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10-02-2009, 06:32 AM   #1
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Any Connecticut Pentaxians able to help me out?

Hello fellow nutmeggers. I have had my K10d for a couple of years now. As a dad, most of my photography is centered around my kids. Iíve become very fond of taking pictures of them playing their sports like baseball, basketball, soccer and football. I take a lot of pictures of the outdoor sports with the Tamron 70-300 that I purchased for $130. Boy, have I gotten my moneyís worth out of that lens! I share the pictures I take with all of the other parents, and they always have very nice things to say about them.

Iíve reached the point though, where I want more out of my pictures. Iím looking to jump up a level in quality. My current K10d Tamron combo has done what it can, but the K10d is slow in all aspects for sports, and the lens is limiting. Iím trying to find out how much better my pictures can be. Iíve considered the following lens upgrades:

Tamron 70-200 2.8
Sigma 70-200 2.8
Pentax 60-250 f4
Sigma 100-300 f4

My reality is that spending $700 - $1300 on a lens is a major deal for me. So, Iím trying to find out how much better my pics could be with one of these. Thereís nowhere in CT that I know of to even look at any of them. I was wondering if there was anyone with any of these lenses who would be willing to meet up with me and let me try any of them. Ideally, Iíd like to try and use one at a sporting event. Iím in Central CT, so anywhere in the state could be arranged. I would be willing to take pictures at your event if that would help someone. I know this is a longshot, but if someoneís in a position to help with this, Iíd appreciate it. If anyone has any advice on the situation, Iíd love to hear that too.

Iíve thought about taking a trip to B&H in NYC to try and look at them first hand. Iíve also considered renting one from cameralensrentals.com, but the shipping cost makes a week rental for one of these around $80.

Thanks for your consideration and any advice you have!

10-02-2009, 07:01 AM   #2
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A new lens won't necessarily improve your pictures. It might, but it depends about what is your limiting factor right now. Those lens will focus a tad faster in daytime (not much), and the 2.8 lens will focus faster in low light. If most of your pictures are taken below 200mm., you won't see much of a difference either, unless you like to enlarge your pictures. Your limiting factor might also be caused by the body. If you do a lot of cropping, you might need more pixels.

All the lenses you listed are good performers, so you won't go wrong with any of them, but you are the only one who can determine if you can limit yourself to 200 mm. or really need the extra reach offered by the 250 or 300 mm. lenses.

If you do a lot of indoor pictures, like gymnasiums, I think you should go for the 200mm. lenses. The larger opening will help you there, and 300 mm. is not really necessary if you can get close to the sidelines. Good luck.
10-02-2009, 07:20 AM   #3
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For starters, you can rent some of the lenses you are interested in on this page-
CameraLensRentals.com - Canon, Nikon and Pentax Lens Rentals
for maybe 10 days to get a much better feel than just touching one in a store. Its not cheap but like you said, $700-$1300 is a major deal so get it right the first time and have fun with the rentals.
10-02-2009, 11:21 AM   #4
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I Second Rental Suggestion

Have used cameralensentals.com. Great service and the 3 day rental option is inexpensive.

10-02-2009, 12:22 PM   #5
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Thanks very much for the responses. As I said in my post, I have considered renting from them. That's definitely an option. Looks like that would range from $70 - $90.

Flyer, yes, I'm not sure how much a new lens will help me. That's why I wanted to try one. I'm looking for sharper images at the longer focal lengths, and perhaps most importantly a larger aperature for shallower DOF to make the subjects really "pop". I think that separates good sports shots from great ones.
10-02-2009, 12:31 PM   #6
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I don't live in CT, nor do I own any of the above lenses, so I'm doubly unhelpful.

But I've sometimes thought about the same thing the OP is asking for, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. I'm a bit surprised that a network of users interested in connecting and trying out different gear hasn't popped up around here. I know I'd be happy to let a curious, local fellow Pentaxian try out a lens or camera I have. And conversely, I think it would be nice to have a convenient resource to connect with someone nearby who could let me see if a DA* lens is all that (I've never seen one in person.)

As for the suggestions to rent lenses for a trial...I, for one, think that sounds like an overpriced way to "play" with something for a bit. I understand renting when you need a particular lens for a specific, short term purpose (a special event or trip, for example). But paying $50-100 when all you want to do is lay hands on a lens or take a few test shots seems excessive. It's like renting a car for a day just to drive across town, when what you really need is just catch a cab or even bum a ride from a friend.
10-02-2009, 12:32 PM   #7
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Jake,

I am in Stamford, and could totally help you out (hey, I need a excuse to head back to Kent Falls Park and snap some pictures) but unfortunately I DO NOT own any of those lenses.

Two things that could help you out though:

1. download the "ExposurePlot" software and confirm your focal distance needs. It seems from your selection that you are sure about that, but in any case, the recommendation is here.

2. Incase you find out you need something shorter than 300mm and maybe aroung 150mm, i'd say consider the DA* 50-135mm, which is my best zoom and one of the best lens I have. Really solid, WR, silent, sexy and the most important, great optics.


Good luck,

BB
10-02-2009, 12:59 PM   #8
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@aerodave - There have been a few small and larger scale meetups at a couple of locations around the world, the problem is connecting with other people in your area.

There is a group of Torontonians that meet 3 or 4 times a year (or whenever somebody comes up with a neat location for a shoot). A mailing list was formed by inviting people to join our social group whenever a new person from Toronto shows up on the forum. It is neat to see $10k + in lenses sitting on a table, and the meets are the only reason I've had the chance to try several DA*, limited, Zeiss and Voigtlander lenses in person.

A different approach would be to ask another member in your area if you can try a lens you see in their signature, that's how I got to test a DA10-17 while in Windsor.

It does looks like somebody in Ohio is trying to set up a fall colours trip right now: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/gatherings-events-photo-trips/73634-meet-...ills-ohio.html

10-02-2009, 01:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jake14mw Quote
As I said in my post, I have considered renting from them.
I really, really did read your entire post. I even remember the trip to NY part. Guess I hit my wall of mental recall on that sentence.

I blame the meds! For real.


Good luck with the shopping.
10-03-2009, 06:51 AM   #10
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Aerodave,

I pretty much agree with your entire post. Wouldn't it be great to get a local group of people together to share info, experiences, and learn from? I found a good local photograpy group on meetup.com. It's a nice group. But none of them are Pentax users. The rental is an option if necessary, but I'd like to just get an idea first.

BBear, Thanks for the offer. The 50-135 used to be the next lens on my "want list". But with my emphasis on sports now, I want something for that. The 70-200s would be much more versitile all-around, but short for outdoor sports, with the 100 - 300 having the range and IQ I'm looking for. Not a simple decision.
10-03-2009, 08:47 AM   #11
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Morning Jake,

Well I am not quite in Connecticut, but a Zonie out in Tumbleweed country. I do not shoot sports, however over on another board, have read some about it, and that may be another source of information. Over on Steve's Digicam they have a sports board. JohnG is the resident oracle of all things sports there. He is a great resource of information, lenses, technique, etc.

More youth football - Steve's Digicams Forums

The takeaways I have read include:
  • A base recommendation is f2.8 at 200 to 300mm - but you go with what you have and can afford, which is reflected in your lens list.
  • There is another way to sort of get lens speed and that is a higher ISO, starting at ISO 400 and go up from there.

Here are just a smattering of threads that I quickly found, that might help to some degree (just look for the postings from JohnG) ...

I know with a tight budget, it comes down to tough choices. However, with the funds, rather than a lens, have you thought of a upgrade in body? The K20 will get you from 1600 to 3200 top end, and with the K7 you can extend up to 6400. Noise reduction post processing may make them more usable. Also, the K7 has faster and better focusing, which may help. Then again with a lower noise body of the K10 at 1600 going the lens route may make more sense. Overall, sooner or later, I think that it is going to come down to the lens.

Also, I know that for sports in particular you see a lot of Canon and Nikon recommendations. However, with the K7 some nice words has come...

Color me impressed - Steve's Digicams Forums

Just some thoughts - hope it helps....
10-03-2009, 01:09 PM   #12
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Interested,

Thanks for the links. That first one has a link to some great shots, the kind that I aspire to. I bet those were with a 200 at 2.8 or a 300 at f4. The sharpness and low DOF is key. With Pentax, even if you spend the money for these type of lenses, the AF-C system just isn't robust enough to track moving subjects quick enough to handle the shallow DOF.
For sports, there's no question that if you are willing and able to spend thousands, Canon or Nikon is the way to go. I have to realize though, that I won't be spending $2000 on a body or lens anytime soon. So, in my budget area, Pentax will do about as well. There's no question the K10d is not an ideal body for sports. It's slow in every way. From what I've read, it seems that the K20 would be slightly better, and the K7 would be a good deal better. I'd love a K7, but that's just not happening soon. Even one of these lenses is a stretch.

My biggest mistake was starting to look in the sports forum over at Fredmiranda.com! The quality of photos is amazing, and makes me want more. The guys over there will tell you 300mm is minimum for football, soccer or baseball. Again, those are the guys that are willing to spend several thousand on one lens.
10-13-2009, 08:11 AM   #13
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Hi All,

Putting an invitation out here for any of you Connecticut people who would like to get together. There is a meetup group that meets monthy to discuss photography. Info on the group is here, Mid-CT Photography Meetup Group (Newington, CT) - Meetup.com

This month's meeting is tonight at 7:00 at Panera Bread on the Berlin Tournpike in Newington, in the WalMart plaza area. Info on this particular meeting is here: Mid-CT Photography October Meetup - Mid-CT Photography Meetup Group (Newington, CT) - Meetup.com

I hope some of you can attend. You don't have to sign up with them ahead of time. It's a very friendly group, and most of the meetup is simply people talking with each other and sharing information. Bring your gear, I'd love to take a look at what people have! I'll be there, tall guy, 40's, dark hair, small green camera bag. Hope to see some of you there!
10-13-2009, 09:12 AM   #14
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Thanks for the tip Jake!
10-13-2009, 09:47 AM   #15
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Hi Jake,

I'm also in Connecticut up in the Mystic area. If I had any of the lenses on your list I would be more than happy to let you try them out. I've found though that with my 50-135 and my 135-400 I can cover almost anything. While the 50-135 is short for some things it is fast and cropping hasn't been much of an issue. These days I shoot most of my action shots on the beach while the kids are boogie boarding, though I've used it for baseball and some track/field events, but in thos instances I was able to get closer.


BBear thanks for the tip on the Newington group. I attend a local group in Waterford the South Eastern Connecticut Camera Club . I'm in the same boat you are, I'm the only Pentax user in the club and their focus is on competition rather than learning about photograpic technique.

There is a really nice camera store in Colchester that schedules great seminars and events. I try not to hold it against them that they don't sell Pentax though. The list of upcoming sessions is on their site. Photo Connection of Colchester

For the record I would be interested in getting together with other CT Pentax users.
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