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06-08-2009, 11:26 AM   #1
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Pentax 18-25mm Lens at MLB Night Game?

I posted questions about the Tamron and Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses a few weeks ago. I still plan on pursuing that purchase. But, in the meantime, I'm considering an experiment on which I'd like your feedback.

I plan to join some friends for a Mets-Phillies baseball night game in Philadelphia on July 3. One friend will bringing a Panasonic FZ28, so he'll have zoom out to 486mm. But I was thinking about bringing my K200D (I have already e-mailed the team to make sure they'll let me bring the camera into the park - still waiting for a response).

Now... my decision to bring in the K200D is also contingent upon my being able to borrow another friend's Pentax 18-250mm lens. Trying this combination at a night MLB game might be an interesting experiment. The 18-250mm range would allow me to get photos of my friends sitting with me, relatively wide-angle shots of the park and some action on the field. Did I mention that we'll have field-level seats just above the visiting team's dugout on the third-base side? That location is one reason I'm willing to try this lens's 383mm (equivalent) maximum zoom. I don't think I'd try it from the upper deck.

So... here's my question: f/6.3 at 383mm? Will that be fast enough? Yes, it's a night game but MLB parks are well-lighted - enough for color TV cameras. It feels like close to daylight in those parks at night. Does this sound like it might work reasonably well - or should I just bring my own superzoom P&S?

06-08-2009, 01:25 PM   #2
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I think it should be fine. I don't have any experience using that lens, but I've been to plenty of ballgames, and I'll say that your statement, "It feels like close to daylight," is very accurate.

You'll have to report back after the game; I've heard the Phillies' park is quite nice.
06-08-2009, 01:35 PM   #3
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I've used my 18-250 at a Viking's game before from the second level and I was pretty happy with the shots. The Vikings play in a dome and it is pretty well lit. The only problem you may have is with WB, but if you shoot RAW you really don't have to worry too much about it.

06-08-2009, 02:40 PM   #4
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Here's a shot taken at Citizens Bank Park....



ISO - 1600, f6.7, 1/180 using a Tamron 28-300 on a K100D. A faster zoom will do much better.

06-08-2009, 05:22 PM   #5
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I was at a Minor League game with good lighting recently, and I was a little surprised at the amount of light. The lighting was a stop or two better than I was expecting anyway. I used a Tamron 70-300m 4-5.6, and about half of my shots were at 300mm / ISO 800 / stopped down slightly to F7.1 to improve the image quality at 300mm, and with SR my shutter speeds were just fast enough to get reasonable results, most of my shots were in the 1/100 to 1/200 range if I recall correctly. AF also held up well, though not surprising considering the lighting. So yes, even the slower super zooms can squeak by with SR and faster ISO speeds. It may come down to a situation where you can shoot wide open at ISO 800, but you may do better to stop down slightly at ISO 1600, sacrifice a little more grain for better lens performance. BTW, in these kinds of situations, seems like the lens is never long enough for some of the shots you'd like to get. The difference from 250mm to 300mm is not great, but if you think you'll be shooting mostly tele shots you could take your 300mm zoom and the P&S for the wider shots.

Last edited by F16; 06-08-2009 at 05:33 PM.
06-08-2009, 06:53 PM   #6
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F16... being an old film guy who isn't afraid of a little grain, I have no problem using ISO 1600 in that kind of environment. And, yes, I agree going with 1600 and stopping down a bit will no doubt give me sharper results at the wide end. I could also, as you say, take my 55-300 - and I might. I was just interested in carrying out an experiment with my friend's 18-250 if I was reasonably confident it would work out. But from what you say, it should work with some room to spare.

Meanwhile... Oldschool, they didn't give you any problem bringing in your K100D with a Tamron 28-300? Technically your kit and mine easily fit into the bag size limit at Citizen's Bank Park. But I'm always a bit skittish about some security guy at the gate deciding anything bigger than a P&S is a threat to MLB.
06-08-2009, 07:08 PM   #7
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I had no problem getting the camera into CB Park, but that was a couple of years ago. I think they have some rules for cameras on their web site.
06-08-2009, 07:16 PM   #8
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Yeah, I've just recently started using a DSLR (K100Ds) and have used plenty of film, a lot of it being ISO 400 & a bit of 800, also 1600. So the noise/grain level at 800 & 1600 is not a big problem for me in these DSLRs, though I try to stick to 800 or lower under most conditions. I probably should have used 1600 a bit as it looks quite good on my DSLR and would have given more flexibilty, even 3200 would even be tolerable with these kinds of photos but grain becomes very apparent at 3200. Grain doesn't bother me too much but overall resolution and ability to crop becomes a bigger issue for me.

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