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06-21-2014, 05:51 PM - 1 Like   #1
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K5 ii and action shots

Hey everyone. Im new to this forum and quite new to photography in general. I have owned digital cameras over the years but this is my first DSLR. I recently bought a new K5ii on a smokin good demo price and added an DA 18-135 WR as well as a DA 55-300 WR lens to go with it. I Plan to use this combo to shoot everything from wildlife to scenery, action, and people indoors and out. My main objective to figure out first however, was the best settings for action shots. I spent many hours out with my test model and burned through 1000 or so shots and came up with this:

The settings i found to work the best are very very close to each other with only one very small difference.

I was using the DA 55-300 lens for all of these tests

Shutter priority 1/1250 (possibly could use lower speed but thats just where i set it)
shake reduction off
Continuous Auto focus set to "Focus Priority"
Center Weighted metering
Auto ISO
Continuous shooting "Hi"
All NR set to "off"
AE-L with AF Locked set to "on"
Auto AF point set to "11"

Now this last one is the only difference that separates each setting and i will talk about what i found the differences were.
AF set to "spot"
AF set to "sel" and expanded Area AF to "on"

I will relate to each setting as AF spot or AF sel
I also want to make clear im just talking about the best percentage of shots in focus. Im sure i can make these shots better when i learn more about exposure, dof etc.
Also, i realize that these settings drastically reduce the fps but i found with all the other "speed" settings i tested, i missed way more shots than i hit so ill take quality over quantity in this instance.

With AF spot setting i got 55 in focus out of 88 total shots or 63%.
With AF sel setting i nailed 88 out of 133 total shots or 66%

Sounds very close but here is where the difference was. With AF spot, i rarely missed shots in which my "subject" was very very close, as in 2-6 feet away and running towards me. But with AF sel, these were the majority of the shots i missed. (I did hit a few close ones with this setting but not many)

I really cant see that i will be shooting high action shots within 6ft of myself too often though, so If i take the close shots out of the equation that i missed with this setting, i actually hit 78%

To sum it up a bit I suppose with better practice and improving my aim, the AF spot setting might prove to be the better setting as bad aim could have accounted for alot of my missed shots further out. But in situations where its tough to hold the cross hairs on a moving target then it seems (for my system anyways) AF sel with expanded AF on is the clear choice.

Please keep in mind that i am the equivalent of photography grade 2 maybe 3 and am not trying to step on toes. I am just very anal about getting the best out of anything i own. I was happy to have found a few threads on here and other sites to give me a bit of help on where to start for action shots. So that paired with a bad case of OCD has led me to what i believe is the best percentage of "in focus" action shots of this type that i can get (so far) out of this camera and lens. If this can help out a "newbie" and save someone the 100 or so hours i have invested then great.


Heres a few of the many good ones i got. My subject doesnt take too much convincing to help with my testing. I realize this isn't Nascar speeds im shooting but its still a good task for the auto focus as Niah is pretty quick. The only shots where she wasn't hauling A$s is the one where she's swimming and the one where shes shaking her head back and forth but if anyone has seen dogs do this its also a very quick motion. i was happy my K5ii handled this pic reasonably well.

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Any pointers how i can improve on these is much appreciated.


Last edited by jayman_1975; 04-05-2016 at 06:51 PM.
06-21-2014, 06:21 PM   #2
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Try shooting vertically on some of them. The last one would have worked better that way. It appears that you got down lower to be closer to the dog's level; if so, that a good practice to continue. Shooting down at most things, especially kids, is bad form. Overall, these are good starting shots.

M
06-21-2014, 07:00 PM   #3
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What works better is largely dependent on the type of action. Most of my action shooting is cross country runners. I also shot an indoor dance championship this year.

Expanded AF didn't seem to help me, and may have even hurt, so I leave it off. But I couldn't prove that's the better setting for you.

You can use center AF point if you like your subject in the center of the frame, but I don't. The center AF point works a little better with my fast lenses, but I don't care because I care about my composition more and I do minimal cropping afterward. On your lens center point probably matters even less. So I use AF SEL and choose one of the four corner points most of the time (although sometimes with dance there was so much side to side movement I had to settle one one of the four points immediately between two corners - usually the upper middle point).

This varies depending on the type of action, but 1/640 or 1/800s is often adequate (sometimes even slower works).

Matrix metering is what I use - I don't believe this or the NR setting is critical (I certainly use some NR because I post JPEGs straight OOC for some events).

I use TAv mode most of the time (I'm not clear if that's what you also use) and use my selected shutter speed along with an aperture stopped down somewhere between 1/3 and 1 stop (depending on the characteristics of the particular lens).

Last edited by DSims; 06-21-2014 at 07:08 PM.
06-21-2014, 09:09 PM   #4
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You should try auto 11-point mode. It's the best for action IMO.


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06-21-2014, 09:11 PM   #5
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Recently shot a favorite local event Dog Days . K5IIs and 50-135. Disc Dog competition starts around 034 in the gallery. My standard manual exposure, single center focus, rear AF button and AF-C. I do have all the NR stuff off and in this case with a high shutter speed, SR off. It also depends on where the disc goes. The dogs do their best.

While clouds moved in and out, I could easily adjust ISO to keep up. Caveat - I shoot DNGs and look at everything in filmstrip mode of Adobe Camera Raw. If its a keeper, I fix tilt, no way I can hold level and follow subjects, in this case dogs.

Last week it was indoor at ballet annual recital. 2014 Cary Ballet Annual Recital . My workhorse lens was 50-135 at 2.8 from rear of theater ( Tamron 28-75 & Sigma 100-300/4 on other camera bodies). Very few were deleted due to focus. I start at ISO 3200. Don't be afraid to shoot high ISO with K-5 series.

Manual exposure and constant aperture lenses are much easier, you can put all attention on subject

Last edited by Brooke Meyer; 06-21-2014 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Punctuation
06-21-2014, 10:04 PM   #6
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Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
Try shooting vertically on some of them. The last one would have worked better that way. It appears that you got down lower to be closer to the dog's level; if so, that a good practice to continue. Shooting down at most things, especially kids, is bad form. Overall, these are good starting shots.

M
Good idea I'll try that on a few next time. Good tip on lowering to the subjects height. I'll keep that in mind

---------- Post added 06-21-14 at 11:11 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
What works better is largely dependent on the type of action. Most of my action shooting is cross country runners. I also shot an indoor dance championship this year.

Expanded AF didn't seem to help me, and may have even hurt, so I leave it off. But I couldn't prove that's the better setting for you.

You can use center AF point if you like your subject in the center of the frame, but I don't. The center AF point works a little better with my fast lenses, but I don't care because I care about my composition more and I do minimal cropping afterward. On your lens center point probably matters even less. So I use AF SEL and choose one of the four corner points most of the time (although sometimes with dance there was so much side to side movement I had to settle one one of the four points immediately between two corners - usually the upper middle point).


This varies depending on the type of action, but 1/640 or 1/800s is often adequate (sometimes even slower works).

Matrix metering is what I use - I don't believe this or the NR setting is critical (I certainly use some NR because I post JPEGs straight OOC for some events).

I use TAv mode most of the time (I'm not clear if that's what you also use) and use my selected shutter speed along with an aperture stopped down somewhere between 1/3 and 1 stop (depending on the characteristics of the particular lens).

I never thought of selecting a different spot other than the center af point. I find it hard enough trying to hold center on her let alone offset. Next time I shoot her standing still I'll try that though. Will definitely help composition.

I used TV mode as I figured it was the easiest way for a beginner to start with. I'll have to play around with TAv mode and maybe I can dial in a little better dof and get her whole body in focus instead of just her head.

---------- Post added 06-21-14 at 11:12 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
You should try auto 11-point mode. It's the best for action IMO.
Strangely enough I never tried the auto AF setting. I'll give it a go next time and see if it increases my in focus percentage.
06-22-2014, 12:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jayman_1975 Quote
I used TV mode as I figured it was the easiest way for a beginner to start with. I'll have to play around with TAv mode and maybe I can dial in a little better dof and get her whole body in focus instead of just her head.
I don't think you want much more DOF; what you're getting now is about right. In fact, getting too much DOF is one of the more common mistakes people make with these lenses.
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