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04-19-2011, 08:11 PM   #31
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Update:

Ok, I took Gebco's advice and shot tonight's game at ISO 6400. The photos that follow have been cropped and run through Noise Ninja at default settings. Because of the 6400 ISO I was able to use much faster shutter speeds as well as use more of the reach of the kit 300mm zoom. Overall I had a much higher rate of "decent" shots which made it way more fun. It's also encouraging because as my skills improve, I am extremely optimistic that I'll be able to set up and, patiently wait for, some very good shots in specific parts of the rink. Anyway, you'll notice that 1 of the 4 shots below looks out of focus (well the ref and the glass are in focus). I was playing around with 5-point focus instead of center-spot. That turned out to be a bad idea but I uploaded the shot because it really shows off just what the glass looks like that I'm shooting through. Keep the great advice coming!

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04-19-2011, 09:13 PM   #32
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Those pics look good! As you practice you will learn, and the K-r is a great tool to learn with!
A piece of advice I was given and I try to follow: in most cases of kids' activities, it's about the memory, and even though many of us strive to get the best results from our equipment, it's about the memory, not the photo.
Keep posting your pics!
05-06-2011, 07:11 AM   #33
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UPDATE:

Well, I'm still having a blast exploring this wonderful blend of art & science that is DSLR photography. I enjoy having the camera more and more each day. However, you know what they say about boats? That they're just a big hole in the water that you keep throwing money into? Well, even though I've been VERY disciplined in my purchase so far, my wish list is growing rapidly! When it comes to hockey with my K-r and kit 55-300mm, I'm still only getting about 10% worth keeping and I've been shooting about 100 per game. I've been mainly staying with ISO 6400 and 3200. While I like the 3200 stuff better photographically, The K-r's ability to do ISO 6400 really REALLY well gives me a chance to cover the whole ice surface through the glass. Yes, remember, I'm shooting through the glass. I've also had some fun experimenting with 1/30 - 1/60 shutter speeds and panning with the players, but I'll save that for the next update.

Anyway, it has been a few weeks now and I thought I'd post a couple new pics along the lines of gebco's last post. Watching the game from the bleachers, you really get a feel for the effort and emotion these kids invest in their sport. However, taking snapshots with a point & shoot, I've never been able to convey that in an image. Now sharing these (and many others) with the other parents on Shutterfly so they can benefit from my new found addiction.
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05-06-2011, 07:37 AM   #34
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OK, now its time to get the wide aperture (f2.8) zooms for this type of work. Try a Pentax FA 75-200 f2.8 (about $1500) or a 50-135mm f2.8 (about $1k). These should help you get into a better ISO range.

I know these are high-end lenses (quality and price). Just tell the kids they have to get a hockey scholarship for college!

Great shots and keep having fun!

Regards,

05-06-2011, 06:40 PM   #35
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I think I would opt for the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 for far less money and still good quality build.
05-06-2011, 07:39 PM   #36
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Yeah yeah yeah... current wish list has the Sigma on it for hockey along with the DA 18-135mm to serve as my walk around lens... but then that'll just come in the kit when I upgrade to a K5... hahaha First things first. I need a lens hood, I'd really like a little 50mm prime to play around with and at some point, a bag. Then maybe gas for the car & food for the kids before $1k lenses .
05-06-2011, 08:15 PM   #37
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OK, fine! If you want to take care of the "necessities" first!

Patience. Good things come to those who wait! Just keep shooting!

Regards,
05-06-2011, 09:52 PM   #38
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HockeyDad, those last shots, although not all technically perfect (a couple, are either OOF or there was a little camera shake) are awesome in that you get to see the emotion of the game. Who cares if the pic is a little OOF when it's your kid, and you get to see the determination, happiness, etc.

That being said, you'll get better over time; you'll learn to track better and which settings work best.

I noticed on one shot you were at f8.0. Any reason for that? When I shoot an event like that I try to keep the aperture wide open so that I can find a good balance between high ISO and shutter speed.

To add to the other suggestions, I bought a Sigma 50-150 2.8 and absolutely love it. The pic below was taken with it; with the wide aperture of f2.8 I was able to keep the ISO at 2000 and had a shutter speed of 1/800:



05-07-2011, 06:01 AM   #39
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Thanks gebco. You summed up exactly why I posted those. I have a few that are better technically, but for anyone stumbling across this that may be thinking of making the leap to a DSLR, I was trying to give some real newbie examples of things that just cannot be captured well with a point & shoot. Like you said, catching these memories is what's important and I'm finding it is certainly possible for under $1k total investment.

As for the f8.0 shot... I noticed that too, for the first time, when I looked at the exif data in my post . I did kind of like the way it makes the goalie look... because I bet that's how he felt. I'm guessing I was trying to spin the thumbwheel to move the shutter speed faster and bumped up aperture instead. I was probably just watching the metering, and the game, through the viewfinder and clicked away before I really knew what I had changed. The other day I shot a whole series outside, on a beautifully sunny day, with +1 EV... no idea how I managed that either .
01-29-2012, 03:07 PM   #40
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It has been a while.

Ok, it has been quite a while since my last update. I've had a ton of fun playing with my Kr and I try to learn something new almost every day. I think I've come a long way but there is still sooooo much to learn. As for my quest for sub-$1000 hockey photos... well, I'm pretty happy with what I was able to get with the kit 55-300 lens as long as I was very careful to find clean spots of glass to shoot through and slow the shutter speed a little and work to track the action. All in all, I have several shots of every kid on our teams and while there's nothing anyone is going to make a fathead out of, there's some nice memories captured for our sons' teams.

That said, I rented a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 from CameraLensRentals.com this month and WOW! I'm not sure I'll be able to return it! The focus is crazy fast and in the rare instance it hunts, it's back to spot on focus in the blink of an eye! Not to mention, it's so quite... makes my 55-300 sound like its gasoline powered by comparison. Anyway, the extra boost in aperture and the crazy fast focus has me concentrating a lot more on composition. I still yield about 10-15% "keepers" from a game but I find myself enjoying the game more since I'm spending less time anticipating the action and letting the camera/lens combo do more of the work. Not to mention, the resulting images are better. I can use faster shutter speeds to freeze the action better and/or lower ISO to get less noise and more clarity.

So, in summary, the Kr with the 55-300 kit lens was perfect choice to start out with and I don't regret my decision even a little bit. It works well, but for those really special shots that a parent might want to frame up, there's just no getting around the need for faster glass. However, given the price of the 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, a budget conscious hockey parent could pick a month or two each season where there's playoffs or lots of games and rent for several seasons.

Side note: The people at the rental place went above and beyond to get the lens to me early when my older son's team made districts and suddenly had a stretch of 5 game days in a row. Also, if you rent one of these beasts, consider a monopod... I didn't and with 2 games a day for a few days my arms felt like I was out there playing

Oh yeah, here's a couple of pics with the Sigma:
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01-30-2012, 12:18 PM   #41
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HD:

Nice shots and great write-up on the Sigma! As for the price, buy it and give it to your wife for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Valentine's Day/anniversary/birthday/Mother's Day and see if she let's you play with it! LOL! You did get it for HER! She can get you the diamond necklace and you can call it even!

DA

Good luck!
01-30-2012, 01:07 PM   #42
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Hey, those shots are really coming along - nice work. I agree about the 55-300; a good start in that range for me too - the AF is slower and noisier than other lenses, but the range is really useful.
02-18-2012, 09:03 PM   #43
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Hey HockeyDad,

Glad you're enjoying your setup. Keep posting! It's nice to see your progress!
Recently I shot basketball and the pics turned out quite well. RAW files clean up nicely and the Sigma 50-150 is a joy to use.
Football season is around the corner; that's my favourite sport to photograph.
02-19-2012, 12:12 AM   #44
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Seems you know

Nice intensity in some your pictures.

You really caught the focus.
07-25-2012, 01:37 PM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by BigDave Quote
buy it and give it to your wife for Christmas/Kwanzaa/Valentine's Day/anniversary/birthday/Mother's Day
DONE! My new Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 arrived today, which happens to also be our 20th anniversary.

Hockey season starts up again next month so I'll be sure to post up some pics. I'm now coveting the K-30 for it's somewhat predictive autofocus among other things. At this point, I've officially blown my original budget by getting the Sigma. I guess that can be the lesson for anyone in my shoes stumbling accross this thread... you can shoot hockey for under $1000 but you're going to eventually succumb to the advice of EVERYONE shooting fast sports and get a big fast zoom so go ahead and plan for it.
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