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Old Dec 5, 2007, 10:43 PM   #1
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Took advantage of a home game Tuesday night to work on some of the areas of improvement in shooting high school basketball. Had a couple of shots that corresponded with some in earlier games. First, the contest for position on the boards.



This was full fram side-to-side shooting in portrait orientation, so crops were only to top and bottom. There's a little DOF issue on the left hands which are forward a little. The DOF of the f1.4 doesn't leave much to play with at the shooting distance, which was directly above where I was sitting under the basket.

The second shot is a concentration shot of a head fake prior to a shot in the JV game. I had to cut off half the ball because of a distracting background element--again shot at point-blank range.



I got a couple of decent shots from out on the floor. On this one, I had a fairly decent blur on the background, even though the action was just outside the top of the key





On the dribble shot, I had inadvertently bumped my mode dial and it was taken in TAV mode, in which you set the shutter and aperture and the camera sets ISO, which it bumped down to 400. Thus, to rescue the shot took significant lightening in PP, resulting in more noise pickup. I was able to get most of it in Noiseware, but I kept the shot because I liked the action.

Final shot was on a drive. This is essentially a full frame shot...cutting only a tiny amount at top and bottom.



All shots (other than the dribble) were at ISO 1600 with the Pentax FA-50 at f1.4 with available light. Shutter mode was manual and was generally at 1/500, although I went up and down a little, never leaving the range of 1/400 to 1/640. I used Automatic White Balance throughout the night.
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Old Dec 6, 2007, 6:24 AM   #2
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3,4 & 5 are great shots. Nicely done.

The only shot that doesn't belong is #2 - too much facial detail destroyed on the shooter. Not sure what the culprit is there but compared to 3,4 & 5 this shot isn't in the same class.

3 is probably my favorite. 5 has nice action but 3 has more intensity to it.

Very well done!
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Old Dec 6, 2007, 11:10 AM   #3
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Your shots are definitely improving. Good job. 3 & 5 are the very well done.
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Old Dec 6, 2007, 1:11 PM   #4
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JohnG wrote:
Quote:
The only shot that doesn't belong is #2 - too much facial detail destroyed on the shooter. Not sure what the culprit is there but compared to 3,4 & 5 this shot isn't in the same class.
Glare off the face? I was troubled by the overall effect of #2 as well, but I have not been able to isolate the problem (even if I did like the "story"of the shot). Focus is not the problem. Look at the trim around the top of the shirt (sharp)....Not a problem with motion blur....I'd welcome suggestions.

Appreciate the kind words on 3-5.

Question for you, John, and others on the forum. As many of you know, Sigma is no longer offering its 70-200 f1.8 lens in a Pentax mount. As a result, the price of them used off e-bay has soared above retail levels to as much as $ 1200-1250. The only other Pentax options in a long f2.8 AF are a Tokina AT-X (very rare) and a Pentax 70-200 that I've only seen offered by Japanese retailers, and then only at a price in excess of $ 2000.

In the fall, I shot football with an f2.5, 135mm, MF. Although distance was a limiting factor, it was not the factor that I expected to be. Much more of a factor, especially considering that I will have a student shooting soccer in the spring, were focus issues. I am looking at some options for soccer:

1) Wait for the announcement of the new Pentax cameras in January. There are rumors of high ISO performance included in the feature set. It's possible I could get decent performance with my existing zooms at ISO 3200, but I think even that would be stretching it

2) Pick up a Pentax DA *50-135 f2.8. This is part of Pentax's new line of weatherproof lenses with silent focusing motors inside the lens...supposed to be very fast focusing. This wouyld give me the same focal length I had for football, but with AF in a weatherproof lens matched to the K10 system.

It's possible I could combine the two approaches, particularly if I picked up a K100Super on closeout. I'm not sure whetehr gaining ISO 3200 performance would be worth giving up the rest of the K10's feature set (for outside sports only). I could then hope for either Sigma to begin offering its lens, or someone else markething a similar lens for Pentax mount and try to pickup such a lens on down the road.

What do you guys think?

Paul
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Old Dec 6, 2007, 3:20 PM   #5
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Paul,

I'm going to disagree that distance won't be an issue. 135 is tough enough for football. But soccer is MUCH tougher to shoot than football - there's no line of scrimmage to follow. And as I recall you don't like having shooters behind the goals - so that means they're off the sides off the touchline. You'd need 200mm to get to the other side of the goalie box.

As we've seen in the past - when you crop these high ISO photos you really get a LOT of image degradation. The focus issues show up. The noise issues are amplified.

I shoot night soccer at 300mm 2.8 and my keeper rate is frustratingly low. At day time I can fill 1/2 to 2/3 of the frame and get decent results with my 1d. But at night - I need to have 3/4 of the frame filled IF I'M AT MAX ZOOM. Otherwise there isn't the detail to support a crop.

So in football it's easy to be 10 yards away from a lot of the action. For soccer that aint the case.

I'll be blunt (as if there's a time when I'm not ) - if you want to shoot alll these sports and you're talking about buying new AF lenses or cameras you should STRONGLY consider making a switch to Canon or Nikon for the sports work. The new pentax offerings just don't give you enough as a sports shooter (135 is way too short). Canon & Nikon are now moving into usable 6400 AND have the focus systems necessary to do the job.

Even with a better lens, the K10's focus system in low light isn't great so you'll still have issues. All along you keep trying to pound a square peg into a round hole. Now you're talking about spending more money on a different square peg- but it's still a square peg. For the money and hassle you've spent you could buy a Canon 30d ($900) plus 50mm 1.8 ($70) plus sigma 70-200 2.8 ($800) - $1800. And you'd see a 200% improvement over what you're getting now outdoors and a fairly good improvement on your indoors work (ISO3200 results better than your current 1600 results). Or you can keep spending your $$$ on square pegs.

But I think you should chat with inneyeseakay. He made the switch from Pentax to Canon because of sports. Find out from someone who has been there / done that whether or not it is worthwhile to make the move.

Assuming you don't want to go that route: I really think a 135mm 2.8 solution is a poor one. Won't be any good at ISO 1600 indoors for the light levels you've got and it's WAY too short for soccer which should be shot at 400mm and really very limiting for football.

There's a reason those 70-200 2.8 lenses have soared in price - it's an extremely useful lens. The fact that Pentax discontinued their 70-200 2.8 and is replacing it with only a 135 tells me they aren't too concerned about their enthusiast sports shooters. Let's face it, that would be a great basketball lens if gyms were bright enough. But HS gyms aren't. And there just aren't many Div I sports photogs using Pentax. So while it's got other great uses - for the sports shooter that's not a useful lens: too short for outdoors, not bright enough for indoors. If you want to stay in Pentax, bight the bullet and buy a round peg - a 70-200 2.8 off ebay.


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Old Dec 6, 2007, 6:23 PM   #6
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John,

You make some very valid points, and making the move to Canon may be what I have to do eventually. I do not see the DA*50-135 being an acceptable long-term solution for sports shooting. A 70-200 f2.8 will have to be in the plan long-term.

The reason I have read that Sigma discontinued the Pentax mount inits lens(Pentax still makes its 70-200 f2.8; it's just not marketed in the U.S.) is that Pentax only had one body which supported its HSM technology. Pentax is supposedly introducing two new bodies which will support HSM in January, although the official announcement has not yet been made. I am hoping that Sigma will then again add the Pentax mount back to its lens. I really hate the idea of paying a thousand dollars or more for a used lens.

Your point about the difference in shooting soccer and football is a very valid one, and it may well that the 50-135 won't be enough. If not, then I'll have to go to a MF solution for this season, then resolve the issue, either by getting a 70-200 for the Pentax, or looking to buy a dedicated sports camera with the longer lens, in time for football next fall. (I have MF 70-200's in f2.8-4.0 and 3.5.)

I have no intention of using the 50-135 as an indoor sports lens, although should Pentax's new introductions include quality ISO 3200 and/or 6400 performance, it would bewonderfulin gyms. My main uses for it will be for other non-sports shooting.

I love the Pentax system for all the other shooting that I do. I recognize its current limitations in sports, but I'm not quite ready to give up on it.
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