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01-10-2019, 12:57 PM   #1
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Pentax not for shooting kids

Quote from Dpreview:

[K1 II] Not so good for
Those wishing to photograph sports, action or active children
I found in few review K1 mark II that is not for taking photos active kids. I am waiting for deliver this body. I have K3 II body too and I want ask Pentaxian really Pentax is not for shooting active kids? I write "active", because I take a lot of portraits and with my body is not problem. If children is more static I do not see really problem. With AFS I get a lof in focus photos. AFC in the most times is not effective. On small face newbord or small kids I get with 77 limited nose, ear etc. So at the summary I want ask about:

1. Is really if you want take shots with kids playing in soccer, dancing, performing live art, playing art in school theatre and similar Pentax is not good for this? I found information that change system if you want this types of photos, but for me is crazy. I know AF is still Achilles' heel, but I was happy with static photos of landscape, nature etc and I want not change system. So how it looks like from yours experience? I will be in the near future take a lof ot this types photography.

2. What tricks except high ISO, adding light to scene use to get in focus sharp photos from dynamic actions with kids can you advice?

Thank you for your sharing!

01-10-2019, 01:12 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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Although the K-1 (and Pentax in general) is not as good at AF as other systems, it is certainly possible to get great photos given the right technique and gear. If you plan to use AF-C, I would recommend getting a fast-focusing SDM or DC lens. You can use the 55-300mm PLM in crop mode, which is extremely fast to focus. The D FA 24-70mm and 28-105mm are great walkaround options, and if you need FF tele reach with fast AF speed, then the D FA* 70-200mm is a great choice.

Tips regarding technique can be found here:
Guide to Camera and Autofocus Settings for Shooting Sports - Articles and Tips |

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01-10-2019, 01:13 PM   #3
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They are obviously assuming you have no skill or ability. But your questioning that has proven them wrong as you're already on the way to figuring out how to do it.
01-10-2019, 01:20 PM - 1 Like   #4
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To be fair (not something DPReview are famed for) they don't say a K1ii is not for photographing active kids. I have active kids and have even photographed them with my creaky old K7 - successfully! I'm pretty sure you can take unsuccessful photos of kids with any modern camera, just as older cameras have successfully recorded kids for decades.

What reviews rarely emphasise is it's the photographer who makes the picture, not the gear. Go ahead and photograph your kids – you'll soon find it's not only possible, but rewarding.

01-10-2019, 01:23 PM - 3 Likes   #5
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Donkey Pee Review really doesn't have any comparison images proving their point. Short of an A9 or something, no one knows how Pentax stacks up against the others. I know in bad light, my K-1 really struggled shooting a wedding, but, I got everything I wanted. Maybe I had to work a little harder than with another camera, but it certainly didn't stop me from getting the images I needed.

From last summer...

Donkey Pee Review can bite me.

Last edited by normhead; 01-11-2019 at 09:30 AM.
01-10-2019, 01:23 PM   #6
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I've shot college basketball and other sports with a K20D, a K-5, a K-5 IIs, and a K-3. I've even photographed active kids with those cameras, despite DPR saying you can't. I think you'll do just fine with the K-1 II. The only major weaknesses are continuous AF tracking and the K-1 II's relatively slow burst rate (a little more than half as fast as the K-3/K-3 II), but it's easy enough to compensate for those things.

01-10-2019, 01:56 PM - 3 Likes   #7
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....people have been taking great photos of active people before autofocus was even a thing.

Although Pentax AF might not be as coddled as other brands, it can still capture just fine active shots if you have the right technique down!
01-10-2019, 02:01 PM - 1 Like   #8
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And legs are not good at moving. Always use a car. I prefer to walk but dpr would have you think I am just a loyal walker! The IQ of the scenery doesn't matter.

01-10-2019, 02:01 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
....people have been taking great photos of active people before autofocus was even a thing.

Although Pentax AF might not be as coddled as other brands, it can still capture just fine active shots if you have the right technique down!
I agree





the keys to good photography

01-10-2019, 02:12 PM - 5 Likes   #10
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This idea of a <insert camera here> as not being sufficient at AF usually is a canned response from someone who either:
- has not handled the camera
- didn't take the time to get acquainted with the camera (the most common)
- didn't use the right focusing mode
- didn't use the right technique

Usually when people talk about AF, you have to make sure you identify one of the following:
- AF Acquisition
- AF Tracking

The reason being, you may find situations where a camera (depending on the skills of the photographer AND their familiarity of the camera/lens combination) fails to excel at both tasks.

Let me give you my take on the D500, which is heralded as having 'great AF'.
- AF Tracking? I do not use it. I will never use it. When I press down on my shutter, it's set to release (meaning, I don't want the Camera to tell me when I can and can't take a picture). I follow the same method with AF Tracking, I do not trust the camera to successfully track a subject when it is my 'AF Point covered' viewfinder.
- AF Acquisition? I value more than FPS, Buffer, and in some cases ISO. Can I get to the target? How fast can I get to the target? If I lose target, how soon can I get it back?

When I shoot with the D500, I use its fast Focus Acquisition to get to the target then I use BBF to hold that center point on that target. So long as that focus point is on the target, the camera will track it.

EVERY camera has a curve. EVERY camera requires technique. When I moved from the K-3II to the D500, the only thing I immediately encountered was MORE missed shots to sift through (10 FPS). I spent a lot of time just 'target' practicing and getting acquainted with the camera. IN FACT, I do this with EVERY lens. 300mm f/2.8 w/ D500? Practice. 500mm f/4? Practice. 200-500 f/5.6? Practice. The list goes on and on.

The K-1 II is fine. Having used the K-3II, it also is fine (just like the D500 is fine). Depending on the lens, you will find performance to vary.
- mount the K-1 with an old Screw Drive lens, may be slower
- mount the K-1 with a new PLM lens, will be faster

The same applies for the D500. Mount a AIS lens on the D500 and it will be slow. Again, combination matters.

When it comes to shooting, it's important to give your lens as much handicap as possible. Meaning, understand that if your Camera tends to hunt (AF is slow), maybe its because:
- your target is well into the Minimum Focal Distance (of course it's going to hunt)
- if you are shooting a target that is over 6m out, why are you making your lens travel from 0 to infinity when you can limit the focal distance

I think Back Button Focusing gives the photographer so much more control over their camera and capturing a scene. Holding focus is a massive advantage.

In regard to this: 'On small face newbord or small kids I get with 77 limited nose, ear etc', you may want to limit your focal points. Every Dynamic Focusing Zone gives priority to what is closest or presents the most contrast. Perhaps try a single point or make the SEL focus region smaller to concentrate on the eye.

Last edited by sutherland; 01-10-2019 at 04:32 PM.
01-10-2019, 02:26 PM - 4 Likes   #11
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I think you certainly can take photos of kids doing things that are active with Pentax cameras.

These are a few photos from last month when we got a bunch of snow.

Snow Brings Joy

Down the Hill

Back Up Again.

I think the things I tend to do are to shoot TAv using a wide aperture and a fast enough shutter speed (1/400) and let the camera keep track of the iso. AF-C on recent cameras is pretty decent as long as you are using a newer lens -- one of the DFA lenses or DC motor driven lenses. Try to lock on before the action as the camera does a lot better if you are already prefocused and then use back button focusing and shutter button just take photos.
01-10-2019, 02:33 PM   #12

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Ha! I just returned form shooting a HS wrestling tournament in another town. A friend there is a wrestling coach, so I sometimes go over to shoot photos for his team. The equipment I took? For this I chose my original K-5 (which has been criticized for its unreliable AF) and my DA 18-135mm lens. With that lens, which I've found to have exceptionally fast and accurate AF, the AF shortcomings of the K-5 are nonexistent.

I have shot fast moving sports like soccer and college roller hockey using Pentax equipment. As to the K-1, I'd say not the best choice for fast-action or sports, especially if having the K-3 II also, which may be better for this.
01-10-2019, 02:33 PM   #13
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I'm constantly told Pentax can't shoot kids. Hmmm.

Pentax K10D and DA 55-300, April 2012...
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PENTAX K10D  Photo 
01-10-2019, 02:34 PM   #14
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I use center point focus-and-recompose with back button focusing in AF-C pretty much exclusively. That has its own issues but for me has worked better than any other system (including when using someone else's canon or nikon). The main reason I use it this way is that I can let up on BBF button faster than I can re-acquire my target (i.e., if I lose the target or am about to lose the target, I let up and stop focusing system until I'm back in frame so the lens doesn't get super far out of whack while it hunts because my target isn't there).

Using my K-1 with the DFA*50, I spent a week with my nephew recently and was plenty happy with the focusing, esp. in low light. Of course not all my shots were perfect but mostly due to framing and timing and not so much due to autofocus. The K-1 was a significant improvement versus my K-3ii, even on screw drive lenses. I actually really enjoy running the 40XS on the K-1 for kids because you get the 'rangefinder-esque' view of more of the frame than you're shooting (if you shoot crop mode) as the 40mm has almost full coverage. And it may not focus super close but it snaps into focus REALLY quickly on the K-1 partly because it's so light.

I don't really have tricks per-se, other than that I actually like having a bit of motion blur with a flash added so there's crispness of the main image but also a sense of the motion being captured. The absolute best 'dynamic' photos I've seen always have been (by my taste anyway) partially blurred and partially crisp, so you can see the subject but also feel the motion. I shot my nephew at 1/45 mostly with added flash to get this look (fast enough that not in motion seems pretty much non-blurred, but a fast moving hand will have a bit of blur to it even with the flash).
01-10-2019, 05:06 PM - 1 Like   #15

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I'm always amused to see kids as a distinct benchmark for af performance. I guess it's more because many more photographers will want photos of their kids, than shoot more organized sports or wildlife, and skill level is across a broader spectrum. But it does create this idea that kids are somehow the fastest most random subject you could choose

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