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Old Aug 21, 2007, 8:49 AM   #11
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JohnG wrote:
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OK, with the exception of the lineman shot that rules out cropping as the culprit.

Next questions:

1. What lens are you using?
I took a brief look at history and at one point you were using a Tamron 70-300. If that's the lens you're using I think we found the culprit. I think the results are fairly consistent with a budget telezoom. I also understand like most shooters you aren't made of money and can't go out and spend $2000 on a lens.

Problem is - I'm not sure what lenses are available in a Pentax mount. I'm not sure if Pentax makes a higher quality 70-300 or not. Normally the Sigma 70-200 2.8 is an option - but I think there are availability issues in the Pentax mount - at least there were last time someone I knew was looking for one in a Pentax mount.

Another possibility is to see if there's a high quality 200mm prime lens (with autofocus) available in Pentax mount. The problem is - just about any budget telephoto zoom lens is going to suffer in the last 1/2 of the focal range - especially wide open (after all they have to save money on costs somewhere).

So, on the positive side - you and your assistant are making good strides with your photographic abilities. On the negative side, the deck is stacked against you until you can find a way to get better optics.
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Old Aug 21, 2007, 12:59 PM   #12
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Even though I agree with the softness issues of these shots,I have to tell you...Youve come a LONG way! These are a ton better than your original postings some time ago. Way to heed the great advice on this site and way to go in your determination to better your shooting. Its def paying off!
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Old Aug 21, 2007, 5:07 PM   #13
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hey trojan,

man you really have improved alot!! awesome! you should really feel good about your work! great job!
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Old Aug 21, 2007, 7:46 PM   #14
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Guys, I appreciate the feedback. I think there is still room for improvement with my current kit, even recognizing the limits of the Tamron 70-300. John, I was shooting with center-point focusing, but I can't say the focus point was always at the proper point; one of the difficulties I had shooting was keeping up with the ball through the viewfinder--a problem I'm sureexperience will help. (I don't think I have an editor that will show focus points.)

I've studied some that were grossly out of focus and found that most of them occurred with play was coming at me. The play was centered well in many of them, and on at least one play, I remember being furious at the time at the autofocus simply wasn't locking on fast enough. Could this be part of the problem, an autofocus that isn't fast enough?

I'm attaching a shot that came from the same sequence (continuous shooting at 3fps) as shot #2 in the original posting. This is with no processing of any sort other than resizing. Center focusing should be sharp in this case, but it's not. The shot was at 300mm, f5.6 (wide open), ISO 250, 1/400th.

My next opportunity to experiment comes a week from Friday night with our first road game. I have no idea what kind of lights I will see, but I'm going to take another lens and try it....a Sigma 18-200 (same problem with a wide ranging telezoom, also an f4.0/5.6....along with the Tamron.

(BTW....yes, the opposing team IS known as the Redbugs.....a very famous small South Arkansas school with a strange mascot that has produced a couple of pretty decent players and coaches.....most notably a guy named Paul "Bear" Bryant, who played there and got his first coaching job at the school.)

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Old Aug 21, 2007, 8:51 PM   #15
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A subject moving toward you is always the most difficult subject for a camera to track. I've never used your camera and to be fair don't know many sports shooters that do - so I can't comment on how well the camera itself does at this difficult task. But the lens is definitely a problem in the equation. When I looked at photozone I think it was rated a 1 out of 5 in focus speed. That's going to continue to give you problems along with the general softness of the lens from 200-300mm even if the focus is on.
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Old Aug 21, 2007, 9:48 PM   #16
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John, thanks for the reference to photozone. I was not familiar with it, but it's reviews are impressive. One of the points I found interesting in that site's review of the K10D was thatat the top ofits "Major Pros" list was [*]fast and especially accurate AF [/*]
Coupled with what you found on the Tamron 70-300's being rated 1 out of 5 for focus speed, these two would certainly tend to point to the lens as a potential problem. I'm going to shoot the Sigma 28-200 for at least part of the next game and compare the two.

One of the points in the photozone review of the K10D was that the in-camera processing of JPEG's tends to be "a little soft." Would this be improved by increasing the in-camera sharpening, or would I be risking introducing noise?

You're right about the difficulty of finding anything in f2.8 for the Pentax at this time. I found a 200mm prime for a thousand dollars on ebay, but that's not something I can justify when I'm not selling anything. Sigma's 70-200 f2.8 is supposed to be available in the Pentax mount, but I have never seen one in stock at any photo site. (Adorama currently shows the lens at $ 889, but has "temporarily run out.")

At this time I'm going to have to just try to maximize what I can with what I have.


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Old Aug 22, 2007, 3:35 AM   #17
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Looks like back focus to me. The furthest away point in the frame seems to be in the best focus at times.
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Old Aug 22, 2007, 6:37 AM   #18
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Trojansoc wrote:
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[*]fast and especially accurate AF
Be careful about a statement like this. Servo focusing is very different than static focusing. A camera may do a fantastic job of focusing on static subjects but not so good (comparatively) on tracking a moving subject. You'll notice this type of thing by getting a good first shot in focus but second/third is not. Of course, you'll see similar behavior with a slow focusing lens.[/*]
so unless the test in question was done against subjects moving toward the shooter it doesn't mean the same thing. The challenge is to find other sports shooters with the camera if you can. The benefit there is you can find out what lenses they're having success with.

As for using the 28-200 - I wouldn't expect much better results. THis is also a budget lens - also very poor focusing and not great optically. You are now running into the challenge with selecting the Pentax system for sports shooting - no lenses. Being able to use 20 year old manual focus lenses doesn't help you out to much.

Good luck next game. You really are getting better on your stuff. Keep at it and keep enjoying it. That's the key.


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