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01-06-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Indoor /no flash

I'm not to proud to say I still have alot to learn about digital photo systems so here's another beginners question. I've been shooting a bit of indoor sports lately where flash is frowned on. I'm still getting used to the k200 I bought a few months back. Been using an A 50/1.7 Results have been mediocre.I've been using ISO800 and shutter speeds 120-180 with the lens openned up. Focus is demanding at these low fstops and I'm experimenting with the catch in focus function.I just can't seem to find the right combination of shake reduction and noise reduction. I do realize that the lighting in gyms is tough but I knew how to shoot them with film and I see people with P/S digitals getting better exposures than I. I see posts here regularly of indoor sports that might not make the cover of SI but are far better than my efforts. So where might I be going wrong? How do I improve ?

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?

01-06-2010, 09:06 AM   #2
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Why don't you post one/some of those mediocre shots and maybe you just think they are mediocre but are actually acceptable or we might find what is wrong with it..like motion blur or just too much movement on the players, ISO not cranked high enough,etc.
I have no experience with the K200D but with the K100Ds and with a mirror lens attached, I can do the Av mode since the camera metering measures the available light coming in from the barrel of the lens. No necessary extra settiings.
Try it with manual lenses as long as you have set the "aperture" on the "menu" as "permitted".
I found out about this after almost always pushing the "AE-L" button on the K100Ds (same function as the green button when in "M"), and tried to see what speed settings the camera was making if I pushed the "green" button in "M" as opposed to the dial being set at Av. They made the same speed settings.
The F-- is still the same but speed is being changed automatically as I pointed the camera spot meter to different light shades.
That is how I found out the Av works for manual lenses also.
01-06-2010, 09:45 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
Results have been mediocre.I've been using ISO800 and shutter speeds 120-180 with the lens openned up. Focus is demanding at these low fstops and I'm experimenting with the catch in focus function.
I'd be really surprised if you managed to get much usable out of catch-in-focus for sports. I'd be turning up ISO to 1600, stopping the lens down to f/2.8 or so, and trying to either prefocus on a spot where you expect action to be and fire when the action comes there, or else *follow* the action while making small adjustments as necessary to the focus (the manual equivalent of AF-C), shootin whenever you like along the way. If the shots are blurry from subject motion, turn shutter speed higher and deal with the underexposure in PP. Shoot RAW you'll have fewer problems with that than if you shoot JPEG. You'll need to apply NR, of course, and some RAW processing programs are better than others at that. if you don't like what your can do on its own, consider a dedicated NR program like neat image, noise ninja, noiseware, etc.

QuoteQuote:
I see people with P/S digitals getting better exposures than I.
Better *exposures*, or better *pictures*? Most likely their in-camera JPEG processing is just applying heavy-handed curves to correct any exposure errors. While I might be in the minority on this, I find M mode is the best mode for shooting anything fast (and is now the only mode I use, since lighting is usually pretty constant. At most, you'd need to bump it up or down a notch for specific areas of the court/field. But I get more consistent results this way than letting the autoexposure system choose different exposures for each shot depending on the color of the player's uniforms, the color of the background walls, whether there is a reflection of the floor, or any of a bunch of other irrelevant details.

Anyhow, if they're shooting without flash, they will be dealing with far greater noise and blur issues than you. But focus won't be as tricky for them, since DOF is so much deeper on any P&S than on your A50/1.7 wide open.

QuoteQuote:
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?
Not sure, but even in M mode, no need to hit Green button other than when the light changes, which is basically never for indoor sports. Set exposure and leave it - or as I said, bump up and down if one area is noticeably brighter / darker than another. But really, the differences one would normally be seeing are small enough that they are easily dealt with in RAW processing.
01-06-2010, 10:05 AM   #4
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When I was shooting my girls playing basketball, I used M and DA lenses and did what Marc just said - set it and forget it. The only issue I had with exposure is at one court where the lighting was dimmer on one side.
QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote

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'm not familiar with the problem, but the K20D/k10D both meter oddly with m42. Here is a link documenting the error.

I don't think this problem exists for other Pentax cameras. I know on my Km the AV exposure error is consistent. This can be compensated with an EV +2 or by shorting the topmost contact on the camera body. To short it you can simply place a piece of aluminum foil between the lens and camera body as you screw it down, or you can mark the location of the contact on the lens with a pencil and scrape the paint off the lens so bare metal touches the contact.

01-06-2010, 10:24 AM   #5
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Gerryl Here are acouple examples first with the 50/1.7 and second with a Tamron SP35-80 / 2.8

Marc is Raw really that much better? I have been shooting in JPEG since I went digital and I'm confused by the Raw conversion thing. I still fumble through Elements and frequently just use Picassa for PP because it seems less complicated.

BTW these are good IQ example shots but not my best shots because I don't want to put pictures of kid's faces on the web

Last edited by seacapt; 03-26-2010 at 09:58 AM.
01-06-2010, 10:39 AM   #6
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Actually, those don't look too bad to me. They need some PP, but that is where the advantage of RAW comes in.
Think of it this way: Shooting in JPEG is like making a pot of gumbo and throwing away all of the extra ingredients before you taste it to see if you got it right.
01-06-2010, 11:14 AM   #7
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I recently shot some pictures of a kids basketball game in a gym with a 55mm/F2 Tak and got fairly good results. There was enough DOF at f 2.8 to give me decent shots of the action on my end of the floor to be able to pretty much fire away without having to refocus all that much. As Marc mentioned, use ISO 1600. Maybe a little more noise but nothing that can't be fixed in PP.
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/attachments/mini-challenges-games-photo-s...7-imgp9003-jpg
01-06-2010, 11:21 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
I'm still getting used to the k200 I bought a few months back. Been using an A 50/1.7 Results have been mediocre.I've been using ISO800 and shutter speeds 120-180 with the lens openned up. Focus is demanding at these low fstops and I'm experimenting with the catch in focus function. I just can't seem to find the right combination of shake reduction and noise reduction.
Is this a typo or are you really using the K200? I ask because I see a K20D in your signature, which will give you an extra stop of ISO and also has more flexibility in settings. Focussing at f1.7 is very tough, you need to bump the ISO and increase the aperture to at least f2.8 for some dof.

01-06-2010, 12:02 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
Marc is Raw really that much better?
For shots where you are not doing much PP, no. But if you are going to underexpose and then fix it in PP, you've got 16 times the headroom in RAW as JPEG (12 bits per channel versus 8). Makes a pretty noticeable difference in those shadows look after the exposure adjustment.

QuoteQuote:
I have been shooting in JPEG since I went digital and I'm confused by the Raw conversion thing. I still fumble through Elements and frequently just use Picassa for PP because it seems less complicated.
Unfortunately, there is a whole mystique surrounding RAW that makes people resistant to trying it. But if you've got elements, you have some version of Adone Camera RAW - that's where you'd process your RAW images. Turn up the exposure, apply as much NR as you like, and hit Done. I you also want to convert to JPEG for posting to the web or whatever, you can do that separately there are presumably batch conversions operations in Elements.

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.
01-06-2010, 12:13 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Is this a typo or are you really using the K200? I ask because I see a K20D in your signature, which will give you an extra stop of ISO and also has more flexibility in settings. Focussing at f1.7 is very tough, you need to bump the ISO and increase the aperture to at least f2.8 for some dof.
Actually the K20D is en route back from the service center but my wife hangs on to it pretty tightly. I'd gotten used to the feel of an istDL so when I upgraded I bought the K200D which feels pretty close to the old istDL and has become my main camera.
01-06-2010, 01:32 PM   #11
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I would suggest not shooting at maximum lens aperture. When I use my 135 at basketball games, I am generally happier with the sharpness when I shoot at F4 instead of F2.8.

I don't know how close you are to the action, but I would think a 50mm (as you say you are using) would be about right if you are at the edge of the mat. The longer the lens, the shallower the depth of field, so you would struggle more with focus with a longer lens. Again, this is assuming you are standing where I think you are standing.

I agree whole heartedly with Marc with regard to shooting in RAW. Gymnasiums provide nasty color casts that are much more easily countered in RAW.

Anyway, that is my 2 cents. Good luck!
01-06-2010, 02:54 PM   #12
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Did you adjust the WB or just used AWB, adjusting and customizing it too the arena's lights should help.
01-06-2010, 04:34 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clicker Quote
Did you adjust the WB or just used AWB, adjusting and customizing it too the arena's lights should help.
first one I used a preset , second set with grey card
01-06-2010, 06:07 PM   #14
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Oddly enough....there is a LOT of f2.8 lenses that actually work best stepped down to f4.

for the pics if i may ask, where were you aiming as its possible the camera exposure was off thus giving such an output.
01-06-2010, 08:02 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by seacapt Quote
I'm not to proud to say I still have alot to learn about digital photo systems so here's another beginners question. I've been shooting a bit of indoor sports lately where flash is frowned on. I'm still getting used to the k200 I bought a few months back. Been using an A 50/1.7 Results have been mediocre.I've been using ISO800 and shutter speeds 120-180 with the lens openned up. Focus is demanding at these low fstops and I'm experimenting with the catch in focus function.I just can't seem to find the right combination of shake reduction and noise reduction. I do realize that the lighting in gyms is tough but I knew how to shoot them with film and I see people with P/S digitals getting better exposures than I. I see posts here regularly of indoor sports that might not make the cover of SI but are far better than my efforts. So where might I be going wrong? How do I improve ?

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 really think the best way to do this is to crank the ISO, turn up the contrast and sharpness a notch, set the NR to it's max and take pictures.
The fast lenses are good.
At least you'll get fairly contrasty and vivid pictures that are doing their best to stop the action.
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