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10-28-2016, 08:34 AM   #1
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K-1 settings for sports

Hi. So I'm trying to figure out the best settings for sports stuff for my K-1 + Tamron 70-200 2.8 combo. I've taken it out to few high school games and had few good shots, want to see if I can improve. I already figured that my shutter speed was too low, will try a higher value next time. One issue I always had is the focusing system - and I understand that it's sort of a weaker point of the K-1 compared to Canikons, and I'm ok with it since sports is just something I wanted to dip into, not actually that interested in it. However, wanted to ask what settings people use for their sports shots in general.

I'm currently using AF-C mode
Auto-9 area (I tried using Sel-S, but actually got better results with just Auto-9)
AF.S set to focus priority
1st frame in action - Focus-priority
Action in AF-C - Focus-priority
Hold AF status - medium

Is there anything I can try/improve with those? Share your thoughts!

Thanks

10-28-2016, 08:43 AM   #2
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From what I understand, the af system between the k3ii and the k1 is fairly similar, with some improvements nonetheless. So fwiw, on my k3ii I use the 60-250 and these settings:

- 1st frame in action: auto (seems to do generally do focus priority)
- action in af-c: focus priority or auto for less movement towards/away from the camera
- hold af: off with rarely going to low if the refs or players jump in front of the camera too often (e.g. soccer)
- sel-s with max expanded area, starting from the center point always
-back button focus (disable focus with the shutter). For stuff where I can prefocus such as wider shots of the goal at f8, I let go of the focus button to get more fps

edit: compared to screwdrive lenses I've used, the sdm 60-250 seems to track far better despite being about as fast in acquiring initial focus. It's quite successful at tracking hockey players going full speed towards the camera.
10-28-2016, 08:46 AM   #3
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I use back focus too, forgot to mention. Was wondering - why switch the af hold? If I understood manual correctly, it suppose to hold the af locked for longer if it's switched on, so if it's off it will jump to another target closer to me? Or it's not how it works?

---------- Post added 10-28-16 at 08:48 AM ----------

I took the combo to a soccer game few days ago and tried both sel-s and auto-9, and got better results with auto-9, for some reason with sel-s focus would miss more often (maybe I'm not using it correctly, dunno)
10-28-2016, 08:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by awscreo Quote
af locked for longer
In my experience, it is mainly designed so that the camera ignores if something comes in between you and your subject. But it also seems to add a delay to track, so for fast players (soccer, hockey) medium or high are too slow and catch up with them a little late. There was an official video on youtube about this for the k3ii, perhaps they changed something? I experimented and decided what to set it at per sport.


Last edited by aaacb; 10-28-2016 at 08:58 AM. Reason: rephrase
10-28-2016, 09:00 AM   #5
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I'll try switching it off, see if it gives better results, thanks for the tip!
10-28-2016, 09:47 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by awscreo Quote
One issue I always had is the focusing system - and I understand that it's sort of a weaker point of the K-1 compared to Canikons, and I'm ok with it since sports is just something I wanted to dip into, not actually that interested in it. However, wanted to ask what settings people use for their sports shots in general.
AF.C has been considered a weakness for Pentax for a while, especially with subjects running directly towards the lens. So if you are not getting the results you want, you might want to adapt to your gear.
Speaking academically, I would give the following tips:
a) position yourself so that focusing will not be a problem. For example, don't stand in front of the runners, but stand parallel to them. You don't need to take photos of every step the runner makes. Instead, make sure you take only a couple great shots. You can focus on the starting position easily, take a quick burst of the start; then re-focus on something parallel to you and do a burst shot when runners go past you, and then quickly focus on the finishing line. This way you have 3 critical points that you focus on, and you have higher chance of getting it right, than trying to get every step in-focus, and missing 99.9% of them.
Basically, don't try to take a shot that cannot be taken right. Instead, focus on taking fewer photos that you are confident you can nail.
b) pre-focus, use manual focus and hyperfocal to avoid AF problems. May seem silly, but I've seen stunning shots taken with old, manual telephoto lenses. Quickshift lenses have a good advantage here.
c) de-couple shutter button and AF action, so you do not have to refocus every time you take a shot (button customization)
d) if your lens allows, try Catch in focus (CiF, aka Focus trapping). You can use this with many old manual lenses and some modern lenses as well. And you can use CiF with burst mode for higher chance of getting the right shot.

Remember, AF is just a tool. Try to use it well, or use another alternative if it gives you better results. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that we have to AF for every photo - but we don't.
10-28-2016, 11:43 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
AF.C has been considered a weakness for Pentax for a while, especially with subjects running directly towards the lens. So if you are not getting the results you want, you might want to adapt to your gear.
Speaking academically, I would give the following tips:
a) position yourself so that focusing will not be a problem. For example, don't stand in front of the runners, but stand parallel to them. You don't need to take photos of every step the runner makes. Instead, make sure you take only a couple great shots. You can focus on the starting position easily, take a quick burst of the start; then re-focus on something parallel to you and do a burst shot when runners go past you, and then quickly focus on the finishing line. This way you have 3 critical points that you focus on, and you have higher chance of getting it right, than trying to get every step in-focus, and missing 99.9% of them.
Basically, don't try to take a shot that cannot be taken right. Instead, focus on taking fewer photos that you are confident you can nail.
b) pre-focus, use manual focus and hyperfocal to avoid AF problems. May seem silly, but I've seen stunning shots taken with old, manual telephoto lenses. Quickshift lenses have a good advantage here.
c) de-couple shutter button and AF action, so you do not have to refocus every time you take a shot (button customization)
d) if your lens allows, try Catch in focus (CiF, aka Focus trapping). You can use this with many old manual lenses and some modern lenses as well. And you can use CiF with burst mode for higher chance of getting the right shot.

Remember, AF is just a tool. Try to use it well, or use another alternative if it gives you better results. Sometimes we get caught up in the idea that we have to AF for every photo - but we don't.
Thanks for tips! I'll try to keep them in mind at the game tonight. Again I'm not that into sport photography and certainly didn't buy k-1 for that purpose, I really like landscapes, and so far the camera is spectacular in that regard. I just wanted to try sports since I have the 70-200 2.8 which seems to be a good focal range/aperture for sports.
10-28-2016, 12:24 PM   #8
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For the activity of a contested sports field I'm going to disagree with the other responders and say that a point should be selected beforehand and both Expanded area and Hold chosen. It's what you would do on a Canon.

I have also always taken shots of athletes approaching or going away from the camera, and have posted examples in this forum, too!

Sports shooting is a skill just as much as macro or portraiture and inexperience is obvious - missed focus, athletes' faces hidden by shadows, motion blur, etc.


Last edited by clackers; 10-28-2016 at 12:34 PM.
10-28-2016, 12:31 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
For the activity of a contested sports field I'm going to disagree with the other responders and say that a point should be selected beforehand and both Expanded area and Hold chosen. It's what you would do on a Canon.

I have also always taken shots of athletes approaching or going away from the camera, and have posted examples in this forum, too! :-)
Which setting are you referring to as "expanded area"? You mean the auto-9, full area coverage or the single point with a surrounding area?
10-28-2016, 12:34 PM   #10
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My settings on the K-3II are pretty similar to aaacb: 1st frame AF.C - focus priority; action in AF.C - focus priority; AF hold - off; back button focus; SEL-3 (sel-s on a K-3II?) for AF mode in AF.C. The 25-point SEL-3 gives better coverage than the 9-point SEL-2 but is still pretty fast. No real advantage to SEL-4; YMMV. One other thing that I read somewhere is having the program line set to auto, as it was indicated that it had to be set like that for effective focus tracking - I don't know how apocryphal this might be, but that's how I have mine set (if was set to MTF previously). It seems to work OK with the 55-300 (as far as the lens screw-drive AF can manage). With this set-up, I've been able to track cars coming towards me.

I'm not sure that there is that much of a difference between the modern Pentax bodies and the opposition; not in bodies of equivalent price. A friend of mine with a Nikon 7100 certainly doesn't get spot-on results every time. A lot of it's down to management of how you shoot, as Na Horuk says.
10-28-2016, 12:36 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Single point with surrounding area, of course.

Otherwise, you are not actually tracking anything!

You're just letting the camera focus on the closest object under one of the 9 points, which might be your subject, it might not ... why let it decide? :-)

Instead of shooting your son, you could be getting focus on the back of his opponent.

Btw, I use the Tammy 70-200 myself because I can't afford the Pentax one, but it's great.

Last edited by clackers; 10-28-2016 at 12:47 PM.
10-28-2016, 12:49 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
Single point with surrounding area, of course.

Otherwise, you are not actually tracking anything!

You're just letting the camera focus on the closest object under one of the 9 points, which might be your subject, it might not ... why let it decide? :-)

Instead of shooting your son, you could be getting focus on the back of his opponent.

Btw, I use the Tammy 70-200 myself because I can't afford the Pentax one, but it's great.
Awesome, I'll try multiple things people shared here, see what works. Thanks for suggestions! If I catch anything good I'll post the results and settings I've used.

---------- Post added 10-28-16 at 12:50 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by microlight Quote
My settings on the K-3II are pretty similar to aaacb: 1st frame AF.C - focus priority; action in AF.C - focus priority; AF hold - off; back button focus; SEL-3 (sel-s on a K-3II?) for AF mode in AF.C. The 25-point SEL-3 gives better coverage than the 9-point SEL-2 but is still pretty fast. No real advantage to SEL-4; YMMV. One other thing that I read somewhere is having the program line set to auto, as it was indicated that it had to be set like that for effective focus tracking - I don't know how apocryphal this might be, but that's how I have mine set (if was set to MTF previously). It seems to work OK with the 55-300 (as far as the lens screw-drive AF can manage). With this set-up, I've been able to track cars coming towards me.

I'm not sure that there is that much of a difference between the modern Pentax bodies and the opposition; not in bodies of equivalent price. A friend of mine with a Nikon 7100 certainly doesn't get spot-on results every time. A lot of it's down to management of how you shoot, as Na Horuk says.
I haven't touched the program line, thought it was mainly for aperture? I'll probably be using 2.8 constantly, or around that, field is not very bright.
10-28-2016, 01:56 PM   #13
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Yes, the program line sets the optimum aperture for a given lens in program mode depending on setting. What I read though was that it didn't matter what actual mode you were in, but that the program line needed to be in auto to get the tracking to work properly (not that I'm ever in program mode!). But I have no idea how accurate that statement was.
10-28-2016, 02:14 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by microlight Quote
Yes, the program line sets the optimum aperture for a given lens in program mode depending on setting. What I read though was that it didn't matter what actual mode you were in, but that the program line needed to be in auto to get the tracking to work properly (not that I'm ever in program mode!). But I have no idea how accurate that statement was.
Doesn't hurt to try) will do so tonight
10-28-2016, 04:04 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by clackers Quote
For the activity of a contested sports field I'm going to disagree with the other responders and say that a point should be selected beforehand and both Expanded area and Hold chosen. It's what you would do on a Canon.
Fully agreed.
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