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05-18-2009, 04:08 PM   #91
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
OK, I'll raise the bar with a dragonfly in flight (Not enough DOF on it unfortunately, so this is tongue-in-cheek...)

Raise the bar some more and try that with a fly. Don't those dragonflys hover at times?

05-18-2009, 04:10 PM   #92
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
thank you john, that sounds reasonable, for a change. so what was the main issue (i think dog agility is mostly about tracking a subject moving sideways from you rather than at you?), was it sheer speed of locking focus (perhaps that (in)famous double-check), was it tracking, could you please give more detail towards what the difference is for you (i understand: one system gets the shots for me the other doesn't, and that's enough for you, but for constructively criticising the system more detail would help).
It is actually both, tracking and time to acquire focus are I felt I needed a faster AF for. Dog agility also has both elements of the sideways movement and the head-on kind. You might be setup for that 1st shot a certain way but as the dog makes it's way around the course you will have to track and require focus for both types of movement. Of course lot depends on where you are standing in relation to the obstacles. Even with the fast focusing Sigma 70-200 I felt like it really couldn't keep up with the dogs.

So for example, in this sequence before the dog got into the weave poles he came out of a tunnel, made a real quick left turn and entered the weaves right away. I had to acquire focus right away then track him as he came through the poles until his exit.











and an example of more of a sideways shot






QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
also, do you think the 50-135 sdm would be a good match for your needs? (or not long enough?), or maybe the 60-250/4? (they should both be silent enough, and, as far as i understand, the optical quality is excellent, well, not sure about the 60-250 yet)
As far as the lenses go. I found two issues with the Sigma 70-200EX. 1st, compared to the old non DG version it was MUCH software wide open. This is important because you want to shoot as wide open as possible to blur all the ugly backgrounds (like that orange fence they use). The other thing is that I found it focused inconstantly at short distances (later I read the review on dpreview that exampled why this happened).

That combined with the need for 200mm (which is the min I would want) that didn't leave me much choice in lenses. The 60-250 wasn't out yet but I really wanted an f/2.8 lens for the DOF and the indoor shots that I wanted to get. Even if the Pentax had faster AF that didn't leave me with a lens option really. The Canon 70-200L (I have the non IS version) is an amazing lens. It is really sharp wide open, gives great bokeh and focuses very fast.

Here is the type of indoor shot I was looking to get (and why I needed an f/2.8 lens). Even at f/2.8 and ISO3200 this was still only at 1/500th which is at the very min needed to stop action.



I by no means think that I completely maxed out the Pentax system's ability as that would imply I was a super pro photog, which I'm not. But at my ability level I think I needed a cam/lens combo that helped me get the shots I needed. This was reinforced a little bit by the number of requests of prints and the request to use some of the shots on the website of the agility school.

About the 40d. Those outdoor shots were only the 4th or 5th time I had ever used the Canon and I only had a couple of practice rounds indoors before that outdoor event. I was amazed the keeper rate and how many times the non-keepers were clearly my fault. It has it faults, like I not a fan of how the controls are laid out and the high ISO is not where near as good as the K20. In general IQ for me is almost a wash since I do everything in RAW and I post processes what-ever I get to my liking (which means I think it would be difficult to tell which pict came from which camera after I post processed).

I don't want to sound anti-Pentax, because I'm not at all (obviously I would have switched completely if I was). I do love my Pentax system and I even still use it for everything else, including birding.

John
05-18-2009, 04:17 PM   #93
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
something like that, yeah, but in my opinion it's wrong. the camera is not a tool for the job in itself, it's a tool for the job and the photographer. there is a desperate desire these days to rank on a linear scale, and have "objective measurements" of things which are not so trivial to measure. numbers are nice, but it's easy to become unable to see the forest for the trees. one of the most extreme examples that comes to mind from my experience is "measuring quality" in "corporate" environments. they got so used to this stupidity they can't even see how absurd it is anymore, and they love throwing big words around it; the results are mindblowing, in most cases you don't know if to laugh or cry.

this is why i ask "what is it that doesn't work for _you_", i admit there might be things missing, and which could be improved, but if people keep telling "it's slow" "it sucks" "it's jsut not up to the competition", we're not going to get anywhere.
Hey Nanok,

Some nice rally shots there! I'd love to shoot rally one day. Even better, I'd love to drive rally some day!
05-18-2009, 04:31 PM   #94
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
I think this whole discussion is revolving around a strawman -- nobody around here is saying you _can't_ do it, they're just saying that it's not the best tool for it and other cameras might do it better.
Agreed. For those of us still on the learning curve, there are two ways to getting "better" action photos:

1 - buy a camera better suited to action photography, i.e., faster focus, faster FPS.
2 - practice, practice, practice. learn, learn, learn.

#1 won't make you a better photographer. #2 will. For most serious amateurs #2 is sufficient but doesn't scratch the "I-need-new-gear" itch. And for those who think specs are more important than photography itself, the only way is #1.

One of my next assignments will most likely include photographing motorcyclists in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. I'll be bringing the K20d with me, and between now and then I'll be doing a lot of #2. If I had to put dinner on the table with the action photography that I took, I'd certainly do both #1 and #2.

05-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #95
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hehe, get in line. don't we all? about shooting though, if you come to europe and stay long enough, you might be in luck, it shouldn't be hard to find a local rally.
05-18-2009, 04:50 PM   #96
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Going through all these posts, it appears there are two camps. Those that can take action photos with Pentax gear and those that are convinced or wish to convince others that they need to look elsewhere.
I think the original post and intent of this thread is lost on many who want to push their other brands superiority down the rest of our throats.
A camera is what it is. I have looked at other forums and there are many complaints about canons too not focusing correctly etc. I have read an article that Sony blows away other brands for focus accuracy, yet no one is pushing Sony here.
All of the photos posted here are really nothing special.
I think people come here to best find out how to use the equipment they have and I would dare say on a Pentax forum it might just be a Pentax! So instead of exchanging ideas on how to get the best results with the brand in question, several posters are trotting out their Canon shots. If gear is so important why stop with a low megapixel 40d? I am sure both Canon and Nikon and perhaps Sony offer superior models that have better focusing, greater burst modes, higher megapixels and even FF for lower noise at high ISOs. Then we can get into lenses. A 70-200 lens won't allow you to do a lot in many action sports or birding. You need longer lenses and a fast lens and a lens with IS. That is going to put most people in the poor house.
So lets say you have Pentax gear and wish to occasionally shoot sports. Why not make the most of what you have vs. switching brands?
I am sure as has been the trend in this thread that instead of giving constructive advice on how best to use the gear that most people have here, that the canon boys will keep trotting out their arguments ad naseum.
05-18-2009, 04:54 PM   #97
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thank you john, i find that very insightfull. actually, it makes me curious to try it myself (sounds like a hell of a challenge). i did try dogs playing in the park, briefly, but that's different (it's actually harder i think, as it's completely inpredictable).

in the case of your own choices of technique, the main issue i think is your requirement to shoot wideopen, or nearly so, with a long lens, this will always mean razor-thin dof, so fast and confident af is required. i could think of other ways to achieve decent shots, but your choices are your own.

thanks for the explanations and the shots. as far as i can tell so far, i think it's safe to say that (speaking about pentax af), a slightly faster af action (which should be easy to achieve with sdm and modern lenses), combined with some basic af tracking algorythms (not the one million tracking points image analyzing voodoo stuff) might be the difference that would make or break the system for you (apart from the requirement for a fast tele zoom); am i close?
05-18-2009, 05:13 PM   #98
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pentax1952: it seems most do know what to do and how to do it, but "that's besides the point". the best advice i can give, in a hurry (but probably also the best advice i can give, period) is "know your subject", for sports photography, understanding what is going on, how, why, proper preparation based on that are essential.(example: for me, with rally: i plan the trip days in advance, i look at the maps with the special stages, the schedule, choose a few spots where i might want to shoot based on the maps and schedule, factors like the time of day and what the light is likley to be like at that time in that spot are important, it is also important to try and move between special stages to be able to see and shoot more; after all this, i go there, preferably long before the road is closed, and walk the special stage untill i find the place i want to be in for the first run -- it might be one i chose during the previous planning phase, or it might be not, depending on many factors, sometimes i use my bike instead of walking, it has the advantage of being slightly faster but not too fast, unlike the car, and it also enables me to move on the SS between passes -- with the car it is out of the question; all the choices i make are based on my photographic experience, but, most importantly, on my understanding of how the race will develop, how the drivers and navigators think and react, the physics of the cars and so on; for "the finishing touch", i tend to think about composition too when i choose the place and technique, i don't jsut want a sharp car in the image, i want an image that somehow makes sense, sometimes, ofcourse, your image just happens, beyond your control, and you must be ready to grab the frame which was sleeping in your mind)

this is valid regardless of gear or brand. the next step would be "know your gear", it should be second nature and should not even have to be mentioned. apart from that, just shoot and have fun. so, in short, i can hardly think of anything pentax-specific (perhaps try TAv mode? ), i was doing the same when shooting a praktica, a nikon, as the various pentaxes, it's jsut doesn't seem so terribly different to me, that's why i keep asking what is it that is not working for people who complain about it, because i honestly seem to have little first-hand experience myself of anything not working for me.

hope this helps, at least a bit

05-18-2009, 05:18 PM   #99
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
thank you john, i find that very insightfull. actually, it makes me curious to try it myself (sounds like a hell of a challenge). i did try dogs playing in the park, briefly, but that's different (it's actually harder i think, as it's completely inpredictable).

in the case of your own choices of technique, the main issue i think is your requirement to shoot wideopen, or nearly so, with a long lens, this will always mean razor-thin dof, so fast and confident af is required. i could think of other ways to achieve decent shots, but your choices are your own.

thanks for the explanations and the shots. as far as i can tell so far, i think it's safe to say that (speaking about pentax af), a slightly faster af action (which should be easy to achieve with sdm and modern lenses), combined with some basic af tracking algorythms (not the one million tracking points image analyzing voodoo stuff) might be the difference that would make or break the system for you (apart from the requirement for a fast tele zoom); am i close?
I think you are very close, 100% close actually

Like I said I am not so bold to say I maxed out the Pentax system to it's fullest but for my ability level the other system works for me. Have I gotten good action shots with Pentax? Yup, I sure have but I decided to pick a tool that made my life easier

Here are some action Pentax shots









05-18-2009, 06:01 PM   #100
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QuoteOriginally posted by Oldphoto678 Quote
The "pseudo point" I'm making is that long before AF, burst mode, or auto film advance, photographers were taking action shots. And good ones!
But times and demands change. Their are sports shooters who now have photos on websites before the game even finishes! They didn't use to do that. The olden days they probably came out with a few good shots and printed one in the newspaper the next day or a couple in a magazine, now they can get 50 or more of the game, post them all over the world, sell them on a website etc.

Yes, you can get good sports shots with Pentax, I know, I have, see my website. Do I think I may be able to get MORE good shots with Canon or Nikon? From what I have read - yes.
05-18-2009, 06:53 PM   #101
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QuoteOriginally posted by pingflood Quote
Well, there's our holier-than-thou post for the day.

I think what annoys the "gear heads" (and I suppose I must be one since I do care about the performance of my camera equipment) is when the camera is designed to do something but doesn't do it well enough. E.g. exposure metering -- if the camera's going to try and meter why wouldn't you want it to do it properly? Same for autofocus -- if it's going to autofocus why wouldn't you want it to be as quick and functional as possible? There's nothing noble about fighting your gear when trying to get a shot. To me, there are two approaches that both have their place:

Shooting for pure fun and enjoyment where you really get into the "process". I do this, with a Leica IIF, or my view camera, or my RB67 or any of the other older film gear. With the Leica I don't even use a meter -- part of the fun there is exposure guessing.

Shooting for when you want/need a certain result. Sometimes I just have a very specific thing in mind and want to get to that point -- I don't really want to be stuck experimenting or fiddling with the process in this case; I just want the damn thing to work and do what I'm wanting it to do.

I don't see anything wrong with either. Sometimes you want to enjoy the picture taking process, and sometimes you just want the picture. For the latter, I prefer to have the most responsive and well suited gear available to me. Now what is wrong with that?
Your comment to jeweltrail is uncalled for. I know him and he is a stand up person and very helpful.
What have you contributed to this thread vis a vis helping people get better sport shots with their Pentaxes other than suggesting they buy a used
Canon and lens for $2,000??
05-18-2009, 06:56 PM   #102
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I would have left the smiley out of your post.

I posted in another thread pictures taken of radio controlled airplanes in flight with a 600mm lens. If someone wants to pound my ass for lack of skill after seeing them, go hard. I won't respect you any more in the morning than I do now, you can be sure.
I buy into technology to do for me what I either can't do or find unhandy to do for myself.
This is why I used to buy film rather than coat my own plates, I can do it myself, I've done it myself, but I'd rather buy precoated film.
Does this make me a less skilled photographer?
It's the same with auto focus. I buy it to do a job for me when what I want to shoot outstrips my skill set, or is close enough to doing so that it's unhandy.

All the self serving piousness and pompous little derogatory posts will never make the tired old saw about the equipment not mattering true. If it didn't matter, we'd all be shooting with the digital equivalent of Kodak Disc cameras.
Someone pointed out to me in another thread (they were being pious as well) that considering how much I harp about wanting better AF, I don't seem to have many AF lenses. There's a reason for this. Why would I buy into Pentax AF lenses when the AF isn't up to the task for what I want it for?
So who beat you as a child? What have you contributed to this thread vis a vis helping people get the most out of their Pentax equipment?
05-18-2009, 07:41 PM   #103
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
exactly.

however it is very interesting that i made this point a few pages ago, but nobody really took notice. it took a post at the other extreme to get you to acknowledge "the middle" way. as i explained in detail previously, as long as you keep at (your/)the extreme, all you will get will be extreme answers from the other side (save the odd, and easy to ignore, nutcase like me who childishly attempts to call for reason). oh well.
Well, while I don't think I've gone to any extremes, I am glad we can find common ground somewhere.
05-18-2009, 07:42 PM   #104
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax1952 Quote
Raise the bar some more and try that with a fly. Don't those dragonflys hover at times?
Why not a gnat?

I really did try to chase a fly down but the minimum focusing distance on the lens is pretty long and the fly was too small for the AF sensor to cover properly. And yeah, the dragonfly hovered for a fraction of a second at a time before zipping off to a new position. Try shooting one sometime and you'll see how fun it is.
05-18-2009, 07:51 PM   #105
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentax1952 Quote
Your comment to jeweltrail is uncalled for. I know him and he is a stand up person and very helpful.
What have you contributed to this thread vis a vis helping people get better sport shots with their Pentaxes other than suggesting they buy a used
Canon and lens for $2,000??
I'd be more than happy to offer such advice, but this wasn't a thread where people are asking how to make the most out of their gear...

And if you check my post history you might find that I do try to offer advice on whatever I might be able to assist with.
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