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01-11-2013, 09:14 AM   #1
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Doggie Question

Hi,

New to this forum and I hope you can help me out with the following.

I currently use a Samsung NX 10 with 50-200 4.5-5.6 OIS zoom, which I have found to be a nice camera overall. Good IQ in a small and light package that fits inside a (largish) coat pocket, even with the 50-200 attached.

My wife and I do a lot of exercise with our dog and I regularly take pictures during our walks and trainings. As we do this all year round and mostly in forested areas, I do not always have the best weather conditions to shoot in, nor is the most favorable light available. As a result I seem to only be able to get good pictures the dog standing still. Any movement of the dog (sheís a Vizsla and quite fast) and my current set-up fails, the keeper rate is just too low:

- The High ISO capabilities of the NX are not that great, anything over ISO 400 is greatly deteriorating the IQ of the picís, so in the light conditions I encounter I cannot use thathigh shutter speeds:
- The AF although accurate and reasonably fast for this type of camera is no match for dogs running at speed or moving randomly:
- The EVF is not usable for panning or keeping track of a moving subject due to slow refresh rate and long black-out higher FPS speeds.

So Iím looking for a replacement/addition to this camera, which should provide me with a better viewfinder for panning/tracking and better AF capabilities. A 5DIII or D800 with a 2.8 70-200 zoom would be nice, but cost aspects aside, I simply find these types of camera and lenses to big and heavy and not suitable to take on a long walk. They would only be collecting dust on the shelf.

So after some research my eye is now set on the K5 with either the 55-300 or a (used) 60-250. Now that the K5II is out the K5 seems to be a real bargain, the upgrades of the K5II over the K5 are not that big. I watch (and PP) 90% of my pic's on my Ipad, so the gain in sharpness of the K5IIs seems a bit wasted on me.

Iíve read as much as I could find on this forum, but I would like to hear some first hand experience of shooting running dogís (or other fast animals for that matter) with their K5 and what lens they prefer to use for that. I will need some range on the lens, so the 2.8 50-135 although very nice in aperture seems a bit
too short to me. Will the AF performance of the K5 be an improvement over my NX10 (or should I get the K5II?), and will my preferred lenses be of use for my goals?

Best to you all!

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01-11-2013, 10:14 AM   #2
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sounds like you are in a good bit of bad weather and if that is the case you are going to want the DA series for the weather resistance...i have the 60-250 and it's a great lens and have no problem getting action shots of my dogs or any other animals..my husband has the 50-135 and it's a great lens too...
here's some pict of my kids doing what they love to do



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01-11-2013, 10:39 AM   #3
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As you have discovered with running dogs, or other things, shutter speed is what really matters. I tend to try and get close to 1/1000 of second for my dog to keep everything crisp but that is not always possible in dim light.

So, you need a camera with good high ISO capabilities and a reasonably fast auto-focus. I have the k-5 and despite all the reports of terrible AF I have no issues shooting just about anything with it. I use the DA L 55-300 or the Sigma 50-500 and get a fair number of keepers. The 55-300 is noted as being slow to auto-focus, possibly because of the long focus throw. However, I rarely have issues with it except for birds in flight where if you lose track it takes a long time to get back on target.

I also have the Pentax F 70-210 which has really quick AF, it is noisy but fast and have started to use it more for birds than the 55-300 for that reason. It is much shorter of course.

The 60-250 by all accounts is a fantastic lens just a bit out of price level. I am sure the k-5II has improved AF but I believe that is mostly in low light. And what you are describing is dim, but not the low light of being inside a bar or club. I don't think you would go wrong with either camera, just depends on your budget. K-5 is great bargain right now, but k-5II is updated.
01-11-2013, 12:28 PM   #4
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Hi Colnabi,

I think that the K-5 and DA 55-300 will probably be fine for what you want to do.

Phase Detection AF is going to be faster than the Contrast Detection AF with your NX, but there are some tricks to get a Pentax to work well with AF-C (Continuous AF).

First of all, you want to prefocus the lens so it will be close to the distance where you want to start shooting. You can do this manually by estimating the distance and matching that with the distance scale on the lens (the DA 55-300 is better for this than the DA L 55-300 because the former has Quick Shift focusing -- allows manual focusing of the lens while in AF mode without having to switch anything) or you can just quickly activate AF to focus on something close to your starting distance like the grass. This gives the AF system a head start to acquire your initial focus.

Always wait for the AF system to acquire an initial lock before starting a burst. I always have the "beep" turned on, and wait to hear it before starting a burst string. For me, this is easier than looking for the green hex at the bottom of the VF to confirm initial focus since my vision is concentrated on the subject.

The 7 frame per second burst speed of the K-5 means that the VF will be blacked out for shorter periods than previous Pentax DSLRs during the burst, so your dog will be considerably easier to track in the VF. Use Multi-point focus until you get adept at keeping some part of the dog in the middle of the VF -- then you might want to change to center point AF because it will be a little faster and more accurate.

As stated, use a reasonably fast shutter speed. The K-5 is good for this since you can easily use higher ISO than you would normally use outdoors to get these speeds. TAV mode is convenient for this, but Av priority can be used along with the "fast shutter speed" Program Line and Auto ISO to acheive essentially the same thing.

A faster lens might seem like a better option because it's intuitive to think that with more light, the AF system has more to work with, but in actuality, the slower max aperture lens (to a point) can be better since the camera always AFs with the lens wide open, and the AF system has less work to do with a slower lens since it gives you deeper DOF at a given range of distances, so there are fewer adjustments that the AF system has to make for a given change in distance. If you can stop the DA 55-300 down a little, then the added DOF at shooting aperture will also give you deeper DOF than the AF system is using to focus, so this can cover up some minor focusing errors that the AF system might make. Also, the slower lens will be smaller for a given FL, and easier to handle (and more affordable). I personally prefer an up to 300mm f5.6 class lens for birds in flight shooting.

It's much easier for the camera to keep up with moving subjects at greater distances than close. Look at the distance scale of the lens and you'll see that there's a lot more focus ring movement needed at shorter range than towards infinity -- this means that the AF system must adjust more frequently and with more internal focusing element movement to keep up at closer distances. The 16MPs of the K-5's sensor allows you to crop significantly without losing much resolution, and you're probably going to find that you'll get better overall results from shooting a little farther away.

Th K-5 is an incredible bargain at this time, and the DA-55-300 is a best in class lens for this FL range IMO. The combination should do well for what you want to do if you do your part -- and the K-5 is a great all around camera in any case.

Good luck

01-11-2013, 01:12 PM   #5
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K-5, Fast shot user mode (all processing off, Center-weighted metering, Center focus, SR off, preset shutter speed of 1/500 and continuous mode) with whichever lens I have seems to work well enough for me. Frequently I bump the shutter speed, though. I use the 18-135 is a good walkaround lens and seems to track well. I often have the 55-300 on, depending on what I'm trying to take pictures of while on walkies.



01-11-2013, 04:25 PM   #6
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I just picked up the DA 18-135 WR lens and I love it. Great focus and quiet. Here's a pic of our Golden flying in the now.
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01-11-2013, 06:36 PM   #7
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That's with a K10d and a Tokina 80-200F2.8

There is a great deal on a 50-135 in the marketplace right now which may be good to snag until you figure out the body that you want. I haven't gotten out with the K5 to get any pictures of the puppy yet, but I imagine it will be much better than the K10d.

The tokina lens is beautiful, but it is quite heavy for walkaround. There is usually one or two in the marketplace. It's not WR though which may or may not be a problem for you. I'd take it out in light rain/snow, but not heavy stuff like the DA* series can take. The 50-135 is much better for what you are looking for, and although the range may seem short, the K5 will give you enough pixels to be able to crop if needed.
01-11-2013, 06:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by snostorm Quote
Hi Colnabi,

I think that the K-5 and DA 55-300 will probably be fine for what you want to do.

Phase Detection AF is going to be faster than the Contrast Detection AF with your NX, but there are some tricks to get a Pentax to work well with AF-C (Continuous AF).

First of all, you want to prefocus the lens so it will be close to the distance where you want to start shooting. You can do this manually by estimating the distance and matching that with the distance scale on the lens (the DA 55-300 is better for this than the DA L 55-300 because the former has Quick Shift focusing -- allows manual focusing of the lens while in AF mode without having to switch anything) or you can just quickly activate AF to focus on something close to your starting distance like the grass. This gives the AF system a head start to acquire your initial focus.

Always wait for the AF system to acquire an initial lock before starting a burst. I always have the "beep" turned on, and wait to hear it before starting a burst string. For me, this is easier than looking for the green hex at the bottom of the VF to confirm initial focus since my vision is concentrated on the subject.

The 7 frame per second burst speed of the K-5 means that the VF will be blacked out for shorter periods than previous Pentax DSLRs during the burst, so your dog will be considerably easier to track in the VF. Use Multi-point focus until you get adept at keeping some part of the dog in the middle of the VF -- then you might want to change to center point AF because it will be a little faster and more accurate.

As stated, use a reasonably fast shutter speed. The K-5 is good for this since you can easily use higher ISO than you would normally use outdoors to get these speeds. TAV mode is convenient for this, but Av priority can be used along with the "fast shutter speed" Program Line and Auto ISO to acheive essentially the same thing.

A faster lens might seem like a better option because it's intuitive to think that with more light, the AF system has more to work with, but in actuality, the slower max aperture lens (to a point) can be better since the camera always AFs with the lens wide open, and the AF system has less work to do with a slower lens since it gives you deeper DOF at a given range of distances, so there are fewer adjustments that the AF system has to make for a given change in distance. If you can stop the DA 55-300 down a little, then the added DOF at shooting aperture will also give you deeper DOF than the AF system is using to focus, so this can cover up some minor focusing errors that the AF system might make. Also, the slower lens will be smaller for a given FL, and easier to handle (and more affordable). I personally prefer an up to 300mm f5.6 class lens for birds in flight shooting.

It's much easier for the camera to keep up with moving subjects at greater distances than close. Look at the distance scale of the lens and you'll see that there's a lot more focus ring movement needed at shorter range than towards infinity -- this means that the AF system must adjust more frequently and with more internal focusing element movement to keep up at closer distances. The 16MPs of the K-5's sensor allows you to crop significantly without losing much resolution, and you're probably going to find that you'll get better overall results from shooting a little farther away.

Th K-5 is an incredible bargain at this time, and the DA-55-300 is a best in class lens for this FL range IMO. The combination should do well for what you want to do if you do your part -- and the K-5 is a great all around camera in any case.

Good luck
Hi

So very well written and explained the OP should get a lot out of your contribution.

The only point I would like to add is not to forget to experiment with the "Catch in Focus" function of the K-5 (II).

I have the Pentax DA* 60-260 and am super happy with it. But since the OP is not much in favour of heavy and big equipment it may not qualify. It has a constant F:4 but unfortunately you cannot have one without the other.

(Question to the OP, the Vizsla is similar to the German short haired pointer, is it not ?)

Greetings

01-11-2013, 08:54 PM   #9
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The 55-300 focus hunting will drive you nuts, and is not fast enough for your low light conditions. I'd look for something like a 200mm 2.8, or even a bit shorter but fast.
01-12-2013, 05:25 AM   #10
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You might want to consider the K-30 as well. It has a focusing mode referred to as 'expanded area' which I don't think exists on the K-5ii. It is a continuous AF mode with a difference. What it does is let you choose the centre focus point for the intiial focus but then if the subject moves off the centre point it will handover the focus to whichever other focus point it goes to. It is not the same as setting Auto-9 focus point select, the difference being that you choose which part of the subject you want in focus (rather than letting the camera guess) and then the camera does its best to keep that part of the subject in focus even as it moves away from the focus point you had selected.
01-12-2013, 05:52 AM   #11
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These were taken with a DA L 55-300 and a K-x.

Oct 08, 2010 - a set on Flickr

I think you will find that any PDAF system is better than any CDAF system for action shots.
01-14-2013, 07:10 AM   #12
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Thanks

To all who responded, thanks for thegreat input.

Iíve used this weekend to take (alot) of new shots to see in what part my equipment and/or my technique needsupgrading in order to get better results. Both days I had quite good lightingconditions, mildly overcast and sunny, although the sun was low due to it beingwinter over here. On Saturday we tookour dog for a nice long walk and I mainly tried to get some pics of her playingwith other dogs. This was quitedifficult as she is fast, and while playing moves unpredictable. On Sunday wehad our training, which involves more controlled conditions at shorter range.

-In total I made about 600 exposures,of which I could delete about 30% right away for the dog not being in the imageat all; conclusion, the EVF combined with slow burst mode an long black-outtimes is not suitable for panning or keeping track of a running dog.
-A further 30 to 50% was not focusedright; I definitely need a better AF system, mine is to slow (aim and shoot isnot possible, its more aim, wait, wait, wait, dog gone and lost the opportunityor get an OOF result). This wasespecially so with the dog playing. During the training I had better results asthe movements were more predictable and I could pre-focus on a certaindistance/place and wait for the dog to arrive.
- The remaining part was technicallyOK, but did not always yield a worthwhile result, which is no technical or userfault, just esthetics. To improve this I will need to up my skills.

Although I did manage to get somenice keepers, Iím more and more inclined to upgrade my equipment. Before doingso I still have 2 questions to be answered:
-Will the AF of the K5 or K5II bequick enough for my goals, or should Ibetter look at a Canon or Nikon?
-If I go for the K5(II), what lens touse? I would like to buy the best optics possible for my needs an based onvarious reviews at this moment have narrowed it down to either the 50-135/2.8 or 60-250/4. Both will opticallyperform well enough I guess, but have different proís/cons. The 50-135 islighter and offers one stop advantage, the 60-250 adds more range and seems toperform better in the AF responsiveness.

Especially the AF issue would be a (big) issuefor me, no need to upgrade the camera if the AF remains slow due to a slowperforming lens. Then, for the price ofthe 60-250 I could also get the 50-135 and the 55-300, which would also make acompelling argument. Oh, the agony of choice J.

The 50-135 vs 60-250 debate has been discussedin great length already, but Iíve not seen that much info on the AF speeds ofboth lenses compared. Would anyone have additional info on that?

@ Schraubstock: the Vizsla is indeed the similar to a GermanShort Haired Pointer, both are standing hunting dogs, whereby the Vizsla is reportedto be the Ďsoftieí of the two.
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01-14-2013, 02:31 PM   #13
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I did some tests with my K5 and DA*300. My dog, a middle age Portuguese water dog was running straight towards me. I set to continuous focus and held the buttons down. With the dog further away the lens had no problem focusing. If there was any problem it was me losing the focus point, or not setting the shutter speed quick enough. I could take 4-5 shots. When the dog got closer, the camera started lagging a bit, focus and exposures started being off, with 1 out of 3 or 4 being in focus. This is wide open at F4. The DA*300 isn't a lightning quick focusing lens, but it held up reasonably.

I haven't used other brands, so I can't comment. With anything you get, technique will make a huge difference. The ability to pan and keep the dog in the focus point is a skill. As well as knowing the aperture/shutter speed tradeoffs that will work with the light you have. You are getting into sports shooting and will find that there is a solution to everything but they require large cash outflows. Nikon makes very nice fast focusing, stabilized, fast aperture lenses that would work very well for what you want, but are also very expensive, so the tradeoffs often come down to what you can spend.
01-15-2013, 02:55 AM   #14
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Hi Colnabi,
Your Samsung (ISO 400) and zoom (max aperture of 4.5) may not allow fast enough shutter speed to capture fast moving object unless in bright light. It will pose a problem with indoor moving subject unless you use a flash.
K5 (ISO 12800) or any zoom lens with fast aperture of 2.8 will allow fast shutter speed to capture your moving subject. Pentax 55-300 may be too slow for your moving subject but it is a beauty of a lens.
K5 with continuos focus is quite good. Just like any other tool, you need to practice to perfect the skill instead of relying on your tool.
Canikon will be far too heavy to cart around unless you are a pro shooting moving cars or flying birds for a living.

All the best...
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