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12-19-2012, 07:15 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
Huh? Smoking, me? I haven't even smoked a chocolate cigarette in my life. I see now that I sounded a bit negative and it was not my purpose. I guess 1:25am got the best of me.
Sorry Visual darkness - I was having a laugh with you about the Nikon santa gift - Hope you get a nice present this year. Last year i got the 60-250 from santa - this year I had 5 weeks in Africa so santa has run out of money.

like you I have never had a smoke in my life - I am horribly allergic to cigarette smoke

12-19-2012, 07:30 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
Sorry Visual darkness - I was having a laugh with you about the Nikon santa gift - Hope you get a nice present this year. Last year i got the 60-250 from santa - this year I had 5 weeks in Africa so santa has run out of money.

like you I have never had a smoke in my life - I am horribly allergic to cigarette smoke
Yeah see what not smoking does to the brain? Now I get your post!
12-20-2012, 07:21 AM   #18
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Wow, thanks for all the responses! I had hoped to check back on this thread earlier, but it was a busy night at work. I'll try to address some of the questions and advice that have been offered.

For most of the swim meet, I used the DA*300, on a monopod. Of course wide open is f4 with that one. I had very little hope of actually tracking my son as he swam down the lane, and timing my shot for that split second when his head came above water. And of course I was shooting from the stands, so it was a continuous right-left-right movement. It would have been ideal to stand directly at the end of the lane and take shots as he approached, but that would have been frowned upon. (Nobody said anything about the flash, but then again there were no diving events- I do know that they're much more strict for those.) Anyway, in my experience going much over 800 ISO is about where things start to break down with the K20D, especially in low light; images start to look soft, grainy, noisy- so 1250 was my limit. However, the majority of the shots were of him just standing around, or standing stationary up on one of the starting blocks, or treading water while waiting between events. I thought the equipment should've been able to handle stuff like that.

I do know that 1/250th or higher would've been desirable while he was actually swimming, but I was hoping the flash duration might be able to stop the action a bit. I also used AF-C for a while but it didn't seem to help either. I recall shooting outdoor soccer with the K20D and Tamron 70-200, and got a lot of good images in that case. I don't have the Tamron anymore but I wonder how I'd have fared using that at the swim meet. (Or a Sigma 70-200?) Locking focus with the 50-135 or 300 can be painfully slow at times.

I didn't have a lot of hope that I'd get many decent shots, given the subject activity and lighting, so my heart isn't broken. But it's just a bit annoying, kind of funny actually- people see you with this big "fancy" camera set-up and say, "Wow you must be getting some great shots!" ...Uh, no not really! The clearance prices on the K5 right now are pretty tempting and affordable, but I figure if I'm going to upgrade, I should go all the way to the K5ii due to it's improved AF and low-light capabilities. So I was interested in hearing the experience of others who may have used the same (or similar) lenses, while making the switch from something like a K10D or K20D, to the K5. Hopefully I'm wrong in thinking that the lenses have anything to do with the problem.

@JinDesu, the nickname is a little irony regarding my (now ex-) wife, and a statement she once made regarding my LBA! Thanks to everyone for all the great comments so far.
12-25-2012, 09:35 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
For most of the swim meet, I used the DA*300, on a monopod. Of course wide open is f4 with that one. I had very little hope of actually tracking my son as he swam down the lane, and timing my shot for that split second when his head came above water. And of course I was shooting from the stands, so it was a continuous right-left-right movement. It would have been ideal to stand directly at the end of the lane and take shots as he approached, but that would have been frowned upon. (Nobody said anything about the flash, but then again there were no diving events- I do know that they're much more strict for those.) Anyway, in my experience going much over 800 ISO is about where things start to break down with the K20D, especially in low light; images start to look soft, grainy, noisy- so 1250 was my limit. However, the majority of the shots were of him just standing around, or standing stationary up on one of the starting blocks, or treading water while waiting between events. I thought the equipment should've been able to handle stuff like that.

I do know that 1/250th or higher would've been desirable while he was actually swimming, but I was hoping the flash duration might be able to stop the action a bit. I also used AF-C for a while but it didn't seem to help either. I recall shooting outdoor soccer with the K20D and Tamron 70-200, and got a lot of good images in that case. I don't have the Tamron anymore but I wonder how I'd have fared using that at the swim meet. (Or a Sigma 70-200?) Locking focus with the 50-135 or 300 can be painfully slow at times.
I hadn't realized you were shooting from the stands. My guess is that your flash didn't have the power to help much in that case. You should ask if you can shoot on the deck. I volunteered to take photos for the team, so the coach was happy to let me down there. As you learn the events, you can figure out where to be to get some great action shots.

Also, you're right that flash during the swim events is OK. Around here, they won't allow it during the race start since they use a flash to signal the start. But if you're down on deck, most swimmers would not appreciate a flash in the face, so I never use it except for some crowd shots.

12-26-2012, 12:06 AM   #20
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Thanks for the tips. Regarding the flash, I was using the AF540, and actually it had a pretty decent reach. We were in the stands along lane 1, and I could light up pretty well all the way to lane 7 or 8. One problem I encountered though, with using flash on people at that distance, is that the angles diminish and red-eye becomes a problem again, if they're looking your way. But one of the few good shots I did get was with the 540, with my son all the way in Lane 7!
12-26-2012, 07:02 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
Thanks for the tips. Regarding the flash, I was using the AF540, and actually it had a pretty decent reach. We were in the stands along lane 1, and I could light up pretty well all the way to lane 7 or 8. One problem I encountered though, with using flash on people at that distance, is that the angles diminish and red-eye becomes a problem again, if they're looking your way. But one of the few good shots I did get was with the 540, with my son all the way in Lane 7!
I have one other thought. Since your flash did have enough power, and you're still seeing blur, then you're letting in too much ambient light. Increasing the shutter speed will help that as well. You can also try bouncing the flash to avoid the red-eye.

Again, I think this has to be one of the toughest tests for any camera.
12-26-2012, 07:35 AM   #22
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We used to have a K-x a K20D and a K-5. The K20D is gone, the low light performance was just too poor. But we are keeping the K-x. It has acceptable low light performance. We shoot images to print and sell. FOr us, the K20D's low light performance was so bad we were missing out on otherwise great images. We pull detail out of the shadows with a K-5 you wouldn't even dare dream about with a K20D. We used to use the K20D up to 800 but 800 was stretching it,, we will use the K-5 up to 1600 with 1600 stretching it...
but, this image was shot at 6400 in very dark conditions. I wouldn't even attempt this shot with a K20D.

12-27-2012, 06:56 AM   #23
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Wow, that shots looks pretty darn good for 6400 ISO!

Just to clarify, my complaints weren't so much about blurred shots, but more like shots that had so much noise, that the whole image looked soft. These type of results were obtained even when the subjects weren't really moving. Anyway, I'm hoping that the same glass (DA*50-135, DA*300, etc.) will produce better results (for all types of photography) once I can put them to use on a K5II.

12-27-2012, 07:46 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
Wow, that shots looks pretty darn good for 6400 ISO!

Just to clarify, my complaints weren't so much about blurred shots, but more like shots that had so much noise, that the whole image looked soft. These type of results were obtained even when the subjects weren't really moving. Anyway, I'm hoping that the same glass (DA*50-135, DA*300, etc.) will produce better results (for all types of photography) once I can put them to use on a K5II.
Ya I picked one that isn't hurt to much by the noise... but the stone wall and the bird have considerable noise, but it sort of blends in. We also had a number of shots ruined by noise. Just saying, every now and then you get a subject where 6400 ISO is useful.

This one is shot at 12800. Sure it's noisy, but it's a bat cave. You can see more detail on the bat than I could see, standing there looking at it. You really do have to keep your ISO down to avoid noise, but I'm not sure there's a camera out there that will do better. And in these two pictures, without high ISO we'd have nothing.

12-27-2012, 08:06 AM   #25
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I have shot at 12800 with the K5 with decent results. You will still need some noise cleaning software. I haven't photographed a swimming meet but I have noticed AF problems around water, especially clear water. The lens will hunt a lot and sometimes lock focus on something underwater if the bottom is visible. In deep water and dark water, AF often doesn't lock at all. I have spent countless hours paddling around our Adirondack lakes trying to photograph Loons, mostly unsuccessfully. I have had better luck manually focusing in these situations.
12-27-2012, 10:09 AM   #26
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A couple of high ISO K-5 shots, all noise reduced in Lightroom 3.6.

ISO12800


ISO8000
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01-01-2013, 09:03 AM   #27
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Woah! Those high ISO shots look great! Thanks for sharing. I have a K20D and have always been disappointed with it above ISO 200. A friend even jumped ship and went to Canon because of the K20D low light performance.

But to get back to the main post. You don't have to have high shutter speed for good sports shots. The main thing is to be able to follow the action. I've seen great sports shots well below 1/60s and the motion blur around the subject adds to the appeal of the shot.
01-02-2013, 09:18 AM   #28
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I have been taking indoor sports pictures for several years and had a K20D for a couple years. I found that noise was okay to 800. I tended to use faster glass (DA70 or FA50) and cropped the picture. I found that the results were better than a longer lens at higher ISO. The K5 is way better and I have had good results up to 6400.

Personally I keep the shutter speed at 1/250 or better for the best results. Anything slower has been problematic in my experience.
01-02-2013, 09:52 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
I've been using a K20D for the last several years and have generally been pretty happy with it. However, last night I shot my son's swimming event, and the results were pretty poor. I really don't think any of them were "keepers", and so I'm scratching my head- is it a lens problem, or perhaps sports photography is just not the K20D's forte?

I used both the DA*50-135, but more so the DA*300. Lighting at these high school pools is usually pretty dismal, and the best I could do for most of the shots was around 1/60, f4, and ISO 1250. I know that is way too slow a shutterspeed for such an activity, but the K20D gets really noisy at high ISO; I did use a monopod for the most part. It seemed to be a "perfect storm" of issues for both exposure and autofocus. I have used these lenses at outdoor events and had very little problem. Compared to the Tamron 70-200 I once had, their AF seems quite a bit slower. Results from last night were just not sharp at all, with lots of noise, although I did get better results (not always!) once I started using flash.

So I'm wondering, is it the lenses, or the camera? Has the K20D met its limitations for this type of use? Would a K5ii breathe new life into these DA* lenses? I've been wanting to upgrade anyway, but this might help push me in that direction sooner.
Back in january 2011 I had the same frustration when I shot a gymnastic match with my K7. The noise in pictures taken at 1600 ISO was horrible, so I took the jump and switched from K7 to K5. That was one of the best decisions I took in 2011 since the K5 delivers at high ISO, however you could need some noise cleaning tools. Go for that k5(II), it will certainly bring new life to your lenses.
Here some examples from a swimcup meet taken with K5 + DA* 300







01-02-2013, 03:42 PM   #30
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Exactly what I'm looking for Andre. Those shots look great! Thanks for sharing.
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