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Old Jan 8, 2007, 11:40 PM   #1
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I'm hoping to get some advice from all of you sports/action photographers. I recently met a photographer who is interested in hiring me to help out with his general and sports photography. I don't have much experience but really want to learn. I purchased a Nikon D70S (18-70 kit lens)in October. My questions are:

1. What is a good lens for indoor highschool sports? Is it possible to get something for approx $300? I would be shooting basketball, hockey and volleyball. In the warmer months we'll transition to outdoor sports.

2. What is a resonable wage that I should ask to be paid? I will be using my camera and equipment. I live in the US, Michigan.

I've seen some of JohnG's posts with his Sigma 120-300 and wish I could afford this lens :sad:. Any advice is GREATLY appreciated.

A
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 6:29 AM   #2
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afayec,

The 120-300 2.8 is a fantastic lens but it isn't really suited for indoor sports. For basketball and volleyball you'll want an 85mm 1.8 lens. 50mm is OK but really too short for decent shots. Hockey usually tends to be a bit brighter thanks to the ice, so a 70-200 2.8 is possible. You should be able to get a Nikon 85mm 1.8 for around $400 I think.

How much you should be paid is a tougher question. To be honest, I'm going to assume this guy isn't much of a pro - he's willing to hire someone with no experience and he doesn't care what equipment you use to take photos that will have his company's name on them. That raises a warning bell in my head. Unless of course he is hiring you as an assistant, not as a photographer in which case, that can be a great way to learn. But, how much you should get paid depends on his business - is it a fulltime gig for him? Or is this on the side?
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 9:04 AM   #3
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JohnG - thanks for the advice on the lenses. As for the photographer. He does this on the side. He has a lot of connections with the schools and the sports is something new that he's going to do. He's seen some of the photos I've taken and likes them. I haven't taken any sports/action though. There will be computer work involved also. He wants to take photos and have them put into a slideshow before the end of the game so the parents will see the pics flashing as they leave. I'm going to a basketball game this friday to see what it's like to take the action photos. Any tips on using my 18-70 f3.5-4.5 for this? I'm anxious to get out there and see what it's like. I've been following the posts from futbolmom and have learned a lot from them.

Thanks again.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 9:22 AM   #4
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OK,

Sounds like a good learning opportunity for you. Can't really help on what you should charge - other than you need to balance what you think you will learn vs. what your time is worth to you. Wish I could help you more, but I just don't have any experience with having an assistant.

Unfortunately, your 18-70 lens will not beup to the taskof taking indoor basketball photos. You're going to need the 50mm 1.8 or 85mm 1.8 - I would recommend the 85, but the 50 can get you started until you can afford the 85. It's not a question of quality with regards to your current lens - it's just not capable of the task. You're not going to learn much by trying to use it because the focus will be too poor and either the shutter speeds too slow to stop the action or shots too underexposed to be able to learn anything from the photos you've taken. It's not the same thing as having a consumer grade telephoto to take outdoor sports pics - at least there you can still take some shots and learn. For indoor sports, you need a faster lens - no real way around that.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 2:09 PM   #5
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Thanks JohnG for your input. A couple more questions for you...

1. Do you know how the 85mm performs as a portrait lens?

2. How close will I have to be to the players in a basketball game to get good shots with the 85mm lens? Approx where were you standing for the shots you posted here http://stevesforums.com/forums/view_...mp;forum_id=82?

Thanks for you input, I greatly appreciate it .


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Old Jan 9, 2007, 2:41 PM   #6
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The 85 is a great portrait lens - on a 1.6 crop body though it's pretty much torso and head shots - i.e. it's too long for full body shots. While I don't do portrait work, per se, I do take advantage of this lens for unofficial portrait use:









With the 85mm on a 1.6 crop body the best places are the corners of the baseline (which is where those shots were taken - except for the cheerleader shots). Just outside where the 3 point arc meets the baseline.

It's also good for being a couple rows back and getting shots of the defense inside the arc and the post area.

The troublesome thing is even the Canon cameras, as good as they are, have trouble with servo focusing in low light. They just do. Presumable the 1-series bodies do better. So, don't expect miracles - your keeper rate is going to go down when doing low-light sports work. The same is true when I shoot night time football with my 120-300 2.8. The niht time images are softer. And when you only have a few inches of DOF which is the case with basketball at 2.0 or 1.8, your margin for error is nill. I'd hazard a guess that if I used my 85mm at 2.0 for outdoor basketball I would get easily about a 50% improvement in sharpness of my photos. It certainly works that way with my field shots outdoors.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 2:46 PM   #7
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one follow-up - reach isn't that great with the primes - they weren't designed to focus on subjects 50 feet away. Shooting from the baseline, the 85 is accurate for about 20 feet for moving subjects. Beyond that and my keeper rate goes way down. So action at midcourt is very iffy. In fact I've found it very challenging to get a full body shot of a player with this lens - if they're far enough away their whole body fits in the frame, the focus accuracy really starts to drop off for me. So I try to stick to shots within 15-20 feet and the best shots for mehave beenwithin 10-15 feet. which usually means a torso crop.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 12:54 PM   #8
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A...

As usual John is spot on.For my foray into indoor basketball I purchased a 50mm f/1.4 about $300.00. Since Im shooting 9-12yr olds Im able to pretty much go anywhere on the court and do most of my shooting from behind the basket on both ends and fastbreak shots from the sidelines. I had a chance torent an 85f/1.4 for a week...about $60.00...and found myself not having tomove aroundas much.I liked the "closeness" I was able to achieve without being in their faces but did switch to my 50mm to cover full body action. With the 85 I found I had to stand back to the point where I hadfans running through my shots! Having said that, unless you have unlimited access, the 85mm is your best bet. You might want to consider renting either or both for a week and seeing which works best for your situation.As was alludedto...you definitely need a fast lens otherwise the noise you'll be getting is tremendous and most, if not all, of your shots will be unusable. Good luck and hope to see some of your results.
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Old Jan 10, 2007, 1:35 PM   #9
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Thanks, both of you, for your input. I read on another forum that someone had rented a lens. What types of places rent lenses? I called a local camera store, but they don't rent lenses and didn't have a contact of anyone who does. I would love to rent a lens to try it out.

Thanks

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Old Jan 10, 2007, 2:11 PM   #10
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I rented mine from www.Lensprotogo.com. Incredible customer service, it arrived in a couple of daysand price included shipping both ways. They even offered to let me keep the lens a day or two longer at no additional charge. One other benefit...they didnt place a 1500.00 hold on my credit card as some other places wanted to do.
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