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01-22-2017, 01:17 PM   #1
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Mid to long range lens

Hi,

I have used Pentax for a few years. Recently, I felt the need to purchase a mid to long range lens for taking photos at son's indoor basketball game.
Two lens on short list are 50-200 mm kit lens and SMC DA 55-300 mm. I'd like to have some feedback from the forum if possible.
Thanks,

Zhicheng

01-22-2017, 01:22 PM   #2
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01-22-2017, 01:28 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by zhicheng Quote
Hi,

I have used Pentax for a few years. Recently, I felt the need to purchase a mid to long range lens for taking photos at son's indoor basketball game.
Two lens on short list are 50-200 mm kit lens and SMC DA 55-300 mm. I'd like to have some feedback from the forum if possible.
Thanks,

Zhicheng
If you have a K-50 or newer, definitely get the new 55-300mm PLM:

Hands-On with the Pentax DA 55-300mm PLM WR RE - Hands-On Tests | PentaxForums.com

Adam
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01-22-2017, 01:33 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
If you have a K-50 or newer, definitely get the new 55-300mm PLM:

Hands-On with the Pentax DA 55-300mm PLM WR RE - Hands-On Tests | PentaxForums.com
I have two bodies, Pentax K-r and K-01. It seems to me that both camera will not work properly with the new 55-300 PLM.
Thanks,

Zhicheng

01-22-2017, 01:39 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by zhicheng Quote
I have two bodies, Pentax K-r and K-01. It seems to me that both camera will not work properly with the new 55-300 PLM.
Thanks,

Zhicheng
Correct, those cameras would not be able to stop the new lens down. This might be a good opportunity to maybe consider a body upgrade, as the AF in the new lens is off the charts compared to the old 55-300mm and the 50-200mm. The old 55-300mm is otherwise pretty good in terms of both image quality and value, that said

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01-22-2017, 01:42 PM   #6
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Unless the gym you shoot in is brighter than most, you may find a lens with a maximum aperture > 2.8, like the 50-200 or 55-300, too slow to capture the action. If you can manage the added cost and weight of a f 2.8 lens, you'll have a better chance of freezing the action shots. And if you don't need to shoot at or close to 2.8, you'll generally get sharper photos as you move away from the maximum aperture that gives a f 2.8. lens an advantage. If you have any opportunity to test a lens in the gym that will give you a good idea if it's bright enough to shoot action at a smaller aperture. Good luck!
01-22-2017, 02:10 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by zhicheng Quote
I felt the need to purchase a mid to long range lens for taking photos at son's indoor basketball game.
I don't know what your camera body is, but neither lens you are considering will be ideal for this purpose. The widest aperture on these lenses doesn't allow enough light in to take pictures at fast shutter speeds without high ISO values (ISO 6400 or higher, depending on the lighting) The best lenses for this situation will be zooms with maximum apertures of f2.8 or f4. The lenses you are looking at have the right focal length range (in my experience, 50mm is as wide as you need and 200mm is as long as you need). Another important consideration is how quickly and accurately the lens focuses.

On the other hand, someone on this forum has posted pictures of an indoor basketball game taken with the DA 50 f1.8 with good results. I've used the DA 18-135 with not as good results, but I blame poor continuous auto-focus on my K-30 along with a maximum aperture of f5.0 or f5.6 at the focal lengths I was using. Technique can overcome some focusing problems, but not poor lighting; the distance between you and the action in a basketball game will change faster than you can move, so if you can afford a 50-135 or 70-200 zoom lens with a maximum aperture of at least f4, that would still be my recommendation. With a K-3 or better camera, the 55-300 might focus well enough to get you good results at high ISO values (I don't recommend it with a K-30/50 because it is too slow to focus), otherwise you could use a 50mm prime with a wider aperture and crop to simulate longer focal lengths. Another consideration is that the DA 55-300 is a very good lens for other situations, so there are benefits to obtaining one, even if it is not so good for indoor basketball games. If you are looking to buy either a used 50-200 or 55-300, go for the 55-300.

---------- Post added 01-22-17 at 03:22 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by zhicheng Quote
have two bodies, Pentax K-r and K-01
Sorry, I didn't update my view of this thread while I was typing my reply above. AFAIK, the K-r doesn't have the same ISO range that the K-01 has (similar to K-5/30/50), but as a mirrorless camera the K-01 doesn't have PDAF. If upgrading the camera body isn't an option, use the K-01 and try to take pictures as your son is moving parallel to you, so the camera to son distance doesn't change too much. Moving the camera with your son (panning) will also help to overcome focusing problems. Set ISO to go up to 12,800 if necessary.
01-22-2017, 02:20 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dave2k Quote
Unless the gym you shoot in is brighter than most, you may find a lens with a maximum aperture > 2.8, like the 50-200 or 55-300, too slow to capture the action. If you can manage the added cost and weight of a f 2.8 lens, you'll have a better chance of freezing the action shots. And if you don't need to shoot at or close to 2.8, you'll generally get sharper photos as you move away from the maximum aperture that gives a f 2.8. lens an advantage. If you have any opportunity to test a lens in the gym that will give you a good idea if it's bright enough to shoot action at a smaller aperture. Good luck!
The f 2.8 lens would be out of range of my budget. With the capability of high ISO setting, I am hoping to get away with a general zoom lens.
Debating if I should sell one camera, probably K-r, to upgrade.

---------- Post added 01-22-17 at 02:33 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by RGlasel Quote
I don't know what your camera body is, but neither lens you are considering will be ideal for this purpose. The widest aperture on these lenses doesn't allow enough light in to take pictures at fast shutter speeds without high ISO values (ISO 6400 or higher, depending on the lighting) The best lenses for this situation will be zooms with maximum apertures of f2.8 or f4. The lenses you are looking at have the right focal length range (in my experience, 50mm is as wide as you need and 200mm is as long as you need). Another important consideration is how quickly and accurately the lens focuses.

On the other hand, someone on this forum has posted pictures of an indoor basketball game taken with the DA 50 f1.8 with good results. I've used the DA 18-135 with not as good results, but I blame poor continuous auto-focus on my K-30 along with a maximum aperture of f5.0 or f5.6 at the focal lengths I was using. Technique can overcome some focusing problems, but not poor lighting; the distance between you and the action in a basketball game will change faster than you can move, so if you can afford a 50-135 or 70-200 zoom lens with a maximum aperture of at least f4, that would still be my recommendation. With a K-3 or better camera, the 55-300 might focus well enough to get you good results at high ISO values (I don't recommend it with a K-30/50 because it is too slow to focus), otherwise you could use a 50mm prime with a wider aperture and crop to simulate longer focal lengths. Another consideration is that the DA 55-300 is a very good lens for other situations, so there are benefits to obtaining one, even if it is not so good for indoor basketball games. If you are looking to buy either a used 50-200 or 55-300, go for the 55-300.

---------- Post added 01-22-17 at 03:22 PM ----------

Sorry, I didn't update my view of this thread while I was typing my reply above. AFAIK, the K-r doesn't have the same ISO range that the K-01 has (similar to K-5/30/50), but as a mirrorless camera the K-01 doesn't have PDAF. If upgrading the camera body isn't an option, use the K-01 and try to take pictures as your son is moving parallel to you, so the camera to son distance doesn't change too much. Moving the camera with your son (panning) will also help to overcome focusing problems. Set ISO to go up to 12,800 if necessary.
Thank you for long writing. Auto-focusing of K-01 is a little slow compared to K-r body.
I will use the DA 40 mm prime lens on K-r camera to try.

01-23-2017, 01:21 AM   #9
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Some very detailed replies already, so I'll just say welcome.
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