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Hmmm... Action shots with Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 (8-element) AND Pentax K-01 ??
Lens: Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 8-element Camera: Pentax K-01 Photo Location: Playground 
Posted By: manntax, 09-21-2014, 03:27 AM

My son and I went out for a walk to the nearby playground. Usually, if there are going to be any children involved - I'd get my K10D ( K-01 has let me down miserably in delivering anything useful in case of children) and one of my AF primes ( usually 28mm or 35mm ) or my Tamron 28-75 f2.8. Sometime I'd take a manual zoom ( something like SMC-M 35-70 f2.8-3.5 ).

But this time we were going right before the sunset , so I knew I had no more than 25-30min of fair light, but since there was likely to be an action going, and the ISO might needed to be bumped up - I decided to take my Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 - the infamous 8-Element version, which I got recently as an addition to my ever growing :P collection of 50mm lenses, along with a Pentax K-01.
The idea was to keep the shutter speed fairly high 1/125 - 1/400 and with ISO set on AUTO (I already know that the K-01 can deliver amazing shots up to around ISO 1600, where K10D would stop at around ISO-640 ).

My only concern was that fact that with K10D I had my split screen installed, where K-01 was only usable with zoom view (since I find its focus peaking very confusing ). Hoping for the best we set off the the playground. While my boy was playing during the next half an hour, I managed to snap 38 shots, from which I will keep around 20-25 - so pretty happy about that Below you can take a look at some of best keepers I had. The challenge was to not only keep up with the pace of him playing, but also to constantly lock the exposure (Spot metering ) + keep an eye on the shutter speed ( so that in speedier moments I could snap with faster shutter, sacrificing the ISO , and in slower moments I could go down with shutter speed, getting ISO back down to 100 ). Another issue was to simultaneously focus AND to frame - since I was often relying on X6 zoom view, I was not paying attention to the framing, which resulted in few shots that are sharp and overall nice - but not framed as good as they could be.

Generally speaking - very happy with this combo. The lens is absolutely fabulous, and on K-01 I prefer this Super Takumar 50mm F1.4 8-element version over my SMC A 50mm 1.4 , which I use on K10D ( since K10D cannot reliably meeter with Super Takumar ). Lens is very sharp , all those shots were taken in the range of 1.4 - 2.0 , so either wide open or only 1 click down ( as I needed the best out of both ISO performance and bokeh ).

Was it easy ? - No, I definitely see using a lens like that for children ( or just about anything , apart from some controlled setting or static action ) as a very challenging and demanding task, and think I was able to pull it off only because I am accustomed to a full manual cameras and focusing from my film days. Still - a very rewarding experience. The post processing took around 2-3 min per photo, involved shadow lifting, some exposure correction in case of 1 or 2 shots, little bit of contrast tweaked with curves and that's just about it. Clarity was lifted minimally only by 11 points, sharpness left at default for LR, same as saturation and other settings. Also there is NO CF or PF correction applied - I didn't observe this phenomenon really - quite extraordinary !

All shots are uncropped.

To sum up - I am very impressed with this lens!

1) Probably my most challenging shot from the whole series - him running at full speed I focused quickly with no zoom view, at the same time opening the lens to 1.4 to have my shutter up and slightly panning to help the shutter speed further. 1/400th s. , F1.4


2) F2.0, 1/125th s.


3) Another fast paced moment - he was swinging back and forth on that chain - I think it was half way between 1.4 and 2.0. Anyhow got with the shutter speed up to 1/400th .s


4) Although I stopped here down to something like half way between F1.4 and 2.0 - the bokeh still came out pretty good


5) Similar I think - half way between F1.4 and 2.0. There is no F-stop on the aperture in this place, so I usually turn the aperture ring instinctively - just to gain a little bit more DOF. Sadly forgot to bump ISO up so the shutter was at insufficient 1/125th of a second


6) Similarly like above - aperture kept half way between 1.4 and 2.0


7) Most likely F2.0


8) I think this was shot at again half way between 1.4 and 2.0 - anyway close to wide open


9) Probably F2.0 - but could well be wide open - was getting really dark already. 1/125th s., ISO 100


Last edited by manntax; 09-21-2014 at 03:33 AM.
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09-21-2014, 05:54 AM   #2
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Ok, I need more coffee and read all over again. Because all your action shots are damn good!
I don't even try to use my super tak 7 elements wide open on action.
09-21-2014, 07:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Ok, I need more coffee and read all over again. Because all your action shots are damn good! I don't even try to use my super tak 7 elements wide open on action.
Thank you ! I think one learns to focus manually with cameras like K10D or K-01. I mean the K10D is a great camera and now I have full confidence in its AF - to a degree of course. But for something like 4 years I had it badly backfocusing and so I learned to trust my eye more. Plus years of film shooting with old Zenit and Kiev cameras. And then Pentax K-01 - again - slow to AF with its contrast detection based AF system . I only become more and more confident that better to stick to my eye than to rely on flawed technologies.. .So there you go :P - If I had a K-5 or K-3 - I would probably be more inclined to use my AF lenses, but even then - a lens like Super Takumar really has its own qualities that I do not see it dumped for at least my lifespan :P
09-21-2014, 07:32 AM   #4
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Yep, familiar I've used Zenit many years ago, now I use Helios only. Manual focusing with practice gives more and more good pictures out of missing focus ones. However, K200 is quite limited with ISO, but I want to try it on Canon.
Did I get it right? Manual mode, ISO Auto, Spot metering, and speed for action.

09-21-2014, 08:14 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Yep, familiar I've used Zenit many years ago, now I use Helios only. Manual focusing with practice gives more and more good pictures out of missing focus ones. However, K200 is quite limited with ISO, but I want to try it on Canon. Did I get it right? Manual mode, ISO Auto, Spot metering, and speed for action.
yeah , Helios was my only lens I had for like 12 years :P.

About shooting - usually You don't want to switch modes, as toggling between them takes too much time and hassle. What I do depends on what I expect and what sort of scene I have there. If action is going to be slow-paced, then I use AV, ISO AUTO, Central weighted metering mode and adjust aperture by hand.
I usually focus with lens already stopped down to my working aperture - if it is going to be around or below f/4. If I need to stop down more then I use the A/M switch to quickly flip the aperture when I shoot, and open it up when I focus. That is giving me a fairly good response time , with shutter speed at constant 1/125s.

But for a faster action, AV mode will usually not work as intended straight out of the box. In this case I either use M mode if I am not than much involved in the action and the background is static ( imagine a theatre or stage - you going to point your camera in the same direction) - so for that I usually would pick M mode with full freedom. But for the situation where there is a fast action involved AND the constant change in the background (like in my case : for one shot you have this dark ground as your background, for another - highlights of the sky ... etc.) - in situation like this I'd stick to AV mode, with ISO FIXED on higher value ( ISO 320-400 e.g. ) - and then I'd use the exposure LOCK to keep my shutter speed high ( when metered the subject), frame and focus. Of course it all takes no more 1/2 or 1 second - otherwise you would miss too much action.

If I see that my shutter speed ( for fast paced action ) goes lower than 1/400s. - then I simply bump the ISO up - on DSLR you can usually do this by holding OK and scrolling the front wheel ( depends on menu settings ) - on K-01 I have to go to menu , which is bad but I manage somehow :P

So it all depends really - there is no simple recipe for this kind of shooting with manual lens. But it is a bit easier to go with AV mode + exposure lock, instead of M mode + green button, with M lenses.

EDIT: For modern lenses ( with 'A' setting ) you can simple use M mode with ISO AUTO and then you select shutter speed and aperture as you please. Of course looking after your exposure with exposure lock or compensation is still important as sometime you might end up with shots badly under or over- exposed.


BTW - here is my idea for a petition to Ricoh for an update for all current cameras ( let's say from K5 up ). Shooting fast paced action with AV mode would be much easier if we could alter the way the meter is deciding when to switch the ISO up. Currently bu default - in all cameras that I know from Pentax - there is a FIXED 1/125th of a second as a threshold point for every ISO change for AV mode with ISO set on AUTO.
Now if we only could decide whether this should ne 1/125th or 1/500th - or anything else for that matter - that would enable us to simple use AV mode for fast paced action - instead it is kind of useless ( until you learn to live with it.)

Last edited by manntax; 10-02-2014 at 12:56 AM. Reason: some vocabulary and spelling correction :)
09-21-2014, 08:44 AM   #6
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Thanks, I printed your post out.
Gonna practice.
09-21-2014, 09:42 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by micromacro Quote
Thanks, I printed your post out. Gonna practice.
No problem - wish you luck!! It takes patience and praktice - also knowing your gear ( especially remembering which direction you turn to get focus closer or further away - this is VERY important).. And just learn to KNOW when you have in focus - do not relay on anything other than your eye - no focus confirmation or even split screen can be as good and fast as simple seeing
10-13-2014, 03:10 AM   #8
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You did an amazing job getting those shots in focus Not only that the expressions are great too!

10-14-2014, 03:29 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
You did an amazing job getting those shots in focus Not only that the expressions are great too!
Thanks ! I think I somehow got fused together with that camera and lens on that day :P - but seriously it wasn't as much hard as many people think. just a bit of preparation, planing, focusing on what is happening and being one step ahead of the action are the crucial factors I think.. .

here are some more shots from that outing - all between f1.4 and f2.0 - I wasn't using smaller aperture on that day purposely pushing myself and trying to achieve good separation from the background. all shots aren't cropped in any way - exactly how shot, with my standard moderate processing - for natural look.

10) probably f1.8


11) same as above


12) as above or f2.0


13) probably f1.8 - but could be f1.4 - not sure here


14) same as above


14) f2.0 - but could be f1.8 - not sure.
06-05-2015, 06:37 PM   #10
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Amazing depth.
06-07-2015, 02:24 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by hjoseph7 Quote
Amazing depth.
I agree the lens gives superb results and 3D feeling in close to wide open shots when light and conditions are right.
Many thanks !
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