Hockey Action - K5 AF Performance (7 photos)

Started Mar 24, 2012 | Discussions thread
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jm_mac
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Hockey Action - K5 AF Performance (7 photos)
Mar 24, 2012

Hi All,

I wanted to get the forum's input regarding low-light indoor action shooting (ice hockey in particular, but any relevant information is also appreciated). I've been using first a K20D + Sigma 50-150mm, now a K5 + Sigma 50-150mm for my low-light action shooting (junior hockey). The K20D with this lens actually performed pretty well w.r.t. focusing (sensor noise was another matter). The K5D even better!

I wanted to show a sequence here that I took with the K5 + 50-150mm. I am very satisfied with this sequence. The skater was skating pretty much toward me, light was low, and out of a sequence of 7 shots there was only one that was definitely out of focus (maybe a couple of others that were slightly out of focus). The one thing that I know I could have done to improve these photos is to decrease the ISO to about 1200-1600. When I took these photos, the rink was better lit than normal, so I bumped the ISO higher than I needed. Still, noise is much better controlled than in the K20D!

Camera was in AF-C, F2.8, ISO2500, handheld. Center focus point was used, and I attempted to keep it on the center of the skater's jersey (not the best spot I realize due to lack of contrast). I erased the skater's face (for his privacy), but you can check focus on the logos on the hockey player's uniform). Originals were taken in Raw, converted to TIFF, then the colors were fixed, slight crop, slight sharpened, then save to JPEG. Plus, the lights were tungsten (the original raw photos had a neat, old-fashioned sepia-type of cast to them). I think this sequence proves that my camera can do action, and it can focus in tungsten lighting.

So here are the photos and some questions for the forum:

1. What do you think, is the focusing performance of this rig acceptable under these conditions? (I think it was) Remember, the hockey player was skating towards me, so this is a test of the K5's focus tracking (I have never had a problem with lateral movement with any of my DSLRs). If this is not acceptable performance, any suggestions on a lens that may be better? I was considering something longer like the Sigma 100-300mm F4, if I can get one. How about useful camera/lens settings and/or techniques?

2. I was shooting through glass, hence the blotches in the photos - any ideas on how to work around this besides trying to find a spot without so many scuffs on the glass?

3. How about advice on shooting through the net (the one above the glass, not the goal net)? I didn't post any photos of this, but after shooting through the net during several other sessions, I decided that it's impossible to get decent photos through the hockey net... or is it? Any ideas?

4. Any other ice hockey shooting tips? Or general indoor low-light indoor action shooting tips?

Thanks all! Like I said, these are practice shots, but I want to be ready when the real hockey games start!

 jm_mac's gear list:jm_mac's gear list
Nikon D40X Nikon D7000 Pentax K-5 Pentax K-01 Canon EOS M +14 more
Pentax K20D Pentax K-5
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