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06-09-2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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K20 D - lowlight indoor pics - roller derby

Hi there, i am hoping someone may be able to suggest/ help me as to what to do in a very lowlight/indoor action situation. I have a K20D and a couple of lenses. But fairly new to using this camera & i am always disappointed with the terrible pics i take in this lighting/movement. Can you please suggest the best settings & lenses for the above situation. I am wanting to take pics of roller derby bouts.

Thanks in advance!

06-09-2010, 08:51 AM   #2
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I've always wanted to go to the roller derby...

How close can you get to the action? I would put my hands on the fastest lens I could find/afford and set the camera to use a Focus Trap (catch in focus). That probably dictates an M or A type manual focus lens unless you want to spend the cash on a DA*.

06-09-2010, 09:00 AM   #3
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Please moved to the beginner's forum.

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06-09-2010, 10:40 AM   #4
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Low light and action is always tough. The basic problem is you need a fast enough shutter speed to stop action. The only ways to do that are to raise ISO (which unfortunately adds noise) or to use a larger aperture (which usually means buying a new and often expensive lens that *has* a larger maximum aperture).

start by posting pictures you are not happy with, and say what lens you used, what shutter speed, ISO, and aperture you used. If it's possile to simply turn up the ISo to get a faster shutter speed, that would be the first thing to do. At some point, you'll hit a level where you can't or are unwilling to raise ISO any more, and then you can start worrying about how money you can afford to spend on a lens with a larger maximum aperture.

06-09-2010, 10:57 AM   #5
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If converted to black and white, some high iso, noise filled images could be a really nice effect for roller derby. Post up some of your examples and keep having fun.
06-09-2010, 12:57 PM   #6
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if rental and buying gear is not an option, then bring up the iso 3200/6400 and use Noise Cleaning software to clean up the pics.
06-09-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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You already received some good advice, and I may simply reword some comments based upon my own experience in low light. I tend to shoot outdoor actions (waves, animals) in low light (dusk).

You need a fast lens, most likely a fast prime. That is, a lens with a large aperture and a low f-number: like f1.4. The prime lenses (single local distance) with larger apertures are cheaper than the zoom lenses, and they are called fast primes. Pentax has a superb collection of fast primes, possibly one the best choice among all brands. Some good 2nd hand lens can be purchased at reasonable price on the market place; the choice of new lenses is also very broad.

First assess the focal distance that you need: 40 mm, 50mm, 80mm, ... Then look at the lens database for the choices of Pentax (Pentax Lens Review Database - Lens Listings) and third party lenses (PentaxForums.com Third-Party Lens Review Database - Lens Listings) that would suit your needs. The user reviews and scores will give you a good feel for the quality of the lens. Search also for any relevant threads in the www.pentaxforums.com. Another source of information on lenses are the independent reviews by www.slrgear.com and www.photozone.de. Both are well respected lens review databases.

Hope that the comments will assist...

Last edited by hcc; 06-11-2010 at 11:21 PM. Reason: Url
06-13-2010, 06:05 AM   #8
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As Marc says, the key to low light photography is fast lenses, high ISO's and low bank balances.

06-15-2010, 08:03 AM   #9
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I was at a Roller Derby last month and ran into the same problem. Here are a couple of shots I was able to get...

Shutter speed: 1/180 sec
F-Stop: f/4.0
ISO: 800

I was using my Pentax-DA 55-300 F4-5.8 lens.
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06-16-2010, 02:59 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cregar Quote
I was at a Roller Derby last month and ran into the same problem. Here are a couple of shots I was able to get...

Shutter speed: 1/180 sec
F-Stop: f/4.0
ISO: 800

I was using my Pentax-DA 55-300 F4-5.8 lens.
Well the problem here is that the lens you are using is an excellent lens for bright daylight situations. The lens that came with the camera, same thing, great for daylight and bright situations. In the scene that you showed us. I would have to say a good flash is the minimum if you don't want to get a fast low light lens such as the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 (or the tamron/ sigma lens). Adding a flash with a diffuser will brighten up the scene without making the light too harsh on the subject.

That's just my .02 I hope that helps.
06-21-2010, 12:57 AM   #11
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I did my first roller derby full manual with a Pentax-M 50 1.7.

Indoor low light action is tough. Depending on if they let you sit in the suicide section next to the track you might need a fast tele. I was mere feet from the girls as they flew by so the 50 was just right. I didn't have to use my flash either (Don't like using flash either). However I go for panning shots and low blur to give the girls a look of movement.

I will see if I can post some examples of what I got and see if they appeal to you. Otherwise what everyone has said already is sound advice.

Last edited by kalison; 06-21-2010 at 09:51 AM.
06-21-2010, 09:47 AM   #12
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Okay here are a couple... I have more in my photobucket album if you want to see those.

The lighting doesn't look bad in these pictures and obviously I adjusted the white balance. However, the lighting was very dim, a lens slower than 4.0 was going to be trouble, especially for me since I don't use flash. This kind of shooting is really tough, as you can see.

The third and fourth shot I selected are two from the 18-55WR, which I didn't intend on using at all... however during the break I wanted to get some wider shots of the ring, then while I was into taking shots the break time had passed and I forgot about it being mounted. I took several shots by accident wondering what the heck was going on... DUUUUUH! Anyway, these are two that I could actually keep.









Roller Derby 2010 pictures by JKaliJ - Photobucket

Last edited by kalison; 06-25-2010 at 01:38 AM. Reason: Had to update my album and reorganize a bit.
06-25-2010, 06:08 PM   #13
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Haven't heard from the OP in a while, I hope he/she is out catching great photos to share with us later!
06-25-2010, 06:49 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by wild explorer Quote
Hi there, i am hoping someone may be able to suggest/ help me as to what to do in a very lowlight/indoor action situation. I have a K20D and a couple of lenses. But fairly new to using this camera & i am always disappointed with the terrible pics i take in this lighting/movement. Can you please suggest the best settings & lenses for the above situation. I am wanting to take pics of roller derby bouts.

Thanks in advance!
I've had good success with skating events using a fast 135mm prime(2.5/2.8), with higher ISO. I aimed to keep my shutter at/or around 1/250th and everything worked out pretty good.

Good WB(using WB caps) and exposing to the right helped alot.
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