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Old Dec 9, 2006, 12:41 PM   #1
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I bought the *ist DL this summer and have a lot of trouble with the auto focus in our school gym. It's a really old gym and the lighting is terrible. I have the F/1.4 50mm lens. It did a nice job when we played in a tournament where the lighting was good, but doesn't help much for home games. Would the K10D focus much more quickly in low light? (I'm assuming the K100D would not be a big enough jump in AF speed, or would it?)

Also, I realize the shake reduction doesn't stop action, but wouldn't it allow me to use a slightly faster shutter speed which in turn would help stop action? Or at least wouldn't it help "sharpen" the pictures when my shutter speeds are low and I shake the camera?

I'm trying to determine if I can stay with the Pentax brand or if I need to switch to one of the other brands which are supposed to be better for sports.Truthfully, I'm not as interested in more "frames per second" asI am in acamera that works well in low light without a flash.

Any suggestions?

Karen
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 1:08 PM   #2
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Hi,



Have you tried shooting with the 50mm without the SR on? That is a small lens and you should not really need it. You can also try moving your ISO up to at least 400 or 800 and adjust the shutter speed as needed.

The K10D is reported faster than the DL. But you should still get the results you are looking for with the camera you have. The basics of shooting in low light will get you in the ballpark, But it is trial and error to get the results you are looking for.



Rudy
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 1:10 PM   #3
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techaide2 wrote:
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Also, I realize the shake reduction doesn't stop action, but wouldn't it allow me to use a slightly faster shutter speed which in turn would help stop action? Or at least wouldn't it help "sharpen" the pictures when my shutter speeds are low and I shake the camera?
Can't comment on AF speed but shake reduction will not allow a higher shutter speed, only a higher ISO would do that. Yes it will make hand held picture sharper (moving players may still be blurred but stationary objects will be sharp giving the pictures an overall sense of motion instead of just looking out of focus.)

Practice is still the best method for improving, remember that top sports photographers up until the late 1980s did not even have autofocus (and sometimes not even auto film advance)

Ira
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 2:30 PM   #4
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bluwing wrote:
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Have you tried shooting with the 50mm without the SR on? That is a small lens and you should not really need it. You can also try moving your ISO up to at least 400 or 800 and adjust the shutter speed as needed.

The K10D is reported faster than the DL. But you should still get the results you are looking for with the camera you have.
The DL does not have SR. My hands shake so I think SR would be beneficial to me regardless of the size of the lens. And, I usually have the ISO set to at least 1600. and still seem to need a slow shutter speed. However, I'm sure you're right that I should be able to get the results I'm after or at least better than I'm getting with my camera. Or, maybe I should say someone with more experience (or talent)would be able to get better results.

Karen
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 4:25 PM   #5
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Can't comment on AF speed but shake reduction will not allow a higher shutter speed, only a higher ISO would do that.
Yes, of course, you're right. You'd never believe the "logic" I used in making that statement so I won't even try to explain it.:lol:
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Practice is still the best method for improving, remember that top sports photographers up until the late 1980s did not even have autofocus (and sometimes not even auto film advance)
Of course, you're right about that, too. On the other hand, if a better camera would make things a bit easier for me, then I would like to upgrade.

The hard part is knowing how much of the problem is me vs. the camera. Sadly, as limited as my experience is, I'm probably the most experienced person at these games. I'd love to be able to hand my camera to someone and have them show me what it's actually capable of in that particular gym. Maybe I should try renting a supposedly better camera to see if it would make a difference.

Thank you for your comments.

Karen
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 4:47 PM   #6
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Hi Karen,

"I'm trying to determine if I can stay with the Pentax brand or if I need to switch to one of the other brands which are supposed to be better for sports.Truthfully, I'm not as interested in more "frames per second" asI am in acamera that works well in low light without a flash."

With an f1.4 lens, that's about as fast as you're going to find from any mfg (unless you want to spend some megabucks and search for the rest of your life), and I doubt that you'll find other mfgs that will give you much better results than you're able to get out of ISO 1600 with your DL, so changing cameras probably would be disappointing (and probably expensive).

Faster AF speed can be worked around by choosing the section of the court that you want to concentrate on (ie around the basket, center court for tip-offs, the free throw line) prefocus at that point in MF mode, then follow the action (even though your subjects will be out of focus while you're doing this), and when they enter your in-focus range take your shots in burst mode. I'd even stop down a little to give more DOF, but not beyond f2.0 ormaybe f2.8. You'll get some motion blur, but I'd rather have shots that are blurred by motion rather than out of focus, but YMMV.

I'm assuming that one of your kids is on the team. Before the game, have him pose on different places on the court and take exposure readings. Put your camera in Manual mode and remember the settings. They shouldn't change during the game, so with focusing and exposure settings out of the way, you can then concentrate on getting the shots that you want. I'd also try ISO 3200 if you still can't get shots that you like. If you can't deal with the noise, try converting to B&W.

As Ira said, it takes practice (and experimentation). The thinking nowadays is that for sports, all you need is the right camera -- I beg to differ -- I once read an article about the switch-over to digital by the Sports Illustrated Photogs. It said that it took almost 6 months of constantly shooting pro sports events before the photographers (obviously some of the best at this specialized segment) were consistently getting the right "moment" in their shots. The problem was the the almost negligable shutter lag (a couple of thousanths of a second at most) that the digital bodies had as opposed to the film bodies that they were used to.

The last alternative is to lobby for a bond issue to install better lighting in the gym :-).

Good luck, and I hope this give you some ideas (and hope).


Scott






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Old Dec 9, 2006, 4:56 PM   #7
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I use a DS for shooting mainly sports and I never use auto focus.

I pick a spot where I know there will be plenty of action and pre-focus manually on that spot. I do take not of the autofucs infdicator in the viewfinder.

One of the criteria in choosing the spot and position is teh composition of any reultant images. The subject needs to fill as much of the frame as possible so that determines where I focus.

For low light situations I prefer to use fast primes, rahter than slow zooms.

My favourite is a Vivitar 200mm f3.

I ALLWAYS use a monopod or some other form of support with the longer lenses.


So while I think shake reduction would be nice I don't think it will make a dramatic difference.
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Old Dec 9, 2006, 7:06 PM   #8
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Scott and Philneast, thanks for the suggestions. I haven't tried pre-focusing on an area. I could certainly save a lot of money if I could learn to do that. The hardest part (for me) will be waiting until the players are where I focused.

I seem to have more trouble with slow focusingnow than I did a few months ago. I initially used a lithium CRV3 battery and then switched to rechargable AA batteries. I wonder if that could be part of the problem? At least that's easy to test.

Karen
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Old Dec 10, 2006, 1:38 PM   #9
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Here is some success with a fast fifty and a Pentax DSLR.

http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=80

Ira
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Old Dec 11, 2006, 10:39 PM   #10
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Hi Karen,

My wife had aDL which got stolen andreplaced with a K100D. I've just bought a K10D last week.

From memory theK100Dis similar in AF speed and FPSto the DL - I could be wrong, we didn't have the DL for long. Using the K10Dlast weekend I noticed that the AF is noticeably quicker.I also noticed that I could get 5 continuous FPS in the fine JPEG mode. I think I could only get 3 with the K100D.

I would think these 2 aspects would be significant for someone shooting sports. They are quite noticeable when compared with the K100D.

If you can, I'd find a retailer with both cameras and take a few shots so you can judge the results for yourself.

Bob


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