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12-26-2017, 10:20 AM   #1
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JUST GOT MY NEW KP - need a little advice on settings for low-light indoor volleyball

Wow this is a really cool camera. I sold my K-50 on ebay and this new KP seems like quite an advancement. I bought it to better my chances of getting away with higher ISOs for indoor volleyball.

Can you guys give me some settings recommendations for this?

I am likely going to go with f 2.8 (or possibly 3.5), 1/700, 3200 ISO, continuous shooting (7fps) and then see what happens.

My lenses are Tamron 35-70 2.8, and a Sigma 70-200 2.8.

What should my AF be set to - AFC?

Any other suggestions?

PS - I also used the Noise Reduction feature.


Last edited by TXPentaxK50; 12-26-2017 at 11:35 AM.
12-26-2017, 03:34 PM   #2
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Just got my KP also, you should be able to up the ISO couple more stops in order to stop down the lens a tad. Any noise reduction or any other processing in camera will probably slow it down too much.
I haven't done any low light sports since the kids graduated high-school, used to shoot high continuous JPEG, AF-S, up to ISO 10 000 with K5 and DA 55-300, later with DA 60-250. Topaz De-noise was my friend.
Have fun with your new acquisition.
12-26-2017, 06:51 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Congrats to you new KP owners! It is a great and unique camera. I sometimes shoot indoor roller hockey at the college level. They move very fast, and one never knows just when they will shoot. My young friend is a goalie, so this makes things somewhat easier, since I make him my main focus subject, although he also moves around quickly. After he graduated he joined a club team and league, so I still do shoot his games occasionally.

A lot depends on how bright the lighting is. The usual rink is not dim, but also not all that brilliantly lit. Other rinks his team visits have been a bit better. Good that you have f/2.8 lenses. My Sigma 24-60mm f/2.8 EX DG provides the right FLs for my needs. Shutter speed is all-important, so I usually shoot wide-open or near so, with my ISO at around 2,000 to 2500 on my K-5 IIs, depending on lighting. I have not employed my KP for this purpose as of yet, and look forward to doing so. For this activity, I need a shutter speed of around 1/500 sec or more, and I get it with these settings.

You may not need quite that much shutter speed for indoor volleyball, since neither the ball nor the players are moving as fast as the skaters and the puck in my case. As you gain experience, you'll probably be able to set a shutter speed that provides just the right blur that depicts motion as you like it to be, or to freeze all action entirely.

I've had good luck with just AF-S and center-spot AF. A lot has to do with your own quickness and ability to follow the action. Keep your eye and focus on the ball. When you see who will be receiving it, immediately switch focus to the player using the half-press or back AF button, being thus ready to fire at the right time to capture the response. Get as good as you can this way, which will provide very good training for this kind of challenge. You will get better after some extended experience. Then you might experiment with AF-C, multiple AF points, and sometimes a short burst, to see how that works out, but I think doing that right off is more likely to cause dependency on "spray and pray" instead of developing your own skill.

Also, as per my experience and lab tests have indicated, be sure to go to the custom-image menu and set "F" for Fine sharpening, at least for the Bright and Natural categories, to achieve the best detail in your images.

Last edited by mikesbike; 12-26-2017 at 06:59 PM.
12-26-2017, 07:29 PM   #4
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Wow that is GREAT info!

Questions...so noise reduction (NR) actually slows things down? How does that work?

And Iím curious why not AF-C ... doesnít that mean that itís contiously focusing on a moving object?

The last serious camera I had was a Contax 167MT. Itís like a horse and buggy and the KP is a Corvette. Except I will always miss the Zeiss optics!!!

---------- Post added 12-26-17 at 07:32 PM ----------

Also should I set the camera on shutter Priority and automatic everything else, or go full manual for volleyball shooting?

12-26-2017, 07:43 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TXPentaxK50 Quote
Wow that is GREAT info!

Questions...so noise reduction (NR) actually slows things down? How does that work?

And Iím curious why not AF-C ... doesnít that mean that itís contiously focusing on a moving object?

The last serious camera I had was a Contax 167MT. Itís like a horse and buggy and the KP is a Corvette. Except I will always miss the Zeiss optics!!!

---------- Post added 12-26-17 at 07:32 PM ----------

Also should I set the camera on shutter Priority and automatic everything else, or go full manual for volleyball shooting?
Go out there and try it, see what suits you.
12-26-2017, 11:55 PM   #6
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I haven't had a problem with NR being on the standard default setting, but if there is any meaningful slowing of camera response, I would think it would affect burst shooting the most. In that case, it is also important to use SD cards having the fastest write speeds. Besides having a deeper buffer for burst shooting, the K-5 IIs also might deliver faster write speeds for burst shooting than the KP or the K-1, due to their higher MP design. That does not mean the KP is incapable of excellent results for shooting a volleyball game, but it is not really designed to be the ultimate in burst shooting.

With AF-C, the AF is supposed to continuously adjust to follow action as it occurs, and there is no longer focus priority upon firing of the shutter, so it will fire even if focus is not achieved. So it makes more sense if using bursts, as at least some of the shots in the burst should be in focus. But with action at such a high shutter speed, and using single shot technique, and you are on top of the action, your own manipulation of the half press or AF button will be on top of what is happening, and you'll be quick on the trigger. Practice makes near-perfect. Of course, it does not help if you are working with a lens having slow AF. My Sigma works using the old screw-drive AF and is quite fast and accurate on my K-5 IIs. It was not as good on the original K-5. I anticipate good success with my KP.

Last edited by mikesbike; 12-27-2017 at 12:04 AM.
12-27-2017, 06:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I haven't had a problem with NR being on the standard default setting, but if there is any meaningful slowing of camera response, I would think it would affect burst shooting the most. In that case, it is also important to use SD cards having the fastest write speeds. Besides having a deeper buffer for burst shooting, the K-5 IIs also might deliver faster write speeds for burst shooting than the KP or the K-1, due to their higher MP design. That does not mean the KP is incapable of excellent results for shooting a volleyball game, but it is not really designed to be the ultimate in burst shooting.

With AF-C, the AF is supposed to continuously adjust to follow action as it occurs, and there is no longer focus priority upon firing of the shutter, so it will fire even if focus is not achieved. So it makes more sense if using bursts, as at least some of the shots in the burst should be in focus. But with action at such a high shutter speed, and using single shot technique, and you are on top of the action, your own manipulation of the half press or AF button will be on top of what is happening, and you'll be quick on the trigger. Practice makes near-perfect. Of course, it does not help if you are working with a lens having slow AF. My Sigma works using the old screw-drive AF and is quite fast and accurate on my K-5 IIs. It was not as good on the original K-5. I anticipate good success with my KP.
Mike can you explain further the SD card with the fastest write speed? Is there a certain SD card that I should buy ?
12-28-2017, 11:15 PM   #8
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The info I've seen indicates cards of 90mb/sec or more are best for burst shooting. But whether they actually deliver that is another matter. JPEGs are far better for burst shooting because RAW files are a lot bigger and slower to process. I don't see any reason not to use JPEGs for volleyball games. I see B&H has a SanDisc 32 gb Extreme Pro rated at 95mb/sec at about $22, which should do the trick unless you intend to shoot a whole lot of photos! I don't shoot in burst mode very often, so others might have more advice to offer from their experience. JPEG quality with the KP is excellent. Especially with Fine sharpening set in custom menu. Just keep your bursts short ones, since the KP's buffer is not a deep one like that of the K-5 IIs or the K-3. A 24mp sensor also produces much larger files than the 16mp K-5 series, which also takes longer to write, and more to fill the buffer faster. You could similarly also shoot at a slightly lower resolution for this kind of subject matter for greater workflow in burst shooting if you find write speed to be inadequate or the buffer to fill too quickly.

it is for the same reason you do not see the highest resolution in terms of MPs featured in expensive full frame bodies designed for professional sports photography.

However, I still think it best to learn without burst shooting as best you can, and then later see how much you need it. Just think-how in the world did photographers get such good sports shots when using film!

01-01-2018, 07:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
The info I've seen indicates cards of 90mb/sec or more are best for burst shooting. But whether they actually deliver that is another matter. JPEGs are far better for burst shooting because RAW files are a lot bigger and slower to process. I don't see any reason not to use JPEGs for volleyball games. I see B&H has a SanDisc 32 gb Extreme Pro rated at 95mb/sec at about $22, which should do the trick unless you intend to shoot a whole lot of photos! I don't shoot in burst mode very often, so others might have more advice to offer from their experience. JPEG quality with the KP is excellent. Especially with Fine sharpening set in custom menu. Just keep your bursts short ones, since the KP's buffer is not a deep one like that of the K-5 IIs or the K-3. A 24mp sensor also produces much larger files than the 16mp K-5 series, which also takes longer to write, and more to fill the buffer faster. You could similarly also shoot at a slightly lower resolution for this kind of subject matter for greater workflow in burst shooting if you find write speed to be inadequate or the buffer to fill too quickly.

it is for the same reason you do not see the highest resolution in terms of MPs featured in expensive full frame bodies designed for professional sports photography.

However, I still think it best to learn without burst shooting as best you can, and then later see how much you need it. Just think-how in the world did photographers get such good sports shots when using film!
I'm still in the salivating stage - I haven't located enough loose money yet to purchase a KP - but do tell me, how far can you push the ISO level and still get a good SOOC image?
01-03-2018, 06:06 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by reh321 Quote
I'm still in the salivating stage - I haven't located enough loose money yet to purchase a KP - but do tell me, how far can you push the ISO level and still get a good SOOC image?
I have not tried any extremes yet. And a lot depends on what degree of perfection one is looking for. I have not encountered objectionable noise (for me) even if I am shooting a roller-hockey game using JPEGs at ISO 6400! And this is with the camera's default auto NR setting. So I know I am getting at least one stop+ improvement over my already very good K-5IIs! RAW images with the right processing would be even better. But this is one thing that is great with the KP- it is capable of producing exceptional results, even right out of the camera!

There may be others here who can provide some extensive high ISO images, or some can be found in another thread.

---------- Post added 01-03-18 at 06:37 PM ----------

I just did a couple of test shots and of course I can see some noise in shadows at ISO 6400 without any post process, and just JPEGs, but not bad. And is the same any better at ISO 3200? Yes, in fact looking quite good at that! If you want to see the difference yourself, just go to the imaging resource website- just google imaging resource Comparometer, a feature they offer where you can compare the same image taken with one camera against another. Just JPEG images right out of the camera at default settings. You can compare the KP against the K-3, for instance. If you want to compare a discontinued model, you have to first select "all cameras" at the top of the column.

Once you select the cameras to compare, you'll find the only shots taken with the KP so far are the ones of the still-life having the various objects, at various ISO settings.. So with the other camera you'll have to scroll down to get that still-life shot. Then click on the ISO image you want for each camera. Then click on the image again when it comes up to get maximum blowup. Now you can move around within the image. One good place to compare is to the far right, the shadow areas between the paint brush in the cup and the Samuel Smith bottle. Then check both the writing on the Samuel Smith bottle, as well as the figure on the Hellas bottle to see how detail has been preserved or lost.

Last edited by mikesbike; 01-03-2018 at 06:50 PM.
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