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11-23-2013, 07:02 PM   #1
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K5 Focusing Night Soccer

Hello All, I have been a member for 2 or 3 years but consider myself an amateur photographer. I use the forums as a primary source of education. I am really having trouble with my K5 focusing while shooting night soccer. Here in Florida High School soccer is usually played on a football field and the width of the soccer lines are a little wider than the football line - the lights are positioned primarily for football which leave a dim area around the soccer field. I use two lens, 1) a Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 DI LD (IF) Macro, Fast AF and a Sigma 50-500MM 1:4-6.3 APO EX. I set the K5 to TAV and the AF to AF.C, 5 point. Focusing Area is set to Auto and centered and shutter speed is set at 1/250 (anything greater than 1/250 creates a very dark photo. The problem I am experiencing is getting the K5 to focus (light red) on the soccer player in a timely manner. Also when the subject is moving I lose focus. The ISO (set at auto) is usually taken at 3200 and is fairly grainy. I usually try to use the Sigma lens because of the reach but regardless, I have the same focusing problems with the Tamron lens. Can anyone shed some light on what I am doing wrong and suggest new K5 settings, lens, cameras? In reality a new camera is probably out - lack of funds . Thanks in advance for any help you all can provide.

11-23-2013, 07:28 PM   #2
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If it's dark outside, the af will always be slower than during the day. I'd recommend sticking to the 70-200mm as it's got a wider aperture.

If that still doesn't work, you may have to resort to focusing manually.

Adam
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11-23-2013, 07:32 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by faworange Quote
the AF to AF.C, 5 point. Focusing Area is set to Auto and centered
AF.C and 5 point I understand, but 'focusing area set to Auto and centered' has me puzzled.

It's either 5 (or 11) point, or centre point, or a manually selected individual AF point, if you use the AF switch at the back. You can't have them all working at the same time (ie Auto and centre-point), at least on the K-5 Classic.

If you swing the AF switch at the back of the camera to centre-point, 5 (or 11) point AF won't work, just the centre point. If you manually select an individual focus point, it alone stays active, not any of the other 5/11 points, so your AF.C will be working from just one focus point.

Better to just select 5 points Auto AF via the Info button, then flick the switch at the back to select Auto to confirm that you want to use Auto AF. That way all 5 points will be used under AF.C and maybe your subject tracking will be improved. Using 1 point AF to track a subject (either via the centre-point or an individually selected AF point) is not ideal.

I'd also suggest using centre-weighted exposure metering too for telephoto under poor light. You don't need the whole frame to be exposed correctly (including all the dark areas). You want the camera to mainly meter the area where the action is, which is usually close to the centre of the frame.
11-23-2013, 08:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If it's dark outside, the af will always be slower than during the day. I'd recommend sticking to the 70-200mm as it's got a wider aperture.

If that still doesn't work, you may have to resort to focusing manually.
Thank you Adam. I have noticed the 2.8 lens produces better photos but lacks the reach I would like to have. I am still learning exactly how the K5 AF system works.

11-23-2013, 08:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
AF.C and 5 point I understand, but 'focusing area set to Auto and centered' has me puzzled.

It's either 5 (or 11) point, or centre point, or a manually selected individual AF point, if you use the AF switch at the back. You can't have them all working at the same time (ie Auto and centre-point), at least on the K-5 Classic.

If you swing the AF switch at the back of the camera to centre-point, 5 (or 11) point AF won't work, just the centre point. If you manually select an individual focus point, it alone stays active, not any of the other 5/11 points, so your AF.C will be working from just one focus point.

Better to just select 5 points Auto AF via the Info button, then flick the switch at the back to select Auto to confirm that you want to use Auto AF. That way all 5 points will be used under AF.C and maybe your subject tracking will be improved. Using 1 point AF to track a subject (either via the centre-point or an individually selected AF point) is not ideal.

I'd also suggest using centre-weighted exposure metering too for telephoto under poor light. You don't need the whole frame to be exposed correctly (including all the dark areas). You want the camera to mainly meter the area where the action is, which is usually close to the centre of the frame.
Thank you rawr. I have went back and looked at my K5 and re-read the manual. You are right, I should have stated, "AF to AF.C, 5 point" and not added the other AF settings. You have provided me some great feedback and ideas to try out. I was not aware of centre-weighted exposure metering and how that affects photos - thanks for that. I'll let you know how the new settings work. Thanks again for your feedback.
11-27-2013, 12:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by faworange Quote
Thank you rawr. I have went back and looked at my K5 and re-read the manual. You are right, I should have stated, "AF to AF.C, 5 point" and not added the other AF settings. You have provided me some great feedback and ideas to try out. I was not aware of centre-weighted exposure metering and how that affects photos - thanks for that. I'll let you know how the new settings work. Thanks again for your feedback.

I agree with rawr. I shot high school soccer for 4 years with my K20D and I used ONLY center-weighted metering. Sometimes it's just too dark and/or the action's too fast - so you're not going to hit EVERY shot, but I had pretty good succes with it.
A "tip" - if you're looking for one - During night games I'd try to get as many game-action shots as possible early in the game - when there's maybe even just a hint of light. As the game wore on (and it got darker and darker) I'd focus less on "action" shots and more on "flavor" shots. Things like a group of players talking during a stopage in play, bench shots, subs waiting to come in, the coach shouting out instructions, etc.. That way you don't end up with 90 shots of kids just dribbling the ball, and you're working within the conditions you have instead of trying to "fight" them. (And then you just make sure you get almost all "action" shots on those Saturday afternoon games - when you've got some better lighting.)

Good luck.....

Tim
11-28-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
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K5 Focusing Night Soccer

Tim, thanks so much for your feedback. I will be able to try some of the ideas out Tuesday. One problem is our games don't start until 7:30 PM, but I like the idea of focusing on "all" parts of the game versus just the action shots. One question, would center-weighted metering work as well with a zoom lens f4-6.3 as well as the f2.8 zoom lens? Thanks again for your feedback.
11-28-2013, 08:44 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by faworange Quote
Tim, thanks so much for your feedback. I will be able to try some of the ideas out Tuesday. One problem is our games don't start until 7:30 PM, but I like the idea of focusing on "all" parts of the game versus just the action shots. One question, would center-weighted metering work as well with a zoom lens f4-6.3 as well as the f2.8 zoom lens? Thanks again for your feedback.
Hey orange,

Yes - I didn't really notice much difference at all between the focus speed of my fixed aperture lenses vs my variable aperture ones when it came to focusing on the "action" shots.
Another idea I had in thinking back, over time I learned that trying to "pre-focus" on a general area before the action got there seemed to help with focusing in general. If I figured I'd be getting a shot that was, say, 10 yards away from me, I'd pre-focus in that area and then when the kids got to that general spot and I went to center-weight focus on someone the lens wouldn't spent too much time hunting until it got there.

Good luck - and be sure to post some shots in the Post Your Photos section once you try it out.

Tim

11-29-2013, 06:25 AM   #9
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K5 Night Focusing

Thank you so much Tim, another great idea. The night soccer has me really frustrated and I was at a point of giving up. With this new information I am really looking forward to next Tuesday night. I will post some photos so I can get some feedback on how I am actually doing and more suggestions. Thanks, Frank
11-29-2013, 07:42 AM   #10
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Hello,
well it is Always difficult when the light is dimm to dark. I don't know if you shoot RAW or jpg, but in the case off shooting RAW I think you gain some when upping the iso to 6400 and put some more light into your image. I do shoot soccer, less then a year ago but still plenty.

When the jerseys are off red color then you will find it more difficult to find focus. You should look into this with the settings for front- and back-focus in the menu. Just play a little around. Probably you would benefit from sttings a little bit to the negative for lenscorrections. But that does differ per lens. One off the minor things that the K-5 has (and is gone with K-5 II).

I almost Always use AF-C, 5 point AF, metering in the middle. I do like to blanace the light a little towards overexposure, but you will get some blown-out parts, but that is my personal likings. I normaly don't go below 1/400th unless it's a still scene, or I want some movement in it. I mainly use DA*300mm witch is plenty in reach.

I did a photo exhibition about womenssoccer in the beginning off this year.
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11-29-2013, 08:16 AM   #11
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K5 Focusing Night Soccer

Ron, these are great photos - awesome. I have never shot RAW before (only jpeg) but I think I need to look at RAW now. You validate some of the suggestions UpNorth and rawr mentioned regarding auto focusing and metering. Appears I am getting a consensus on what I should be doing - a really good thing for me. Thanks again for your help.
Frank
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