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07-30-2008, 05:59 PM   #1
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How much zoom power do I need.

Hey
Ok so I am a rank newbie who is totally in love with her K20. One of my favorite things to shoot are dogs at trials (agility in particular, and possibly some racing) Most of the time I will be 20-100 feet away from the dog.

So when saving pennies for a new lens, any suggestions? I have a used manual focus 1:4 70-210mm (no idea what those numbers mean exactly ) with a 2X tele converter. I like that lens but am not really getting the hang of manual focus. (some pics are great-most really suck and I don't know why)

oops sorry accidentally posted in wrong forum.. can some mod move it for me?


Last edited by Dekka; 07-30-2008 at 06:00 PM. Reason: wrong spot.
07-30-2008, 06:18 PM   #2
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Does the 70-210 give you enough reach? If not, the first lens that comes to mind is the Bigma 50-500mm. It's a hefty lens though, and while not a very fast lens, is still faster than your current setup. If you are getting enough reach, then a faster setup would be a 70-200mm Tamron or Sigma with a quality TC. Both options will run you close to a grand. If that is not anywhere near what you can spend, your only other choice is one of the consumer 70-300mm lenses. But with that, you will lose some range. You can pair it with a 1.4x TC, but unless the light is really good, AF will suffer to the point of almost not working at ll. Even in good light, AF performance will take a hit and require a little work and practice to use effectively. There are also some 100-400mm lenses out there, but I'm really not familiar with any of them. I'll leave that to someone else.
07-30-2008, 06:49 PM   #3
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Well, I dont shoot many(none) dog trials but it seems to me that the agility course is always the same, and unless you are shooting in poor lighting conditions your current set up should enable you to get some decent shots. You should be able to prefocus on a specific point(s) in the course and get reasonably sharp pictures because you know where the action is going to take place. This would also alow you a chance to compose your shot rather than constantly jumping from turn to turn. I would probably shoot this in manual as your lighting/exposure is not likely to change much. There are certainly better options if you have extra cash to spend, but I think you should be able to get some good pictures by ensuring proper exposure and then prefocusing on specific points in the course. Hope that helps.

-Amped!
07-30-2008, 07:06 PM   #4
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I would suggest the DA 55-300mm, this should cover your needs.

Neil

07-30-2008, 07:46 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dekka Quote
Hey
Ok so I am a rank newbie who is totally in love with her K20. One of my favorite things to shoot are dogs at trials (agility in particular, and possibly some racing) Most of the time I will be 20-100 feet away from the dog.

So when saving pennies for a new lens, any suggestions? I have a used manual focus 1:4 70-210mm (no idea what those numbers mean exactly ) with a 2X tele converter. I like that lens but am not really getting the hang of manual focus. (some pics are great-most really suck and I don't know why)

oops sorry accidentally posted in wrong forum.. can some mod move it for me?
I wouldn't buy anything until I had tried out what you have in real world conditions. I found the 80-200 to be a wee bit short for agility, but your mileage may vary. Try to stay away from teleconverters for this sort of shooting, they will make you drop your shutter speed more than you probably want to.
I suggest a good tripod rather than a new lens.
You'll get much better service from it.
07-30-2008, 10:29 PM   #6
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Hi Dekka,

I don't know what "suck" means in your context but if you're getting blur of the stationary objects in your shots then a tripod may clear all of that up. Especially if you are shooting handheld at 200mm + the 2x TC. The shake reduction system can only handle so much.

Do you have a tripod? If not, then investing in a good set of legs and head might be the best use of your saved pennies. If you need more mobility than a tripod allows then a monopod would still provide a lot more stability.

If you do opt for going for big glass like the Bigma 50-500, or even the DA* 300, you'll want support anyway. That's a lot of glass out in front of you to be hand holding for any length of time doing action shots.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I suggest a good tripod rather than a new lens.
You'll get much better service from it.
I scanned right past that comment. So yeah, what Wheat' said.
07-31-2008, 02:44 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies.

Yes in agility generally the course is the same (except in a few classes where the competitors make up their own) So I was hoping to try to focus on an obstacle and try to get a clear shot of the dog flying by.

I am not so much worried about cost. If its a grand then I just have to save my pennies longer.

I do have a tripod (somewhere) my pics are not blury, the colours are all off, the exposure is often all wrong. But then every now and then the picture turns out just right. As far as I can tell the settings are all the same. I do change the settings to play around with it, but I get 'bad' pics on the same settings as the 'good' pics. To all you camera buffs I know I am likely doing something really silly and simple.
07-31-2008, 10:27 AM   #8
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As mentioned by the others, the criteria to be determined is the desirede focal length (amount of magnification) and also the speed of the lens. If you want shots of the dogs in motion, and the lighting is sub-par, a higher speed is mandatory (otherwise your tripod will ensure that you have nice sharp backgrounds with blurry dogs trotting by.)
I would suggest using the lens you have to determine if the focal length is adequate, grab a tripod, but also set the aperture priority to the highest speed and start clicking. Then you can determine what you're up against...

07-31-2008, 10:29 AM   #9
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PS Re colors being off, you may want to play with the background lighting options (ie flourescents etc...)
07-31-2008, 10:38 AM   #10
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If you can, show us an off shot so we can get a better understanding.
07-31-2008, 02:18 PM   #11
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Thanx so much for the imput. Will go play around tonite at my son's soccer game.
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