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12-08-2009, 11:32 AM   #1
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Hi ISO ? and or Camera specs

I own and still use a K100DS.

I currently (mostly) shoot my K20.

I unexpectedly was launched into sports photography a few years ago. This means shooting fairly fast and high ISO, because of the poor lighting in most sports venues. (and by sports I am speaking of high school and smaller college)

I have been fairly unhappy with the K20's higher ISO performance, especially when compared to the upper end Canikons I compete with on the sideline.

I recently handled a K7 and took some shots for comparison to my K20. (I read part of the thread on this from July)

I was in a camera store and used the same shutter and ISO speeds for a series of shots, on the K7 that I typically use on the K20.

At this point I am tempted to spring for a new camera, and want to stay with Pentax (because I have way more money in lenses than I do in bodies). But I have to seriously look at the Canikons and what they have to offer.

I have the NR set to high. Is there anything else in the camera that I can use to lower the noise. I admit that I am not really that familiar with the settings in this area.

I followed some suggestions that I read in a forum (perhaps here) when I first got my K20. But I have since changed those to higher NR.

I typically shoot higher than 800, depending on the lighting. I am very happy with the results at 800 (or lower... obviously).

I shoot for the local paper, so most of my shots are quite suitable for print. But to make salable prints I would like a better quality.

Other than that I really like the K20!

12-08-2009, 12:03 PM   #2
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My modest proposal to you would be to look into the K-x, if high ISO is really important to your work.

The K-x rules the roost in terms of current Pentaxes for high ISO image quality up to 6400 ISO, and beyond even, whilst holding onto very good image quality and resolution too as ISO increases. If you do sports, it also has a respectable 4.7fps, and a decent JPG image engine. The K-x even holds it's own quite well against some of the high-end Canons and Nikons when it comes to high ISO.

The K-7 performs well in relation to high-ISO, especially if you work with RAW, but not any differently to the K20D. The K-x sensor helps it perform better than both. Those other cameras have other features and benefits that the K-x may lack, of course, but the K-x is strong on high-ISO.

This may be useful to help compare side-by-side the K-x to some of the other Pentaxes and Canikons out there.

Imaging Resource "Comparometer" Digital Camera Image Comparison Page
12-08-2009, 12:13 PM   #3
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I've been saying and maintained that if I ever bought an action camera for anything other than messing around that it would be a D3. Even though I thiknk I'd be quite content with a D700, I think the D3 is just the bomb when it comes to high ISO, AF and tracking.

Unfortunately(or fortunately rather)... I can't justify the costs of such a beast and so I'm sticking with the lowly Pentax line-up.

Also, on the issue of sensitivity, the K20 performs much better at high ISO than the K-7. However, the K-7 has better AF, shutter speeds, and coninuous shooting! arggg!

Still waiting for Pentax to accidently drop a Kx sensor in a K-7 body dammit!
12-08-2009, 12:35 PM   #4
Tex
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"would be to look into the K-x, if high ISO is really important to your work."


I could get the colored version!! That would make me stick out even more on the sidelines!!


"it also has a respectable 4.7fps, "

That might be good. But actually I use that less than I thought I would.



"I thiknk I'd be quite content with a D700,"

There is a guy (amateur) that shoots the D700, at some of the same games. He shoots at a much lower ISO than I can, with much better results.



"Those other cameras have other features and benefits that the K-x may lack,"


Actually I set my shutter and aperture and leave it there. The ISO is about the only change I make. So features are not really that important.

When I shoot a day game I will let the camera control the shutter speed and it wanders all over at times.

But for the most of the inside or night games I need a good AF and a button to push... either of my Pentax bodies do well for that. I do find that I change the settings on my K20 more often by accident. And I fired off more accidental shots with the K100DS...

12-08-2009, 01:00 PM   #5
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Of all the current APS-C sized sensor dSLRs the Pentax Kx has the best high ISO performance (in JPG) -
which is amazing in itself - especially at this price point.

as indicated one can directly compare any of the standardized test sample images from the Kx at Imaging-Resource with any other they have tested.

I did the Nikon D90, D5000, D300s, and Canon 7D, T1i -
and I normally download the relevant (to me) full sized images and compare them off-line at my leisure with my photo editor - so I can look at specific parts of the photo at 100% in detail.

I normally use their Still Life, Low light Tests and Indoor Portrait ISO series to compare.
12-08-2009, 01:10 PM   #6
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you have not said what lenses you shoot.

for indoor sports very expensive fast lenses are often the real issue not the camera.

you can do, for example a lot better with a lens like a 70-200 F2.8 than you can with a consumer lens like a 70-200 f4-5.6 or slower.

It is not just the body but the system.

Also noise is acceptable lack of sharpness is not, therefore you may wish to turn noise reduction down and sharpness up a little.

amonst all things, you need to keep exposure correct, since good exposure and bright images offset noise greatly. therefore, with highlights, a few blown out ones may be acceptable over an otherwise under exposed shot to protect highlights.
12-08-2009, 01:37 PM   #7
Tex
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
you have not said what lenses you shoot.
I have a Tammy 70-200 f/2.8. It does a very good job at 800 or when I shoot daylight games.

Specifically it is the noise at the higher ISO settings that is the problem.

I bought the Tamron lens because it was the first that I could get for the Pentax mount.

I also have a slow Pentax 300 zoom that shoots very good images... but needs light!
12-08-2009, 06:43 PM   #8
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Hi ISO

Tex I bought a Kx to take shots at Judo I have a early Tokina the same length but slower as yours, so far tested it school presentation night taking hand held and at high iso the shots have come out well will post some when i work out how to do it here. My suggestion would be to try out the Kx before you jump ship the d90,d5000 and cannons didn't compare favourably to the Kx the bonus is the continued use of my lenses from owning a Program A.
Cheers Mark

12-08-2009, 07:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tex Quote
I have a Tammy 70-200 f/2.8. It does a very good job at 800 or when I shoot daylight games.

Specifically it is the noise at the higher ISO settings that is the problem.

I bought the Tamron lens because it was the first that I could get for the Pentax mount.

I also have a slow Pentax 300 zoom that shoots very good images... but needs light!
In re-reading the rest of your post, you have NR set to high, this will take away sharpness.

By the way, what do you have sharpness set to, as it can add noise also, and if we are discussing these settings does that mean you are shooting JPEG?

Also, I might suggest that you go back and re-start your settings process. Put everything to neutral, take some benchmark shots, and then move adjustments either way from neutral, one at a time and see the impact. Tune the camera for the ISO you intend to use and refine these settings. I would be surprised if you can't get things better right out of the camera. I have the K7, not K20 and I find no issue at all stepping up to ISO 800 for many shots, using a much slower 300mmF4 and 1.7x AF TC

I have not yet played extensively at higher ISO settings, but never had an issue with my *istD or K10D pushing all the way to maximum of 3200 and 1600 respectively.
12-09-2009, 01:34 AM   #10
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I can attest to the fact that the K-7 is better for sport than the K20D. I had the K20D and now the K-7, I get more keepers with the K-7, primarily due to faster and more sure focus. 5.2 fps helps sometimes, but I don't use that all that often.

Raw is fine compared to 7D, 50D, and D300 for noise:




12-09-2009, 03:03 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tex Quote
There is a guy (amateur) that shoots the D700, at some of the same games. He shoots at a much lower ISO than I can, with much better results.
If he shoots at lower ISO with better results, why can't you do the same. ISO is ISO. It's the same for everybody.
12-09-2009, 03:54 AM   #12
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Have K20D and K-x and ........

My K20D is a pretty good high ISO performer, and use 3200 for some stuff and it works well (6400 B&W looks pretty good too), but my K-x blows it away.

High ISO and DR on the K-x is nothing short of phenomenal, and like many here are waiting for a K-7 with the same or better sensor than the K-x.

It is not a pro camera and does not have the toughness of my K20D or the K-7, but it was not meant for that market segment.



wll
12-09-2009, 05:16 AM   #13
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As long as you are shooting RAW, you can easily go to 3200 on the K20 and do some noise reduction in post processing. The K7 is not significantly different from the K20 (maybe less chroma noise), but does have faster focusing so, I guess that might help.

If your friend is shooting lower isos, I imagine that he is deliberately underexposing shots and bringing them up afterward. Yves is right that your exposures should be roughly the same, using the same settings on your cameras. That is the point of iso. Some manufacturers fudge a little bit, say calling iso 1350 iso 1600, but it shouldn't be significant.
12-09-2009, 06:58 AM   #14
Tex
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Lowell: I might try to work on resetting everything and starting from scratch. I was following some guidelines for the K20 based on a sports shooter's suggestions on some website somewhere... perhaps here.. I originally set the K20 for that because it is just my sports camera.


Yves: If ISO is ISO then yes I should be able to shoot the same as the D700. But my shots are under exposed well before I get down to his range. We are both shooting f/2.8 lens, same lighting. He tends to shoot slightly slower shutter speeds, but I prefer my cleaner shots. I think (obviously) that it is because the camera is 3 times as much as my camera... so his just works better....



I typically shoot JPEG for my sports shots. I am usually in a hurry to get them PP'd and sent off. And many of the prints I have sold are suitable for up to 8x10.
12-09-2009, 07:15 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tex Quote
I typically shoot JPEG for my sports shots. I am usually in a hurry to get them PP'd and sent off. And many of the prints I have sold are suitable for up to 8x10.
All good reasons to K-x

Out-of-camera JPEG results at high-ISO are very acceptable, often with no need for any PP, and the awesome ability of the camera to hold onto high lph resolution right up the ISO scale means printing good 8x10's even when shot at high ISO can produce great results.
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