoor, and a long prime limits your perspective for action shots, that makes it no brainer for me, he should get a zoom, period, because he needs flexibility. If he's even contemplating low light, which is actually an issue with skiing, not only overcast, but I've seen a awful lot of ski shoots done at dawn or twilight, to get the same light that landscape shooters crave, he needs a FAST zoom. The 55-300 is not fast, its not even close to fast, and it is horrible in low light.

IF premium IQ is required and a zoom is required, that leaves only the 60-250 from his list.

However, the lens that had been brought up and I would recommend is the 70-200 f2.8. Yes it's not weather sealed, but there's nothing a plastic bag won't fix. For 50 bucks I bought an underwater housing that fits tele lens with up to 82mm filter diameters. In worst case scenarios, you can always use that. I mean, we managed to shoot outdoors for 50 years before weather sealing existed, I think we can survive a little longer. Weather sealing is not the end all be all. Plus weather sealing on a lens that won't get the job done is useless.

QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
To me, it sounds like there is a multiple lens solution that is required.

I would go with the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 for indoor sports. There's a reason why people are willing to pay more money for f2.8 than a f4. Sometimes every stop counts especially with poorly lit amateur gyms. Even with f2.8, you're going to bumped up against ISO 6400 a lot trying to keep your shutter speed reasonable to freeze action.

Then for outdoors with a lot better lighting, you can go for the new 55-300mm WR.
the 70-200 makes the 55-300 redundant and useless. it does everything better in low light AND bright light, why take it off your camera. its just a different class of lens. the 55-300 is a "better consumer grade zoom lens" but it's not in the same league IQ wise as the f2.8s, the DA* primes or the 60-250. Also, who ever mentioned the 50-135? NO, JUST NO! that lens can't focus on a dead slug fast enough, it's worthless for anything moving, The IQ is great, and it's f2.8, but the AF is horrible, just plain horrible.

ps.. wow, i'm starting to sound like norm...:P

Last edited by nomadkng; 03-31-2014 at 03:37 PM.
03-31-2014, 03:38 PM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
the 70-200 makes the 55-300 redundant and useless. it does everything better in low light AND bright light, why take it off your camera. its just a different class of lens. the 55-300 is a "better consumer grade zoom lens" but it's not in the same league IQ wise as the f2.8s, the DA* primes or the 60-250. Also, who ever mentioned the 50-135? NO, JUST NO! that lens can't focus on a dead slug fast enough, it's worthless for anything moving, The IQ is great, and it's f2.8, but the AF is horrible, just plain horrible.
You mention this thread being "a grab bag of speculation and hypotheticals" yet you leave off WR, which specifically mentioned that he wanted.
Sooooo...you're not speculating, you're just telling the OP what he wants and doesn't want.

I mentioned 2 lenses because there is no all-in-one solution to his requests. That is the reason for the various answers given by different posters. Is there a fast focusing 70-200mm f2.8 WR that I am missing?
So what makes your speculation more valid than another person's?
03-31-2014, 03:45 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by cali92rs Quote
You mention this thread being "a grab bag of speculation and hypotheticals" yet you leave off WR, which specifically mentioned that he wanted.
Sooooo...you're not speculating, you're just telling the OP what he wants and doesn't want.

I mentioned 2 lenses because there is no all-in-one solution to his requests. That is the reason for the various answers given by different posters. Is there a fast focusing 70-200mm f2.8 WR that I am missing?
So what makes your speculation more valid than another person's?
lol, yes, i'm telling him he's been sipping from the "weather sealing is the holy grail" Kool-Aid dispenser. he can't get what he wants with weather sealing, it just doesn't exist. so he needs to decide if weather sealing is more important than IQ and focus ability. if it is, then by all means, go for the 55-300. but if he wants AF speed and high IQ, he's going to have to give up the idea of weather sealing.

pentax does not manufacture a weather sealed sports zoom.

03-31-2014, 03:47 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
lol, yes, i'm telling him he's been sipping from the "weather sealing is the holy grail" Kool-Aid dispenser. he can't get what he wants with weather sealing, it just doesn't exist. so he needs to decide if weather sealing is more important than IQ and focus ability. if it is, then by all means, go for the 55-300. but if he wants AF speed and high IQ, he's going to have to give up the idea of weather sealing.

pentax does not manufacture a weather sealed sports zoom.
He also menstions that he actually skis and snowboards while shooting...I sure would not want to have a 70-200mm around my neck while doing that.
03-31-2014, 03:59 PM - 1 Like   #40
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well then he needs a go-cam.

I agree, I wouldn't ski with a 70-200 around my neck, but I really don't see boarding with a k3/5 and a 40mm around my neck either.

at some point, the requirements for weight, focus, IQ, size, price and application can always eliminate every lens on the planet.
who doesn't want an 18-300 f1.8 zoom with fast focus, pro IQ, weighs less than 1 pound, that is weather sealed, costs less than 500 and fits in our pocket?
03-31-2014, 04:31 PM   #41
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That's the beauty of an interchangeable lens camera, you don't need one lens that does it all
03-31-2014, 06:27 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by nomadkng Quote
this thread is a grab bag of speculation and hypotheticals.



ps.. wow, i'm starting to sound like norm...:P
You say that like it's a bad thing....
03-31-2014, 07:59 PM   #43
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Alright, time for me to chime in here to clarify a few things. I appreciate all the feedback, opinions and responses so far.

What’s important for me for this lens.

1. I want something “better” performance-wise than my 50-200mm for outdoor sports-action.

“Better” as in IQ and AF performance for outdoor sports-action 99% of the time. Also, forget I ever mentioned indoor action or wanting, “…that all
purpose lens as I don’t want to be limited to taking sports action photos…” because really that’s not my focus. I just meant it would be nice and it
was in response to Radman’s situation. I’ll cross that bridge later…

2. Weather sealed.

This is pretty much a non-negotiable...unless someone can convince me otherwise and shoots similar conditions and circumstances all the time.
Perhaps I’ve had too many sips of the proverbial WR kool-aid but why wouldn’t I want to protect my gear given the options (albeit slim)? This was
the first reason I came over to Pentax, WR and the durability of the bodies.

I’ve always wanted to capture and share these moments of others enjoying the outdoor activities. When I see an opportunity for a shot, I want a shot
and don’t want to have to worry about rain, spray from a boat, snow, wet snow or getting snowed by a subject on skis/snowboard. I just don’t want to
risk elements damaging my investment.

I know, I know, then why shoot in these conditions to begin with?....because I have the option (WR) and I want to capture the action in the beauty and
fury of nature. Having a non-sealed lens is not worth one stop of light at this point (referring to the 70-200mm 2.8). I’m not reckless with my gear
(hence my desire for WR) in fact I take good care of my investment even in inclement weather and protect it when possible (dry bag it in boat, cover
when snowing heavily etc). I still treat “resistant” and “sealed” as it were NOT 100% just in case.

3. Focal length – …and Prime vs Zoom

As mentioned I’m shooting in the upper end of 200mm most of the time. More range would be nice, hence my decision to lean towards a 300mm prime
or zoom upwards of 200 like the DA*60-250. I’ve lightly considered the 55-300mm but would rather spend a little more as a “one time investment” to fit
the bill. I’m not knocking and excuse my ignorance as I haven’t tried it, but I’m really looking for a significant improvement in lens quality/performance.

I’m still really stuck on the prime vs zoom too.

With a prime I might be limited in the sense of framing opportunities however there’s a chance to learn the lens and get equal to or more shots knowing
where a subject will be at a certain point in the frame.

Zoom is nice because well, it’s a zoom. Versatile with seemingly negligible difference in IQ at this price point (DA*60-250/DA*300 price point)

4. Weight

An issue but I’m not so concerned. However, Norm, you raised an interesting point about leaving the heavy lens at home if shooting action
without tripod. I’m curious as I’ve been to a world cup cycling event in Europe where there were 4 pro photogs along this one stretch and none had a
tripod. The one guy was even hand holding his 500mm Canon at times! Perhaps it’s all in practice and technique? But to answer an inquiry about a
tripod, yes I have shot using my tripod and it’s doable but I prefer the control of handheld. Perhaps I’ll explore the tripod technique more next season
but it becomes a real nuisance on the mountain

The fact is, I’m going to shoot these activities regardless and I’ll lug the weight to get the pics. Folks I ride with think I’m nuts for carrying a camera but
then they see the pics and are really happy (example below). The LowePro toploader 50 AW combined with the harness is amazingly comfortable and snug
fitting too. When I need a new bag (Toploader 75 AW or other), I’ll find one that can carry the weight as comfortably as possible that suits the purpose of
my activity and body/lens combo. I rarely ski/snowboard with the camera all day anyway. Usually it’ll be for 2-3 hours but it’s not strapped to me the whole
time; I’ll do a couple runs, stop set up shop for 30 min, do another run, stop, set up shop again. Another guy I ride with on occasion is lugging a Nikon D4,
battery grip, with a canon of a telephoto lens (as in huge, even compared to the DA*300).

I'm sure I've left one or two criteria out and I’m still not sure where this leaves me….something’s got to give and I don’t know what that is yet.
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PENTAX K-5  Photo 

Last edited by Alpiner; 03-31-2014 at 08:05 PM. Reason: formatting
03-31-2014, 08:42 PM   #44
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Your shot came out good, and you can get a few like that with the kit lens, but I know it can be frustrating much of the time. I also got a few decent soccer shots with my DA55-300 a few years ago. But the "pro level" lenses you're considering just do better, as I'm sure you already know.


If you decide to get the DA*300, as I suggested, get a used one. That way if you decide it's not quite right for you, you can sell it for about the same price. Or just get a new one with a good return policy.

Either way, the snow's melting and the season will eventually end this year (at least I hope it does where you live!). So take a chance and try one now.



A quick comment on lack of zoom: When I shoot runners, it usually doesn't matter whether I'm using my 85, my 135, or my 300mm lens. If it's a shorter focal length, I just wait until the runner gets closer (but shorter than 85mm can't focus fast enough before they pass me, because they're too close at that point).

Your situation will be a little different, since the skiers/boarders will weave back and forth, so you can't count on them getting close enough by skiing directly past you. So I think you need to be in the 135-300mm range. 300mm may actually turn out to be the most flexible, in your case, since you'll be able to shoot for a little while until they get too close. And even then - when the person more than fills the frame - you'll find you get some interesting stuff. The DA*60-250 and DA*200 lenses could work if their AF was fast enough, but unfortunately it isn't.


It's not the shots you miss that matters, it's the shots you get - and how good they are. And I believe the DA*300 will give you more good shots, much as my F*300 does for me. The Nikon guy may even be jealous because your kit is so light. You know it's the one you want to try, even if you're not sure how it will work out. So go for it.

Last edited by DSims; 03-31-2014 at 08:53 PM.
04-01-2014, 06:39 AM   #45
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QuoteQuote:
An issue but Iím not so concerned. However, Norm, you raised an interesting point about leaving the heavy lens at home if shooting action
without tripod. Iím curious as Iíve been to a world cup cycling event in Europe where there were 4 pro photogs along this one stretch and none had a
tripod. The one guy was even hand holding his 500mm Canon at times! Perhaps itís all in practice and technique? But to answer an inquiry about a
tripod, yes I have shot using my tripod and itís doable but I prefer the control of handheld. Perhaps Iíll explore the tripod technique more next season
but it becomes a real nuisance on the mountain
We all know bracing techniques that get us good hand held images, when I leave the heavy lenses home would be when I'm on a moving platform. When you are in a moving boat, even if you brace the movement of the boat will mean your camera is moving..., so whenever you can turn your body into a tripod, you can hand hold... with fast shutter speeds. But for your water ski images, because the movement of the boat creates momentum, the heavier the lens, the harder it becomes to stabilize the lens. Snow skiing you may be able to stop and brace... not so in a moving boat.

Sports photographers do what they have to do to get the image they want, and often that involves great technique, the old exhale and shoot before you inhale kind of tricks, sand bags on top of posts, triangulating body parts, maybe some just have a knack for freezing their body. But if there's one thing I've learned from the little birds, it doesn't matter what shutter speed you use, you cannot achieve the same IQ without a tripod. You can achieve good enough, but the technique necessary is hold - brace as good as you can when you think you're stable, press the burst button and shoot 6 to 15 frames, hope one of them is good. If you're good enough to anticipate and catch the action on a two second delay, working on a tripod, I can set up snap off 3 frames and have 3 useful images to choose from. Comparing yourself to guys at an event where they can triangulate elbows and knees and stuff to help stabilize the camera when you're on skis or in a boat... all I can say is, in those conditions burst mode and hope for the best is your best option.

And I be delighted if someone were to demonstrate on a test chart or something that hand held takes advantage of high quality lenses. The tests I've seen demonstrated that no matter what the shutter speed, you could always tell the difference between hand held and tripod mounted. That's the test I've seen, and that was a guy who actually did a test and printed his results so you could see exactly what he was talking about. Some guy saying he can do good enough hand held, well, I never said you couldn't do good enough, I said you can do better.

Whether or not "good enough" takes advantage of the attributes of a better quality lens, I have no idea. I'm open to looking at data I can examine.
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