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Old Apr 4, 2008, 6:03 PM   #1
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The announced long, fast glass for Pentax is not yet on the shelves, so I decided to go ahead and upgrade my body this spring and get a good sports lens this fall for football.

Last night was the first outing for the new camera, and the results were promising. The new Pentax 14.6 MP CMOS sensor promises great low-noise, high ISO performance. Shooting at near dark with a Tamron 70-300 Di LD lens, we got 1/250 sec shutter speed at f8. Focal length was 260mm and ISO 2500. No noise reduction applied.



Like other soccer shots, these were taken by student managers, then turned over to me for editing. (I'm having to train a new one since I'm losing the girl that has shot soccer for me the last three years.) The second shot, from the boys game, required opening the camera pretty well wide open. This was with a Pentax DA*50-135 f2.8. ISO was at 6400. Focal length 135mm, shutter 1/1000. Noiseware was used.



Although there was noise present, even at ISO 6400it was far less of a problem than at ISO 1600 with the K10d. With the high shutter speed we achieved, I feel certain we can go down with the ISO to somewhere between 3200 and 5000. The higher IQ more than made up for it.

Other comments on the K20 for sports usage...although many reviewers say the AF system is the same as on the K10, I strongly agree with others who have used the camera that focusing is both faster and better than on the K10. I have not yet tried calibration of my lenses with the adjustment for back focusing/front focusing. Even with the lower-grade Tamron lens, focus was generally sharp.

Unfortunately, the camera is going to have to be exchanged because of a shutter problem.
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Old Apr 4, 2008, 7:03 PM   #2
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JohnG wrote:
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Looks like noise performance of 2500 is usable with good exposure and proper noise reduction. I agree with your assessment though - drop the shutter speed and stick with 3200. The 6400 looks to have too much noise in the shadows. But if you can get acceptable results up to 3200 you'll be in business

Still looks like about a stop better than the 10d. And with better AF to boot and new glass coming you should be a very happy camper.

On a complete side note - any thoughts on why up north, Soccer is a fall sport but it's a spring sport down south? That one has confused me :crazy:
One of the disadvantages of having a manager shoot is that they're not as comfortable experimenting with settings. I set it initially at 6400 just to see what we'd get, and she never moved it. Last night, though, wasn't the best night for experimentatiion because of the problems we were having with the shutter sticking. Add to that a tornado warning that cancelled the match at halftime, and it made for a fun night. :roll:

The fall/spring thing isn't so much a north/south thing as it is state to state adoption. In some states, the fact that almost no schools have separate practice and game facilities for football and soccer force soccer into the spring. That's the case in Arkansas. In some of the extreme southern states, such as Louisiana, soccer is a winter sport, running from November to February. Missouri and girls' HS soccer in the fall and boys in spring (I have no idea why.) An argument for Fall soccer in the north would certainly be that a larger percentage of the season would be in pleasant weather than if it were in February-April.
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Old Apr 5, 2008, 6:09 PM   #3
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hi paul,
congrats on the new camera, mine will be here tuesday! hey if i move up to hot springs for the summer can i work for you?
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 3:21 AM   #4
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JohnG wrote:
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On a complete side note - any thoughts on why up north, Soccer is a fall sport but it's a spring sport down south? That one has confused me :crazy:
Soccer as a fall or spring sport is mainly due to what each state has decided. Generally speaking club soccer and High School soccer cannot be in the same season. I have coached both club and H.S.but not in the same year as that could be termed a conflict of interest and would have me banned from coaching altogether.

Generally, the boys play HS soccer in the Fall and girls play HS soccer in the Spring. Field availability is also at a premium just about anywhere in the U.S. Having both play at the same time would be a scheduling nightmare and the availability of officiating is also at a premium.

Club soccer is on the rise but fields and officiating is not.This is the case for both California and Wisconsin where I have coached soccer.

Note: A player cannot concurrently play H.S. soccer and club soccer at the same time. Thus, boys in HS play in the Fall and play club in the Spring and the girls play HS in the Spring and club in the Fall.
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 6:06 AM   #5
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vIZnquest wrote:
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Generally, the boys play HS soccer in the Fall and girls play HS soccer in the Spring.
not in Ohio. Here they both play in the fall.
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 6:54 AM   #6
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vIZnquest wrote:
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Soccer as a fall or spring sport is mainly due to what each state has decided. Generally speaking club soccer and High School soccer cannot be in the same season. I have coached both club and H.S.but not in the same year as that could be termed a conflict of interest and would have me banned from coaching altogether.

Generally, the boys play HS soccer in the Fall and girls play HS soccer in the Spring. Field availability is also at a premium just about anywhere in the U.S. Having both play at the same time would be a scheduling nightmare and the availability of officiating is also at a premium.

Club soccer is on the rise but fields and officiating is not.This is the case for both California and Wisconsin where I have coached soccer.

Note: A player cannot concurrently play H.S. soccer and club soccer at the same time. Thus, boys in HS play in the Fall and play club in the Spring and the girls play HS in the Spring and club in the Fall.
The problems we face with H.S. soccer are, I'm sure, the same all across the U.S., only how we perceive the solution changes. Separating the boys and girls would, for me, simply double the scheduling nightmares and the problems with hiring officials. We schedule boys' and girls' teams on the same night as a doubleheader. This also makes hiring officials easier because a three man crew can get in two matches and make either 50 or 65 dollars for their evening's work (50 for the guy who does an AR on each match, generally the least experienced member of the crew, making it more worth their time than if we hired them for one match only. Practice field availability is enhanced because one of the teams (boys or girls) will practice on the football practice field, and the other goes to the Junior High football practice field. Matches are played in the stadium, which otherwise would be idle in the spring except for the occasional track meet.

Paul

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Old Apr 6, 2008, 7:33 AM   #7
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JohnG wrote:
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Still looks like about a stop better than the 10d. And with better AF to boot and new glass coming you should be a very happy camper.
I'm actually thinking that it's closer to 2 or 2.5 stops better than the K10d in terms of noise. With the K10d I was using fairly significant noise reduction anytime I was working over ISO 800. I'll have to do more experimenting to get a strong handle on it, but it appears that the noise level on the K20d is about the same at ISO 4000 as I was used to getting any time I stepped over 800 on the K10d. (The K10 has some wonderful features, but no one ever claimed that low-noise, high ISO performance was one of them.)
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Old Apr 6, 2008, 9:45 PM   #8
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Trojansoc wrote:
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I'm actually thinking that it's closer to 2 or 2.5 stops better than the K10d in terms of noise.
Are you sure that's not just the lighting there (or you're exposing a bit brighter with the K20D)?

Every controlled conditions test I've seen so far show that the K20D has higher noise levels (given the same subject, lighting, iso speed, aperture and shutter speed).

For example, the tests at DIWA labs show that the 10MP K200D has about a 1 stop advantage over the 14MP K20D (S/N ratio at ISO 1600 for the K200D is about the same as the K20D at ISO 800). If you click on a camera model there, you can see the tests if you scroll down on the next page (and you can download a separate.pdf file for the noise tests showing exposure details, reference patches, etc.). A Hgher Signal to Noise ratio = lower noise. You can also see the reference patches in the .pdf version of the tests.

http://www.diwa-labs.com/wip4/test_result.epl

Here's someone showing similar results using a different test method looking at raw file output:

http://daystarvisions.com/Docs/Rvws/K20D/pg3.html

Here's another review that shows an ISO 800 image from the K10D pushed two stops to simulate ISO 3200, as compared to an ISO 3200 image from the K20D. If you look at the EXIF for the two images like that, they were taken at the same shutter speed and aperture. To my eyes, they look very close from visual inspection. But, most of the tests I've seen measuring noise give the advantage to the older 10MP sensor.

http://www.digitalcamerareview.com/d...iew=pentax+k20

I'm not sure how popphoto.com measures their noise. But, they also give the advantage to the K10D (showing noise to be at a lower level at ISO 1600 with the K10D versus K20D). Since I don't know how they measure it, I wouldn't consider that one to be controlled like the other tests I've seen though.

The only images I've seen so far that gave the advantage to the K20D was on one of the Japanese web sites with samples from a variety of cameras. But, the test was flawed because the K20D images were exposed about a stop brighter compared to the other camera models tested. For example, using f/8 and 1/250 second at ISO 1600 for the K20D, while using f/8 and 1/500 second at ISO 1600 for another camera.

If you're getting better results from a noise perspective, I can't help but wonder if something else is influencing it (camera settings, exposure, etc.), since the tests I've seen so far seem to indicate more noise for the newer 14MP model. If not exposure, I'm wondering if the type of noise pattern may work better with your noise reduction tools, retaining more detail (or it may look less objectionable even though it measures higher).

You do have a lot more pixels to work with. So, you may be retaining more detail at smaller viewing sizes due to averaging of pixels from downsizing, too. Your comments about it being that much better just seem pretty odd, given the noise tests I've seen so far.

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Old Apr 7, 2008, 12:01 AM   #9
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This is interesting news, JimC. Anecdotal evidence by some folks here and over at DPReview gives the impression that the K20D has about a one stop noise advantage over the K10D. Of course, these are not lab tests, andsome willargue that "anecdotal evidence" is an oxymoron...
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Old Apr 7, 2008, 7:15 AM   #10
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JohnG wrote:
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These photos have less noise reduction applied than the photos Paul has posted from the 10d but there's still a good amount of noise left in these.

Unfortunately I just don't understand the MP race. If Pentax had stuck with say a 10mp sensor they could have made huge strides in noise performance. But the masses clamor for higher MP. I just don't get that. Especially for a sports shooter - cleaner iSO would be infinitely preferable to more MP..

Jim, I respect the techniques used by the testers, etc. I just know what I see with my own eyes. With a K10d, the highest level attainable is ISO 1600. With an f-stop of 2.8 on Aperture Priority mode, you're looking at a shutter speed of of about 1/100 with a high noise level and motion blur. With the K20 at its highest level, ISO 6400, and an f-stop of 2.8, you're looking at a shutter speed of about 1/400 or 1/500, a substantially brighter image, no blur, and about the same amount of noise.

John, I agree with your statement regarding the MP race. Give me cleaner, and higher, ISO over MP anytime.

Paul
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