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02-17-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
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capturing motion

I am over my head with my k20d, but am determined to learn how to use it. Right now I am begging for help in capturing motion, particularly in sporting situations, water sports included. I am missing so many wonderful shots of my grandchildren and need all the help and advice you are willing to share. Thanks so much.

02-17-2010, 08:20 PM   #2
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Here are some ideas:

Use P mode

Set the sensitivity to auto and the range to 100 - 1600 (page 78 in the manual)

Set the program line to Hi speed in the Custom setting menu (page 82 in the manual)

Use autofocus, single shot mode, at least initially (page 104)

Lock focus on the subject (press the shutter button half way) (page 108). Then when focus is confirmed (beep and a signal in the view finder), press the shutter all the way and take the picture.

Use the center focus point only (page 107) and make sure you have the subject in the center when you lock focus.

You can recompose the photo after you have locked focus if you keep the shutter button "half-pressed".

Use a "fast" lens if you have one, such as f/2.8 or f/3.5.


Later when you have some experience with the above you may want to experiment with pre-focusing on the area of action using the AF button for autofocus rather than the shutter button, manual focus or continuous focus.

Last edited by Ole; 02-17-2010 at 08:26 PM.
02-17-2010, 09:03 PM   #3
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Thank you so much for the quick reply. I set the camera up as you suggested and now will wait for some motion!!!!
02-17-2010, 10:16 PM   #4
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Let's add that if you use SR, you have to wait till the little hand in the viewfinder appears after the focus confirmation (hexagon, red square, beep); this takes about .5 second or so extra.

As I often forget about that, I have decided to leave it off till I really need it. With reasonable technique (regarding holding the camera steady when taking the shot) you should be able to take blur free pictures when the shutterspeed is shorter than 1/(FL*crop). So for 55mm, you should be able to leave SR off till the shutterspeed becomes longer than 1/(55*1.5) sec (about 1/90s) and for a 300mm it will be 1/(300*1.5) sec (1/450s). With good technique, you can probaly halve that.

02-17-2010, 10:48 PM   #5
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Oh, my..........This is a little over my head. Let's start with SR........is that shutter release? I really want to understand this, but perhaps I need more basic understanding. Please be patient with me as I am very eager to learn.
02-17-2010, 11:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
As I often forget about that, I have decided to leave it off till I really need it. With reasonable technique (regarding holding the camera steady when taking the shot) you should be able to take blur free pictures when the shutterspeed is shorter than 1/(FL*crop). So for 55mm, you should be able to leave SR off till the shutterspeed becomes longer than 1/(55*1.5) sec (about 1/90s) and for a 300mm it will be 1/(300*1.5) sec (1/450s). With good technique, you can probaly halve that.
Ever since the silent firmware updates for the K-7 an K-x in recent months, I've been able to take pictures at ridiculously slow shutter speeds lately with shake reduction enabled. I'm talking 1/6 second at 50mm with a steady hand, and 1/13 when I'm not being as terribly careful. Always waiting for the SR icon to come on, of course

Obviously, this is useless for action shots. You can't expect your subject to stand still long enough to get a good shot at 1/6 shutter speed.
02-17-2010, 11:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanadoo Quote
Oh, my..........This is a little over my head. Let's start with SR........is that shutter release? I really want to understand this, but perhaps I need more basic understanding. Please be patient with me as I am very eager to learn.
SR = Shake Reduction

edit: If you have Shake Reduction enabled on your camera, you need to wait until the Shake Reduction icon (looks like a hand) lights up in the viewfinder before you take the picture. So when you half-press the button to focus, wait for focus confirmation, and then wait some more for that SR icon to come on, then take the picture. It'll help prevent blur from camera shake, but it won't prevent blur from the motion of your subject.
02-17-2010, 11:34 PM   #8
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I don't shoot sports but with capturing motions, I use Tav Mode on my K20D. With good light, I prefer to have shutter speed with minimum of 1/200" or faster and aperture from f/5.6 to f/7.1 to have enough DOF, and the ISO is Auto in the range 100-1600.
SR is Shake Reduction (p.65), I always have it ON when shooting handheld.

02-18-2010, 05:27 AM   #9
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I too would use Tav mode and set my shutter speed somewhere between 1/150 and 1/200 seconds. Don't be afraid to go up to iso 3200 if you need to. Not sure what lenses you have, but it often helps to look for a faster lens -- generally helps both with auto focus performance and getting faster shutter speeds. A lot of people really like the 70-200 f2.8 lenses from Tamron/Sigma. Might be something to look at if you get into it a lot.
02-18-2010, 07:49 AM   #10
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I suggest that the OP read Bryan Peterson's book, "Understanding Exposure". It is all well and good to explain about using high shutter speeds to freeze motion, but one must also understand the trade-off between shutter speed, aperture and ISO in determining the "proper" exposure.

Knowing and being comfortable with the basics of exposure is fundamental to photography (thank you, Obviousman). Only after you grasp those concepts can you build on that knowledge to explore the trade-offs between freezing action and achieving large depth of field and so on.

The OP asked what, I'm sure he thought was a simple question. As can be seen from the answers so far, it is more complicated, and we've only scratched the surface. There are other techniques that haven't been mentioned, like panning or high-speed flash.
02-28-2010, 04:30 PM   #11
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I have been using the pentax 1:4-5.8 55-300 at the games. do i need to purchase a different lens? (my other lenses are : 50 mm 1.4, fisheye,and the kit lens...all pentax)
02-28-2010, 09:33 PM   #12
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That depends on what the results are. Have you played with the camera and tried things that were advised here? If not, try that first. Else post some pictures with info like iso, shutter speed, aperture and focal length used (part of the exif data).
03-01-2010, 09:17 AM   #13
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I would suggest "Understanding Exposure" also. It will be one of the best $25 purchases you ever made.
Generally, you want fast shutter speeds to photograph a moving target. Real fast speeds freeze everything. There are different tecniques used to imply motion. You can slow down the shutter speed so the image is partially frozen but some faster moving parts are blurred. You can also pan to put motion blur in the background and freeze the subject. A lot of this is trial and error and is learned by practice. Peterson covers these techniques well in his book.
03-06-2010, 09:54 AM   #14
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Nanadoo, I am so glad that someone else is stumped by the K20D manual. I have had the camera for almost 2 weeks and I have deleted every single shot I have taken. Today I had wanted to go to a horse show here on LI, but I am actually embarassed to show uplooking like a complete ninny (that's a politically-correct, technical term for "idiot")
Any one have a suggestion for books that can elucidate the Pentax manual?
03-06-2010, 10:36 AM   #15
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"Understanding exposure" is already mentioned if you don't understand the basic photography principles. No experience with the following, but maybe Pentax K20D Magic Lantern Guide might help if your problem is with understanding the camera.
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