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12-19-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
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Disappointing Results- Is it time to upgrade to K5ii ?

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.

12-19-2012, 05:10 PM   #2
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Well, if you're planning on shooting low light scenarios a lot, the K-5II is about two stops better for "Acceptable" Noise levels. Sure would make a difference, especially considering you'd have more pixels for that nice glass to resolve.

That said, if you're going to upgrade, I highly doubt anyone will recommend otherwise.
12-19-2012, 05:11 PM   #3
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Presumably you could double the iso and still get less noise, should get your shutter speed up.
By all accounts AF is greatly improved
12-19-2012, 05:11 PM   #4
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I gave my K20 to my daughter and I can't recall the last time I used my K7. I was so impressed with the k5 I am embarrassed to say I own three. My 50-135 and 60-250 are beautifully matched to the K5. I never used my K20 over 200 ISO as the photos started to look like a dirty toilet bowl. My thought is you will be blown over how much better the K5 is.

12-19-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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when you say "poor" what exactly are you meaning? is it focus problems, subject motion blur problems, white balance, camera shake, or framing issues? A k5ii would give you much better focusing in lower light along w/ way better high iso shots along w/ dynamic range improvements that really help bring detail out of the shadows. But I'm just geussing as to what issues you don't like about your pics from a k20... I had a k20, k7, k5 and now a k5iis and each generation had pretty significant improvements. So if you're wondering if the new batch of cameras will help you get more shots in challenging situations.... yes.
12-19-2012, 05:20 PM   #6
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I guess you have to double the ISO to get at least under 1/100, or you will get too much blur. Try it out the next time, don't underexpose and try to change the way you PP. Or maybe get at new camera and/or better a 300/2.8 lens? When I shoot hockey with my K-5 I most often have to use around ISO6400 with my 70-200/2.8, it isn't perfect but you work with what you got. Shooting sports inside a dimly lit hall is tough and I find that you more often than not have to skip image quality to actually get the shot.

I guess K-5 will be quite an evolution but you still can't expect low noise images at most occasions when shooting indoor sports. Maybe Santa got a Nikon D3s with a 300/2.8 under the tree for us?
12-19-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
I Maybe Santa got a Nikon D3s with a 300/2.8 under the tree for us
What have you been smoking? Where did you buy it?
12-19-2012, 05:23 PM   #8
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Been where you are even with my K-x. I upgraded to a K-5 and got better lenses and have been pretty happy with the results. Lots more keepers of my son in the gym (yes, lighting there is dismal - great word for it too). People are reporting even better results with the newer K-5II and IIs. The AF is supposed to be somewhat better than the K-5 and the low light performance is even better (and the K-5 is no slouch in that department IMHO). Now is a great time to buy a K-5 if you want to spend less because they are around $700 BNIB (don't forget the 2 year extended warranty for $19 - its really a no brainer).

12-19-2012, 05:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
What have you been smoking? Where did you buy it?
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.
Af course it will be a huge upgrade but not "noise-free" as the D3s at the ISO6400 level, but who would expect it to? I highly recommend the upgrade to K-5 as I shoot quite a lot of sport with it. Check this thread out: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-k-5/115277-k-5-sports-photography-73.html
12-19-2012, 05:30 PM   #10
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My question for the OP is what proportion will his or her shooting be sports vs. other types of shooting? And what would the breakout be by type more or less?
Yes the K 20D is lousy for fast moving sports, but my recommended solution depends on the answers to the first question.
Thanks.

M
12-19-2012, 06:30 PM   #11
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I've been shooting high school swimming and diving since I got my K20D in 2009. I most often use the Tamron 70-200/2.8 and 28-75/2.8. It can be done, but it's not easy to get good results, and the K-5 that I got last year for Christmas has been a real blessing.

I agree that most light in high school pools is notoriously poor (that's when all the lights are actually working). It's dark, and often fluorescent, which flickers countless numbers of colors. Combine that with fast action, and it makes for what I think is the toughest test for a camera.

First of all, you have to get a fast shutter to have any hope of getting a good shot. For swimming, I use a minimum of 1/250, and for diving I need at least 1/400. With the K20D I typically use ISO 1600. That usually leaves me with f/2.8 or f/4 if I'm lucky. Focus is a challenge, and I often pick a focus point low which is the wave in front of the swimmer as he/she comes toward me, and use AF-C. For diving, I usually put on a manual 501/7 or 85/1.8 and prefocus, taking photos from a 90 degree angle. I often use Topaz DeNoise to help with noise (only for the really good shots).

Try again, but up the ISO so you can get 1/250 at f/2.8. Don't mind the noise - a noisy photo is better than a blurry one.

All that said, I have had much more success with the K-5, and if you can swing it, I would highly recommend it. My keeper rate has gone way up, and the quality is better as I can go to ISO3200 and stop down a bit to get a larger depth of field. My K20D has been relegated to taking the atmosphere shots of the crowd or the kids on the deck.

By the way, I'm surprised they allow flash at all. Usually that's a no-no at swimming and diving.


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.

Last edited by klh; 12-19-2012 at 06:37 PM.
12-19-2012, 06:36 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Been where you are even with my K-x. I upgraded to a K-5 and got better lenses and have been pretty happy with the results. Lots more keepers of my son in the gym (yes, lighting there is dismal - great word for it too). People are reporting even better results with the newer K-5II and IIs. The AF is supposed to be somewhat better than the K-5 and the low light performance is even better (and the K-5 is no slouch in that department IMHO). Now is a great time to buy a K-5 if you want to spend less because they are around $700 BNIB (don't forget the 2 year extended warranty for $19 - its really a no brainer).
I tend to disagree with you my friend, I have the K-X and the K-5, I first had the K-X for a year and never had many issues with low light with that camera, I bought the K-5 for many reasons but not because of low light issues or IQ because IMHO these two cameras are very similar in IQ and low light performance, ya the K-5 has a little more resolution and more bit depth, but even I really don't care for either especially when I can't tell the difference between makes of cameras when the images are sitting side by side. I don't shoot the K-X much these days since I got the K-5 (wife uses it and it is mainly a back up in my situation) but when I do I can punch some nice images out with that thing, I just got really used to all the bells and whistles that came on the K-5, and feel that my hands are tied when using the K-X, but either way it is still a pleasure to use it.
To be honest with you I think you are getting better images now because of the higher quality lenses even though it may be a coincidence you bought them at the same time as you bought your K-5. I am sure by now you have tried your nicer lenses on the K-X and I bet you have good images on that camera as well. Just remember that K-X is no slouch, I will probably never get rid of that camera.
12-19-2012, 06:48 PM   #13
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Your name made me giggle a bit, as far as the title of this thread goes.

The k-5 (and k-5II) are very good up to 6,400ISO, and some people have pushed it to 20,000ISO and still come out with great results. So that should definitely give you more light. As far as k-5 vs k-5II goes - several users are commenting that the k-5II is much more decisive and accurate in AF, and performs fantastically in low-light conditions.
12-19-2012, 07:03 PM - 1 Like   #14
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A Real Problem?

Hello NeverSatisfied,
If you're shooting any type of sports, with the possible exception of turtle racing, it's not the camera or lens that's letting you down. It's the 1/60s shutter speed.
I'd put 1/250s as the absolute MINIMUM shutter speed for sports, particularly with a tele.
Since your fastest lens is an f/2.8, you won't find many (any?) medium telephotos faster.
If an f/2.8 in that lighting yields a shutter speed of 1/60s, you have only one choice left; Higher ISO.
Not counting flash, of course. It's not always allowed.
Does the K-5 (or newer versions) have better high-ISO performance than a K20D? Yes.
Hope that answers your question.
Ron
12-19-2012, 07:06 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by BirdDude007 Quote
I tend to disagree with you my friend, I have the K-X and the K-5, I first had the K-X for a year and never had many issues with low light with that camera, I bought the K-5 for many reasons but not because of low light issues or IQ because IMHO these two cameras are very similar in IQ and low light performance, ya the K-5 has a little more resolution and more bit depth, but even I really don't care for either especially when I can't tell the difference between makes of cameras when the images are sitting side by side. I don't shoot the K-X much these days since I got the K-5 (wife uses it and it is mainly a back up in my situation) but when I do I can punch some nice images out with that thing, I just got really used to all the bells and whistles that came on the K-5, and feel that my hands are tied when using the K-X, but either way it is still a pleasure to use it.
To be honest with you I think you are getting better images now because of the higher quality lenses even though it may be a coincidence you bought them at the same time as you bought your K-5. I am sure by now you have tried your nicer lenses on the K-X and I bet you have good images on that camera as well. Just remember that K-X is no slouch, I will probably never get rid of that camera.
I understand what you are saying but I believe that in low light, particularly the very weird lighting used in non-pro gym settings, the K-5 does perform better than the K-x with the same lenses. In this case the OP has a K20D which has useable ISO to around 3200 according to optimists but really to around 1600 in real world reports. The K-5 is good to 6400 IMHO plus it does have more depth (12 vs 14 bit). I think the K-5 would be a definite improvement for the OP in gym settings and generally in lower light situations.
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