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10-17-2013, 04:09 PM   #1561
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I get about a 5 to 10% success rate on these sorts of shots below (and even those 5% to 10% shots are not perfectly in focus as you can probably tell from these). Both these were taken with a 55-300. These are about the most challenging shots I take, but also some of the most important (to me anyway).

In field sports like hockey or soccer sports which go for quite a while, I'm almost happy for that success rate as I get many many opportunities to get a shot. However in athletics, where a race is 10 or 20 seconds and I might only get 3 seconds or so of action when I can frame the shot as I want, well I'd really like a 50% or better success rate. Is this too much to hope for?






Last edited by twitch; 10-21-2013 at 04:51 PM.
10-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #1562
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QuoteOriginally posted by dosdan Quote
I shoot a lot of junior soccer and Little (junior) Athletics. With Centre-point focus, you have to be sure you keep it on the subject. The focus point is small. More problematic is a group of 2-3 in a race. You've got to keep that focus point on one of them all the time. This may start to conflict with framing.
.

Thanks Dan. I found Hockey & soccer to be OK but I'm having a hell of a time with little aths. I'll definitely try auto-5 or auto-11 this week.

Do you find the 60-250 to be a good sports lens? I don't have one as I have a 55-300 and a 50-135. I can't decide whether a 60-250 or Sigm 70-200, partnered with a K-3 of course, would be better for sports only. Or just quietly, whether I should change systems for sports photography .
10-17-2013, 04:25 PM   #1563
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ex Finn. Quote
For situations like that, short of a $10k budget...i would have practiced on the other kids, then pre-set the focus where I wanted and fire away in HI-cont.
I know, hind-sight.
Thanks. For events like high jump I find pre-focusing works well as where the action takes place is very predictable. Problem with running events is that I don't know which lane my child is going to be in until, at best, about 5 seconds before the race starts.
10-17-2013, 04:31 PM   #1564
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Thanks. For events like high jump I find presetting focus works well as where the action takes place is very predictable. Problem with running events is that I don't know which lane my child is going to be in until, at best, about 5 seconds before the race starts.
Oh, I see your dilemma. My kids do not do track, only soccer and marching band as of this year. Have you considered renting a fast 70-200 lens to see how it would perform?

Cheers.

10-17-2013, 04:39 PM   #1565
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Do you find the 60-250 to be a good sports lens? I don't have one as I have a 55-300 and a 50-135. I can't decide whether a 60-250 or Sigm 70-200 would be better for sports only. Or just quietly, whether I should change systems for sports photography
I've got the 55-300, 60-250 and the Sigma 70-200/F2.8 HSM II (non-OS). I've got to go out now, but I'll comment further in about 8 hrs time.

Dan.
10-18-2013, 02:09 AM   #1566
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Do you find the 60-250 to be a good sports lens? I don't have one as I have a 55-300 and a 50-135. I can't decide whether a 60-250 or Sigma 70-200, partnered with a K-3 of course, would be better for sports only. Or just quietly, whether I should change systems for sports photography
From the hardware updated in the K-3, I'm expecting much improved AF.C tracking behaviour over the K-5. We should know how well it performs when reviewers & users starting reporting on this aspect.

I recently retried the DA 55-300/F4-5.8. I haven't used it since getting a DA* 60-250/F4. I thought that the extra reach might sometimes make it preferable to the 60-250, but I think I can get better results with the 60-250 resized to the same number of final image pixels. The 55-300 has some CA, particularity at the long end, which you can correct in software (I use SilkyPix Studio Developer Pro v4). Using 300mm FL with the small aperture in darkish situations (later afternoon/heavily overcast) becomes problematic. This is the "full" version of the lens, not the cheaper version, but even so I find that, compared to the other two zoom lenses mentioned here, it feels mechanically more flimsy.

For GP sports use, I select the DA* 60-250/F4. It's a bit lighter than the70-200/F2.8, but extends (the Sigma doesn't), so it becomes a bit more unwieldy at long FLs. The weatherproofing comes in very handy. It's good for a couple of hours in heavy rain before the rear lens element fogs up, but I found I could clear this by cycling the zoom FL from min to max a few times, with the lens off the camera, to pump fresh air into the lens chamber. My conjecture is that the large internal volume changes caused by frequent min/max zooming in sports situations causes moist air eventually to get into the lens/camera (the pressure does equalise). So an IF (internal focus) WR zoom lens would perform better in this regard in heavy rain than an extending WR zoom lens. It has fairly low CA. The constant F4 is good for most situations. I like the large zoom range and find it's good for most sporting situations.

The Sigma 70-200/F2.8 II HSM is a bit faster to focus than the 60-250 and it's very quiet. It doesn't extend. It is heavier. I like to use it when the light gets weaker. Using f/2.8 for a shallower DOF produces a significanty different look than the 60-250/F4: the isolated images can look more interesting so I can understand why users become fixated with the relatively shallow DOF of f/2.8, but AF performance problems become more obvious, so it may be a more useful lens for sports on the K-3, than the K-5. I find 200mm FL a bit short for large-field sports. That's on APS-C. It's a FF lens, so I think 200mm FL would be quite restrictive for sports on a FF camera. And I find 70mm FL can be a bit narrow too, on occasions.

With soccer, I've shot quite a few matches with the DA* 60-250/F4 used exclusively in one half, and the Sigma 70-200/F2.8 used in the other half. But I still can not make up my mind, possibly because for soccer I tend to use f/5.6-f/6.3 for the 60-260, and f/4-f/5 for the 70-200 (not f/2.8).

I think that, if the weather is fine, and if the K-3 proves to have better AF tracking performance, that the Sigma 70-200 used at f/2.8-f/3.4 will turn out to be the more interesting choice, but it will depend on how far away the subject is.

Note: the shallow DOF look can very attractive for single subjects, but with junior sports I often have 2-6 subjects in a cropped shot, and I usually need a fair amount of DOF. I think shallow DOF might be more useful for adult sports (soccer anyway) where the competitors tend to be further apart.

Dan.

Last edited by dosdan; 10-18-2013 at 02:43 AM.
10-18-2013, 04:48 AM   #1567
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I don't have permission to publish most of the Little Athletics stuff I shoot, (it gets distributed to club members by encrypted links to SmugMug galleries), but here is a shot of my son, Kaiea, taken last week as he's half-way down the finish straight for a win in a U12 400m race. It was taken with the DA* 60-250/F4 @ 108mm FL, 1/800s, f/9, ISO160, EVcomp -1.0, TAv, AF.C, Centre-point focus, shot in raw.




The cropped image on the LHS is just with Natural Fine sharpening in SilkyPix Pro v4. The RHS version is the same image but exported from SP4 with no sharpening, as a 16-bit TIFF, and then processed further in PSP X4. Here I've applied the FocusMagic plugin and PSP's Clarity & Local Tone Mapping (i.e. Local Contrast Enhancement), and finally a script that emulates SmartSharpen. If you look at the shoes on the right side, you'll see it's a bit sharper on the RHS version, as are the logos, numerals and writing. The Clarity & LCE give it a little more visual zing, while FM & the SmartSharpen script improve the sharpness a little. (I think that 1/800s was a little slow, e.g. the motion blur in the shoes, but I didn't want to use a high ISO.)

While it would be nice to have a shallow DOF here to reduce the background, I needed more DOF in other shots during the race to show the other competitors as a group (hence the f/9 used here).

Dan.

Last edited by dosdan; 10-18-2013 at 05:23 AM.
10-20-2013, 11:39 AM   #1568
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Man's insatiable quest for battle and glory.....Friday Night Lights in B&W.













10-21-2013, 01:31 AM   #1569
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I get about a 5 to 10% success rate on these sorts of shots below (and even those 5% to 10% shots are not perfectly in focus as you can probably tell from these). Both these were taken with a 55-300. These are about the most challenging shots I take, but also some of the most important (to me anyway).

In field sports like hockey or soccer sports which go for quite a while, I'm almost happy for that success rate as I get many many opportunities to get a shot. However in athletics, where a race is 10 or 20 seconds and I might only get 3 seconds or so of action when I can frame the shot as I want, well I'd really like a 50% or better success rate. Is this too much to hope for?
Try using something other than the center focus point (usually a corner point). You can quickly change your focus point as the runners approach, depending on the composition you want. Then track the runner you're most interested in. You should be able to get 50-90% success rate, though you may also need to get another lens. Make sure you have the latest firmware on the camera, of course. K-5 II/IIs will track a little faster than the original K-5. With the K-5 you may only get 2 or 3 times the subject is actually in focus as he approaches you, so you have to shoot then (rather than whenever you feel like it).


I use Pentax screw-drive primes (FA*85, FA135, F*300). All focus quickly - faster than other lenses I tried. If I were doing zoom, for fast focus I'd get the latest Sigma 70-200 others have mentioned, though I don't like Sigma's rendering quite as much. But any of these lenses should give you better overall results.


For example, here are my photos from this weekend. They're just average by my usual standards, but I was concentrating on managing 3 video cameras at the same time, so I took these quickly. Only 30 of 460 shots were bad enough to be obvious deletes, and then I selected 100 decent "Highlights" from the rest:

Orange County Championships - EventTime Photos

Last edited by DSims; 10-21-2013 at 01:41 AM.
10-21-2013, 04:41 AM   #1570
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sage97 Quote
Fball-32
Nice. Well cropped/framed, good sense of the action.
10-21-2013, 04:20 PM   #1571
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I have done a short series of video containing a preview, interviews, gamefootage, sportsimages and commentary. Video with the K-01 and sportsomages with the K-5.

10-21-2013, 04:48 PM   #1572
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I had such a frustrating time photographing my daughter at athletics last weekend. Using the K-5 with a 50-135, AF-C and single center AF point was just not good enough to be able to get a single in focus shot of her in her 200m race The AF grabbed the background, or a following runner, for the entire 15 shot burst.

The K-3 had better solve this problem. If a DSLR can’t do AF-C properly then what is the point of them. Even my RX100 did a better job the week before.
You need to get a feel for it, or else it will be useless. I use AF-C with both single-point and multi for sports and get loads of keepers, though often of hockey refs with their contrasty shirts.
You should shoot events (other races) where the pressure on you is low so you can experiment. Also, aim for the chest rather than the face due to the focus point being too big.
10-21-2013, 04:54 PM   #1573
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sage97 Quote
Man's insatiable quest for battle and glory.....Friday Night Lights in B&W.


That first one deserves being printed big! A true warrior feel, almost cinematic.
QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I have done a short series of video containing a preview, interviews, gamefootage, sportsimages and commentary. Video with the K-01 and sportsomages with the K-5.

BeNe League: PSV/FC Eindhoven - Standard de Liège - YouTube
You need subtitles.
10-21-2013, 05:19 PM   #1574
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Thanks for everyones suggestions. I though I'd come back and share my experiences from last weekend. I changed from 50-135 + center point to 55-300 and Auto-5 still on AF-C. This resulted in a keeper rate of about ~40%, much better than previously but still room for improvement.
10-21-2013, 05:19 PM   #1575
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QuoteOriginally posted by RonHendriks1966 Quote
I have done a short series of video containing a preview, interviews, gamefootage, sportsimages and commentary. Video with the K-01 and sportsomages with the K-5.

BeNe League: PSV/FC Eindhoven - Standard de Liège - YouTube
Really good quality from the K-01. I'm impressed by the quality you get from that camera. I assume you used an external mic for audio?
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