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07-24-2012, 11:09 PM - 3 Likes   #1
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First Try Shooting Sports with the K-30

Being a new K-30 owner, I wanted to give it a try for one of the hardest sports to shoot: basketball in a dimly lit gym.

To do so I shot a few games the past few days of local summer basketball league for my news website. These players are a combination of high school, former community college and smaller college stars, all the way up to Division One athletes and players playing professionally in the Europe. The speed and explosiveness of these players takes some getting used to, and you really have to stay focused and know how to anticipate the action to get good shots (I'm still getting better at this.)

To aid me in my experiment, I also rented the very nice Sigma 70-200 EXII f/2.8 with the very quick HSM motor. The HSM motor is very quick by the way, and a great combo with the K-30. I've never really shot with Canon or Nikon, especially their higher end lenses, but the autofocus to me for this combo was very quick and very snappy. Any mistakes or missed shots were more on me than on the camera IMO. I also brought my DA*16-50 which also performed well, and I actually ended up using that more than the 70-200 to capture more of the action near the basket.

Speaking of user error, it took me about a game and a half to figure out the settings on the K-30 in a way that wouldn't cost me shots. I settled on Expanded AF (very handy) + selectable point AF + Continuous Focus + Continuous Focus Priority set to FPS over accuracy. I struggled in the beginning before I found this combo but after I hit that I was getting a lot of keepers.

As for whether the K-30 was better for the K-5 for this type of shooting, I haven't done a scientific test or anything but I would concur with deadwolfbones that the K-30 AF is snappier, more sure of itself. It reminds me a little of my PZ-1P in the way that it snaps into focus and stays there.

Could I have used the K-5 for this shooting, too? Yes. In fact, I did. I was very pleased with the K-30's performance, though, considering the light also wasn't the greatest, especially for being a mid-entry level camera.

Note: I'm not a spray and pray shooter, and I don't think the K-30 would be good for this type of style. If the K-3 comes out with a big buffer and improves on the ground made with the K-30, though, I could see that being a genuinely good sports shooting camera.

A few photos:















07-24-2012, 11:34 PM   #2
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Nice series - i think you and the K30 did very well
07-24-2012, 11:58 PM   #3
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Urkeldaedalus, is it possible to give us the EXIF info on #1+3? I'm thinking of upgrading from my K-x, which I'm currently using with the slow DA55-300, mostly at 300mm, to shoot my sons rugby games, sometimes in lower light compared to what I see in your photos, and I'm quite satisfied with the results so far. I would like to see if I have something with more or less the same settings as you, to compare the results.
07-25-2012, 01:22 AM   #4
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Thanks for the shots. Looks like a good performer. Very looking forward to my own soon

07-25-2012, 07:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
Urkeldaedalus, is it possible to give us the EXIF info on #1+3? I'm thinking of upgrading from my K-x, which I'm currently using with the slow DA55-300, mostly at 300mm, to shoot my sons rugby games, sometimes in lower light compared to what I see in your photos, and I'm quite satisfied with the results so far. I would like to see if I have something with more or less the same settings as you, to compare the results.
I shot almost all of the basketball shots at f/3.5, ISO6400, 1/500. Most of these are at 100-200 mm
07-25-2012, 07:53 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by NKK Quote
Nice series - i think you and the K30 did very well
Thanks
07-25-2012, 08:03 AM   #7
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They look good to me!
07-25-2012, 08:11 AM   #8
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A well job done! The K-30 looks great, as was to be expected and you handled the sports well.

07-25-2012, 08:21 AM   #9
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Shots #1, 2, and 3 - if they are perfectly in focus, are really quite awesome. Especially if they represent the keepers (and that you have a large majority of keepers).

My k-x would often focus on something else in these conditions.
07-25-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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Shows absolutely nothing for me. Any camera can do these.
07-25-2012, 08:33 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
I shot almost all of the basketball shots at f/3.5, ISO6400, 1/500. Most of these are at 100-200 mm
Thanks for the info; the K-30 seems to do a good job, especially at ISO6400. Are the shots out of camera jpeg’s with no other PP? If so, what were your camera NR settings?
07-25-2012, 09:25 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by garyk Quote
Shows absolutely nothing for me. Any camera can do these.
I'm not sure if "any camera" could do these is quite accurate. I'd agree with you that most cameras in the K-30's class with the right lens could likely do them.

I wasn't claiming that the K-30 was doing anything extraordinary. I've just been trying to shoot sports like this since I had the K20D, and the amount of keepers I got versus the level of frustration it took to get them has gone something like this:

K-7 much better than K20D, but ISO not good enough
K-x ISO good enough, AF alright, but camera limitations made things challenging
K-5 big improvement over previous Pentax cameras for this type of shooting. Could actually get a reasonable number of keepers.
K-30 a bit of a refinement over the large improvement the K-5 was able to achieve, but similar to the K-5. Most pleasant time shooting sports with Pentax so far. (Also shot with the K-5 for this shoot, which also held up well)
K-3 = ?
07-25-2012, 09:26 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by altopiet Quote
Thanks for the info; the K-30 seems to do a good job, especially at ISO6400. Are the shots out of camera jpeg’s with no other PP? If so, what were your camera NR settings?
I shot in RAW. Noise reduction was turned all the way off and I didn't do any noise reduction in post, although I think there is some automatic sensor smoothing of noise at 6400 in the K-30 like there was with the K-5.
07-25-2012, 09:46 AM   #14
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It also should be noted that part of the reason I was able to have more fun this time around shooting quick moving sports was certainly because of the quick focusing Sigma lens-- was definitely more fun than my painful experience trying to shoot basketball with a Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 . I think people would probably have a much higher opinion of Pentax autofocus if Pentax lenses were designed to focus faster.
07-28-2012, 09:45 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by garyk Quote
Shows absolutely nothing for me. Any camera can do these.
Well, I have the k100dS and I can almost guarantee that I would not be able to get anywhere near this quality with my camera. To the great extent, the AF alone would likely result in a shot not even being taken, so most of those shots you see posted here would not even exist. If I were able to get a shot, the IQ would be far less than you see here.

By the way, in that first photo above, there is probably a foul being committed! Was one called?

I have found some extremely good value in this post, as I've wondered about the relative progress for sports shooting through the Pentax dslr generations. This helps me plan my upgrade path. Thanks. Glenn
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