Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digital SLR and Interchangeable Lens Cameras > Pentax Lenses

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 31, 2010, 7:26 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
mtclimber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Oregon, USA
Posts: 18,143
Default Fast, Wide Aperture Lens for Hockey Shots

Any suggestions for a fast, wide aperture lens that will zoom out to at least 200mm for my Kx.

Sarah Joyce
mtclimber is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old May 31, 2010, 7:42 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
mtngal's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Frazier Park, CA
Posts: 16,052
Default

Zoom or not? I was impressed with the sample pictures I saw with the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 lens and seriously considered buying it. In the end I ended up buying the DA*200 f2.8 because it was lighter and I found the Tamron too heavy for me to hand-hold comfortably. The DA*200 is such an awesome lens, I love the color and bokeh, but its not a zoom so could be too limiting for hockey.

The Sigma HSM version of the 70-200 f2.8 would probably be the best for hockey though - it seems like the AF is faster than the other two lenses. It's also the heaviest, the reason why I didn't seriously look at it.
mtngal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 1, 2010, 3:11 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Hi Sarah,

It depends on where you're shooting from. I've had a couple of chances to shoot hockey, since I started shooting DSLRs, and was fortunate to be able to be right at rinkside, at the corner on one end, and just to the side of the goal judge's stand at the other. It was a very old building, but still a minor league stadium, so the lighting wasn't the best. I didn't have the lens selection that I have now, but I tried quite a few lenses for focal length. I was surprised how wide I was tending to shoot. For the second game, I chose the Tamron 28-75 for the whole game, but was wanting something both wider and longer. I had the FA 28-105/3.2-4.5, but with the DS, AF wasn't good at f4.5. If you can shoot this close, and only need to cover the offensive zone, something in the 16-50/2.8 range would work. Unless you're just looking for isolation shots of individuals, you probably want wider than 28mm if you're right at the glass near the goal.

This was with the DS, and the wide aperture was needed for anything close to acceptable AF speed. With the Kx, you might be able to get away with something slower than f2.8, since the Kx AF is considerably faster and more light sensitive -- maybe like the Sigma 17-70/2.8-4.5 (older model) or the new 17-70/2.8-4 HSM. The Pentax DA17-70/4 might also work, but whether AF would be good enough at the particular venue depends on the actual lighting, which can vary significantly -- even if they look the same by eye. You might even be able to get away with something like the DA 18-250, using the added DOF at distance as a hedge against focusing speed, but I really think it would be too slow. I also shot another minor league game from an upper level corner (the corners are really the best vantage points at a hockey game) with a Pansonic FZ30 at a much newer stadium, but I had to prefocus on a section of the ice and wait for the action to come to that point and take what came. With the FZ, I had to contend with relatively slow contrast AF and the EVF lag, so following the action was not a real possibility. Of course, face-offs were a natural choice since they start off at a fixed point, and I was lucky enough to attend a game that ended in a shootout, so I was able to get a couple of one-on-one isolations of the shooters and the goalie. Shooting hockey is demanding of both gear and technique.

I didn't shoot any from the stands with the DS, but I'd think something like the DA*50-135/2.8 or one of the 3rd party alternatives could work from reasonably close, and a 70-200/2.8 would be the ticket from farther away. Unfortunately, all of these lenses are a bit pricey. If I had to do again, (with the gear I already have) and had the access, I'd probably go with a 300/2.8 and shoot from the video platform at center ice near the top of the stands (5000 seat arena) using a tripod and gimbal, but that's obviously impractical. . .unless you happen to have this stuff.

With the Kx's AF, if you have an opportunity to experiment, a 70-300/4-5.6, the DA 55-300, or the DA 50-200 might be worth a try if you already have one. . .and the DA 18-55 kit lens would be worth a try if you can shoot from rinkside. The limitations will probably be focusing speed more than shutter speed with the high ISO performance of the sensor. I'd probably shoot at ISO 3200 and up, knowing that I'll be using Topax Denoise 4 for any shots I want to print at over 5x7.

A lot of times, shooting technique can overcome a lot of gear limitations, so you might have to get creative, but that might be preferable to the expense of the fast lenses which also have their cost in size and weight. . . but it's really nice to have the fast alternatives sometimes. . .

Others with more experience might be able to give you better choices -- I have very limited experience here. . .too bad my time with hockey was almost all pre-DSLR days. . .

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 1, 2010, 3:33 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
shoturtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Frankfurt AM
Posts: 11,348
Default

The sigma 70-200 is a faster focusing lens then the tamron 70-200
__________________
Super Frequent Flyer, no joke. Ex Patriot and loving it.
Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
shoturtle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 1, 2010, 5:12 PM   #5
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Even rinkside, you'll end up wanting reach more often than wide. Having a wide angle is more of a luxury. The sigma 70-200 2.8 is probably the best option out there in the Pentax mount. I think you'll be disappointed if you work with an f4-5.6 type lens as shutter speeds aren't the only issue - focus is. An f5.6 lens is going to struggle with focus in low light conditions - much more than an f2.8 lens will.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 2, 2010, 3:09 AM   #6
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Even rinkside, you'll end up wanting reach more often than wide. Having a wide angle is more of a luxury. The sigma 70-200 2.8 is probably the best option out there in the Pentax mount. I think you'll be disappointed if you work with an f4-5.6 type lens as shutter speeds aren't the only issue - focus is. An f5.6 lens is going to struggle with focus in low light conditions - much more than an f2.8 lens will.
Hi John,

Here's the case for the smaller lens than the 70-200. Believe me, I was surprised at this turn of events, and had thought that longer is always better for sports. I believe that this thread is more for a casual sports shooter than for a specialist (and for hockey in particular), and that needs to be kept in mind.

My experience was from 5 years ago. I was able to wrangle some great access to incredibly good vantage points for a couple of minor league games, and I did some experimenting. I was new to DSLRs and only had a few good lenses, so I made do with what I had, my new-at-the-tme DS, Tamron 28-75/2.8, DA 18-55/3.5-5.6, Tamron 70-300/4-5.6, and DA 50-200/4-5.6, and FA 28-105/3.2-4.5.

Luckily, the old barn still used actual glass "glass" instead of plexiglass, which gets so scratched and scuffed to make shooting through it less than ideal, and I could stand so I could shoot with the lens right up to the glass to eliminate reflections, so it couldn't get much better.

I started off with the 50-200, but quickly found that was good for center ice shots of single players, but the action was so quick (the players at this level are usually just a step slower than their AHL or NHL cousins) that isolating single players was difficult, and focusing with the slow lens with a camera which had AF C added as a firmware update was near impossible. I switched to the 28-105 and had better success, and the magnification level was better at center ice, but the focusing speed still left something to be desired (remember this is the DS), so I went with the only constant f2.8 lens I had, the Tamron 28-75. This was my portrait/event lens, so i figured that it would be totally inadequate for reach, but I found out differently.

For a novice shooter, shooting a slow focusing camera, I found the 28-75 almost a perfect match for shooting at rinkside from either the corner or just behind the goal. It might be a little short by professional standards, but being forced to a wider-than-normally-thought-acceptable view was actually better for me as it allowed, at 75mm, to see the plays develop in the viewfinder at center ice, and easily find the puck, which is difficult at best with anything longer. The wider perspective allowed me to follow the action better and get more players into the shot. Even with the 6MP sensor, I could crop the shot for better composition. With the 12 MP sensor and much better AF performance of the Kx, this would even be easier, and AFAIC, easy is the best recommendation for a casual shooter of this genre. In areas of photography where I have no aspirations to greatness, I'll leave the hard stuff to the pros. . . and take what I can get easily. When the action came to my corner, something wider than 28mm would have been really nice. . .

A 28-75 is also a more generally useful lens for more people than a 70-200/2.8. I own a couple of 70-200/2.8 class lenses, and they are the least used of my long lenses by a quite a bit. At a hockey game, holding a 2.5-3 lb lens to the eye for any length of time is certainly not easy, and just not possible for many. In many venues, monopods and tripods are not allowed -- especially at hockey games where potential weapons in the hands of rabid fans is usually frowned upon by management. If you can see any merit to my shorter lens argument, I think that you'd agree that shooting a 70-200 at the short end is not the best investment or idea compared to a 28-75 or 17-70 shot at the same FL.

I think I made it very clear what circumstances that I was recommending these lenses -- for rinkside shooting -- and having watched many amateur games at small rinks, these shooting situations are not unusual since most of the seating is only at center ice, and the corners are usually accessible. Usually you would only really want to shoot "your" team in their offensive zone, or shoot "your" goalie from the side at the goal line, and the coverage at 75mm is definitely adequate for anything inside the blue line if you're shooting from anywhere within the zone. If you need to shoot in a larger arena, this access might not be possible.

My suggestion to try the kit or consumer telezooms, possibly using some "hedge" focusing techniques, was based on the assumption that many people might not want to spent $300-$1000 on a lens that they'd only use occasionally for something that they normally wouldh't be shooting. If one has another use for the fast lens, then this is a perfect rationalization for an LBA spurt. . .

I've attached 4 examples at 75mm, just resized, shot at rinkside at the corner of the ice. These are not great shots--but they provide a perspective of the coverage at 75mm or less, and they could be improved by cropping without sacrificing a lot of resolution. The also show that the light levels were at this very old arena were at about Ev +6 to +8, so freezing motion at ISO 3200-6400 should be no problem at all (these were mostly shot at ISO 400 or 1600 -- exif is attached). Also, at these light levels, AF also shouldn't be too much of a problem for the Kx with an f2.8-4 lens, but I don't have one, so I can't say for sure. If it's as close to the K-7 AF performance as I've read, then it should still be reasonably fast, but definitely close to the edge of a significant performance decrease at Ev 5-6 -- appropriate technique might need to be used to get optimum results.

All shots are from the corner, right up on the glass.
#1 is just outside the blue line, my side of the ice, 75mm.
#2 is on the far side of the ice at the top of the faceoff circle 75mm
#3 is right at the blue line, about center ice 75mm
#4 is just behind the goal 43mm

Scott
Attached Images
    
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 2, 2010, 7:39 AM   #7
Moderator
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 8,529
Default

Scott - it all comes down to what the OP is looking to accomplish. The shots you posted are what I would call fan shots. That's great if you are going to a pro game for instance because there are so many odds stacked against getting good, tight shots. But, on the other hand, if the OP has a grandson playing hockey - those aren't the types of shots you want to capture. Sports shooting is absolutely not easy to do - it takes practice. Now, hockey isn't a sport I shoot. But here are some shots of amateur hockey from non-pro shooters in these threads. I think they're a reasonable goal for a person wanting to shoot amateur hockey:
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?...ghlight=hockey
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?...ghlight=hockey

Now, here's a guy who really has honed his craft - he's a dad who started up a second sports shooting business on the side. This represents, IMO, the best of the weekend warrior type sports shots you could expect (better than anything I could do for sure):
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?...ghlight=hockey
http://www.dgrin.com/showthread.php?...ghlight=hockey

There is nothing wrong with fan shots if one time a year you're going to go to a game. But if it's going to become a regular part of your photography, the goal should be a bit higher. And with sports in general and high ISO sports in particular you can't shoot loose and crop heavily and retain quality. So, it all depends on what level of quality the OP is after.
JohnG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 2, 2010, 1:04 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
snostorm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Chicago Suburb, IL, USA
Posts: 2,770
Default

Hi John,

I agree, and I think you make my point. If one aspires to shooting top quality amateur sports, then any investment is justified, both in time and gear. The second examples you link to were shot with a D700 and a 300/2.8 (which I'm guessing is about a $6500 setup that weighs at least 8 lbs), the first with a D90 and 70-200 VR (maybe around $3000 and 4.5 lbs?). Both need significant investments in gear, plus probably even more importantly lots of time and practice learning the game and how to shoot it. This means that a beginner (even with this higher end gear) would probably suffer a lot of frustration before getting even acceptable results.

My suggestion, considering an entry-level camera body already in hand, would cost on the order of $300-400 (or a total investment of @ $800 and less than 1.1 lbs for the lens), and could give at least acceptable results with little or no practice (I didn't have any), and it should be mentioned again that the DS is probably one of the least capable DSLRs for sports shooting ever made. . .

The lens (Tanron 28-75/2.8) also focuses close, so it's a great flower-sized subject "macro", and has a great range for shooting people in most settings (including events with an external flash) so there's the extra utility factor. A 70-200 is good for some sports, a great zoo lens, and perhaps has some use on an APS-C camera as a long range candids lens, but these are all specialty uses IMO, and usually don't justify the price and weight ($700-$800 and 2.5-3 lbs -- heavier than a 300/4) for most people.

I just wanted to show that the "common knowledge" for gear to shoot sports is not the only way to get some decent shots in a sport that's generally accepted as being hard to shoot because of it's speed and generally dismal lighting conditions. With a Kx, which has very good low light AF performance, and surprisingly clean ISO 3200, I'd say that the smaller lens with some expected cropping would be the one I'd opt for with the understanding that I have no motivation to become the best hockey shooter that I can be.

Scott
snostorm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 3, 2010, 9:03 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
NMRecording's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eastern Appalachains
Posts: 866
Default

If you aspire to become a sports photographer you might have wanted to grab a canon. ;-) I think a 2.8 200mm wide lens such as my carl zeiss jena sonnor would be fast enough but it is heavy and manual focus. IMO if its fast enough for smal perching BIF its fast enough for hockey. This is the nicest quality lens I can attest to because I have not tried the DA* lenses. I do have a ashai 200mm that is very nice as well and very nice IQ. These lenses would be much cheaper than a DA* or other new dslr 2.8 zoom. Again theres probably much nicer lenses out there but the prices seem to be substantially higher and out of my budget. The reccomendations so far seem solid, I believe it all boils down to how much you are willing to spend.

Last edited by NMRecording; Jun 3, 2010 at 9:05 PM.
NMRecording is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 6:09 PM.