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08-23-2012, 02:28 AM   #1
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Can a Tak do the job?

Hi Guys,

So I want to shoot action/sports but do not have a fast AF lens. I do have the lovely Super Takumar 105/2.8 and the 200/4 though(can shoot up the iso on a k-x). I know its not the same for that kind of photography.

Now, what's the best way I can prepare myself to come as near as possible to shooting action with those kind of lenses? (I am aware the proffs with their super lenses may sneer at my Tak/s on action day, but if I can return with some keepers than I will be smiling)


Last edited by voyager13; 08-23-2012 at 02:57 AM.
08-23-2012, 03:42 AM   #2
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Go out and practice shooting birds or something else that's fast moving, see how you end up. I've photographed swallows with the M 200mm f/4 before with a little bit of success. A bit of practice and I can quite happily shoot motorcyclists with it now, and other moving things with a fair chunk of keepers. It's VERY difficult though. You need to learn how to move your focus with your subject. If you can shoot at smaller apertures, do it. A noisy ISO 6400 shot in focus will look better than an clean ISO 400 shot that's OOF.

On that note, using a shorter focal length and cropping down can help you deal with DoF problems too, so using the 105mm might be a better idea. What sort of size do you need out of these shots?

And don't be too fussy about perfect focus. If it looks good enough at reasonable sizes, it's fine.

If all else fails get a huge memory card and adopt the spray and pray technique.

Good luck!
08-23-2012, 04:09 AM   #3
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Depth of field - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There was action photography before autofocus.
08-23-2012, 05:42 AM   #4
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While the taks are very comfortable to focus with, it will still be hard to do. Make sure you have a good focusing screen and know how to use it.
Furthermore, the lack of auto aperture will be a problem since your VF will darken at smaller aperture sizes.

Look upon it as a challenge. It's not impossible, just hard.

08-23-2012, 08:26 AM   #5
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Pre-focus whenever possible, use a moderate aperture (f/6.7 - f/8) if you can and get lots of practice first.
08-23-2012, 09:04 AM   #6
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jatrax is on the right track. for manual focus sports photography you really need to know the sport. I shot a lot of sports in school for yearbook etc. I used a 135 2.8 a 1.4 tc and 400 iso film (sometimes pushed to 800). max speed on the body was 1/500. i would stop down to f4 if light allowed and shoot at 1/500 if possible. I would read the play for football and prefocus on where i thought the next play would go and wind off one or 2 shots. managed to get some very good ones (ie guy snagging the ball out of the air while he was off the ground. but there was luck involved along with planning. It got way easier when i got aq bulk back and motor drive so i could hit 3-6 frames per play
Like Boriscleto said action photography existed long before AF came along. you just need to look back at some of the old 70's sports illustrated covers to see what could be done .
stopping down a little with a longer lens gives more forgiving DOF so if you use the 200 shoot f8 or so, there will still be sufficient isolation at f5.6 to f8 on a 200

1970's SI cover, an iconic shot done most definitely with a manual focus lens (though also with a motor drive and bulk film back guaranteed )

Last edited by eddie1960; 08-23-2012 at 09:09 AM.
08-23-2012, 12:08 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by topace Quote
While the taks are very comfortable to focus with, it will still be hard to do. Make sure you have a good focusing screen and know how to use it.
Furthermore, the lack of auto aperture will be a problem since your VF will darken at smaller aperture sizes.

Look upon it as a challenge. It's not impossible, just hard.
Yes, the aperture adjustments will be annoying. You can use the MAN/AUTO switch on the lens to go quickly from wide open (AUTO) to an aperture chosen with the ring (MAN). Focusing will be easier wide open.

Metering then becomes a complication. Some models have metering errors and some are fine. I'd try to get metering done in advance by taking practice shots and getting a decent-looking histogram. Then when actually shooting, adjust shutter speed on the fly by a click or two if someone steps into a shadow. If you're outside and shutter speeds can go high, you might try bracketing, to get one correct exposure. I know if I did that, I'd get two crap shots with good exposures, and one great capture of the perfect moment, except blown out.
08-23-2012, 12:20 PM   #8
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As others have said, sports are easier than kids and wildlife, because you can predict the action and plan for the shot if you guess right. Prefocus is essential, rather than trying to keep the action in focus all the time. In the 60s we shot football and hockey like this with manual advance, exposure, and focus, and got good usable shots every game (but not every play). I used a Pentax H1a for this stuff.

08-23-2012, 01:27 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
As others have said, sports are easier than kids and wildlife, because you can predict the action and plan for the shot if you guess right. Prefocus is essential, rather than trying to keep the action in focus all the time. In the 60s we shot football and hockey like this with manual advance, exposure, and focus, and got good usable shots every game (but not every play). I used a Pentax H1a for this stuff.
heck i think a lot of pro sports guys still prefocus a zone based on where they predict play is going. AF is good but better to be ready particularly with those huge lenses where there is little margin for error
08-23-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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So than one thing that works is to predict and pre-focus the action. AF and 2.8 can help but than they didn't have a lot of that in the film days and still got excellent action shots. I think that's great advice. Very interesting this and thanking you guys.
08-23-2012, 03:22 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
1970's SI cover, an iconic shot done most definitely with a manual focus lens (though also with a motor drive and bulk film back guaranteed )
That was not a 70's SI.
08-23-2012, 10:48 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I have a 200/4 Super Tak and use it often shooting softball games. Most of the time it's on my Katz Eye equipped K10D. It makes manual focusing much easier and my first film SLR's all had split prism screens so I'm quite used to using it. As I've grown older, I use my AF lenses a lot more often but some of my older glass is just too darn good to leave on the shelf collecting dust. All sports were once shot with MF lenses. Knowing how much depth of field you have to work with is essential. You don't have to keep constantly re-focusing if the action is within your DOF range. F/8 - f/11 can get you some real nice shots with the 200/4. I focus wide open and flip the auto-man switch to stop down and shoot in AV most of the time.
08-24-2012, 05:28 AM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
That was not a 70's SI.
this is definitely a 70's shot then. 1975 superbowl to be precise


08-24-2012, 05:45 AM   #14
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Lovely piece of action Eddie. One can see there is noise in that photo but I guess at that time it was accepted, as there wasn't any in-camera noise reduction nor were there softwares that we now have that can reduce noise significantly.
08-24-2012, 06:06 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by voyager13 Quote
Lovely piece of action Eddie. One can see there is noise in that photo but I guess at that time it was accepted, as there wasn't any in-camera noise reduction nor were there softwares that we now have that can reduce noise significantly.
Not Noise voyager - Grain , a normal thing for film even now. not always a bad thing (I actually add grain to alot of the digital b/w i do. It's more uniform than digital noise. this looks like it was probably pushed fil to 800 or even 1600 so pretty good actually'. But films have improved since the 70's the grain is much smaller on the pro stuff now certainly
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