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Old Sep 7, 2007, 6:29 PM   #11
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I don't think a faster lens is necessarily what you need for indoor sports. You're going to have a limited DOF shooting wide open which is going to require a very fast autofocus if you're shooting basketball. Besides you've said that expensive lenses aren't an option but there's still hope, ISO. The Pentax does pretty well at 800 and 1600. Here's a shot from the stands opposite court at a Western Kentucky University game taken with the very inexpensive Pentax 55-200. This was shot at 1600 ISO then cleaned up and cropped in PS Elements.

You can see a few more here http://picasaweb.google.com/bill.guenthner/WKUBBallGame and here http://picasaweb.google.com/bill.guenthner/AllStarGame

I don't pretend that these are great shots but I don't think you can do much better without spending some serious money.

I've recently bought a Tamron 18-250 that I'm very impressed with but I haven't been to any games with it yet. I'll be interested to see how well it does. That lens runs about $500 and is by far the most expensive lens I own.
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Old Sep 7, 2007, 7:58 PM   #12
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as stated ck out the
kiron 80-200

vivitar 70-210 f 3,5 or f2.8-4

tamron SP 80-200

pentax A70-210/4 a very fine lens

for a prime that may work for both situations ck out out the vivitar 200/3.5 in M42 or K mount. I've had 5 of these and it's a real sleeper of a lens. well!! i just cut my throat saying that..

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Old Sep 9, 2007, 2:03 AM   #13
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I'll second the call for bumping the ISO up and shooting a with a bigger DOF. Don't forget to turn on the SR too. I'm also a fan of putting the camera in constant shooting mode (I forget the real name for that mode) and letting the camera snap a half dozen shots in a row. You should be able to get one of the shots to be usable.

My son is way into his sports, so I'm always snapping pics of him playing basketball or football under the conditions you are describing. The gain bump isn't invisible, but it's certainly tolerable for family shots (or stuff you are doing for free).
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Old Sep 9, 2007, 8:55 AM   #14
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Thanks for all of the suggestions. Looks like my watch list on Ebay will be a busy place for a while, lol. Unless I just happen to stumble into an unexpectedly cheap price on an outdoor AF lens, I'm probably going to go the MF route with one, or more, of the lenses suggested. That's the nice thing about the older lenses. The price gives you room to experiment.

I did some test shots this week at a pep rally in the gym where I'll most likely shoot volleyball and basketball. The f2.8 135mm simply wasn't fast enough, even with ISO bumped up to 1600. I got decently lit shots with a MF f2.0 50mm. They were crisp, when focus was on-target, and I got a large enough image with which to work when I was working courtside. The difficulty was getting the lens consistently focused with such a shallow DOF.

I decided to go ahead and order the f1.4 SMCP FA-50mm. I'm not sure it's the final answer for sports shooting, but it's a good lens that I can use in a number of settings. In the meantime, I got a chance to see what the 135mm would do in a stadium with decent lighting. This shot was taken at ISO 1600 with EC bumped down to -0.3 to increase shutter speed. (cleaned up some with Noiseware)

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