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07-17-2011, 08:17 PM   #1
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Anyone shooting gymnastics / cheer w. K-r?

Anyone shooting gymnastics or cheerleading with a K-r?

If so, please let me know how happy you are using it. Do you find the autofocus fast enough? How's the continuous shooting? And please post images if possible.

My 9 year old daughter has been into gymnastics for the past few years and is just getting into cheerleading.

I've been shooting the past couple of years with an old Tamron 28-105mm f2.8 lens on a Nikon D70s which maxes out at iso 1600. I got the Tamron for a song and I already had the D70s. But at iso 1600, I'm more often than not, usually at 1/125 sec.

Out of the blue, last week, my wife told me its time to look at a new(er) camera. Ok. I'm not going to argue with her there. <grin>

My other camera is a K100d, which I've got a nice AF540fgz flash, 10-17mm fisheye, and some older lenses including an old manual focus 100mm Macro. So besides the various Nikons, I've been keeping my eye on the K-r to use with all these toys I've built up.

If I could use the K-r to capture memories for my daughter in her gymnastics and cheerleading and use it with all my toys, I'd be a happy camper.

Your help greatly appreciated!

Last edited by tacticdesigns; 07-17-2011 at 08:28 PM.
07-17-2011, 09:50 PM   #2
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Location: Brisbane, Australia
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The K-r will be good choice and I suggest that you read the recent thread:

Personnally, I shoot indoor volleyball and a few other school sports. Two key issues are:

* How far will you be?

* Sport halls are very poorly lit and you must consider a large aperture lens (f1.8 or f1.4): that is, a fast lens.

If you are at the edge of the mat you can use a focal length about 30 to 50 mm. There is a good choice of excellent fast primes for Pentax: FA31mm f1.8, FA50mm f1.4, DA*55mm f1.4, ....

If you are furhter away incl. in the stands, you need a longer focal length (150-250mm) and a largest aperture (lowest f) is likely to be f2.8. There are fewer lenses and these are more expensive (eg DA*50-135mm, DA*200mm f2.8).

As you may realise, the camera is only part of the equation. The more important factor is the selection of the lens and the use of camera+lens combination. I use a K-7 which has lesser capabilites than the K-r in low light. Yet I am able to get some good shots using the right lens and right technique.

From experience, I prefer to shoot from the lines of the court (or edge of the mat) rather from the stands. I like to use my prime lenses: Voigtlander 58mm f1.4 (MF), Tamron 90mm f2.8 (AF) and Zeiss 85mm f1.4 (MF). All these gave me good results in terms of IQ. When the lighting is poor, I choose to use MF and Hi continuous shooting. I set the focal distance (on the focus ring) for the distance between the action that I want to shoot and myself. I only do slight adjustements by hand. The Hi continuous shooting is a must be have a few good shot(s) for every take.

An further issue is the need for a fast shutter speed to capture the action. In dim lights, this requires a large aperture (f1.4) lens and to boost the ISO in-camera. I found that anything slower than 1/50 s is near useless and I tend to shoot at or faster than 1/100s for sports like VB and basketball.

In summary:
- the K-r is an excellent dSLR choice that you must complement by a fast lens
- you can stand close to the action, you will have a better choice of fast prime lenses (and often cheaper than the longer focal length lenses)
- the lens selection is possibly more important than the camera body selection.

Hope that the comments will help.

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