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11-11-2009, 12:49 PM   #1
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Fast fixed or zoom lens for sports?

Hello Pentaxians,

Am hoping for experienced advice on equipping my K200D with a fast lens for outdoor sports shots, notably for cycling.

Shot today with the kit 18-55 in the forest in "relatively" low light and am disappointed with results. Above 1/250 not enough light at 3.5 to stop the action. Slower, things are blurry.

Was looking at the SMC DA 40m 2.8 for sharp capture and more light, but am obviously open to suggestions on other lenses, camera settings, etc.

Would appreciate your kind comments!

Brgds,
DavidParis
France

11-11-2009, 01:34 PM   #2
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are you shooting at the wide or long end of the zoom?

if wide, going from f/3.5 to f/2.8 won't make much difference in light gathering and shutter speed

look for a f/1.4 or 1.8 lens... the sigma 30/1.4 or the pentax 31/1.8 or the (used) pentax 35/2 might be good options

if shooting at the long, f/5.3 end then a 2.8 lens will make lots of difference... go for the 50/1.4 or even a 2.8 zoom such as the 16-50 or 50-135 or 100/2.8 macro lens.
11-11-2009, 01:54 PM   #3
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I prefer zoom so I can get closeups of the athletes and their expressions when they are not right next to me, but also can get wider shots when desired. I have not attempted shooting sports on a prime.

F/FA 50 1.7 (sharper than the 1.7 at 1.7) and 1.4 are faster and can be had for a bit less than the 40, but the IQ is not as nice and of course it is more tele.

Depending on the focal lengths you want, you can look at the 17-50/2.8, 28-75/2.8, 17-70/2.8-4.5, etc from sigma/tamron.

If you want faster, then obviously you'll ned a prime. I find 2.8 is good with my K-x's ISO performance. Vs 3.5, it's 2/3rds stops faster. So you'll almost get double the shutter speed with the same light and iso.
11-11-2009, 09:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Davidparis Quote
Shot today with the kit 18-55 in the forest in "relatively" low light and am disappointed with results. Above 1/250 not enough light at 3.5 to stop the action
Was this a nighttime event? Seems to me that in daylight, f/3.5 should be giving you *much* faster shutter speeds than that, even at ISO 100. Sunny 16 would suggest 1/100 at f/16, which would be 1/1600. So even a cloudy day should have no trouble getting 1/250". But of course, the easy/obvious fix to get faster shutter speeds is to go to higher ISO settings.

QuoteQuote:
Was looking at the SMC DA 40m 2.8 for sharp capture and more light
As mentioned, f/2.8 is barely any faster than f/3.5. But now I'm wondering, were you actually shooting at f/3.5? That's only an option at 18mm. Is that really where you were shooting? Can you post samples (with EXIF intact)? If anything, I'd be thinking you'd be at the 55mm end and still be wishing it were longer. But that would mean you were actually at f/5.6 at best, not f/3.5. That might explain the slowish shutter speed at ISO 100, and indeed, f/2.8 would make a more significant difference - but so would shooting at a higher ISO. And I'd relly question whether 40mm would be long enough.

11-11-2009, 10:39 PM   #5
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Monsieur,

Your lens is fine. You need a decent flash to freeze the action.

I have a lot of experience shooting cycling. Flash is an ideal way to go. My suggestion is to get the most powerful flash possible.

Please see my comments after this article: 7 Beginners Tips for Shooting Sports and Action Photography Bay | Digital Camera Reviews, News and Resources

This article is for beginners, but the first tip is to get very expensive lenses (f/2.8 * 135~300mm). That doesnít really help a beginner, and would probably deter many from reading the other very useful tips in the article.

FL should be chosen based on how close you can get to the action and/or what perspective is required. For most amateur sports, itís quite possible to get close to the action. Often a lenses in the 28 ~ 50mm equivalent focal lengths are enough. A beginner should focus on getting as close to the action as possible, and after that using what lenses they have to get the most out of them.

Get close to where the action happens. For example, in a bicycle-race the riders will almost always take the same line through a tight corner. Therefore, pre-focus and pre-meter on the spot that they will pass through. Get on the inside of the corner and the rider will be almost equidistant from the photographer for several seconds. Same applies for a lot of other sports, especially any sport on a track. For basketball or hockey, most of the action happens just in front of the basket or net so set up there.

For equipment, a really powerful flash (GN~50)is a best first investment (althought the power is not the point). Using flash as primary light source allows best freezing of action and shooting at smaller apertures (~f/8) gives greater leeway in DOF than shooting f/2.8 (and more in focus images) and those smaller aperatures are acceptably sharp on even beginner lenses. The reason a powerful flash is important is that the power can be harnessed. A stronger flash can be used at a smaller aperture which not only improves DOF but may be necessary for outdoor flash usage. A stronger flash also recycles faster and most flashes in that level support second-curtain sync.

Nothing makes me chuckle like going to a local bike race and see photographers, amateur and pro alike, struggling to back up enough to use their 300mm lenses
.

Examples, technical details at bottom:

















Examples 1 and 2 were shot with K24mm f/2.8 lens + AF200T flash on film.

Examples 3 and 4 were shot with DA18-55II lens @18mm + AF360FGZ flash on K-m body

Examples 5~8 were shot a Richoh GX-8 pocket-camera @ 28mm equivalent + AF200T flash.

QuoteOriginally posted by Davidparis Quote
Hello Pentaxians,

Am hoping for experienced advice on equipping my K200D with a fast lens for outdoor sports shots, notably for cycling.

Shot today with the kit 18-55 in the forest in "relatively" low light and am disappointed with results. Above 1/250 not enough light at 3.5 to stop the action. Slower, things are blurry.

Was looking at the SMC DA 40m 2.8 for sharp capture and more light, but am obviously open to suggestions on other lenses, camera settings, etc.

Would appreciate your kind comments!

Brgds,
DavidParis
France
11-11-2009, 10:42 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Was this a nighttime event? Seems to me that in daylight, f/3.5 should be giving you *much* faster shutter speeds than that, even at ISO 100. Sunny 16 would suggest 1/100 at f/16, which would be 1/1600. So even a cloudy day should have no trouble getting 1/250". But of course, the easy/obvious fix to get faster shutter speeds is to go to higher ISO settings.
The OP said "in the forest". It's quite dark in the forest, Sunny 16 does not apply. Cloudy conditions do not apply, it's much darker. It's like shooting indoors during the daytime, except darker because there are no windows.
11-11-2009, 10:44 PM   #7
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things move fast in cycling so a zoom makes more sense to me... hard to zoom with your feet in a crowd.. da 16-45mm is a nice upgrade from kit lens pretty sharp even wide open. constant f4 is nice



scott e burnham
http://snaptphotography.webs.com/
11-12-2009, 01:55 AM   #8
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Thanks to all

Hello all,
Thank you for your quick and interesting comments and suggestions. I will continue to read and think about the different options.

The subject is a tough one as being "rider/photographer" during our cycling club's outings is rendered challenging by carrying the camera in a LowePro backpack, having to either set up a shoot with the group, or getaway fast and far enough to unpack, take off gloves and glasses, adjust camera, lock, load and shoot for fast action in forests with subdued lighting conditions even during the day. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Then you pack it all up and play catch up...

That said, I did not shoot with flash last time, for fear of the flash-charge time causing me to miss shots and riders. Will explore that solution as well.

Again thanks to all for very useful inputs.

Brgds,
D.Smith
France

11-12-2009, 05:04 AM   #9
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fast prime is always the answer
11-12-2009, 05:48 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kristoffon Quote
look for a f/1.4 or 1.8 lens... the sigma 30/1.4 or the pentax 31/1.8 or the (used) pentax 35/2 might be good options
Can you show me some action shots of fast moving objects that were taken with aperture below f/2.8?
I don't think it's possible to get good shots of fast moving targets at f/1.4 or f/1.8...
11-12-2009, 08:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Davidparis Quote
Hello all,
The subject is a tough one as being "rider/photographer" during our cycling club's outings is rendered challenging by carrying the camera in a LowePro backpack, having to either set up a shoot with the group, or getaway fast and far enough to unpack, take off gloves and glasses, adjust camera, lock, load and shoot for fast action in forests with subdued lighting conditions even during the day. Sounds crazy doesn't it? Then you pack it all up and play catch up...

That said, I did not shoot with flash last time, for fear of the flash-charge time causing me to miss shots and riders. Will explore that solution as well.
The reason for using a more powerful flash is not for it's max. power. Rather, at a given light output you are using a smaller percentage of the flash's capacity, so the recycle time will be shorter.

Anyways, if you are the "official" photographer of your club's outings, then you must exert some control and direction of your subjects. Find a suitable spot on the trail and stop to set-up for a photo shoot. Tell the riders to come through no faster than every 10 seconds (or whatever your recycle time is). The riders that want good photos of themselves will cooperate.

This is the old conundrum of the amateur photographer. It's fun to photograph your hobbies, it's also fun to take part in you activities. It's not always fun to photograph your activities at the same time as participating in them!
11-12-2009, 10:21 AM   #12
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Super shots Dave!
11-12-2009, 02:00 PM   #13
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An alernative is to purchase a fast manual focus lens, and use the snap-in-focus er... catch-in-focus to take the snaps. Any manual focus 50mm f/1.4 lens will allow you 4x the shutter speed than an f/2.8 lens. The 50 on k200 will give you a good perspective. Catch-in-focus will take sharp pictures for you. Set the camera to AF.S, set the focus to whatever distance ( you can lean your own bike against a tree and find out what that is by walking away until it looks right in the viewfinder ). Note the distance, find the place where you think the snaps will look best, walk the prescribed distance, set the camera to AF.S, turn it on and wait. As a rider approaches the magic spot, hold the shutter button down and follow with the centre focusing spot. Bingo.
11-13-2009, 04:58 AM   #14
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Thanks for the tip

Appreciate the tip, now I have plenty of experimenting to try.
Brgds,
Davidparis



QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
An alernative is to purchase a fast manual focus lens, and use the snap-in-focus er... catch-in-focus to take the snaps. Any manual focus 50mm f/1.4 lens will allow you 4x the shutter speed than an f/2.8 lens. The 50 on k200 will give you a good perspective. Catch-in-focus will take sharp pictures for you. Set the camera to AF.S, set the focus to whatever distance ( you can lean your own bike against a tree and find out what that is by walking away until it looks right in the viewfinder ). Note the distance, find the place where you think the snaps will look best, walk the prescribed distance, set the camera to AF.S, turn it on and wait. As a rider approaches the magic spot, hold the shutter button down and follow with the centre focusing spot. Bingo.
11-13-2009, 08:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ahab Quote
Super shots Dave!
Thanks Captain!
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