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07-19-2017, 04:48 PM   #1
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AF improvement K3 & 50-135* vs K3 & 70-200* vs K1 & 70-200* for basketball?

I regularly use my K3 with the 50-135/2.8 to photograph basketball indoors. I find basketball is the biggest test of my skills and the camera/lens abilities as it is fast action in generally poor light and so any technical improvements in camera and lens technology is very welcome. Particularly improvements in low light IQ (better sensors for lower noise) and AF speed.

I am looking to upgrade over the next 12 mths or so and plan to head towards full frame with 70-200 F2.8 and fast AF and fast FPS. I figured that if FF was the ultimate goal and some FF lenses required then perhaps changing to Canikon was an option to access better sports AF and fewer missed shots? However, the $ to changeover cant be justified especially when it doesn't bring much improvement to the rest of my photography (wildlife, family, bit of landscape). So my first step will be to get the DFA 70-200 and then the K1 (or possibly K3iii or K1ii depending on timing)

I am looking for forum members who have first-hand experience with the improvement in AF-C between K3 & DA 50-135* and the K3 & DFA 70-200* specifically for sport and indoor sport like basketball. How much better is the AF-C on the K3 & 70-200 than the K3 & 50-135 for basketball?

Further query is then how much improvement in AF-C & IQ is being seen when moving from the K3 & 70-200 to the K1 & 70-200 for basketball?

I'd really appreciate hearing the experience of any Pentaxians who have gone down this route. Thx in advance.


Last edited by RedBoomer; 07-19-2017 at 04:53 PM.
07-19-2017, 05:25 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by RedBoomer Quote
I am looking for forum members who have first-hand experience with the improvement in AF-C between K3 & DA 50-135* and the K3 & DFA 70-200* specifically for sport and indoor sport like basketball. How much better is the AF-C on the K3 & 70-200 than the K3 & 50-135 for basketball?
I will butt in here despite not owning either lens. The AF speed of your DA* 50-135/2.8 is legendarily slow. I believe I can safely say that the DFA 70-210/2.8 will be an improvement overall, though perhaps not for your choice of subject. In dim light and fast action, your K-3 may well be the limiting component. The in-depth review of the 70-200 on this site should provide some guidance as might the video review of the K-1 done by "The Camera Store TV". Your best bet might be to either rent the lens in advance of purchase and/or find a mate who owns one and go out with them to do some shooting.

HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW Review - Focusing | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Pentax K-1 Hands-On Field Test (with Nick Devlin) - YouTube


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07-19-2017, 07:57 PM   #3
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I may put forward a related experience and different outcome. I shoot volley-ball and the sport centre lighting is the key to my lens selection. First I tend to prefer fast prime lenses. [I know that the OP want to use a zoom.] Fast means f1.4 to f2.8. Second the lighting: in poor light conditions (eg some school sport hall), the AF can be pretty bad, even with a fast AF lens (eg FA77mm). In these conditions, I would tend to shoot with a fast MF lens. I pre-focus the lens to where I would shoot, wait for the action and do tiny AF adjustment manually. I also use HI continuous shooting (8.3 fps on my K-3). This technique works well for me, when I can sit close to the action: e.g., on the team substitute bench, behind the referee.

Hope that the comment may help.
07-19-2017, 08:45 PM   #4
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I have both lenses and both cameras, and would probably go for the DFA*70-200 on the K-3 for the combination of reach, burst speed, buffer depth, IQ and focussing speed.

I haven't done specific comparisons though.

07-20-2017, 12:13 PM   #5
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Hi,
I'd go with 70-200: its AF a little bit faster than 50-135.
50-135 is, obviously, smaller.
The IQ from both lenses is great.
Another point for K1+70-200 combo is that high ISO from K1 is better than from K3.
Good luck with whatever you select.
07-20-2017, 04:19 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I will butt in here despite not owning either lens. The AF speed of your DA* 50-135/2.8 is legendarily slow. I believe I can safely say that the DFA 70-210/2.8 will be an improvement overall, though perhaps not for your choice of subject. In dim light and fast action, your K-3 may well be the limiting component. The in-depth review of the 70-200 on this site should provide some guidance as might the video review of the K-1 done by "The Camera Store TV". Your best bet might be to either rent the lens in advance of purchase and/or find a mate who owns one and go out with them to do some shooting.

HD Pentax-D FA* 70-200mm F2.8 ED DC AW Review - Focusing | PentaxForums.com Reviews

Pentax K-1 Hands-On Field Test (with Nick Devlin) - YouTube


Steve
Thanks for the links Steve. I too expect the 70-200 to be quicker than my 50-135 on the K3 but I am trying to get a feel for what I should realistically expect?
07-20-2017, 04:34 PM   #7
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In practical terms, a FF body is heavier and the D-FA 70-200mm f/2.8 is around 4lb. Following fast tele action with such bulk may be as challenging as the AF you are now experiencing. Also, the tele framing advantage goes to APS-C. The DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 provides the same FOV and similar performance in a much more manageable package. The newer APS-C designs are very close to full-frame in low noise at high ISO capability, as is shown with the new KP. Perhaps the best strategy is to wait for the K-3 II replacement, which should also produce the same level of high-ISO performance as the KP, as well as improvement in AF, and also consider converting the SDM of your DA* 50-135mm to screw-drive, which everyone having done this says is faster.
07-20-2017, 05:18 PM   #8
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Screw-drive Tamron 70-200 2.8 on APS-C might be the best bang for buck option here.

07-20-2017, 05:40 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by caliscouser Quote
Screw-drive Tamron 70-200 2.8 on APS-C might be the best bang for buck option here.
Even converting that 50-135 to screwdrive would make it faster - it certainly did for me.

But the fastest focusing combination is going to be the D FA 70-200 on the K-1, for the fastest framerate, put it on the K-3.
07-20-2017, 06:26 PM   #10
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I use the K3-ll and Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 MKll for motorcross/dirtbike racing and it's a great combo. AF is fast with AF.C and continuous shooting Hi gives great frame rate, and i use spot focus.

I'm waiting to see if the K1 MK2 has a faster frame rate, as I want better than 4 frames a second before i go full frame.

For fastest frame rate go K3-ll, or wait to see what an updated K1 and K3 offer. AF speed should be similar on the current K3-ll and K1 with any 70-200mm F2.8. ( Which is around the 105-300mm on a K3-ll)

Don't have the 50-135*. but from what i've read, It has slow AF. So you should get better AF with any 70-200mm F2.8 over it.
07-23-2017, 01:18 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Thanks for all the comments above although it makes me think I might be the only Pentaxian in the world who shoots basketball with a K3 & 50-135???

I will most likely get the 70-200 later in the year an then see what a K3iii brings or even a K1ii promises. The lowish FPS on the K1 is a bit of a negative for me.

The reputation of slow AF on the 50-135 is universal but in practice I get many many tracking shots in focus with it - I am not convinced it deserves such bad press. Just yesterday I was photographing a rugby player running towards me, f3.5, hi-FPS, 7 consecutive frames over 5-10m all in focus. I expect the 70-200 to be noticeably quicker but the 50-135 is not totally hopeless. It seems to me that it is relatively slow going from close to infinity compared to most (all??) other pentax lenses, but that if you start to focus from a point somewhere near the focus point and gain focus (back-button) before hitting the shutter then it can track young men moving toward you at game speed. It seems often to be quick enough when it doesn't need to travel far to make focus . That said I expect that the 70-200 will bring a number of advantages.

Thanks again
07-24-2017, 06:47 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by RedBoomer Quote
but that if you start to focus from a point somewhere near the focus point and gain focus (back-button) before hitting the shutter then it can track young men moving toward you at game speed.
Well, that's how you shoot with any camera, whatever the brand.
07-24-2017, 09:29 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RedBoomer Quote
was photographing a rugby player running towards me
Completely different sport, even when the ball is passed by a rugby player under pressure (aka about to be smothered by the other team) to someone in the open, the action is unlikely to go from being 100 feet away to 50 feet away (or closer) and more than a 90 degree change of direction for you to point the camera. Basketball players on offense are supposed to be moving in unpredictable ways and no one wants a picture of a basketball player without the ball or at least skin to skin with the player who does have the ball. Pre-focusing on zones or players in a basketball game is an exercise in futility. Either the player won't get the ball when you are waiting or the action will take place elsewhere. I agree with you frames per second is important, if nothing else it increases your odds of getting shots where the key player's face isn't obscured by arms and backs and you don't have to worry about timing your shutter with the arrival or departure of the ball. Getting player's faces in focus is priority one, their jerseys in focus is priority two. No one gives a rat's arse about low noise/low ISO, look after priority 1 & 2 without motion blur on heads and chests while one player is getting an advantage over another player and that's all you can hope for. You might be surprised how many published photos from professional grade basketball games are of players lining up to shoot from the foul line.

Someone on this forum posted some nice photos of a basketball game taken with a DA 50. On APS-C, 50-135 is the ideal focal length range, but if the camera and lens can't keep the head and chest in focus, continuous shooting won't help much. It also depends how close you can get to the sidelines, if you have to stand back 30 feet, 70-200 on APS-C might be alright. On FF, 70-200 is what the photographers with media passes use.
07-25-2017, 12:06 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Well, that's how you shoot with any camera, whatever the brand.
Shhhh...don't share any more "pro" secrets...


Steve
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