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04-14-2011, 04:26 PM   #1
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Soccer and Football under the lights

I have a 14 yr. old daughter who plays Soccer and a 10 year old son who plays American football. They are the main reasons I have recently purchased a DSLR camera.

My new toy is a K20d with the 18-55 kit lens which I purchased from a friend who is upgrading, and an assortment of 3 additional lenses picked up from ebay and Craigs List.

Pentax DA 18-55 f3.5-4.6 kit lens
Pentax DA 50-200 f4-5.6
Sigma 70-300 (great for day time games)
Sigma 28-80 3.5-4.6

I know that none of these are very nice or very fast, but is there any way I could use them for shooting soccer under the lights? I have been fooling around a little at practice when the lights come on. I am only shooting hand held. I can hardly get photos that I can even read the numbers on the girls jerseys.

What about a tripod?

Should I miss the coming season saving my pennies for a good 2.8 or faster zoom? Should I look into a fast prime (say a 200mm). Are there any decent lenses that I could get for < $200 that would allow me to take shots that are at least good enough to make into screen savers at my office? Maybe an older Pentax MF from the film days?

I would appreciate any feedback at all.

04-14-2011, 06:06 PM   #2
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Unfortunately, most non-pro or non-big college sports fields are very poorly lit. A tripod would only give you a clear background, unless the players are standing still. Faster lenses are the way to go. With that tripod though, you might get decent shots of say right before kickoff, or right before a PK, a few of those are nice, but you want action. Those fast lens are not cheap, except for some of the manual focus. But that's difficult for action too, at least it is for me. You can cut down the size of the lens some if you can get close to the field, it will also make it a little brighter for your lens. Good Luck!
04-14-2011, 06:13 PM   #3
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I would suggest a Tamron 70-200 f2.8 zoom. Second hand they are maybe $600. f2.8 is the absolute bare minimum for this situation, even then it may not be enough which means looking at primes (eg Sigma 85mm f1.4, Pentax FA77 f1.8).

Even then I'm not sure a K20 is going to cut it, if it doesn't you could sell it and get a K-x which will give you another stop of ISO performance. Use the left over $200 or so towards your fast lens.
04-14-2011, 07:34 PM   #4
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Its pretty hard to take sports pics in amateur lighting. The first two are so-so pics with a 50-135 f2.8 in bad lighting [ the last pic which was in broad daylight] Albeit I am amateur. Hopefully someone else can give u a better response with using a K20 and cheaper lenses.

Last edited by psychdoc; 01-15-2014 at 07:14 PM.
04-14-2011, 08:58 PM   #5
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You could spend the money on a faster lens, or spend the equivalent (or less) on a new body like the K-x or K-r which gives you better high ISO results.

That being said, try to keep your shots in the more well-lit areas. Give the kit lens a go and experiment to see what settings you need in those lighting conditions; that will give you a better idea of what you want or need.
04-15-2011, 09:34 AM   #6
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Try bumping the iso to 1600. Shoot Raw, as much better noise reduction results can be had from most any conversion program. I use Adobe Lightroom 3 and they've really improved the noise reduction.
04-16-2011, 01:09 PM   #7
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Thank you all for the help. I think I will take it in small steps. First, the tripod and some not-so-fast action shots. Next, I am looking for an older MF 1.4 -2.

04-16-2011, 05:26 PM   #8
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Just got back from girls varsity lax. they played in the rain.
Shot with K7 and DA* 60-250 f4, hand held. The hold-back for "superb" images, was the lack of high-ISO ability of the K7. Focus was fine( single) and so was the FPS and the buffer write speeds (San-Disk class 10, 16 gig). Not to mention the Weather Resistance of the setup.

Forget the tripod. Too cumbersome, spend 60 bucks on a mono-pod. I see plenty of canicons (The official school shooters) with them at the games Manfrotto 680B Monopod (4-SCTN) - Replaces 680 (Black): Camera & Photo.
And save for K5 or f2.8 lens
If your eyesight is good, then an older lens might do fine, I am no longer in that category.
p.s. everyone else with cameras were dodging the rain.

Last edited by Ex Finn.; 11-11-2014 at 05:49 PM.

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