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Old Nov 14, 2006, 12:29 AM   #1
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class="post" I am completely new to digital SRL cameras. I was a point and shoot person. I have just purchased the following:

Pentax K100d
Pentax-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL lens
Pentax-DA 1:4-5.6 50-200mm ED lens

I am wanting to capture my girl at her gymnastic meet. I know I will need to use a fast shutter speed and open up my lens as far as it will go (f3.5 is the best I can get). What else will I need to do or setup on the camera to get a good picture? You can not use a flash and we will be around 20-30 yards away.

Thanks for the help

bill :?
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 12:54 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum, billkater!

You'll need to do just what you write, use the largest aperture and fastest speed possible.

Shoot at ISO 800 or 1600. 1600 might get you noisy pictures, but it also might dojust finedepending on circumstances.

Shoot RAW and learn how to use a RAW converter, it's much more forgiving when it comes to white balance and exposure. If you use jpg, experiment with the white balance setting till you get it right.

Try to get close or use the 50-200 at 200 mm, fill the frame with action not with walls and ceilings.

Shoot a lot and have the guts to delete most pictures when you get home and see them on the screen. Don't keep so-so pictures, they only occupie space on your hard drive. Count on a high percentage of shake blur, in a near future you'll be hit by the dreaded LBA and start looking for faster lense like the 50 mm 1.4. For sure the shake reduction on the K100D will be a blessing for you.

Enjoy. Thats not a recommendation, thats an order!

Kjell
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 3:59 AM   #3
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Bill

I recommend you get a noise reduction program such as noise ninja. I regularly shoot sports at ISO 800 and this program reduces the noise considerably.

Even at ISO 1600 a noise reduction program should a produce acceptable results as you may need this to get the shutter speed to capture the action.

For a start would stick with jpegs simply because you can take a lot more shots per card than with RAW.

I use jpegs for sports and RAW for landscapes etc. As Kjell pointed out may you need to take a lot of shots to get the few pearls.

You may like to consider a prime telephoto lens that is a bit faster (wider maximum aperture) than your zooms. There are plenty of second hand lenses to fit your K100D on E-bay or other sources of used gear. These can be quite good value for money.

Check after a few shots what focal length you are using with your zooms then see what primes are available at about that focal length. Remember any lens for a pentax SLR will work on your K100D.

The older ones may not have auto focus but for gymnastics you can manually focus on the apparatus before the competitor starts. The bars, beam and vaulting horse aren't going to move during their routine.

For the floor as routines are set and practiced before the competition work out what where on the mat the highlights of her routine will be and you can be ready to shoot when she gets there.





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Old Nov 14, 2006, 3:26 PM   #4
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philneast wrote:
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for gymnastics you can manually focus on the apparatus before the competitor starts. The bars, beam and vaulting horse aren't going to move during their routine.
Even with a lens that will autofocus, you might think about using manual focus. Shooting my girl at gymnastics and cheerleading, I find that she is an expert at dodging the AF beam, so that the camera focuses on the wall behind her, the pom-pom in front of her, the arm someone waved between her and me, etc.

My percentage of keepers is higher when I manually focus on the area she's standing in, and turn autofocus off.

--Brett
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Old Nov 14, 2006, 8:26 PM   #5
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billkater wrote:
Quote:
class="post" I am completely new to digital SRL cameras. I was a point and shoot person. I have just purchased the following:

Pentax K100d
Pentax-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL lens
Pentax-DA 1:4-5.6 50-200mm ED lens

I am wanting to capture my girl at her gymnastic meet. I know I will need to use a fast shutter speed and open up my lens as far as it will go (f3.5 is the best I can get). What else will I need to do or setup on the camera to get a good picture? You can not use a flash and we will be around 20-30 yards away.

Thanks for the help

bill :?
I don't want to sound too pessimistic. Indoor gym shots are really difficult.

Definitely no harm in trying. But I really doubt if you will be happy with the result. Even with the best equipment and low light lens, it is still very tricky if not impossible.

The other advice above do help to an extent. Do not blame yourself for so so result. I doubt if any experienced Pentaxians in here can improve that much

Daniel

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Old Nov 14, 2006, 11:24 PM   #6
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Don't be afraid to shoot at ISO1600, and if that doesn't work, ISO3200 will suffice for 4x6 prints. The K100D handles noise as well as any camera in it's class.

Also, check out ePrey or your local swap meet for a fast 135mm prime lens (f2.8 or f2.5). I found a Sears version for $5 and it took nice shots. I sold it to a student for the same $5. I currently have a Pentax SMC-A 135mm f2.8. It's a nice lens and with the crop factor, should allow you to get some good shots. You should be able to find one (f2.8 or faster) for around $50. They are manual lenses, but like the previous posts said, just focus on theapparatus in advanceand you'll get the girl during the routine.

This was taken at an NBA game where the lighting will be much better, but I was at the other end of the court about 20 rows up. It was taken with the Pentax 135 at f4.0, 1/160sec, ISO200.



Russ


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Old Nov 15, 2006, 3:06 AM   #7
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Nice!
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 3:08 AM   #8
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First remove the autofocus function from the shutter button - there are settings that will allow it to be controlled by the OK button. Pick a spot - focus on it - determine the depth of field - set the ISO and fire away. Gymnastic apparatus is pretty static - focus on that - let the person come into focus.

Second - know your sport. Anticipate the action and be ready. Look at the old guys - in the "old days" SpeedGraphix were king - (3.5 x 5 in cut film) flash bulbs and slow ASA (before the French) film. One shot - put it the slide, off the carrier, flip it, put it back in, pull out the slide, change the flash bulb. Frame the next image and blast everyone's retinas within 30 feet. (1 frame per 7 seconds - and we complain about not getting higher rates - sheesh) Quite a few prizes were awarded these essentially single shot cameras.

Anticipate where the action is going to take place - keep your camera up to your face - but get rid of the shutter button based autofocus. Pick the center focus point - pick the "thing" you want to be in focus, push the OK button - get into focus. Then let the action come to you - don't sweat it you don't get it right the first time - get as much as you can - throw the garbage out. Just take a moment and watch the other photographers around you - when do they "push the button"? They may know more than you do - feed off their technique.

Shoot at high ISO - know what media you are going to display the results. Worrying about high noise and newspapers or 72dpi web sites with an image that is 3" square max is laughable.

Practice practice practice. Read all you can and ask the guy next to you - geeks like to talk about what they think they know.

PDL
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 7:18 AM   #9
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you also might think about getting a M200 f4 off of ebay. real nice lens wide open and they are fairly cheap. it's a manual only lens tho. the 300 f4 is also a good fast lens for what you pay for it ..

roy
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Old Nov 15, 2006, 8:22 AM   #10
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billkater wrote:
Quote:
class="post" I am completely new to digital SRL cameras. I was a point and shoot person. I have just purchased the following:

Pentax K100d
Pentax-DA 1:3.5-5.6 18-55mm AL lens
Pentax-DA 1:4-5.6 50-200mm ED lens

I am wanting to capture my girl at her gymnastic meet. I know I will need to use a fast shutter speed and open up my lens as far as it will go (f3.5 is the best I can get). What else will I need to do or setup on the camera to get a good picture? You can not use a flash and we will be around 20-30 yards away.

Thanks for the help

bill :?
Bill,

After reading Russ (with stellar pic) and Roy's input, I think the consensus is that fast and inexpensive manual teleprime is the answer. Typically in this situation, you have to set the focus to manual anyway.

Daniel
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