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01-06-2010, 08:26 PM   #16
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My 2c worth...

The A 50 1.7 is a wonderful lens. It is extremely sharp but very hard to focus at 1.7. I used to use it on my k100d and the main issue is the viewfinder. It's just hard to get it right. Practice does help!

I think your problem is focus combined with thin DOF.
Below are distances and their DOF at F/1.7
Distance DOF
3m 24cm
5m 67cm
7m 1.32m

As already suggested I think you should stop down a little and go ISO1600 in RAW.

IMO your best bet would be to use an AF lens. At the distances you are shooting at I would go with the DA70 LTD (F/2.4). I think that once focused correctly F2.4 would be enough. There is also the FA 50 f1.4.

Also, once you start with raw, i suggest a decent editor, this makes a huge difference. Lightroom or Apple Aperture would be excellent. I think both of these do noise reduction but a something like Noise Ninja is a lot better in terms of noise.


01-06-2010, 10:10 PM   #17
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Maybe an external flash is the answer. Several of them have an infrared autofocus assist beam that can be used on its own.
Further somebody here made his own IR AF assist. Never seen it, but I think it fits in the hotshoe (maybe a PC adaptor with a LED and a resistor).
01-06-2010, 10:33 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote

In your posted examples, the first looks fine to me as is (maybe a little dark). The second does look like you misfocused a bit. I assume the wrestlers are supposed to stay within a given area, and at f/2.8, most likely, you could just focus once and leave it.
I'm with you on the second as far as slight OOF and some motion blur as well , but it's that too grainy thing at ISO 800 in both examples that I don't know how to get rid of.
01-06-2010, 11:42 PM   #19
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idea of what pp might do for you


to me, your pics were a bit on the under-exposed side. Just to show what might be done in pp, this is what I came up with. Now realize, these were taken from the thread and are not Raw versions, so pp is limited. Still, I don't think they're bad at all. I basically used noiseware on each (didn't find much noise at all; maybe in your full sized jpgs, the noise is more prevalent.), adjusted levels, and sharpened the martial arts one just a bit using Unsharp mask. The wrestling one had only the noiseware and some levels adjustment to lift the darkness.

The idea is that you're very close, imo. Raw would give you more room to fix exposure and wb errors. Without knowing exactly what the colors actually are, I didn't mess with the wb at all, but in Raw, you can adjust that easily too. With jpgs, the wb fix is more problematic.

I have PS CS2 but I think what I did on your pics can be done in most graphics programs, except maybe the noiseware, which I have as a filter in CS2. Point is, the fixes were easy and painless. Once you know, it's easy, and so learning any program for pp that you like, shouldn't be thought of as painful. And the more you get the exposure/sharpness as you like in camera, the less pp you have to do, but I'd rather not worry about the details of gym lighting and fix these things in pp afterward. Usually, it's well worth using Raw. Took pics in jpgs for a year before I saw I wanted better pics from my DS. I haven't looked back and once you get used to your own pp program, you'll probably wonder why you didn't try Raw earlier.

Hope messing with your pics was okay; it's just sometimes it's easier to show than to tell.



01-07-2010, 02:40 AM   #20
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[I]"As a second part of this question , I just got a couple of M42 fast primes that might be ideal for this kind of shooting and I've read about people using M42's in Av mode so they don't have to push the green button all the time . How does this work?"[/I
]Seacapt, if you use a manual setting aperture lens with the exposure dial set to AV the lens will only be used at the max full open stop despite what you have set on the lens. this is because the body has held the lens fully open for auto exposure and wants to electronically then reset the lens . because you have a manual lens fitted the lens stays fully open when you operate the shutter. this for you might very well help [as long as the reduced depth of field would not be a problem] as you can let the camera chose the exposure time.
As others have suggested if you can pre focus on a spot and use the av setting so you can concentrate on the action.
or try this,
One other suggestion for a manual lens and action, set your ISO as high as you can with out getting to much noise , set centre focus , one shot focus and set your camera to multiple exposure, .
now look at the action and with the lens just out of focus slowly turn it in to focus with the shutter button pressed right down, as the camera finds focus it will take 1-4 frames depending on the light and therefore the shutter speed. one of those images is always crystal sharp. thats my way and it works for me.
go practice on cars in the street!!
01-07-2010, 04:49 AM   #21
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As mentioned above, use a little higher iso. The K20 in particular can do iso 1600-3200 pretty comfortably. I guess I would seriously consider an auto focus lens. Action is a tough area to do manual focus in. Looks like you're doing a pretty good job, but if the camera focuses for you, it will take one thing of your mind that you have to think about. Finally, don't be afraid to underexpose a little bit and bring it up in postprocessing if you feel like your shutter speed is too slow. You will increase noise, but you can take care of that without too much problem.
01-07-2010, 10:11 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by MichaelRD Quote
Hope messing with your pics was okay; it's just sometimes it's easier to show than to tell.


Thank You.

01-08-2010, 12:09 AM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
I'm with you on the second as far as slight OOF and some motion blur as well , but it's that too grainy thing at ISO 800 in both examples that I don't know how to get rid of.
The grain is called "noise", and you reduce it with "noise reduction". But you also have to be realistic. Shooting in low light generally means some noise; that's just the way it is. At the size you posted, I really didn't see much. Don't get in the habit of judging your pictures at 100% view just because you can - consider that in real life, the picture will be viewed on screen at sizes like you posted here, or in prints, and the noise won't be as noticeable as it might be a 100% view.

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