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11-15-2010, 10:14 AM   #16
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Spot-metering and center-focus are your friends when trying to take this type of picture. Manual focus often works better for me on my K-10, too, though your camera has a better autofocus. The spot-metering should check light only on the center point, where you're focusing. This may mean that white background is too bright, but your center subject should be correctly exposed.

I use paint.net for most corrections, and it does a very good job for my requirements. It does have an auto-correct, which I usually try and if the image is merely under-exposed, it does well. Otherwise, I have to use more sophisticated corrections.

If you're not using the 200-300mm range of that zoom, I'd investigate a zoom with a lower range and faster speed, or find something like a 100mm or 70mm range which should be faster. Images from these DSLRs are big enough to crop down for printing or online publishing, so often filling the entire field with your subject is unnecessary. The 50-135 is one I'm going to investigate. They all have their sweet spots, too.

You can rent lenses, too. I use cameralensrentals.com to test lenses or rent more expensive ones for events. It's a great idea to test before laying down the money for a new lens.

11-19-2010, 05:26 PM   #17
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Great advice!
11-19-2010, 08:30 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I'm gonna guess that the white wall in the background is part of the reason your pics came out dark. That much white in a picture can sometimes fool the light meter. But the good news is that you've already done enough experimentation to know about what settings you'll need for the next event. It's highly unlikely that the lighting inside the arena will change. And you already know that shooting at ASA3200 at 1/200th at f8 gives pics that are too dark. If I were you, I'd start out by changing your f-stop to f5.6 (or whatever the widest is on your 55-300) and leave the ASA and shutter speed alone. Then, if the pics are too bright, I'd bump up the shutter speed until you're getting shots that are exposed right. The faster shutter speed will help increase the sharpness by stopping the action a little better.
I'd also change the metering (if it's full frame metering) to either center or the middle range. This could blow out the white background also, so you might want to play with it a bit to see exactly what works best with the lighting/background of that environment.
11-20-2010, 09:37 AM   #19
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Also to keep in mind:

If you are shooting from the stands (and this seems to be the case in some of the images) you are far enough away where you are getting close to infinity, where depth of field (the area, front to back, that will be in focus) has less issues at the wider f stops (lower f number).

Also, before an event, try playing and practicing with the camera a bit. The more you are familiar with it, the better you can make quick decisions. Don't be afraid to play with it, just don't hit that "format" option with any good shots on your memory card! Have an extra memory card or two with you. They are much cheaper than film!

Regards,

11-20-2010, 09:53 AM   #20
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This is the situation where spot metering, center focus and floating ISO (TAv) mode would be most suitable; however, I am not sure if that feature is available in K-x. Also use EV to adjust base on the amount of lighting on the subject. Shutter speed and aperture are most crucial here as you want to minimize motion blur and also wide aperture to get proper DOF. Ideally you should shoot RAW to give additional room for Post processing.
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