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11-06-2013, 11:49 AM   #1
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Advice needed for bike builder/photo enthusiast

Basically I'm asking what is the best way is to improve my photography at this stage, with my limited time and income.

Background:

I bought a used K-5 and a few lenses (from forum members) a couple years ago. I've used my gear to get images for my cycling business: product pics, client portraits, easy macro, action shots, staged photos for posters and flyers, and images in low-light situations where an SLR really comes in handy.I've also used it for a few outdoor adventures, in weather ranging from driving blizzard to dusty desert, where weather sealing has been essential. And of course, have taken it on a couple vacations, so lots of shots of friends, family, and pets, the typical stuff.

I got such great results with the K5 and my limited skill that I bought a K-01 and have been carrying it around town and shooting more, almost daily. I'm now very interested in photography, reading instructional books, studying other peoples photos, tweaking photos in lightroom for hours, researching topics online...

What I'm after:
1) Better images of action. I've had trouble catching fast-moving subjects, in all kinds of light, with my K-5. My shots are too frequently out of focus or otherwise disappointing. There's been a few keepers but definitely not enough. I know my technique could be improved but also think equipment is letting me down at times.
2) I will always need high-res product pics, professional looking. Mostly I shoot these outdoors and don't have the luxury of soft boxes and remote flashes.A5-ft tripod and a couple lenses are the most I'll carry.My product pics are pretty goodright now,butwould like them to be excellent.
3) I'd like someday to shoot video, and do some basic editing. Mostly for promotional use. Example:
.

I can't help but want the new K-3 for its improved focusing, quickness, larger LCD, and faster frame rate. But have a feeling that my photography skills and post processing skills are average at best, and that I'd get better results by improving these two areas. Or perhaps getting better PP software and learning how to use it.

My K5 is about 15% into its shutter life. I have the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5, a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8, and Pentax Limited 15mm, 43mm, 70mm, and Pentax 18-55 WR, and 50-200 WR. I have Lightroom 3 and a fast PC with plenty of memory, etc.

Should I buy a new K3 to continue my journey and to make the most of the lenses I've invested in, or stick with what I've got? Is there a better way to spend my money, or should I focus on improving technique and save it?

11-06-2013, 12:10 PM   #2
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I can only think of a couple things. I've had good luck using a "fast shot" user mode where pretty much all in-camera processing is turned off. Using fast continuous mode, center focus and whichever metering you prefer. Use the AF back button to try to track better. The 18-135 motorized lens seems to let the camera track more accurately, too. I only have experience with birds along the river and my dogs - and they can run pretty quickly.

The other thing if you're doing portrait type pictures outdoors is fold-up reflector panels. Keep the sun in mind and use the reflector to fill the shady side, and highlight your subject. Some can be mounted on a tripod, but of course if it's windy you'll need some help. Low light is going to be tough for any camera trying to catch fast movement. All I can say is make sure you shoot RAW and try to prefocus, I guess.

I have a Sigma 28mm f1.8 macro which has been really nice in darker situations, but I haven't been after motion with that - just in hotel rooms, conference rooms etc.
11-06-2013, 12:21 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Buceemie Quote
Should I buy a new K3 to continue my journey and to make the most of the lenses I've invested in, or stick with what I've got? Is there a better way to spend my money, or should I focus on improving technique and save it?
The K5 is a great camera, and I am only moving into a K3 based system because I have moved beyond what the K5 can do.

The K5/K3/camera is only part of a much larger system that consists of jibs/sliders and various mounting and filming techniques.

If you have limited time (and money) I say work with what you have so that you know/release the answer to your question(s).

It's not the gear per se.
It's the photographer/cinematographer.
11-06-2013, 12:32 PM   #4
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Another thing you can look at are LED panels. They don't have the reach of a flash, but they do let you meter off the light and help with focus in that way...

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