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05-30-2009, 09:40 PM   #1
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New K2000

Hello everyone. I just made the jump from a Point and Shoot digital to the K2000. I already owned a Pentax ZX-7 (which I never really ever learned to use!), with a 28-105 mm lens and a 70-300 mm lens. I haven't had much of a chance to figure out everything yet, but would like to try my hand at taking some pictures at my 12 year old's basketball game tomorrow. Does anyone have any quick tips for a novice? I don't expect professional results, but would just like decent photos of him playing.
Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
Sheri

05-31-2009, 07:28 AM   #2
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hi sheri,

i used my k10/k2k in my daughter's basketball game.
here were my settings:

1. AF-C (or AF-A)
2. use ISO 800 or 1600 - the km's are very usable
3. try using shutter priority, but if you find the camera unable to set exposure because of the lighting, switch to aperture priority. i used Av and used whatever shutter the camera set it to.
4. i used my sigma 17-70 and found it pretty good, but a faster lens would be better. i ended up using my sigma 50-150 f2.8 more.
5. find a high spot on the sideline. you can take better shots that way.

good luck.

jordan
05-31-2009, 12:52 PM   #3
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Disappointed

Alright, Jordan, I took your suggestions. I took so many pics that were bad, using all different settings. I used shutter and aperture priority, most were too dark. I used the "sports" setting: somewhat blurry (didn't quite stop action enough), but light enough. I used manual mode, adjusted the exposure compensation (which I don't fully understand, but it did help slightly). I tried ISO's all the way up to 3200, which of course came out quite noisy. I started out using my Sigma 28-105 IF 1:3.8-5.6 lens (all of that really doesn't mean a lot to me), then used a Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6. What came the closest to working was the 3200 ISO setting on the Manual mode, F 4.5, 1/160, or at least I thought so until I viewed them on the computer, at which point they weren't as good as I thought!
The rec center I was shooting at is pretty brightly lit (halogen lighting I believe), but has lots of neon light signs, doors to the outside, etc. Am I expecting more than is possible with this camera and lens? I purchased the K2000 because I didn't want to break the bank and still have the ability to use my older lenses. I'm rather disappointed at the inability to do this so far. I borrowed a friends Nikon D80 (totally out of my price range) a couple games ago and, although still not great pictures, the lighting was much brighter without setting the ISO so high.
Any other suggestions or help would be great!

Sheri
05-31-2009, 07:56 PM   #4
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sheri,

hi. sorry your pictures didn't turn out right.
I'm not sure what level of pictures you want, but let me email you with a link to the shots i took.

straight out of the camera, i wasn't expecting much since the lighting was pretty bad.

i had to do some post-processing, on most of the shots, PP on white balance and NR and some with exposure.

it did take me a few games to get it down pat. although most of these shots were taken with a k10, the k2000 actually focuses better and faster.

i also found my 50-150 f2.8 better suited to the task, i.e. a faster lens. i essentially set it wide open using Av and let the camera decide the shutter. sure there were quite a bit of action that wasn't totally stopped, but I wasn't expecting it to look like something from sports illustrated as well


regards,

jordan


Last edited by opiedog; 05-31-2009 at 08:08 PM.
06-01-2009, 06:51 AM   #5
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Did you increase the EV? (in the manual...experiment)
06-01-2009, 08:11 AM   #6
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dont get disappointed, just live and learn from what i've heard, indoor sports might be one of the hardest/most expensive angles of photography.

Even though you think it may be bright enough, compared to a sunny day, a gym seems very dimly lit. On top of that your lenses were not that fast.

you said what worked best was manual mode, and i think thats what I would pick. Since the gym is fairly evenly lit, the lighting will not change from shot to shot so to get consistency is fairly easy. so once you get a good shutter speed/aperture/iso you can just stick to it and concentrate on photos.

ISO 3200 is very high, and unfortunately with your lens speed, it is what you may have to pick. it will look EXTREMELY grainy on your computer ESPECIALLY after you blow it up to 300% . try looking it at print size and see what it looks liek. I have the k-m (same thing has k2000) and I avoid using iso 3200. ISO 1600 is the max i usually go to and usually I dont even go to that. It looks like the k10/k20d high iso is 10x better than what I can get on my k-m

just look at the pics and go throught eh camera settings and learn. you seemed on target for shutter speed (1/160). i would go maybe just a bit slower if you needed more light but in order to stop action i like to keep it > 1/125.

so check out your pictures and the camera settings you used. blurry? you need a faster shutter speed. too dark? slower shutter speed (not below 1/125s) if you cant lower shutter speed, open your aperture, if you cant do that increase ISO.

it seems you did most of that. what would help IMMENSELY, would be to get a faster lens or maybe even a nice flash that can zoom to 85mm (all of which costs $). after that better camera to process the high ISO shots. like i said, indoor action may be the hardest and most expensive angle of photography cause you need faster lenses/better cameras. dont get discouraged.
06-01-2009, 08:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by sherib Quote
Alright, Jordan, I took your suggestions. I took so many pics that were bad, using all different settings. I used shutter and aperture priority, most were too dark. I used the "sports" setting: somewhat blurry (didn't quite stop action enough), but light enough. I used manual mode, adjusted the exposure compensation (which I don't fully understand, but it did help slightly). I tried ISO's all the way up to 3200, which of course came out quite noisy. I started out using my Sigma 28-105 IF 1:3.8-5.6 lens (all of that really doesn't mean a lot to me), then used a Sigma 70-300 1:4-5.6. What came the closest to working was the 3200 ISO setting on the Manual mode, F 4.5, 1/160, or at least I thought so until I viewed them on the computer, at which point they weren't as good as I thought!
The rec center I was shooting at is pretty brightly lit (halogen lighting I believe), but has lots of neon light signs, doors to the outside, etc. Am I expecting more than is possible with this camera and lens? I purchased the K2000 because I didn't want to break the bank and still have the ability to use my older lenses. I'm rather disappointed at the inability to do this so far. I borrowed a friends Nikon D80 (totally out of my price range) a couple games ago and, although still not great pictures, the lighting was much brighter without setting the ISO so high.
Any other suggestions or help would be great!

Sheri
Sheri, don't second guess your decision vs. the Nikon D80. It's a nice camera but if anything your new Pentax can be better in lower light as it should be better at ISO 1600 and 3200 (which the Nikon probably doesn't even offer?).

If you just want it 'brighter', increase exposure compensation (hold +/- and turn the e-dial). Just not so much that you start to overexpose the images. Between the two lenses you mentioned, your Sigma 70-300 will be 1 stop faster (and likely better-performing) where their focal ranges overlap (70-105mm).

Consider posting images for more tips.
06-01-2009, 02:52 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by sherib Quote
Alright, Jordan, I took your suggestions. I took so many pics that were bad, using all different settings.
I'd say your biggest problem is your lenses, which are just too "slow" for indoor sports (that's that the 1:4-5:6 is trying to tell you). Also, much of the difference between good and bad pictures in challenging conditions like this is usually about the photographer and his/her knowledge of how to use the various controls and setting. When you say you don't fully understand exposure, that's something you want to work on before trying this again.

QuoteQuote:
I borrowed a friends Nikon D80 (totally out of my price range) a couple games ago and, although still not great pictures, the lighting was much brighter without setting the ISO so high.
Changing ISO has no effect on how bright a picture is (unless you're in manual mode) - it just changes how fast a shutter speed you can get. The way to get brighter pictures is to learn more about exposure and how/when to apply compensation.

Also, obviously, you were using a different lens with the Nikon.

I'd say job one for you is to learn more about how exposure works. Any book on photography should explain this. Lots of people like Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure", so you might start there.

Then, armed with a better understanding of the issues, you'll be able to decide what kind of lens(es) you might need for your sports photography. The lenses you have are fine for some uses, but they just aren't cut out for indoor sports.

06-01-2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sherib Quote
What came the closest to working was the 3200 ISO setting on the Manual mode, F 4.5, 1/160, or at least I thought so until I viewed them on the computer, at which point they weren't as good as I thought!
Weren't as good in what way, specifically?

QuoteQuote:
I borrowed a friends Nikon D80 (totally out of my price range) a couple games ago and, although still not great pictures, the lighting was much brighter without setting the ISO so high.
What lens was on it?
06-01-2009, 11:45 PM   #10
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Hi Sherib,

Welcome!

I too have the K-m. I'm a newbie, but I have to agree that if you want to get decent indoor sport pics, a decent lens is the way to go. Also, getting familiar with a dslr is important. I've had mine for 4 months and there is a learning curve. I'm still learning how to not blow highlights in outdoor pics. Also, I have to ask . . . was shake reduction turned off? I've forgotten to turn it back on sometimes after using a tripod.

Good luck.
06-02-2009, 06:56 AM   #11
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pictures

Here are just a couple of the pictures from Sunday's game:

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Both taken at 1/160, f/4, 3200 ISO, 0 EC.
I'll try again at this weeks game using slightly lower ISO, with possible adjustment to EC, and accepting the fact that I need a faster lens. What lens would you recommend for this type of photography and how much can I expect to pay?
Shake reduction was on.
In looking back at the pictures taken with the Nikon, I see that they are much brighter because the shutter speed was lower, but the action shots were blurry. I did get some decent still shots though.
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I knew even less about using his camera than I do mine, but if I remember correctly, his lens was very similar to mine.
I agree that this has to be one of the most challenging lighting situations! There are so many different kinds of light in this gym, it tends to be slightly darker on one end of the gym than on the other.
I have a lot to learn, but I appreciate everyone's help. I guess now I need to save for a new lens!

Last edited by sherib; 06-02-2009 at 08:03 AM.
06-02-2009, 12:19 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sherib Quote
Here are just a couple of the pictures from Sunday's game:
That's not bad for a first attempt using a camera you don't really know well yet, and a pair of lenses not well suited for the job.

First suggestion: set WB before you start. Either use the Tungsten / Incandescent setting in the camera, or take out a piece of white paper and use the manual WB mode to set it yourself. Assuming, that is, that you don't want to just shoot RAW and fine tune WB later.

QuoteQuote:
I'll try again at this weeks game using slightly lower ISO, with possible adjustment to EC, and accepting the fact that I need a faster lens.
You're always treading on dangerously slow shutter speed territory; lowering ISO isn't going to do you many favors here. But it's not like it's *impossible* to get sharp pictures at slower shutters speeds; you just need really good timing (the height of a jump is a point of zero velocity, for instance) and/or really good luck. So shoot a lot and expect most pictures to be blurry, but hope for a few good ones along the way too.

QuoteQuote:
What lens would you recommend for this type of photography and how much can I expect to pay?
First, you need to decide what focal length(s) you want. The shots showing several players and the ball and the basket don't need anything very long, but closeups of individual players do. And how close you're able to shoot from plays a big role in this to. You'll have to ain some experience with what you have in order to get a sense for what focal lengths you really like, and then you'll be able to better figure out what lens(es) make sense.

I'm guessing the Pentax DA*50-135/2.8 would be a good choice for many indoor sports uses. Runs around $700-$800. Some might prefer a longer option like a 70-200/2.8 (similar price range). You'll have to decide how much you really need something longer than 135, and whether you'd also want shorter than 70. Also whether the difference in size would be important to you (a 70-200 is much larger).

If those prices are way too high, you might consider whether you can handle a lens that is not a zoom lens, and also whether you can handle manual focus. Many people can't imagine not having zoom or AF, but I personally find it no big deal. Not that I shoot a ton of sports. But when I have, I don't find my own MF skills to be that much worse than the camera's AF skills, and I never have any problem reading my own mind regarding *what* I want to focus on.

If you decide you don't need zoom but can't live without AF, then again, start by deciding what focal length would be msot useful to you. There are AF lenses in the 100mm range for half the price of the 50-135 that might be useful. And 50mm lenses are even less. but you'd be limited to whatever focal length you get.

If you can live without AF, then you can get a whole bagful of lenses for half than the cost of the 50-135. You can easily find a 50, 100, 135, and 200 and expect to pay around $200 for the set.

QuoteQuote:
In looking back at the pictures taken with the Nikon, I see that they are much brighter because the shutter speed was lower, but the action shots were blurry.
Right. Also, at least in the case of the posted photo. it's brighter because the scene is dominated by the dark jersey, which caused the camera to want a brighter exposure to compensate. The Pentax shots you posted were dominated by light-colored walls and other light colored objects, causing the camera to want a darker exposure to compensate. This is why it's important to learn about exposure - so you can learn how to to anticipate and compensate for these sorts of things yourself.

QuoteQuote:
I agree that this has to be one of the most challenging lighting situations! There are so many different kinds of light in this gym, it tends to be slightly darker on one end of the gym than on the other.
One thing to consider - you just gave a pretty good (well, I don't know if it's accurate, but it's *good*) description of the lighting. If you *know* it's somewhat darker on one side than the other, you can use that knowledge too. I would personally be shooting M mode the whole time, and would just increase decrease shutter speed a notch or two when shooting the darker end of the court. Aide from that, all exposures should be pretty similar. The problem with auto modes if that they *are* unduly affected by irrelevant things like the color of jerseys.

If the *color* of the light also varies, though, that's reaosn right there to give up on imagining you can set WB in camera - you should be shooting RAW.

QuoteQuote:
I knew even less about using his camera than I do mine, but if I remember correctly, his lens was very similar to mine.
Tough to say without EXIF info. But of course, the guy in the Nikon shot wasn't moving - that's an easier shot to begin with!
06-02-2009, 08:37 PM   #13
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Thanks for all the great feedback and tips! This is something I will have to work on, as well as investigating the possibility of a new lens. There has been a lot of useful information posted here and I will just keep experimenting until I get some decent shots (isn't that the beauty of digital?)
I am really interested in the RAW shooting and will have to read and learn more about it.
I'll post pictures again if I see very much improvement any time soon. He's only 12 and plays year-round, so I'll have lots of opportunities!
06-08-2009, 08:34 AM   #14
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Well, I took all the great suggestions and took a lot more pictures at Sunday's game. Overall, I think most of them came out much better than the first set. Of course, of the many I took, there were a few decent ones (the beauty of digital). I still need to practice getting just the right shots at the right times, but use of the camera is at least getting a little better. I shot in RAW+, but these are straight from the camera. I have Photo Lab 3 as well as Photoshop, but need to find some time to have my 19 year old son show me how to use it for post processing. It sometimes amazes me when I see what he can do on the computer. Thanks everyone for all of the suggestions. Now I just need to save for a new lens!


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