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10-26-2009, 09:59 AM   #1
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Pentax cont. AF really that bad for kids sports?

In the next month or two I intend on upgrading from an old 35mm Canon EOS 600 to a DSLR. After considering the T1i, D90 (used), 50D (used), D5000 and the K-x I had pretty much settled on the K-x. My application is 80% kids sports (soccer, basketball, baseball) and a 20% motorsports/family stuff. That is until I read that Pentax's weak area is continuous AF. Am I making a mistake in going for the pentax with these applications? Should I reconsider the Canon?

My budget is <$1000 body/lenses that cover ~30-300mm (35mm equiv). I am a novice photographer.

Thanks,
Jon.

10-26-2009, 10:55 AM   #2
Dom
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Don't listen to all the naysayers when it comes to Pentax auto focus, OK it's can be a tad slow in comparison to a camera that is twice the price, but if your aware of this it'll mean you'll develop proper technique and not really solely on the equipment to do all the work for you.

I personally get stunning results when I'm shooting fast action with my K20D.
10-26-2009, 11:19 AM   #3
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Perhaps you should ask a store to try it.
My K-7, with a comparable AF system speed I believe, has little problems with birds in flight, I do however use the camera in single AF mode.
The critics stem mostly from anything before the K-m/K2000 model (introduced last fall).
And yes, a D300 will have better continuous AF.

You should ask yourself if this is the most important application and shooting mode, if it is, you may not want to buy a K-x.
10-26-2009, 11:35 AM   #4
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I took some HS sports with a K10D and had no problems. And my first DSLR was a couple months ago - I borrowed the K10D days before I shot.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/77498-sports-some-field-...s-12-pics.html

K10D's AF was slower than the K2000 I had (upgrading to K-x) but again, worked just fine.

10-26-2009, 12:41 PM   #5
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It's perfectly fine for what *I* like to photograph which is aviation.

But don't rely too heavily on the camera to do a job the photographer should be doing. Images that were in focus as well as beautifully panned were being captured long before the advent of even the simplest autofocus mechanism.

Be a photographer, don't be a "camera operator".

10-26-2009, 01:49 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcmadr Quote
Be a photographer, don't be a "camera operator".
I like that.
10-26-2009, 01:49 PM   #7
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For one thousand dollars, I don't think you'll do better than Pentax. Canon 50D or Nikon D300/700 will do better, but they also cost quite a bit above your budget range. I think a lot of problems are due to photographers not learning their cameras and not being predictive about where action is happening. If you do a little bit of that, you can do very well, even with slow auto focus.
10-26-2009, 02:28 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by gti5notrkt Quote
In the next month or two I intend on upgrading from an old 35mm Canon EOS 600 to a DSLR. After considering the T1i, D90 (used), 50D (used), D5000 and the K-x I had pretty much settled on the K-x. My application is 80% kids sports (soccer, basketball, baseball) and a 20% motorsports/family stuff. That is until I read that Pentax's weak area is continuous AF. Am I making a mistake in going for the pentax with these applications? Should I reconsider the Canon?

My budget is <$1000 body/lenses that cover ~30-300mm (35mm equiv). I am a novice photographer.

Thanks,
Jon.
Hi Jon,
A couple of things will decide how good your shots are. As already said, develop your technique. Remember that a subject moving across you, (ie: left to right..or right to left) will be easier to focus on than the subject running straight at you.

Your lens choice will have a huge impact on how well you capture your subjects. Be wary of the super zoom "do everything" approach. While these lenses have a place and are quite ok for most circumstances they have their shortcomings and speed is one of them.
I would strongly reccommend you look at the DA* 50-135 & DA* 200 with a TC, both of these lenses are f2.8, optimal quality and relatively small & compact.

I know that will probably blow your budget, but you are better off getting what will work for you than getting something and being unhappy. The most common mistake made when stepping into the world of DSLR is people start making compromises on lenses, and then end up wasting money.
The other advice to go & try a couple of cameras in store is good advice to. Just be aware that you will be steered towards Canon or Nikon, depending on who is paying the bigger sales bonuses that month.

Try and keep an open mind and make your decision based on what works for YOU....and spend your money once...its cheaper that way in the long run.

Good luck with your decision.

10-26-2009, 04:28 PM   #9
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Not sure how the K-x compares to K-7 for AF speed. I have a K-7 so check out my website (in signature). K-7 from 24 July 2009, before that is K20D which had slower AF.
10-27-2009, 08:03 AM   #10
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I wouldn't pay too much attention to the reviewers who complain about Pentax AF being too slow. Coming from a film camera you will probably be blown away. Some of the other cameras you mentioned on your list will have a slightly quicker AF and burst mode but Pentax cameras do a very good job and even considering you would be purchasing the others used you will be spending much more money by the time you throw in the lenses. To be honest, if you could get the D50 and lenses you want for under $1000 I couldn't fault you for going that route. If you have found something used in that price range, just be careful you aren't buying something that has been damaged. Make sure there is a warranty.
If you spend some time looking through the photos posted throughout the forum you will find hundreds of sports shots. I have a daughter who rows crew and another who is a freestyle skier and my K10D has given me thousands of good shots.
10-27-2009, 03:40 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Hi Jon,
A couple of things will decide how good your shots are. As already said, develop your technique. Remember that a subject moving across you, (ie: left to right..or right to left) will be easier to focus on than the subject running straight at you.

Your lens choice will have a huge impact on how well you capture your subjects. Be wary of the super zoom "do everything" approach. While these lenses have a place and are quite ok for most circumstances they have their shortcomings and speed is one of them.
I would strongly reccommend you look at the DA* 50-135 & DA* 200 with a TC, both of these lenses are f2.8, optimal quality and relatively small & compact.

I know that will probably blow your budget, but you are better off getting what will work for you than getting something and being unhappy. The most common mistake made when stepping into the world of DSLR is people start making compromises on lenses, and then end up wasting money.
As much as I would like to pick up a couple of the high quality DA* lenses, its too much $$ for me. I'm thinking that a good compromise may be to get the K-x with the kit 18-55 DA L lens ($600) then add either the Sigma or Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 for another $700-750. All told I would have about $1400 to start. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Jon.
10-27-2009, 04:10 PM   #12
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well I be one of the above mentioned naysayers

Look... I look forward to hearing about and seeing your results...

If I had it to do over again I certainly would not buy the Pentax system for my action family camera. I still love it for my other shooting.

Now in bright conditions like skiing or daylight games... not too much of an issue really. As the DOF and shutterspeed can be used to freeze action and make up for slight focus issues.


I do not have the Kx, as I own the K100d and K20d... but honestly, my other issue with Pentax as a family camera besides the complete lack of a predictive/tracking AF is the PTTL flash system. Absoluley the biggest handicap for me personally is the inconsistant exposure of family gathering flash performance

Now, you will also get a bunch of fine folks who will tell you that there is nothing wrong with that either...

And maybe with the new KX, the issues have all been fixed.

Good luck with the new KX... the new sensor looks really good.

Last edited by Igilligan; 10-27-2009 at 04:23 PM.
10-27-2009, 06:48 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gti5notrkt Quote
As much as I would like to pick up a couple of the high quality DA* lenses, its too much $$ for me. I'm thinking that a good compromise may be to get the K-x with the kit 18-55 DA L lens ($600) then add either the Sigma or Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 for another $700-750. All told I would have about $1400 to start. Thoughts?

Thanks,
Jon.
Not a bad lens choice, though I question how such a heavy lens will handle for you on such a small body. Personally, I started off with a K10D and a Sigma 70-300, and it handled youth soccer (8-10 year olds) with very little problems. Mind you, I was actively following the game with the camera. If you expect to be just sitting there, and then pop up the camera to get "the shot", well you're probably too late no matter what system you're using. Also, since you'll be following most sports from the sidelines, the action isn't coming at and away from you nearly as much as it is panning by in front of you.
10-27-2009, 07:05 PM   #14
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Hi Jon,
Yes, that would work, the 18-55 is great lens for the money....but...consider this.
The Sigma or Tamron 70-200 f2.8 are bits of monsters to carry around. Yes, you have the added reach of the 200mm, which is nice. But I would personally trade that for the stellar image quality of the Pentax 50-135...and crop to get the "reach".
The 50-135 can be had for less than $100 more than either the Tammy or Sigma.

Its easy spending other peoples money, but I have "been there done that" and have a bunch of lenses I wish I didnt buy, so its experience talking here as well.

(now to contradict myself) If you wanted to feel your way a bit and not do too much damage to the bank account, go with the KX & 18-55 kit and add the Pentax 50-200 at around $250...you will suffer a little from the absence of f2.8 (speed) but the 50-200 is a useful addition to any camera bag. I only throw that in as I have handled the 70-200's and they are "lumpy" which in itself can be an impediment if you are not used to the weight.
But as Gus says, if you operating in good light you will be ok. The poorer the light, the more problems you will encounter generally across all brands, so if any weaknesses are present they will be exacerbated in poor light.

Good luck.
PS: have also handled the 50-135 and it is so light in comparison to the others. It would be an easy lens to carry around all day.

Last edited by Mallee Boy; 10-27-2009 at 07:10 PM.
10-27-2009, 07:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mallee Boy Quote
Hi Jon,
(now to contradict myself) If you wanted to feel your way a bit and not do too much damage to the bank account, go with the KX & 18-55 kit and add the Pentax 50-200 at around $250...you will suffer a little from the absence of f2.8 (speed) but the 50-200 is a useful addition to any camera bag. I only throw that in as I have handled the 70-200's and they are "lumpy" which in itself can be an impediment if you are not used to the weight.
But as Gus says, if you operating in good light you will be ok. The poorer the light, the more problems you will encounter generally across all brands, so if any weaknesses are present they will be exacerbated in poor light.

Good luck.
PS: have also handled the 50-135 and it is so light in comparison to the others. It would be an easy lens to carry around all day.
All great advice, thank you. Also bear in mind that my kid (8yrs) is playing on a reduced sized field (55 x 35yds) so my total reach is far from what would be seen at a pro match. That being said is it safe to assume that the 50-135 would be enough to capture the action? The other option mentioned would only cost me ~$100 more as the 50-200 is available as the 2-lens kit the K-x for about $700 street (18-55 & 50-200).

My other question is regarding used lenses. I see a lot of K-mount prime/zoom lenses on Craigslist, many as part of older K1000 packages (Vivitar, Pentax, Tamron etc.). Some appear to be of decent quality. Is it worth buying a KA->K adapter and experimenting with a few or am I wasting my time?. We are talking $20-80ea for the lenses.

Please keep the advice coming. I'm learning a ton on this forum.

Jon.

Last edited by gti5notrkt; 10-27-2009 at 07:48 PM.
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