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12-14-2011, 05:30 AM   #1
RockvilleBob's Avatar

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K-5 setting for sports

I switch from Sony alpha to K-5 and am still learning. I would appreciate some help with best settings for sports. While I do mostly landscapes and nature I enjoy taking pictures of my grand kids playing sports. Kids are random motion playing sports so I feel I need Hi continuous to grab a winner once in awhile.

My problem is not getting focus correct with Sigma 70-200 2.8 lens.

I would appreciate advice on
What exposure setting to use
What focusing setting to use
What custom settings to use


12-14-2011, 07:44 AM   #2
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The beauty of the K-5 is its ISO range. I will shoot up to 12800 if I have to. Make sure to use catch-in focus. You will need to set your AF to S, but check the manual to make sure you understand it completely. Use the fastest shutter speed you can get away with. I just shot a high school basketball game with ISO @ 12800, 1/400 - 1/500 shutter, f/5.6 to insure a little more depth of field. I had been using f/2.8 and a lower ISO but recently starting stopping down for better DOF control.
12-14-2011, 07:44 AM   #3
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Sometimes I skip AF and put long lens on manual. I find my grand kids distance to me does not change sooo much during their games (soccer and baseball) so I use the hyperfocal distance on the lens. then as you suggest I shoot continuously to grab that special moment. Occasionally, I use the "c" continuous AF setting on the K5. But I have Pentax 60-250 so maybe it behaves differently in that mode, than your Sigma.
12-14-2011, 09:22 AM   #4
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Thank you for the prompt reply. I will do more reading about AF S and AF C and Also do some experimenting on moving cars. If I understand correctly I can also use the AF button with AF C to lock on a subject. They certainly provided many options in the K-5. My grandson plays football so he sometimes runs the length of a field so I feel I need auto focus. The hyperfocal suggestion is great for situations where the subject location is somewhat known, I should have remembered that but now I will know that for the future.

12-14-2011, 09:34 AM   #5
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We have a professional sport photographer at our Club Photo
For most sport is using JPEG as most photo will go on the newspaper or Web.
He also use continuous shooting
12-14-2011, 05:43 PM   #6
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Hey Bob - I haven't broke down and got the K-5 yet, but the settings can't be that much different on my K-20D. I've been shooting my kids high school soccer & baseball for the last couple of years, and I've found that for soccer there are no guarantees under 1/640th for shutter speed. Anything slower than that and I'll end up with motion blur on many shots (those girls are fast!). ;-)
For baseball it seems like about 1/400th will do a pretty good job of freezing a batter's swing, and 1/500th will stop a pitcher's motion. I generally don't shoot below 1/400th at baseball games unless I know I'm going to shoot a group of "bench shots", coach/player discussions, etc.
Of course those speeds depend on the available light - but since baseball & soccer are both outdoors the above numbers apply to day games that are sunny to partly cloudy. That allows me to shoot in an ISO range of 100 - 400. I don't usually like to go higher than that with the K20D - Of course that just makes the high ISO range of the K5 that much more appealing.

Hope that helps a little bit.....

12-14-2011, 07:18 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by UpNorth Quote
That allows me to shoot in an ISO range of 100 - 400. I don't usually like to go higher than that with the K20D - Of course that just makes the high ISO range of the K5 that much more appealing.
I've been using a K20D for junior soccer for the last 3 years. The first 2.5 years were with a DA 55-300/F4-F5. Since about June 2011 I've had the DA* 60-250/F4. I got a K-5 just after soccer season ended, so I will not have a chance to try it in this role until March-April 2012.

With the K20D I use TAv, with shutter speed 1/500-1/800s, aperture f/5-f/7.1, ISO 100-1600. If the K-5 is any better at focusing, I'll open the aperture of the f/4 lens to somewhere between f/4-f5.6, ISO range either 80-3200, 80-4000 or 80-4800 (to be determined).

I use AF.C (auto focus point selection) and hi continuous (only held down for the really interesting times). AF has been a problem with the K20D with the camera often getting the background in focus in between 2 players rather than either of the players. I've hoping the K-5 may be better in this regard. Otherwise, I'll have to work on my technique, use AF.S, centre-point AF, and manually lock focus on to a player first before taking a shot.

I shoot in raw. As well as the faster burst rate, the bit better high-ISO performance, I'm sure the K-5 will be much better than the K20D when it comes to dodging shadowed bodies & faces.


Last edited by dosdan; 12-15-2011 at 12:17 PM.
12-15-2011, 11:46 AM   #8
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I shoot football as my son's team photographer using K5 and DA 55-300.. I found the following to be important:

1) Spot focus
2) Continuous shooting but check the AFC.Setting (Custom page 3) and make sure it is on FPS-priority or your focus will hunt in fast action.
3) Monopod
4) Polarizing filter for low sun shots
5) Shutter priority of 500 (ISO is not an issue for me with all day games) or even Program Mode with fast action program line works well.

I set all of this in a USER mode called sports and it makes it easy.
I use JPEG take hundreds of photos and throw 2/3rds away.
Fast action sports take a lot of anticipation and it helps to know the team.
Fortunately there is a lot of repetition so you get more than one chance to get the shot.
Side benefit, you get sideline passes to all the games.

Recently started with indoor basketball and that's a whole new ballgame. Don't really have that technique down yet, trying to justify a faster zoom.

Good luck!

Last edited by rsoph; 12-15-2011 at 11:51 AM.
12-15-2011, 01:31 PM   #9
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I received this message from pentax which leads me to believe that if you set AF.C and press the AF button the K-5 will lock focus on your subject and you can track and shoot the subject in continuous mode. Seems too good to be true - I will have to try it out.

Here's the message I received from Pentax support:
Thank you for contacting Pentax. >From page 124-125 of the K-5 manual: The AF button can be set to autofocus the lens when pressed if Enable AF is selected on page 5 of the REC MODE menu in the camera. Selecting cancel AF will change the camera to manual focus when the AF button or shutter release button is pressed. In the AF.S mode, with enable AF selected, will lock the focus on the subject while the AF button is pressed. In AF.C mode, the focus can be locked and track a moving subject. If you have the camera set for continuous shooting drive mode for shooting fast action sports, you would want the focus mode set to AF.C or Auto, this would automatically provide the tracking focus mode for the subject when the AF button is pressed. If you are in need of further assistance, please respond to this email or call our technical support center at 800-877-0155. Sincerely, Randall S. Pentax Imaging Technical Support Your Email: could you please tell me what the k-5 af button does in both af.s mode and af.c mode? could you also provide an example of how you would use the af button with each of these settings?i am a new k-5 owner and am having trouble understanding how to set up the k-5 for action sports photography. thank you.
12-15-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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I **think** they meant "held" instead of pressed. Easy enough to test. Point camera at subject and move around the room, it doesn't work for me with a press but does continually focus if held. However, the refocusing may slow the shutter while holding shutter button. I think the better approach is to set AFC.setting to shutter priority and bump up your depth of field to capture any movement during action shots. That's what works for me anyway.
12-15-2011, 04:29 PM   #11
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Thanks. I will give it a try. I did try AFC, spot focus and setting Custom option 26 Catch in focus on. I took pictures of oncoming cars at f4 and also f2.8 - that worked well until the cars got very close and then the catch in focus slowed things down. I'd like to use a shutter speed of close to 1/1000. I am going to try using AF.C, spot focus and TAv setting 1/1000 with various f stops and see what ISO can still make for good shots. I appreciate your advice.
12-15-2011, 05:37 PM   #12
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TAV mode: f/5 & 1/640 is a good starting point
single (centre) focus point

Then all you have to do is put your subject in the ( ) symbols and mash the shutter. It really is dead easy, boringly easy even.
12-16-2011, 07:30 AM   #13
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Tried your settings this morning on moving cars and it worked great. Thank you very much. Now I just have to get better anticipating the action during sport events.
12-16-2011, 07:36 AM   #14
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Hello Bob,
I usually choose AF.C mode and set continuous shooting in Hi-mode, tried it several times on flight shows as well as when taking pics of children fooling around with high speed, AF mode of the K-5 really is great, gives me wonderful results

Greetings from Austria,
12-16-2011, 08:45 AM   #15
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If your shooting'll want to get a few panning shots. This is 1/60th

Otherwise...shoot jpeg and continuous AF-C and stay above 1/500

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