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Old Sep 5, 2007, 8:15 PM   #1
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One of the things I like to shoot is sports, but I'm finding a real shortage of real low-light lenses for Pentax cameras. The needs fall into two categories--Field sports under the lights (Ideal lens is 200-300mm f2.8....and gym sports...ideal is 85-135mm f1.4-2.0. Autofocus is desired.

The Sigma 70-200 f2.8 is an obvious outdoor choice for the exceptionally well-heeled, if you can find one. BH & Adorama seem to stay out of them, even if you have the thousand bucks.

I haven't found anything that meets the specs for the indoor sports. Are there lenses that I'm missing? Most of the primes aboe 50mm are 2.8.

Anyone with experience shooting night and indoor sports? What do you use?
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 9:19 PM   #2
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77mm Limited is about the best choice for indoor sports that Pentax offers...
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Old Sep 5, 2007, 11:55 PM   #3
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The 77mm Limited is a 1.8 and I'd love to own one (but don't have enough of a need for one to spend that kind of money). The pictures I've seen taken with this lens are really sharp!

I'm not sure it would work but you could keep an eye on ebay forone of the FA*300 2.8 lenses - they occasionally come along but always go for pretty big bucks. They can be ordered, Pentax still makes them once a year or so but new they are more than $4,000.
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 12:47 AM   #4
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You have a number of choiches. But they are not cheap. The 77 Limited, the FA* 85, the FA* 200, FA*300 (heavy) and FA* 600 mm. Expensive, but I don't think the C***** or N**** competitors are any cheaper. "Unfortunately" all really fast lenses are also highest quality in all other aspects too, hence the price.

Ask Roy about the Tamron SP 300 f2.8. I get the impression that he likes it...

Kjell
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 7:09 AM   #5
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bilybianca wrote:
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You have a number of choiches. But they are not cheap. The 77 Limited, the FA* 85, the FA* 200, FA*300 (heavy) and FA* 600 mm. Expensive, but I don't think the C***** or N**** competitors are any cheaper. "Unfortunately" all really fast lenses are also highest quality in all other aspects too, hence the price.

Yeah Kjell, I guess I was just hoping that somewhere, somehow, someone had produced a lens that would "git 'er done" at a price I could afford. I had overlooked the 77 Limited and I'm not sure I've ever seen one of the 85's or the 200. I have seen the FA*300 and FA*600 (There's one currently on ebay with reserve price not met at the current bid of about 3200 dollars.)

My sports photography is something I do for fun and as a service to my students who are athletes. I post all of my shots on a "flickr" page so players and parents can download for free and do their own printing. While I'm sure I could sell some of them in the more traditional "souvenir" business model, the majority of the students at our school are lower income and could never afford them. With no income being generated, it's hard for me to justify spending a thousand dollars on a lens (not to mention the extra expense for divorce lawyers if I did it).

One of the paradoxes I talked about last night with my wife in discussing this subject is that a year ago, I would have been thrilled with the worst pictures I have taken this year. I was happy any time a picture I took at night in a stadium was recognizable as human, much less sharp. The Fuji s6000 raised the bar for me quite a bit, and the K10d brought it up to where I could get a glimpse of what I want. I guess what I'm going to have to learn is the skill that I find most difficult of all, patience. Not an easy task for a guy with a burgeoning case of LBA.

I appreciate the suggestions.

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Old Sep 6, 2007, 7:34 AM   #6
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If you take a look at what C&N have to offer in this category, you won't find anything cheap there either... the long & fast AFcategory doesn't come cheap for any camera...
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 7:37 AM   #7
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The DA* 50-135mm might work, costs about the same as a Sigma 70-200mm 2.8

If you don't want that one, try scouting ebay for Tokina or Tamron 2.8 zooms.

my 2 cents,

Tom
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 3:58 PM   #8
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Trojansoc wrote:
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With no income being generated, it's hard for me to justify spending a thousand dollars on a lens (not to mention the extra expense for divorce lawyers if I did it).

Not an easy task for a guy with a burgeoning case of LBA.

I appreciate the suggestions.
Check this as a warning: http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...=94&page=1

Kjell
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 4:33 PM   #9
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I had thought about the DA*50-135 2.8 but (while I love mine) I didn't think it would work well. It's focal length would be fine for the indoor sports, but it isn't as fast as the 77 Limited. It would do better speed-wise outdoors, but isn't really long enough. It might be worth looking at if you need a one-lens solution and would be willing to compromise speed in one spot and magnification in another spot. Difficult situation.
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Old Sep 6, 2007, 6:19 PM   #10
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Hi Trojansoc,

Unfortunately, the fast AF primes and tele zooms are all going to be pricey, but ultimate lens quality might not be what you need to get the job done for your purposes. The normal criteria for testing lenses (corner to corner sharpness, CA and PF, % of distortion, and ultimate resolution) aren't necessarily going to be that relevant to your purposes -- getting a shot with decent center shaprness and less motion blur should be your main concerns.

In manual focus lenses, Tokina made a couple of decent 80-200 f2.8 zoom models and their 100-300 f4 MF lens is highly rated. Tamron's SP 80-200 f2.8 Adaptall 2 is, IMO the best of the MF zooms in its range, and can be gotten for something @ $200 (getting a PK/A adapter might be a challenge, but as Roy has seen, sometimes things fall into place), and the Vivitar Series 1 70-210 f2.8-4 and f3.5s have been discussed here extensively. Another good one is the Pentax A 70-210 f4 -- there's almost always a few available on ebay, and you should be able to find that can be had reasonably. You can up the ISO to get better shutter speeds, and will probably find that the noise is a reasonable tradeoff to motion blur -- YMMV. There have always been a lot of non-Big 4 3rd party lenses in the 135mm f2.5-2.8 range offered on ebay for low bucks. If cheap enough, one of these might be worth a shot. . .

In AF lenses, the Tokina 80-200 AT-X Pro AF lens though not quite as good as the Sigma or Pentax versions, is a competent lens, and usually sells for significantly less (but it'll still be at least $400-500 used). Note that all the xx-200 f2.8 lenses are very big and heavy! The Sigma 100-300 f4 EX AF is an outstanding lens (if you get a good one), but it's very pricey. Tokina also made a 100-300 f4 in AF, but it's very rarely offered, but very good. I haven't been looking, but there might be the same kind of fast 135mm AF options out there in 3rd party lenses.

Realize that with Pentax's relatively slow AF in lower light situations, you might be better served with a MF lens and use the "prefocus and wait for the subject to come to you" technique.

Scott


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