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02-02-2014, 10:50 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by jon404 Quote
Looked at a few Guardian soccer photos yesterday. Taken by different professionals at English Premier League matches. Checked the EXIF data, and found that they were ALL taken at 1/1000 second... with high end full-frame Nikon & Canon cameras. One photographer used f/4, aperture priority... another, on a darker day, used f/2.8 on manual. Almost all photos were taken with telephotos, except for a few 28mm wide-angles from behind the nets.

Surprisingly, most of the telephoto pics were taken at 150 to 200mm. Longest was 400mm. What? No giant 1000mm lenses? Well, these guys, from England's best newspaper, have field-level passes. As close as you can get. And, the picture editor back at the paper can crop to get that killer picture. The Guardian website slideshow images are only 750 x 480. Crop away!

This is inspiring me -- and I hope you -- to start messing around with sports action. We're not pros, so we might need a bit more daylight than some of those dreary cloudy rainy days over in England. As for getting close to the field, how about high school or jr. college sports? Or, in just a few months -- US college baseball games, where you can get VERY close since there rarely are any other fans to get in the way.

And you don't need that mega-expensive f/2.8 telephoto lens. The Pentax 55-300mm is excellent and inexpensive -- and in normal daylight, its f/5.8 at 300mm is no problem at all... you can use it at f/8, 1/1000 sec in sunlight. Really tight budget? There's the 50-200mm kit lens -- and again, if you use 1/1000 second, you'll eliminate any handheld blurring and get great action pictures -- without having to go to England and work for the Guardian!
K5 and Sigma 70-200 f2.8 (some with 1.4x TC) -




Pretty heavy crop:




Pan shot:




Hot on the heels:




Can't wait to get the new K3 out for some action.

NOTE: I don't own the 55-300, or the kit zoom any longer, but with this kind of lighting, or any decent lighting, it shouldn't matter. My Sigma also wasn't mega-expensive used. As they say in racing: "Run what you brung", and more to the point, have some fun as the Pentax bodies can all deliver good results.

Ray

02-02-2014, 11:00 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
Ahh, but their AF tracking cannot be matched by our Pentax DSLRs
Thought the selling point of the K-3 was no longer a need to make AF tracking excuses?
02-02-2014, 11:25 AM   #18
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Alright, you car racing guys -- those are great pictures. But here's the problem. If you take a sharp sports photo of people, like a football player running, the sense of motion comes across through the player's body posture. But the cars are different -- a sharp photo of a car makes it look like it is standing still... it could be parked on the track. We assume it's moving because it's obviously a race car... but racing photos, IMO, need more implied motion.

Controlled blurring? I wonder what you'd get using second-curtain flash... even though you don't need the flash... maybe this would add a bit of blur at the back of the car to give a sense of its great speed... will give this a try on neighborhood traffic and see what happens.

Or, if you have a zoom on a DSLR, maybe moving the zoom in or out while you are panning with the car? Though I guess there would be a point where the photo would look too special-effect-y...
02-02-2014, 12:07 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by jon404 Quote
Alright, you car racing guys -- those are great pictures. But here's the problem. If you take a sharp sports photo of people, like a football player running, the sense of motion comes across through the player's body posture. But the cars are different -- a sharp photo of a car makes it look like it is standing still... it could be parked on the track. We assume it's moving because it's obviously a race car... but racing photos, IMO, need more implied motion.

Controlled blurring? I wonder what you'd get using second-curtain flash... even though you don't need the flash... maybe this would add a bit of blur at the back of the car to give a sense of its great speed... will give this a try on neighborhood traffic and see what happens.

Or, if you have a zoom on a DSLR, maybe moving the zoom in or out while you are panning with the car? Though I guess there would be a point where the photo would look too special-effect-y...
Uhhh, check the panned shot I posted, and the heavy crop (hint: look at the tires on the crop shot and the panned shot and the track and background in the panned shot). I shot hundreds of shots that day, some with pan and blurring, others at high shutter speeds to freeze the action. Check the track and wheels on the other Indy car shots posted here. The point was that your Pentax camera can nail the focus and track well enough to get sharp images, panned or otherwise.

Of course, if it's gimmicks you want, one can always add gimmicks in PP to add various motion effects.

Ray

02-02-2014, 12:26 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Thought the selling point of the K-3 was no longer a need to make AF tracking excuses?
That one's a bit complicated. Based on my experience, the K-3--though a big improvement over prior Pentax efforts--still lags behind the four-year old Canon 7D fairly significantly--to me it was about 60% as effective, I think users have been handicapped by the lack of a new Pentax-branded lens that can bring out the capabilities of the camera. It's frustrating that Ricoh Pentax is in deep catchup mode here. Third party lenses rarely, if ever, work as effectively AF-wise as one from the camera maker will.

So to me, until Pentax brings out a modern ultrasonic-style telephoto, the K-3's AF will earn an incomplete. And sadly this is not up to my needs. But I'm sure for others it will work wonders.

M
02-02-2014, 12:42 PM - 1 Like   #21
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Some of my favorite pans.


Manually focused on the fly with my old manual 79-300mm zoom


















Auto focused with my DA-L 55-300mm














and then there's the freeze frame that still shows action!
02-02-2014, 01:37 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by crewl1 Quote
Thought the selling point of the K-3 was no longer a need to make AF tracking excuses?
Most big sporting events I see photographers shooting with the big Canikons like the EOS-1D and D4. When making assumptions about the K-3's AF tracking capabilities some perspective is necessary. Is it safe to assume that Pentax went from worst in class AF tracking pre K-3 to not only best in class but up to par with top of the line, $6000 FF bodies with the introduction of the K-3? And if such an assumption was to be made, why would Pentax choose to compete with those pro bodies on AF only, while competing at the high-end APS-C level with every other feature?
I've seen AF tracking comparisons between high-end APS-C, low, medium, and highest end FF Canikons. They all do well, but cannot compete with the highest end FF bodies. I haven't seen any comparisons between the K-3 and those high-end FF bodies, but I cannot imagine it comes close. Even my own tests with the K-3's tracking has been pleasant, but I haven't been blown away.
02-02-2014, 01:45 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by geomez Quote
I haven't seen any comparisons between the K-3 and those high-end FF bodies, but I cannot imagine it comes close. Even my own tests with the K-3's tracking has been pleasant, but I haven't been blown away.
Having owned a K-3, a 7D, and a 5DMK3 (which has a 61-point AF system based on the 1D series) and having shot thousands of sports images with each, I agree with your reasoning and assessment. Once you get into the 1D and D4 class, the AF performance leaps substantially. That comes at a price, but offers rewards as well. Sadly, Ricoh Pentax users are further handicapped by a dearth of long lenses, especially in the Pentax brand.

M

02-02-2014, 10:17 PM   #24
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Ray -- you know, maybe it takes something atmospheric to really imply car motion? Like exhaust smoke, or streaming fog, or spray from rain on a wet track? The boat photographers have it easy in this regard. BTW, the blue car pic - the Pretty Heavy Crop image -- that's just perfect, absolutely screaming Frame Me Right Now. Beautiful!

Keith -- same to you, for that last one... what a rooster tail... wow!

You both are showing total proof that Pentax has to take a back seat to no-one for sports. These car and boat pix are as good as any I've ever seen and would certainly be a top pick for any sports magazine photo editor. Only thing, since my first career was in advertising, would be a wish to see the car or boat racing along behind a babe in a bikini, to add a human element that the drivers lose once they're zipped into those Nomex suits and helmets. Ah, the wonders of photo compositing!
02-02-2014, 11:22 PM - 1 Like   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by jon404 Quote
Ray -- you know, maybe it takes something atmospheric to really imply car motion? Like exhaust smoke, or streaming fog, or spray from rain on a wet track? The boat photographers have it easy in this regard. BTW, the blue car pic - the Pretty Heavy Crop image -- that's just perfect, absolutely screaming Frame Me Right Now. Beautiful!

Keith -- same to you, for that last one... what a rooster tail... wow!

You both are showing total proof that Pentax has to take a back seat to no-one for sports. These car and boat pix are as good as any I've ever seen and would certainly be a top pick for any sports magazine photo editor. Only thing, since my first career was in advertising, would be a wish to see the car or boat racing along behind a babe in a bikini, to add a human element that the drivers lose once they're zipped into those Nomex suits and helmets. Ah, the wonders of photo compositing!

Thanks Jon! I started out in 1982 with an ME Super. My motto has always been "If I could shoot it with film I can shoot it with digital" People didn't start magically getting good action shots when digital came around. They got plenty of them in the manual film days too!!!


One of my shots from 1984.
02-03-2014, 12:34 AM   #26
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But no smoke! No spray! Well,maybe we can take a tip from WAY old film days -- like the 1909 photo below, a Fiat racer at the Vanderbilt Cup. Look how those wheels lean -- indicating motion! Back when, you would get that effect using a rear slit-curtain shutter, rather than the lens leaf shutter. Have no idea how this translates to digital -- we'd probably have to skew the image in Photoshop to replicate it.

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