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05-07-2016, 10:40 AM - 6 Likes   #1
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Pentax K-1 and sports (AHL hockey, vintage glass)

Posting this under the main K-1 forum rather than the photo gallery, since it's more about analyzing the characteristics of the K-1 for sports rather than simply an image gallery thread.

Last night, I took my brand new K-1 out to an AHL Calder Cup playoff game between the Hershey Bears and the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Penguins, thinking it would be a good test of the camera's capabilities in photographing a veryfast-paced sport.

For non-North Americans and those not familiar with Hockey, the AHL is a top-level farm league for the NHL, usually the last stop for prospects before they hit the big league, or a place to stash players from the NHL roster while they rehab form injury or to free up space on the main roster during various personnel swaps. The Bears are the feeder team for the Washington Capitals, while the Penguins are the feeder for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Incidentally, this playoff also mirrors the current playoff that is going on between Washington and Pittsburgh in the NHL right now.

I was sitting in the 10th row of the stands. Since the arena only permitted smaller glass where I was sitting, I selected a vintage prime setup, using an SMC Pentax-K 135mm f/2.5, along with the SMC Pentax-F 1.7x AF converter, for an equivalent setup of about 230mm.

Some observations:

The shutter, while not as quick as that on the K-3, did not seem terribly slow in actual use, and I was able to get a number of good shots. It's not nearly as fast as some of the sports-oriented Nikons, but for casual shooting, it was quite adequate. It is also much quieter than the K-3 shutter, perhaps even quieter than the K-5, which was very nice as it wasn't at all disturbing to those sitting around me. This would make a great setup for something like golf or tennis, where keeping things quiet is key.

The AF 1.7x converter performed miraculously better in autofocusing than on any of the APS-C bodies I've ever used it on. I set the focus on the lens to just short of infinity, and the converter nailed focus much more often than it missed and was much quicker and quieter than it had been on any previous camera I'd used it on. I was also extremely impressed at how sharp the pictures were with this combo. Bear in mind that due to reach constraints, most of these images are cropped to APS-C ore even smaller! As usual, the 1.7x converter introduced a significant amount of purple fringing, which I removed using Lightroom's PF tool. CA was virtually nonexistent.

I shot most of my photos with an ISO of 3200 or 6400, since I was shooting for shutter speeds of about 1/1000. I kept the aperture around the lens's sweet spot of f/4 (f/6.7 equivalent with the teleconverter). The higher ISO results were fantastic. Equivalent or better to those on the K-3 at ISO400.

Ignore any EXIF that says 400mm - I had forgotten to set the focal length when I put the 135/1.7x combo on the camera.

All images were taken under the artificial arena lighting (I believe metal halide but possibly LED - I wasn't paying attention) and have been run through my standard automated PP routine (same one I used on my K-3 images) with no additional tweaking/retouching.

Link to album with full size versions/MANY more photos

Please feel free to peruse them and add any comments on the K-3's performance in this thread.






























Last edited by dcshooter; 05-07-2016 at 10:53 AM.
05-07-2016, 12:28 PM   #2
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Image Sharpness = EPIC WIN!
05-07-2016, 01:19 PM   #3
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Terrific shots! I've had my K-1 since Thursday and still have not had a chance to open the box, can't wait.

So who won the game?

And is that Pete Peters kid in net for the Bears?
05-07-2016, 01:21 PM   #4
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Those shots are impressive! I shoot sports pretty frequently and I was curious how the K-1 would perform. I may not be able to resist it much longer, especially in light of the high ISO performance you demonstrated. I may be missing something, but I believe the lens you were using is a MF lens. Therefore I don't understand the comments about the autofocus working well. With that type of manual lens, isn't AF a non-factor? Or are you just referring the focus confirmation indicator?

05-07-2016, 01:31 PM   #5
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The Pentax-F 1.7x AF converter that I used has a motorized floating element in it that adds (limited) autofocus functionality to manual glass.

QuoteOriginally posted by dave2k Quote
Those shots are impressive! I shoot sports pretty frequently and I was curious how the K-1 would perform. I may not be able to resist it much longer, especially in light of the high ISO performance you demonstrated. I may be missing something, but I believe the lens you were using is a MF lens. Therefore I don't understand the comments about the autofocus working well. With that type of manual lens, isn't AF a non-factor? Or are you just referring the focus confirmation indicator?


---------- Post added 05-07-16 at 01:35 PM ----------

Bears won 2-0. Peters was in net and made some terrific saves. Hershey started the game hot, scoring twice in the first. By the third period, Scranton was dictating play but they simply couldn't get the puck past Peters.

QuoteOriginally posted by KiloHotelphoto Quote
Terrific shots! I've had my K-1 since Thursday and still have not had a chance to open the box, can't wait.

So who won the game?

And is that Pete Peters kid in net for the Bears?
05-07-2016, 02:13 PM   #6
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Hey another K1 user in the Lehigh Valley!

I shot with the Tamron 70-200 today... I found most of the misfocusing was due to my own capabilities, the camera and lens combo was perfectly capable.
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Last edited by SBeck; 02-27-2017 at 01:55 PM.
05-07-2016, 02:20 PM   #7
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This is the thread I've been waiting for since the K-1 came out. I love the sharpness of the hockey shots. Looks like the K-1's a winner for sports after all.
05-07-2016, 03:09 PM   #8
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Shooting a demanding sport like hockey with a lens older than any player on the field .. impressive!

Great results too - vivid colours, great detail, good sense of action.

05-07-2016, 03:26 PM   #9
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Really great shots. I'm inspired to get either more camera gear or more goalie gear.
05-07-2016, 03:39 PM   #10
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I hope you don't mind my tacking on these dog photos here... but I think they're fitting - the dogs are achieving running speeds of 30+MPH in only a couple strides out of the box.. And while they do run relatively predictable path, it's fairly common for them to change 'lanes' and switch which ones are closer and further from me.
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05-07-2016, 03:44 PM   #11
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My only comment on the dog shots is - get closer!
Too much background, not enough subject.

Here 200mm on APS-C would probably have worked better than 200mm on FF.
05-07-2016, 03:58 PM   #12
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Yeah, it's more a fear of missing a shot altogether that has me hesitant - given that these sorts of shots rarely end up anywhere but on a dog owner's website/facebook, I suspect cropped from 36mp will be more than adequate until I get more comfortable with this camera. Although having more of the AF points on a dog would have made focusing much easier.
05-07-2016, 04:01 PM   #13
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Fantastic shots. I can't wait to save up enough money to get me a K1. I think it will do great for my nighttime barrel races and daytime motorcycle races.

Thanks for sharing.
Jim
05-07-2016, 04:02 PM   #14
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Post away! Like, I said, this thread's for analysis of the K-1's capabilities for sports, so your pics are definitely germane.

QuoteOriginally posted by SBeck Quote
I hope you don't mind my tacking on these dog photos here... but I think they're fitting - the dogs are achieving running speeds of 30+MPH in only a couple strides out of the box.. And while they do run relatively predictable path, it's fairly common for them to change 'lanes' and switch which ones are closer and further from me.

Last edited by dcshooter; 05-07-2016 at 04:20 PM.
05-07-2016, 04:09 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SBeck Quote
I suspect cropped from 36mp will be more than adequate
Probably would work well in post-processing. 36MP gives one a lot of cropability.

You could even set the camera to crop mode while shooting - it would get you in tighter (300mm APS-C equiv), and the AF point coverage would also be wider too. Be interesting to see how the in-camera crop mode works on the K-1 for sports.
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