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02-16-2014, 08:23 PM   #16
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@RGlasel -- hey, you did good. Not much light there at all. Only thing, that shutter speed is so slow it turned a boy into a girl in that last shot! I wonder if the first picture is more in focus because you were zoomed in more... or did you just crop it tighter? I'm also looking for the Magic Secret to improve K-30 AF.C results. Took some pictures in cloudy morning daylight of runners today; most were in focus, but some weren't. Almost like the 55-300mm lens couldn't quite keep up with the action, now and then.

@JimJohnson -- I've held off multiple bursts -- because it's fun to try to catch that perfect moment. But if I did sports photography for a living, I guess you'd have to.

02-16-2014, 08:30 PM   #17
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Interesting topic, as I'm struggling with this issue myself. My final solution is to get either some APO 70-200 f/2.8 or the da* 50-135 f/2.8. Until the time I have put aside enough money for either one (in a long long time) I will keep using my very slow tamron sp 24-135 f/3.5-5.6. I also recently started using my smc pentax-a 50 1.4 which gives plenty of light to provide for 1/500 at iso 1600. On games where I can get close to the action I'll get the focus fixed for those slam dunks and wait for the play to come to me. Tried it at a practice the other day, it will take some work but seems promising.

Here's a 1/160 s shot at iso 3200 with the tamron. With the camera moving to follow the subject shake reduction is off. AF is on continuous. Shooting mode is TAv. Most of the blur is from camera movement which helps give a sense of movement and isolates the subject. But of course I rely a bit on luck to get it right.



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Last edited by SunValley; 02-16-2014 at 08:36 PM.
02-16-2014, 10:41 PM   #18
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@sunvalley -- something I've noticed that pros do -- is to crop in really tight to just the ball and a couple of players close to it. At my end, am going to try to frame the shots tighter, to avoid too-heavy cropping. I like your picture -- the blur does show motion. But I think I'd crop it to just the guy with the ball and the other kid guarding him, in tight, and see if it's more dramatic.

And -- let's join the Tea Party! Less money for teachers -- and more for high school gym lighting. Have to get our priorities straight!

EDIT -- Taking a break from the difficulties of soccer this morning, found a MUCH EASIER sport (if you could call it that) to photograph. The local paper sponsored a 10-mile running race near San Diego. So easy. They run slowly, in a straight line, and always pretty much in the same place!
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Last edited by jon404; 02-16-2014 at 11:09 PM.
02-17-2014, 06:35 AM   #19
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Thanks jon404 for your comments,

+1 for the increase on high school gym lighting!

02-17-2014, 01:49 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I don't consider these keepers, but they do involve action.
I appreciate your posting examples to back up your claim of freezing action at 1/250 of a second. I remain unconvinced as each of your shots exhibit classic symptoms of a too-slow shutter. As I noted in my initial reply to the OP, in most high school gyms you need to be shooting with a lens that reaches f2.8-4.5. In reality, even faster is better, and it is a shame that a relatively affordable ultrasonic lens like the Canon 85mm f1.8 (for which I paid $270 in mint condition) isn't available in K-mount. Your shots were with essentially a higher grade kit lens which for indoor sports is murder for both AF accuracy and freezing action. Folks here have vouched for the Sigma 50-150mm f2.8, though I believe it is a legacy item now.

Regarding the framing, one great thing about shooting basketball is that you have unfettered visual access from the side/baselines--unlike my indoor soccer court where I have to suffer shooting through glass (often unclean--or netting but forget that). That allows use of wider angled lenses from the baseline and the framing of players in the key and facing the hoop. It's easier and cheaper to find a fast focusing f1.8-f2 lens. Plus your coverage of the bodies can really fill the frame and carry an intimacy that cross-court telephoto shots do not.

@jon404--multiple burst is an important tool in capturing action. Usually one of three will hit the sweet spot. Things happen so fast that I cannot tell what the perfect moment is until when I review the shots later. Or, what I think is the perfect moment was actually 4 frames before or after what my brain can process. I think a camera body that can run off a minimum of 5FPS is good enough for most DWAC sports coverage.
The thing that is most striking about your track event photos is pure sunlight--this time of year that's a memory for me.

M
02-17-2014, 10:12 PM   #21
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Let's have some fun -- and reverse-engineer a pro soccer shot... the one below from the Guardian website, of the recent Arsenal-Liverpool FA Cup game. By Tom Jenkins, Nikon D4, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO 1600... 140mm lens. Which would yield a 210mm equiv on our APS-C sensors, close enough to compare with a 200mm lens on my K-30, or yours.

I'm going to assume that the DOF -- the depth-of-field for this photo -- was about 6 feet. For the player with the ball and the two other guys close behind him. They mark real tight in the Premier League. So if we plug the numbers into the Dofmaster Calculator, it turns out that Jenkins was about 50 feet away from the players. And that feels right... as a Guardian photographer, he had a field level pass, which you can tell from the angle of the shot. Actually, he might have been up to 100' away -- since DOF covers both in front of and in back of whatever he focused on... like the ball? In any case, he must've been right down there, in the first row of seats. Ooohh!

Further -- for the K-30, 200mm lens, if I want a 6' DOF At f/2.8, 85' away from the subject. At f/4, I need to be 70' away. At f/5.6, 60' away. At f/8, 50" away. It's actually worse than all that, because of the front-to-back DOF. But what can you do. And we'd be lucky to get by with f/5.6, given dim high school and jr. college lighting -- at least until Sen. Rand Paul becomes President and passes the National Small Stadium Lighting Act.

Interim solution? Ditch your job, divorce your wife, and be a pro soccer sports photographer in England. Hey, Gaugain ran off to Tahiti, didn't he? And then -- and only then -- you'll get that beautiful intense pro stadium lighting, and that pro field-level pass -- all so sadly denied to the rest of us!

@Miguel -- that morning, the fog was burning off when the runners came by. Sun! But today, dark clouds -- that extend in from the coast about ten miles -- photo below, out the car window, shows where the clouds stopped and the sun started. Sort of a daily war between the cloudy 'marine layer' and the sunny high coming towards us from the deserts to the east. But no rain -- yet. Reservoirs are still dry here.

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Last edited by jon404; 02-17-2014 at 10:38 PM.
02-21-2014, 08:19 PM   #22
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While I don't do much sports shooting these days, in my community journalism days I found soccer the most challenging - by far. You need a fairly versatile zoom because you never know where the best shots will happen - and the field is huge.

Great that the panning shot with a 1/160th worked for Sun Valley. That is a rare grab, and a bit of luck. Community sports, I find that it is rare to get a decent shot at less than 1/320; 1/500th is adequate. College to professional (baseball, basketball, football), 1/640th minimum; 1/1000th if possible. Shooting wider than about f/3.5 sharp in action is not something recent Pentax bodies can achieve quickly enough (although I suspect the K-3 is closing the gap on Nikon - if not yet quite reaching what Canon accomplishes on their prosumer bodies). Rely on the superior high ISO performance Pentax provides - in action shooting the ISO degradation is the least of our worries.
02-21-2014, 09:08 PM   #23
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@ScooterMaxi Jim -- when you did sports journalism, did you use burst mode... or did you keep it in single-picture mode?

Completely agree on the need for speed. Tried getting by with 1/250 and 1/320 at a high school night soccer game the other day... didn't work. Place was well-enough lit for playing, but nowhere near as bright as a pro stadium. Almost all shots with my K-01 and 55-300mm lens, set at 180mm and f/4.5, were blurry... and I was using a monopod, and located only about 25' from the sideline near the goal. The autofocus-tracking couldn't keep up, and I wasn't able to keep up with manual focus. Soccer is hard! Need more practice.

02-22-2014, 10:55 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by jon404 Quote
@ScooterMaxi Jim -- when you did sports journalism, did you use burst mode... or did you keep it in single-picture mode?

Completely agree on the need for speed. Tried getting by with 1/250 and 1/320 at a high school night soccer game the other day... didn't work. Place was well-enough lit for playing, but nowhere near as bright as a pro stadium. Almost all shots with my K-01 and 55-300mm lens, set at 180mm and f/4.5, were blurry... and I was using a monopod, and located only about 25' from the sideline near the goal. The autofocus-tracking couldn't keep up, and I wasn't able to keep up with manual focus. Soccer is hard! Need more practice.
Most of my journalism days were with a film "winder" not a motor drive as we know it now. College and pro sports are shot on occasion now, and the lighting is much better typically (although high school lighting has improved since my days in the '80s and early '90s). While the players in high school are slightly slower, the lighting gap is still greater than the speed difference; so high school is harder to shoot at night. Life is made much easier with digital review! Pull up those shots at 8x and see how much blur you're getting and adjust accordingly. My equipment forced me to be a single shot at a time photographer (routine is hard to break), but cameras now are 5 fps or more and that's the way to go into the future. By the way, almost all daily journalism operations require JPEG shooting. With a K-01 you have to shoot JPEG for sports (it has a fine JPEG engine), and if you are lucky and get a great last shot in the sequence don't forget you can convert it to RAW! However, the K-01 is pretty hopeless as a sports shooter. Grab a 3x quality screen loupe - that will help.

Here's a Takumar 70-210 (faster focus than you'd ever imagine) shot at 170mm 1/800th f/4.5 - 2000 ISO - K-30 - from the cheap seats - so hand held - in the second deck. Some cropping due to the format limits here on the forum.
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02-23-2014, 08:02 PM   #25
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My son had another game today and I tried my old -A lenses with manual focus. A 50 f/1.4 and a 135 f/2.8. I really like the results I think they're better than my tamron's with AF. Of course I missed a quite a few because I couldn't focus fast enough but given practice I think I could get good at this. The focus indicator in the middle of the K-30 screen really helps. The low f ratio means I can get those 1/500 s exposures with reasonnable iso. The first two where taken with the 135 mm and the last two with the 50 mm.


1/500s f/4.0 iso 2500



1/500s f/4.0 iso 4000]



1/400s f/3.2 iso 2000



1/400s f/3.2 iso 2000

Last edited by SunValley; 02-24-2014 at 05:34 AM.
02-23-2014, 09:36 PM   #26
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@SunValley -- those are good! Looks like f/1.4 and f/2.8 sure help in high school gym light. Do you remember what aperture you used... were these shot wide open, or did you stop down a bit, like to f/4?
02-24-2014, 05:10 AM   #27
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@jon404 Thanks! If you follow the exif link you'll see all the details. I did stop down a bit. I think I'm going to look for an old M or A 70-210 mm zoom with constant f 4.0 aperture. It might be more practical than my primes while I wait for my da*50-135 or apo 70-200.


edit - p.s. oops! sorry for the links that didn't work I just replaced it with the info.

Last edited by SunValley; 02-24-2014 at 05:35 AM.
02-24-2014, 09:14 AM   #28
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When I started out with a K100D and wanted to shoot my daughters volleyball games in a poorly lit gym, I ended up shooting Tv with the kit lens 50-200 at f4 and ISO 1600 with assistance from a Sigma DG500 Super flash w/HSS. I was able to get good results with a 1/320th shutter speed.




After upgrading to a Kx and lastly a K-30, I now use a 50mm 1.7 Pentax prime lens with no flash. One feature I use now with the K-30 is the TAv dial setting where you set the shutter speed and the aperture, usually f2, and then the camera sets the ISO which I have set the max at 3200. You might have to use the e/v compensation to tweak the exposure.

Finally, take a lot of photos. I find after downloading and viewing on a monitor, I usually end up with keeping 1/3 of the shots I took. Hope this helps......Practice, practice, practice.

Carl
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Last edited by CRMassart; 02-24-2014 at 09:24 AM.
03-03-2014, 12:29 PM   #29
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Thank you all for your input. I recently shot some pictures of my sister's basketball tournament. I used the k-30 with a Tamron 70-300 1:4-5.6. The settings I used were : 1/250, f2.8 @ ISO 8000.
Though the lighting in the gym was pretty poor the pictures turned out pretty well.
03-04-2014, 11:43 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by t.manning Quote
Thank you all for your input. I recently shot some pictures of my sister's basketball tournament. I used the k-30 with a Tamron 70-300 1:4-5.6. The settings I used were : 1/250, f2.8 @ ISO 8000.
Though the lighting in the gym was pretty poor the pictures turned out pretty well.
That's a pretty neat trick, shooting an f/4-5.6 lens at f2.8. Given the slow shutter speed and high ISO we'd have to assume you stopped down a bit perhaps you meant f/8?
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