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02-18-2008, 12:17 PM   #1
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A mild rant

I rarely post this sort of message, but I would like to relay an experience I had just this week.

I was shooting a 4 day dog show using a K10D + Sigma 70-200 EX. Big arena, reasonably good lighting. I still needed to shoot at ISO800, average exposure f3.2, 1/100th with flash (Sigma 500 Super). Flash in P-TTL +1.0 FC, camera in manual,. Trying to capture motion in these circumstances turned out to be rather difficult. I had to resort to AF-S and pre-focus/panning. I got quite a few good shots, but missed as many. Not having a good continuous predictive AF was a real handicap. On the other hand, having SR was a huge benefit.

Now, there was another guy there with a brand new Nikon D3 and 70-200 f2.8 VR. He was shooting available light at ISO6400, machine gunning away. We talked a bit, as I was curious about his camera. The shots looked pretty good on his LCD. I explained how I was shooting, setting the aperture to expose the subject with the flash, and the shutter speed to expose the background. This all occurred Thursday night. Friday he shows up with a Nikkor 85mm f1.4 mounted. He said his results from the night before weren't too good. So he thought f1.4 at 3200 would do better. Must not have worked to well, Saturday, he was back with the 70-200. I didnít have an opportunity to talk to him again but my guess is th razor thin DOF at f1.4 got him.

Moral of the story is; you can buy the best equipment in the world, but if you donít know how to use it, or utilize basic photographic skills, you will still get mostly average shots at best. Any really good shots you will get will mostly be a matter of luck. I was thinking how much better I could have shot the show with his set up and a SB800 (with some time to learn the camera system, of course).

You know, I sometimes do get frustrated with the way the K10D performs, I think we all do at times, but (big but) I am way to far invested in Pentax mount glass to switch. To be truthful, I have thought about it at times, but the Performance/Value quotient keeps falling in favor of the Pentax. So, I do what a photographer should always do, that is to find a workaround for the equipments limitations and get the shot. That is the challenge, and that is what I did this past week. I tweaked the ISO to the highest value that I know will be acceptable to me, and using flash, manually adjust exposure for the scene. Iíve only done a quick preview in FastStone so far (I got home really late last night), but from what I saw, I got some very nice images. Nothing really earth shattering, just a bunch of dogs showing at a dog show, but I am pleased with my efforts, and I know the owners and handlers will be pleased also. For those interested, Iíll most likely have them processed and posted in my PBase galleries by the end of the week.

A couple of footnotes:
1. The D3 + 70-200 VR weighed practically the same as my K10D+Grip+ Sigma 70-200 EX, a few grams heavier, was only slightly larger, and is a very, very nice setup as it should be for the money.
2. I had one fatality. I dropped my Tamron 28-75, from about 4 feet to a concrete floor. Itís toast . I had no other normal Ė portrait length lens with me, so I was unable to do any of the Dog portraits, I like doing. SighÖ.. Off to Tamron it goes.

This really isn't a rant, I just think we all need to be reminded once in awhile, that it isn't the equipment, it's the photographer that captures the image.

Thanks for listening

02-18-2008, 12:52 PM   #2
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I think the moral of this story is that you can't buy experience.
Had the Nikon user told you what he planned to do you could have accurately predicted his actual outcome. Not because you know Nikon, but because you know photography.
In my Real Job as a toolmaker you can see people who routinly produce excellent end products with the worst equiptment in the shop, while "less skilled" workers may have problems getting "acceptable" results even when working with the very best equiptment.
02-18-2008, 01:35 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
but my guess is th razor thin DOF at f1.4 got him.
not "razor" thin, 2 times thinner (for example 50mm/F1.4 @ 5 ft vs 100mm @ F2.8 @ 10ft)
02-18-2008, 01:56 PM   #4
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Thanks for the post of your experience rascot. Here is what I came away with:

a) A Pentaxian with a $1500 outfit was able to get better shots than a Nikonian with a $6,600 outfit.

b) Taking pictures in low light is hard.

People that buy DSLR's need to read experiences like yours and learn these lessons. It might save them alot of grief (and cash).

02-18-2008, 02:10 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
a) A Pentaxian with a $1500 outfit was able to get better shots than a Nikonian with a $6,600 outfit.
actually we did not see any shots...
02-18-2008, 02:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
actually we did not see any shots...
True, but I took him at his word. I shouldn't have said that the shots were better. I probably should have phrased it that "a Nikonian with a $6,600 (Which BTW is marketed for it's action shot capabilities in low light) outfit had just as much trouble in low light as a Pentaxian with a $1,500 outfit."

Last edited by PentaxPoke; 02-18-2008 at 02:20 PM.
02-18-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
True, but I took him at his word.
he just said that he did not like his own shots... but may be he is just a perfectionist... may be they
were "10 times" better then yours (no offense), but he just did not like them himself
02-19-2008, 05:24 AM   #8
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They are coming, I need a few more days.

02-19-2008, 05:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by deejjjaaaa Quote
he just said that he did not like his own shots... but may be he is just a perfectionist...
Now, I did not say I didn't like my shots. I capture quite a few decent ones. I did my initial review and cut last night. Believe me, I did get my share of throw aways. Some with motion blur, some just OOF. I just may have a BF issue, I rarely shoot wide open with this lens, or the lens is a bit soft below f4.0. I'll know more when I finish processing.
02-19-2008, 05:54 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxPoke Quote
(snip) I probably should have phrased it that "a Nikonian with a $6,600 (Which BTW is marketed for it's action shot capabilities in low light) outfit had just as much trouble in low light as a Pentaxian with a $1,500 outfit."
I think you pretty much summed it up. He should have been able to do much better than me, but after further reviewing my shots, I'd say I did at least as well, perhaps better.

I think I needed about 1 more stop of exposure. If I could stop down to about f4.0 or so, DOF would have been much better, as well as lens resolution. ISO1600 is not an option for me with the K10. If it turns out the K20 will deliver ISO1600 performance equivalent to ISO800 on the 10D, I'll be taking a good hard look at it.
02-19-2008, 07:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
I was shooting a 4 day dog show using a K10D + Sigma 70-200 EX. Big arena, reasonably good lighting.
...a 'big arena', hmmm...like Madison Square Gardens?

I can't wait to see the shots. I wanted the Akita to win. He (she?) had neat lines. My friend's handler is Kas (sp?) - the guy with the toy poodle. (My friend has champion standard poodles.)

Anyway - to the point of your message, I think it cuts both ways. One photographer friend of mine who consistently produces outstanding results (a Pentaxian, no less) uses his cheap 18-55 kit lens most of the time. When he wants a prime he switches to a $5 Helios-44M-2 with oily aperture blades. Another impressive photographer friend switched to a Canon 5D because he couldn't consistently get results with his Pentax gear, and he is now happy as can be.

If it were me, I would have set the exposure to Manual, and pre-focused on a spot where I knew the dogs were going to be. This is how I like to shoot football games, where the action is somewhat predictable. I can adjust the focus as the play goes on, but at least I know I got the first shot when they moved into my plane of focus.

(Which I guess confirms your thread - I would do the same thing with a Pentax *ist D or a Nikon D3.)
02-19-2008, 08:31 AM   #12
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you should have traded cameras for 30 minutes.
i wonder what kind of shots you would have gotten with the d3.
02-19-2008, 04:12 PM   #13
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QuoteQuote:
I wanted the Akita to win.
Me too. Both of my sons have Akitas. The older son has a Japanese Akita (Keanu = 90 lbs), and the younger son has an American Akita (Kado = 125 pounds - bigger frame).
02-19-2008, 09:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by roscot Quote
I rarely post this sort of message, but I would like to relay an experience I had just this week.

I was shooting a 4 day dog show using a K10D + Sigma 70-200 EX. Big arena, reasonably good lighting. I still needed to shoot at ISO800, average exposure f3.2, 1/100th with flash (Sigma 500 Super). Flash in P-TTL +1.0 FC, camera in manual,. Trying to capture motion in these circumstances turned out to be rather difficult. I had to resort to AF-S and pre-focus/panning. I got quite a few good shots, but missed as many. Not having a good continuous predictive AF was a real handicap. On the other hand, having SR was a huge benefit.

Now, there was another guy there with a brand new Nikon D3 and 70-200 f2.8 VR. He was shooting available light at ISO6400, machine gunning away. We talked a bit, as I was curious about his camera. The shots looked pretty good on his LCD. I explained how I was shooting, setting the aperture to expose the subject with the flash, and the shutter speed to expose the background. This all occurred Thursday night. Friday he shows up with a Nikkor 85mm f1.4 mounted. He said his results from the night before weren't too good. So he thought f1.4 at 3200 would do better. Must not have worked to well, Saturday, he was back with the 70-200. I didnít have an opportunity to talk to him again but my guess is th razor thin DOF at f1.4 got him.

Moral of the story is; you can buy the best equipment in the world, but if you donít know how to use it, or utilize basic photographic skills, you will still get mostly average shots at best. Any really good shots you will get will mostly be a matter of luck. I was thinking how much better I could have shot the show with his set up and a SB800 (with some time to learn the camera system, of course).

You know, I sometimes do get frustrated with the way the K10D performs, I think we all do at times, but (big but) I am way to far invested in Pentax mount glass to switch. To be truthful, I have thought about it at times, but the Performance/Value quotient keeps falling in favor of the Pentax. So, I do what a photographer should always do, that is to find a workaround for the equipments limitations and get the shot. That is the challenge, and that is what I did this past week. I tweaked the ISO to the highest value that I know will be acceptable to me, and using flash, manually adjust exposure for the scene. Iíve only done a quick preview in FastStone so far (I got home really late last night), but from what I saw, I got some very nice images. Nothing really earth shattering, just a bunch of dogs showing at a dog show, but I am pleased with my efforts, and I know the owners and handlers will be pleased also. For those interested, Iíll most likely have them processed and posted in my PBase galleries by the end of the week.

A couple of footnotes:
1. The D3 + 70-200 VR weighed practically the same as my K10D+Grip+ Sigma 70-200 EX, a few grams heavier, was only slightly larger, and is a very, very nice setup as it should be for the money.
2. I had one fatality. I dropped my Tamron 28-75, from about 4 feet to a concrete floor. Itís toast . I had no other normal Ė portrait length lens with me, so I was unable to do any of the Dog portraits, I like doing. SighÖ.. Off to Tamron it goes.

This really isn't a rant, I just think we all need to be reminded once in awhile, that it isn't the equipment, it's the photographer that captures the image.

Thanks for listening
When I read the above, and compare this to what I have done, I have one simple question.

With a flash, why did you shoot at F3.2 1/100 and ISO 800?

I would have used the High ISO to get depth of field (perhaps F8) and the flash to freeze motion, and have the shutter speed at 1/180 to get maximum sync and minimum influence from ambient light.

With motion, 1/100 will not freeze it, and as a result if you are using HIGH ISO and big apature, you will see blurr because there is enough ambient lighting under these conditions to have a large portion of the lighting by the ambient.
02-20-2008, 03:00 AM   #15
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Sorry to disappoint Sean, it wasn't Westminster. It was in Greenville SC.
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