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06-03-2019, 11:53 AM   #1
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How to shoot an indoor fighting sporting event

I'll be going to an indoor fighting show next month in a big arena. I won't be super far from the ring, maybe 80 feet or so. I have the K5 IIs and the following lenses:


SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
Sigma 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 DC
Takumar-F 28-80mm F3.5-4.5



Will that be a sufficient enough kit to capture some good shots? It should be pretty well lit and the entrance ramp will be bright and colorful. I know the 50 will perform well in lower light.

06-03-2019, 02:15 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I'm sure you can get some good shots, the 50mm is fast as you say for the big picture and will work, but if there's anything I'd "complain" about its about missing longer focal lengths for close-ups. 200 might be ok but you'll have less light and IQ with that one, so if you can borrow or rent ( or buy, LBA is great! =) ) a faster and more high-IQ lens for that area I think you'll get a few more superb shots!
06-03-2019, 02:34 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Igor123 Quote
I'm sure you can get some good shots, the 50mm is fast as you say for the big picture and will work, but if there's anything I'd "complain" about its about missing longer focal lengths for close-ups. 200 might be ok but you'll have less light and IQ with that one, so if you can borrow or rent ( or buy, LBA is great! =) ) a faster and more high-IQ lens for that area I think you'll get a few more superb shots!
Thank you Igor. I'd love to have a good telephoto prime but it's not in the cards in the moment. Do you think the 100 would be worth shooting with there? I should note also that I'll be in the crowd, not up close, but not too far either.
06-03-2019, 03:14 PM - 1 Like   #4
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This may not be exactly what you asked for, but I've shot quite a bit of wrestling.

Do you have a press pass or shooting from the audience? For the former, I think having a zoom helps as they move closer and farther, but primes will do too, I've used both. From your lenses, my pick would be the 100 macro, it's not the obvious choice but I've used it for sports enough times. Next the sigma zoom if there will be enough light, I doubt the other lenses will be long enough, but perhaps the setup will be very different from wrestling.

About technique, use the highest shutter speed you can to avoid blurred hands and feet, unless you want to show that intentionally. Most interesting stuff happens in a split second. ISO 12800 if you need to, if you're sharing online nobody will notice a bit of grain

06-03-2019, 03:17 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
Thank you Igor. I'd love to have a good telephoto prime but it's not in the cards in the moment. Do you think the 100 would be worth shooting with there? I should note also that I'll be in the crowd, not up close, but not too far either.
You can always crop and the 100mm is plenty sharp, but to get a "large" sharp shot of a couple of torsos and some sweat/teeth flying =), I think it may be a bit on the borderline with a 100 on a K5 16mpix even with cropping.

But I'm no expert on these shots, haven't done a lot of similar so better wait for someone more knowledgeable =). (For example my guess would be that the 100 wide open+crop would give you similar if not better shots than the 18-200@200@6.3, but I've got no experience from that particular lens, and it was a couple of years since I had a K5 and 100mm (not the II), so I think others will have more valid thoughts).

But if the K5II is similar to the K5 in focusing, I'd say not to use AF but pre-focus manually and shoot when the action happens at the distance you've focused on, othewise the af will delay your shots, miss some in time and some in focus. (And if the lighting allows you to use a F-stop/iso/shutterspeed combination that allows for a depth of field that captures a lot of the ring, all the better). Also if you have a memory card that allows it it's better to do some "pray and spray" for maximum number of keepers rather than being selective about framing etc. and getting a good percentage but low total overall.

While talking about manual focusing and lba =), if I may give one suggestion in that direction it could be the Pentax-M 200 F4. I think it can be had for $50 if lucky or up to twice that if in a hurry (without having checked, I might be somewhat off), but while manual it's ok sharp even wide open, especially on aps-c (I think the PF score is perhaps a bit low just because f4), and at f4 not superfast but more total resolving power vs distance/light than you have now I think.

Now wait and let someone that actually knows something give some advice =)

Edit: Seems the M 200mm F4 can be had for as low as $25 in the states if lucky, or less than 50 at least, so might be an option!

Last edited by Igor123; 06-03-2019 at 03:23 PM.
06-03-2019, 03:24 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
This may not be exactly what you asked for, but I've shot quite a bit of wrestling.
Hah, this would be for a wrestling show. I'll be in the audience looking towards the ring and the entrance ramp, but not too far back. Maybe 80 - 100 feet.


I was thinking the 100 and the Sigma too, but I'm a bit worried about what kind of IQ I'm going to get out of it. I like shooting it outdoors but it doesn't do so well indoors. I guess we'll see.

---------- Post added 06-03-19 at 06:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Igor123 Quote
Seems the M 200mm F4 can be had for as low as $25 in the states if lucky, or less than 50 at least, so might be an option!
I used to have a pristine copy of that lens that I bought from a local seller but I had to sell off a lot of my old kit a few years back. Sadly, that was one of the causalities. I hated selling it, it was a beautiful lens.

I like what you're saying about the manual focus. As long as they stay in roughly the same focal distance that shouldn't be too hard to capture well.
06-03-2019, 03:45 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
I was thinking the 100 and the Sigma too, but I'm a bit worried about what kind of IQ I'm going to get out of it. I like shooting it outdoors but it doesn't do so well indoors. I guess we'll see.
Haven't kept too many in my flickr account from when I was shooting wrestling, but if it helps give a sense of framing, here's one with the FA 100 wr macro, not cropped much if any, standing on the edge of the pad, so much closer than what you're expecting




I've used the 55-300 plm, which has the same aperture at the long end as your sigma, for indoors with good light. Just my guess, I think the noise penalty with the k3ii was worth avoiding to crop as much as a say 100mm lens would have required.
06-03-2019, 03:49 PM   #8
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I love both of those shots. They give me encouragement for how this might go. Thank you!

06-03-2019, 03:49 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
Hah, this would be for a wrestling show.
And it just occurred to me it may not be the same kind of wrestling? but either way, focal lengths and ring size should be sort of close all in all.
06-03-2019, 03:52 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
And it just occurred to me it may not be the same kind of wrestling? but either way, focal lengths and ring size should be sort of close all in all.
Heh, not quite, but I do enjoy amateur wrestling too.
06-03-2019, 04:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
Thank you Igor. I'd love to have a good telephoto prime but it's not in the cards in the moment. Do you think the 100 would be worth shooting with there? I should note also that I'll be in the crowd, not up close, but not too far either.
budget is a consideration for us all

but you might consider renting equipment:

I use Lensrental.com from Nashville but there appears there may be an option in Indiana:

Camera Lens Rentals
231 Federal Drive
Chesterfield, In 46017

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - PentaxForums.com

won't be free but less than the cost of buying equipment

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-04-2019 at 03:59 AM.
06-03-2019, 05:02 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Another real world example for quality:A while back I posted a scaled-down version of a 9.2MP crop out of a D-FA 100 WR shot on a K-5, wide open. A different kind of fight, but shot at about the 80ft distance (2/3 of a 22m wide pitch + generous safety area + a few rows up) in a fairly well-lit location, at the 2015 world cup. The lens is no limit to what this combo delivers and f/2.8 allowed to achieve the desired shutter speed (could have gone a bit lower). At screen resolution, you should be able to crop 2x further for a similar level of detail as posted above. At ISO3200, some noise is apparent at 1:1 magnification though.

06-04-2019, 04:03 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
I'll be going to an indoor fighting show next month in a big arena. I won't be super far from the ring, maybe 80 feet or so. I have the K5 IIs and the following lenses:


SMC Pentax-FA 50mm F1.4
SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro
Sigma 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 DC
Takumar-F 28-80mm F3.5-4.5



Will that be a sufficient enough kit to capture some good shots? It should be pretty well lit and the entrance ramp will be bright and colorful. I know the 50 will perform well in lower light.
Although I have never attempted to photograph wrestling matches ( pro or amateur ) I will vouch for the quality of your SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens if it is like mine.

it is a very good lens for macro and short telephoto

if the OP takes some time and reviews this thread, perhaps more information and examples can be seen:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/38-photographic-technique/275291-sports-...ml#post2970341

Last edited by aslyfox; 06-04-2019 at 04:16 AM.
06-04-2019, 07:51 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by aslyfox Quote
Although I have never attempted to photograph wrestling matches ( pro or amateur ) I will vouch for the quality of your SMC Pentax-D FA 100mm F2.8 Macro lens if it is like mine.

it is a very good lens for macro and short telephoto

if the OP takes some time and reviews this thread, perhaps more information and examples can be seen:

Sports photography - single images - Page 34 - PentaxForums.com
I have indeed been going through that thread. There's a lot of good stuff in there.
06-04-2019, 08:36 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
I have indeed been going through that thread. There's a lot of good stuff in there.
to see how other members have utilized various prime lenses, another good thread might be this one:

PentaxForums.com → Pentax Lenses and Accessories → Pentax SLR Lens Discussion → prime, prime, everywhere a prime...
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