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07-10-2013, 09:03 PM   #1
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Motion Lens for K-5

What is the best lens for capturing animals (Dogs, Birds, Deer, etc.), in motion? Preferably one made by Pentax if possible, but open to all answers.

07-10-2013, 09:23 PM   #2
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Stop-Action?

Hello RyanGilbert, Welcome to the Forum!
There are two main factors when considering a lens for a particular purpose;
One, focal length. That is, a wide-angle lens of 20mm will show a long view lengthwise, but objects will appear smaller or further away than normal.
A standard lens of 28-40mm will approximate the human view, both vertically and horizontially. A 'normal' view.
A telephoto will offer a more narrow point of view, but will enlarge objects and bring faraway object 'closer'.
For sports, wildlife and distant shooting, a telephoto of about 100mm to 300mm is generally used. This can either be a prime (a single focal length, like 100mm) or zoom (Variable focal length, like 80-200mm).
The second factor is called lens 'speed'. This describes the maximum aperture, the greatest amount of light the lens will allow. 'Fast' lens (smaller aperture numbers, like f/1.8, f/2.0, f2.8) let in more light, therefore a faster shutter speed can be used. This is most important when trying to stop movement.
So, a good 'motion' lens for a wide range of subjects would be an 80-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom.
Pentax does not currently offer this size and speed tele zoom, but several aftermarket manufacturers do. Sigma and Tamron are two good choices.
Hope this helps!
Ron
07-10-2013, 10:42 PM   #3
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For birds, you want the longest, fastest lens you can afford.
07-11-2013, 04:18 AM   #4
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Hello RyanGilbert and welcome from mee too.

There is a great difference between a happy dog sprinting towards you, a deer running away from you and small birds (all birds are "small" when it comes to photography at a distance!) flying around and over your head.. No single lens will probly be "best" for all purposes, but if you want a bit of everything (at least for a start) in one lens, you will have to look for a decent zoom.

While I do not really disagree with rbefly and his reccomendation of an 80-200mm f/2.8 type lens, you should realize that such are quite bulky and heavy beacause f/2.8 requires a lot of glass and then, 200mm isn't an awful lot when it comes to birding. Further, the shallow depth of field at f/2.8 may not always be goofd enough for you. But it is probably the closest you will get with a single lens.

However, you might also consider a cheaper alternative such as the Pentax 55-300mm for a start. I don't have any experiences with that lens myself, but with K-5's fine ISO properties, fast shutter speeds and high ISO isn't quite the same problem as it used to be some years ago. And the K-5's Tav setting can be very useful if you want fast shutterspeeds and a decent depth of field and thus, a wider aperture than f/2.8.

If you are prepared to buy more than one lens, you might consider a set of the Pentax 50-135mm f/2.8 (for dogs and the like) and the Pentax 300mm f/4 or 200mm f/2.8 - but mind you, such a set isn't exactly cheap!

07-11-2013, 04:48 AM   #5
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Beyond the lens, and the answers you are getting are spot on IMHO, there is the issue of understanding shutter speed and the ability to pan. Panning is a skill that takes practice but it can convert a slow lens into one that can get the shot (and thereby save you a ton of money and give you a great image).

Mastering Panning – Photographing Moving Subjects
07-11-2013, 05:03 AM   #6
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I would add one more variable - focus speed. To get a good one of the dog, for example, one needs an accurate and fast focus mechanism like the DC motor in the 18-135. While that is too short for birding or other wildlife, it is a great lens for chasing kids and pets.
07-11-2013, 06:03 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by klh Quote
the 18-135. While that is too short for birding or other wildlife, it is a great lens for chasing kids and pets
OMG, I've been doing it all wrong. I leave the lens attached to the camera and do the chasing myself. It's no wonder my dog is usually out of focus!

And a big New Joysey welcome to you RyanGilbert! Keep reading here on the forum - you'll get great info to improve your technique and a whole gamut of opinions on gear. I glean something new almost everyday. This thread is a case in point. I am quite eager to read Docrwm's link Mastering Panning Photographing Moving Subjects. I definitely need help with that.
07-11-2013, 09:43 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by rbefly Quote
Hello RyanGilbert, Welcome to the Forum!
There are two main factors when considering a lens for a particular purpose;
One, focal length. That is, a wide-angle lens of 20mm will show a long view lengthwise, but objects will appear smaller or further away than normal.
A standard lens of 28-40mm will approximate the human view, both vertically and horizontially. A 'normal' view.
A telephoto will offer a more narrow point of view, but will enlarge objects and bring faraway object 'closer'.
For sports, wildlife and distant shooting, a telephoto of about 100mm to 300mm is generally used. This can either be a prime (a single focal length, like 100mm) or zoom (Variable focal length, like 80-200mm).
The second factor is called lens 'speed'. This describes the maximum aperture, the greatest amount of light the lens will allow. 'Fast' lens (smaller aperture numbers, like f/1.8, f/2.0, f2.8) let in more light, therefore a faster shutter speed can be used. This is most important when trying to stop movement.
So, a good 'motion' lens for a wide range of subjects would be an 80-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom.
Pentax does not currently offer this size and speed tele zoom, but several aftermarket manufacturers do. Sigma and Tamron are two good choices.
Hope this helps!
Ron
Thanks Ron, that helps alot!

07-11-2013, 09:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jamarley Quote
OMG, I've been doing it all wrong. I leave the lens attached to the camera and do the chasing myself. It's no wonder my dog is usually out of focus!

And a big New Joysey welcome to you RyanGilbert! Keep reading here on the forum - you'll get great info to improve your technique and a whole gamut of opinions on gear. I glean something new almost everyday. This thread is a case in point. I am quite eager to read Docrwm's link Mastering Panning Photographing Moving Subjects. I definitely need help with that.
Thanks ill give it a read!
07-11-2013, 09:49 AM   #10
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Also set up a FAST SHOT user mode if you're chasing dogs and kids. It can be useful for birds, too, since they often move quickly

In my experience, the 18-135 is a faster tracker. The 55-300 does OK, but often doens't catch the dog running toward me as well as I'd like - that's a tough target.

For birding the 55-300 is my longest lens, and it's OK. You're going to get lots of branches in focus if that little warbler is zipping around...
07-11-2013, 03:11 PM   #11
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I consider the dog-sprinting-towards-you scenario the toughest of all tracking challenges. I've never pulled it off successfully, I always get the tail sharp, never the head. So prepare to be disappointed.

For sports and AF-C, I think I'd recommend something like a Sigma 50-150/2.8 non-HSM (the old one that exists in Pentax mount). Sigmas generally have short focus throws that yield fast AF. The Pentax 50-135 (which I have) is decidedly slow focusing and I don't like it for AF-C (otherwise it's fantastic, arguably the best Pentax zoom ever).

Regards,
--Anders.
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