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10-12-2013, 11:05 AM   #1
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Buffer Speed/Shooting the Roller Girls

A group of us will be shooting the Roller Girls next month. The lighting in the arena is difficult so you have to take a rapid set of pictures--is there a way to change the raw settings to speed up the write time to the SD card or is it best to shoot in jpeg--if in jpeg do you decrease the quality to one star from three stars that is in the menu to speed up the buffer time. Camera is K5iis, wiil be using DA 50-138 2.8

10-12-2013, 12:07 PM   #2
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Kinda hit a nerve here....We go to every Roller Derby event our local team has, but tonight I will miss my first one, being laid up here with a broken foot. Damn! I sure enjoy them, it hurts to miss one!

I'm not going to be much help to your question, but I will tell you my experience using the K5 original and the DA*50-135.
I tried that a few times and found it too slow to focus, to slow in the buffer and not all that satisfactory in the IQ. The lighting varies from one event to the next depending on location, but it is never optimal. I finally switched to using my X20 and found that the results were as good, though still far from what I desired. The X20 will focus faster and get off more in focus shots than my K5 combo most every time. In both cases I use Jpeg settings, I wasn't gaining much from RAW shooting but was losing speed.

Here are a few from some past events.....just memory shots, noting on a higher level, but they were fun to shoot!

BTW- We have hot dogs and nachos at all the events...love those too! What area are you in!

Best Regards !
Roller Girls - a set on Flickr
10-12-2013, 02:07 PM - 1 Like   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rupert Quote
I will tell you my experience using the K5 original and the DA*50-135.
I tried that a few times and found it too slow to focus, to slow in the buffer and not all that satisfactory in the IQ.
Likewise, this was the first thing I was going to say. Good luck with getting the DA*50-135 to focus fast enough. But the K-5 IIs does focus faster than the K-5, if you use the right lens. Upgrade to the latest firmware on either camera to get the best AF performance.


I'm shooting runners outdoors, so I have more light most of the time. I use screw-drive lenses to get fast focus: FA*85, FA135, F*300. I also have the DA*50-135, so on the surface the FA135 seems redundant, but AF performance is much better, so I leave the DA*50-135 home unless it's raining.

JPEG-only is fairly common amongst sports photographers, even with Canon shooters (e.g. 7D). I use 1 star quality if it's going right up to the web, but 3 (or possibly 4) star if not. I haven't noticed whether the star quality has affected the speed - just getting into JPEG mode is the most important factor. In any case, don't reduce the resolution - just the star quality. Reducing the resolution takes a greater toll on IQ, even if you never crop the shots later. Full-size 1 star is surprisingly good.


If you're serious about getting good photos, pick up a known good-performing lens now, such as the F or FA 135. Or get a new copy of the latest Sigma 70-200, if you like Sigma (but it's much pricier). That way you'll be ready when you discover the DA*50-135 isn't cutting it for rapid sports movement.

So, my suggestion is put a good screw-drive prime on. Position yourself well. Use AF-C, pick a focus point (usually other than center point, if you want interesting photos) and track your subject with it. Some people find it better to hold the dedicated AF button, rather than the half-pressed shutter button. I can't decide which is better.
10-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #4
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I'm interested in this, too. Not because I go to roller derby but my daughter plays(?) the sport and she wants to shoot pix at events.

She's using my old K100D. She lives 500km away so I can't help directly. I've given her a manual Pentax-A 50mm f2 to try rather than the slower zooms she has. I hadn't thought about telling her to shoot only jpeg.

10-12-2013, 03:15 PM   #5
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I've shot a fair few bouts with the K-5 and the 50-135 and they're a fantastic combo when they lock focus, but I've missed more than my fair share because of the K-5's god awful tracking. The 50-135 is plenty fast enough when it works, and when the focus is bang on the results are awesome. I feel the focus is much more to do with the body than the lens, considering the lens can rack from 10m to 1m much faster than a jammer can skate that distance.

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
JPEG-only is fairly common amongst sports photographers, even with Canon shooters (e.g. 7D). I use 1 star quality if it's going right up to the web, but 3 (or possibly 4) star if not. I haven't noticed whether the star quality has affected the speed - just getting into JPEG mode is the most important factor. In any case, don't reduce the resolution - just the star quality. Reducing the resolution takes a greater toll on IQ, even if you never crop the shots later. Full-size 1 star is surprisingly good.
If you can set the processing up the way you want then go for it, shooting JPEG only really does help a bunch with buffer depth. With sports it's much more important to catch the moment than to squeeze what little extra IQ there is out of a RAW file, so there's not much point unless you don't set your WB properly beforehand or you mess up the exposure for whatever reason.

But yeah, I've found the 50-135 to be fantastic, and it works much better than my 50/1.4. I tend to stick the focus point in the corner and aim for the waist on a full length shot, it's surprising how bunched up all the AF points are.
10-12-2013, 06:38 PM   #6
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Thanks Rupert--nice shots--we have real uneven lighting to deal with-there's a bank of lights, then a dead spot, than another bank of lights. We're allowed to be real close to the action so that's a plus--I also have a DA40mm 2.8, I'm looking for the fast speed so I might pull that out of the bag & give it a try.

DSims, thanks for the suggestions, damn, I got way too many lenses as it is, I'll only shoot the Roller Girls 2-3 times/yr. I'll shoot in jpeg, & track like you suggest.

Mareket I'll aim for the waist for that full length shot--thanks everyone for your suggestions../!
10-12-2013, 07:07 PM   #7
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Hmm, maybe I'll give my daughter the F 35-105 or F35-70 to try. Both snap into focus very quickly.
10-12-2013, 07:17 PM   #8
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SanDisk Extreme SD cards. My K200D clears the buffer shooting RAW MUCH faster with these than ANY other Class 10 card out there. I swear by them.

10-12-2013, 09:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mareket Quote
The 50-135 is plenty fast enough when it works, and when the focus is bang on the results are awesome. I feel the focus is much more to do with the body than the lens, considering the lens can rack from 10m to 1m much faster than a jammer can skate that distance.
Interesting. The DA*50-135 certainly takes nice pictures. But I think you'd see how much the lens has to do with it (AF performance) if you had some longer screw-drive lenses. You have an excellent kit, but I don't think it's optimized for sports.

QuoteOriginally posted by Mareket Quote
I tend to stick the focus point in the corner and aim for the waist on a full length shot, it's surprising how bunched up all the AF points are.
Likewise, I nearly always use a corner focus spot. And similar to your experience, I usually have to focus on the athlete's chest rather than his face, or else I get poor framing. I can't tell from your comment whether you use the AF tracking feature, but I've found it nearly useless for my type of shooting. I suppose it's good for some sports, but I need to track the subject myself. But at least this way I'm controlling the framing, and I have to be sure of which athlete I'm focusing on (which is a good idea anyway). If I let the camera choose the subject, photos may be uninteresting or confuse the viewer, since he won't know what the subject is either!


EDIT: IIRC, the AF tracking was only introduced in the II/IIs, but in any case, I tried it and it didn't help to turn it on (and maybe hurt).

Last edited by DSims; 10-12-2013 at 09:55 PM.
10-13-2013, 05:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Interesting. The DA*50-135 certainly takes nice pictures. But I think you'd see how much the lens has to do with it (AF performance) if you had some longer screw-drive lenses. You have an excellent kit, but I don't think it's optimized for sports.
And boy can you tell :/ I've crossed my fingers for vastly improved tracking on the K-3. I didn't know the K-5 didn't have tracking? Is AF-C different to tracking? Or is tracking where multiple points are used?

It's not optimised, but it can deliver the goods. It's a world away from a professional sports kit though yeah.

On another note, personally I'd refrain from using the 40/2.8 outside the track, because you're going to have to get very close for framing and then you're in the way of the outside jam refs. See if you can get them to set up an in-track photographer's box though, and I love trying to track the jammers whilst dragging the shutter to accentuate the speed in the photo box (ref's will get in the way of a lot of your shots though). It's rally hard but makes a fantastic shot when you nail it.
10-13-2013, 04:25 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mareket Quote
(ref's will get in the way of a lot of your shots though)
You must be talking about Bubbles?
[IMG] [/IMG]

These are so much fun! If you haven't been, you should give it a shot!
[IMG] [/IMG]

[IMG] [/IMG]

I shoot a ton of shots with my X20 and some turn out half decent, the small size of the X20 and its fast focus and very good accuracy beat any combination I have tried with my K5 (original). If I get the K3, I am hoping that it will do much better.

Regards!
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