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03-16-2010, 07:30 AM   #16
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I see you have a K-x. An inexpensive 50:2 is certainly worth trying due to the K-x's high ISO performance.

Get an A type lens if you can, but it might not matter much because you'll likely be shooting wide open.

Here's an A-50:2 for $30 now on eBay.

Last edited by newarts; 03-16-2010 at 07:35 AM.
03-16-2010, 07:55 AM   #17
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printing out these responses

This is my favorite (non moving) photo so far

I just may need to wait til I get more equipment or we start riding outside.
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03-16-2010, 08:00 AM   #18
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I agree with the Tv suggestion and a high ISO. As an alternative, you can consider the 'moving object' scene mode (on the dial); I don't have a Kx so can not judge if this automatically takes care of higher ISO.

After all the advices about faster lenses, you might be inclined to buy one.Before (and if) you start deciding on other lenses, check out which focal length you are using mostly for those shots and how large the horse/fence showed in the image. It will give you an indication which focal length you need to look for; it's useless to buy a 200mm if you're using mostly between 50 and 100mm.

QuoteOriginally posted by omega leader Quote
I've shot jumping dogs indoors, but never houses, though I'm going to say there are a few similarities.
Neither have I
03-16-2010, 08:36 AM   #19
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I tend to shoot a lot of low-light sporting events unfortunately, so I have some experience that I could share. I really don't think a prime is right for this application and I would guess some of these shots are going to necessitate > 50mm. Also, shooting MF at sporting events is no fun at all and takes a lot of practice to get it right. Most of the time one also doesn't know if he or she has 'gotten it right' until they see the image on a 20" monitor rather than the 2" LCD on the back of the camera.

I would experiment with M mode instead of messing with AV/TV as you are going to come away with inconsistent shots. Figure ISO 1600, set the shutter > 180 (with panning), and dial up/down the aperture to get a good exposure. If you get a blurry image, move up to 250 or higher until you can pan consistently. A monopod may also help you in getting more consistent results.

I would also recomend simply renting a lens locally or through and choosing a Pentax 50-135 2.8 (first choice probably) or maybe the Sigma 70-200 2.8. Renting is relatively cheap and gives you the right tool for the job.

Good luck.


03-16-2010, 10:42 AM   #20
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The obvious way to know what focal lengths are needed is to check the EXIF of your shots to see what you tend to need - and consider trying to come in closer if you're typically at very long focal lengths (eg, 200). My one experience shoting horse jumping was from not terribly far back - the closest row from which they'd allow us to shoot, maybe 10 rows back. I believe I was using a manual 135, and it was working reasonably well for me. Focusing is actually not particularly difficult in events like this: the horse may move, but the hurdles don't. Prefocus and wait. You'll still struggle to get fast enough shutter speeds - expect to need ISO 1600 to get shutter speeds over 1/200" - but you'll do much better than with the 50-200 in low light (f/2.5 - f/3.5 for the 135 versus f/4.5 or worse for the 50-200 makes a *huge* difference).

Sure, an AF zoom is more convenient than an MF prime, but it's many hundreds of dollars for one in that focal length range. Versus $50 or so for a manual 135. Absolutely worth a shot, I'd say.
03-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #21
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We seem to get thread after thread of new buyer thibnking a DSLR will solve all their low light issues only to be dissapointed. We probably need a sticky pointing to the basics of exposure, most newbies seem utterly lost as to what they are changing and why they need to change it or why an f/5.6 lens in the dark is causing 'blur'..
03-26-2010, 11:03 AM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alfisti Quote
We seem to get thread after thread of new buyer thibnking a DSLR will solve all their low light issues only to be dissapointed. We probably need a sticky pointing to the basics of exposure, most newbies seem utterly lost as to what they are changing and why they need to change it or why an f/5.6 lens in the dark is causing 'blur'..


There's a reason the pros charge $40-100 for their prints.

03-26-2010, 11:09 AM   #23
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MF. Prefocus on the jumps and do some continuous snaps.
03-26-2010, 10:01 PM   #24
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A faster manual focus lens should work extremely well for you. As others have suggested look at the focal lengths you used most, and settle on a lens in that range. The manual focus lens will work much better for you than the AF lens, honest. I do agree that an A lens would be better than an M or K until you figure out how to use a fully manual lens.

You are attempting to catch the horse in mid jump. How you do this is easily accomplished:
  1. Exposure. Use M mode so that the colour of the horse does not throw off your exposure. Set the lens to f/4 or even f/5.6 and see if you can get the shutter speed up to 1/250 by increasing the ISO.
  2. Focus. Focus very carefully on the top rail, in the middle. Use the green hexagon to ensure the camera agrees with you.
  3. Manual Focus Lens. Use a manual focus lens so you can use
  4. Catch-in-focus. Set your camera to catch in focus mode in the menus. As the horse reaches the point of taking off, point your camera so that the centre of the viewfinder is a couple of feet above the top rail - so the camera does not shoot as soon as you - hold down the shutter release, and follow the horse in the viewfinder. A good point of aim, I would think, would be the saddle and rider. Holding down the release will engage the shake reduction as well.
Try, try, and try some more. I used to take school sports for a newspaper. They expected 2 usable shots on a 36 exposure roll. It took me about three months to get one usable shot on two 36 exposure rolls.

Some horses won't go over the centre of the jump. Some horses and riders will not have enough contrast between the horse, saddle and rider to trigger the AF mechanism. Some horses just don't like having their pictures taken, I guess.

Good luck! Practice and more practice is what will finally get you taking good pictures of flying horses.
03-26-2010, 11:26 PM   #25
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I shoot hockey and it is similar, in that the light sucks and you can predict where the action will be. I find the manual focus key, preset to a spot, I pick the top of the crease, and I wait for the action to come to me. The pan works well, but so does a mono-pod, plus when people want to buy a photo from you, it helps if you look the part with a mono- / tri- pod. If you are using P or other 'automatic' settings, set the exposure to -1 for use with the kit lens. I find I cannot go above ISO 1600 if I want to crop. Maybe set-up for a jump that is right under a light.
03-27-2010, 07:36 AM   #26
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I find getting quick feed back to be very valuable for me. So if you have a laptop or netbook available, take it along. During a break in the action, lunch or what ever, download your images and take a look at what worked and what didn't. Its not a 20" screen but still better than the 3". Also, the look does not have to be critical, or extensive, but a quick review, looking for something that really worked. Then, take a look at the EXIF data for that image. Try to remember what you did, and then try it again. Build on your successes.

Another idea, is if there is someone else there taking photos, go over and compare notes - if they are willing. At least note what lens they are using. Just remember, they may be in the same boat you are, but just on the off chance that they are more experienced, they may be willing to offer some suggestions, especially for that venue.

03-31-2010, 05:20 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Canada_Rockies Quote
A faster manual focus lens should work
Good luck! Practice and more practice is what will finally get you taking good pictures of flying horses.
I like this quote a lot.

I'll put my two cents worth in and say look for a line to cover (a double or a treble with a related fence say). Line yourself up and set up so that you are looking down the line. As the horses ears and riders head are visible take one shot, then take another at the top of the curve. Frame the next jump in the line and focus on the centre of the top rail as suggested. As the horse comes up, take the next shot.

Honestly, ISO 1600 or even 3200 are going to work for you. One thing you will notice if you get a lens with a large aperture (1.4 - 2.8) is that the focus has to be good or you will get blurry pics from that....

Good luck from a dude that used to do a fair bit of this stuff (jumping).
03-31-2010, 05:48 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by abitofamoron Quote
This is my favorite (non moving) photo so far

I just may need to wait til I get more equipment or we start riding outside.
Try posting your shots a bit bigger (800pix X 600) is a good size for online viewing. I think you have a good shot there (inmho) but its a bit small to do it justice.

The advice given is all good, varied, but all just to confuse you a little more:
......... If your budget can stand it I would be buying a Pentax DA* 50-135 f2.8 in a heart beat for this type of work.

Someone posted some indoor under lights rodeo shots a while back taken with this lens....stunning result. (maybe they will see this thread & post the shots again).
Panning (as stated) will help a lot, along with pLanning your shot, again, as already stated by others.
Have fun with it and look forward to seeing more.
04-01-2010, 03:43 AM   #29
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I take lots of showjumping pics although mostly outdoor.
Position yourself facing the jump and focus on the centre of the top rail by partly pressing the button. When the horses nose is just over the spot completley press the button........but lift the camera up to where its head will be if you are close.
Practice on the practice fences....until you get the hang of it.
Try having your camera set into the sports mode......if fact try all the modes and see what you get.......but basically high ish iso and fast shutter speeds are needed in low light....

but dont forget to just watch the action as well!

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