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02-07-2012, 09:16 AM   #16
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Those pics show a combination of issues including lens softness (the 55~300 is ugly soft on distant subjects at 300mm) and slight motion blur softness. On the long end of the 55~300, you need to get to a shutter speed of 1/500+ to get good shots of moving subjects.

Now, look at your first pic and compare with the second 2 - the first pic has more of a left-2-right movement across the frame whereas the other 2 snaps have more movement towards you, using autofocus with that lens with subjects moving towards you will equate to a 90% miss rate almost every time.

Suggestions
1. Bump your ISO to get a faster shutter speed
2. Try using AF.C (continuous) and see how that helps
3. Get a better MF lens and practice with MF and CIF

02-07-2012, 09:32 AM   #17
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Looking at these three pics - for objects moving across your view like the first picture, I would aim for something with nice contrast (like the black and white part at the front of the boat) to get the AF to lock on quicker. What settings was that picture? Don't be afraid to underexpose if you need the shutter speed to catch the action that moment. Post processing can fix noise, colors, and brightness. It cannot fix motion blur and camera shake (at least not easily).

For objects moving towards you, manual focusing or pre-focusing are the best ways about it on the k-x and using a DA 55-300. I'm not even sure if we have a fast enough lens to catch an object moving about 20mph towards us effectively.

Subjectively, try to catch them right when they finish the upstroke or when they hit the water (since they are supposed to be well timed, and hey if you see someone out of position... ), as those are the two most striking and easiest positions to capture.
02-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I'm not even sure if we have a fast enough lens to catch an object moving about 20mph towards us effectively.
No, we don't.

My solution is using CIF, using it with a high enough SS will catch a spot on focus almost every time - the problem with the 55~300 is without the lens linkage on/off switch on the lens, CIF won't work (without hacks) with that lens. This is one of the reasons why my DA*50~135 is so good, it allows me to use CIF...
02-07-2012, 10:34 AM   #19
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Try this on your next event, it works for me with the K-x:
Find the lens' sweet spot for sharp images at your desired focal range - it will probably be f8-f11
Bump up the ISO so you have a decent shutter speed to stop the motion and avoid lens shake
Turn off SR (controversial possibly, but at high shutter speeds I don't believe it is needed, especially if you are going to be panning )
Use center focus point (make sure to put the intended target in the center of the frame)
Use AF-C
Use hIgh continuous shutter
(optional)use JPG instead of RAW for faster writing to the card and more shots in the buffer - turn off all lens correction or any other in camera processing

02-07-2012, 11:56 AM   #20
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Here is a sample of my K-x doing sports. i think i was using AFC, center point, f7-9 and the lens either 55-200 kit or F100-300. Oh, remebered, i think i was using also camera "sport" mode on dial.

Last edited by StepOne; 02-07-2012 at 12:01 PM.
02-07-2012, 12:33 PM   #21
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Thanks everyone for the replies. Its given me a few options to play with next time and will give them a shot. Pretty sure at the other venue I will be 90 degrees or so to the action so it may be a bit easier to find the best focal spot for the lens.
02-07-2012, 02:03 PM   #22
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These are off of my K200D with an old manual focus 75-300mm zoom. Panning helps a lot it just take practice to get the speed right. Something I learned with the manual lens is turn off SR. It doesn't like panning. I now have a DAL 55-300. I'll probably use it in manual focus mode for these type of shots. I pre-focus on an area then fine tune as I shoot. It takes a little practice but after a bit it becomes second nature. I don't think I'll be able to depend on the 55-300 to focus fast enough for this kind of shooting. I also set the camera to center point focus also. Good luck and have fun practicing and learning.











02-07-2012, 02:06 PM   #23
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Now that, is pretty damn sexy.

02-07-2012, 03:30 PM   #24
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Yep, they are great pics !! Gotta get more practice in for sure.
02-07-2012, 03:42 PM   #25
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You have received some solid advice already, so just go and play with the settings and practice some more, I used to have the same combo and I am not a frequent action shooter myself, but with a bit of practice I can get results like these handheld













They are by no means great, but at least with fast shutter speed it's reasonably sharp

PS I missed the dragon boat race, good to see some Pentaxian actually went
02-07-2012, 06:16 PM   #26
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Nice shots elpolodiablo! goldpopper, don't be afraid to experiment and use the Hi Speed Continuous Mode. If you take multiple exposures through your focus point you increase your odds of catching one in focus. Watch your F-Stop. Larger f-stops equal smaller depth of field. I usually try to keep mine around f11 to f13. Occasionally as large as f8 but never larger. If I need more shutter speed I'll up the ISO.

Over time I've gone from 40% keepers to 80 to 90% keepers.

Use the exif data to compare settings on different shots to spot trends that may work for your style. Digital is a whole lot better than film because you get instant results and exif data to compare instead of waiting a day or so for processing the trying to remember settings for each shot!

#1 Rule though is HAVE FUN taking pictures!!!
02-07-2012, 06:29 PM   #27
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Was annoyed as that event was pretty good to take pics at, and I didnt get as many keepers as I wanted. All my other pics from other things have worked how I wanted, just not the sport stuff. And I play around a lot with the settings and am comfortable with low light, night and other kinds of scenarios. Will find another sport event and have a go at getting more keepers in next time. Been looking for a fixed length lens which will do well, but they are quite pricey and not worth it for me considering I don't do much action photography.

I didnt see many Pentax DLSR at the event...but quite a few white canon lenses around me.
02-07-2012, 06:48 PM   #28
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And just noticed a DA 560 f/5.6 being released.....wonder how much that will be....
02-07-2012, 06:52 PM   #29
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I'm the opposite. Low light and night are where I'm learning now. I originally got into 35mm with my MESuper in the early 80's when I worked on race cars and took a lot of racing pictures.















I haven't tried other sports as I'm not really a stick and ball fan. I like lots of Horsepower although some friends own a horse farm outside of Lexington, KY and I have gotten into shotting 1 or 2 HP at a time.




02-07-2012, 06:53 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by goldpopper Quote
And just noticed a DA 560 f/5.6 being released.....wonder how much that will be....
I don't know but I wonder if they need beta testers!!!
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