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Old Nov 20, 2011, 1:06 PM   #1
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Default Upgrade Camera for Indoor Volleyball

HI all. I've been lurking for a while and have been extremely impressed with the experience and knowledge on this forum. It's impressive and incredibly useful when a member has direct experience taking the type of photos with the equipment you're asking about and can post sample pictures and EXIF data.

I have a Canon T2i with 50mm and 85mm F1.8 lenses and have found they are a minimum for shooting indoor volleyball at night at the local Community Services District gym. So far, JohnG's comments have been spot on about 1600 or 3200 ISO, F1.8 to F2.2 and at least 1/500th second shutter speed.

I'm transitioning into daytime games at a Sports Academy gym with combination lighting (from the online pictures I looked at) and not a lot of skylights. I have 2 questions for the members who shoot indoor volleyball if I could ask for your experience and advice.

1. What ISO improvement will I see if I purchase a Canon 1D3 or 4 (not the S model) and (when it comes out) the upcoming full frame 1DX. I know the 1DX isn't out yet but I'm wondering how much of an improvement there is in light gathering (i.e. lower ISO without noise, etc.) between a 1.3 crop body and a full frame camera. I know there are differences in AF between several cameras so trierd to keep this between "sports" type cameras that are all supposed to have top of the line focusing systems. I'm leaving the 7D out because I don't think I would get a huge improvement in light gathering ability between it and my T2i (although I could be wrong on that).

2. It's an old question BUT, is it worth it to try a zoom lens at F2.8 or will I find that I just have to shoot at too high of an ISO to get the shutter speed I need to freeze the action? (i.e. F2.8 isn't wide enough for those lighting conditions).

I know these questions are somewhat subjective but real world experience is hard to beat. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
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Old Nov 20, 2011, 2:49 PM   #2
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You will proably get a 4 stop improvement over your current camera with the 1DX.

2 stops from the bigger sensor and 2 from the generational improvements. So you will likely be able to lose a bit by going to a 2.8 zoom.

Also you are going to get a LOT more shots in focus.
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Old Nov 20, 2011, 7:42 PM   #3
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Thanks peripatetic. I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of this stuff. If I understand you correctly, the 2 stops from a bigger sensor means I could shoot ISO 6400 with a 1DX and get the same noise level as shooting ISO 1600 with my T2i. And then possibly more due to "generational improvements." I'm going through prime lenses with the T2i so far and am studying any good volleyball pics I can find on the web to see how those photographers did it. It's a challenge but fun.
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 8:06 AM   #4
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First, keep in mind the new 1dx won't be available till Spring and expect that it might take months to actually get a copy. Then, realize it will sell for $6000. So, you have to be sure that's in your budget.

I might suggest looking for a used 1d4 on the market. Even a 1dIII like I use will provide a pretty good improvement in ISO performance. I shoot at 3200-6400 and volleyball shots clean up very nicely with it.

And yes, with a camera like that you switch to using a 70-200 2.8 so you're not as limited as you are with the 85mm or 50mm lenses.

Here's an ISO 6400 shot after noise reduction (via Noiseware):
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 9:18 AM   #5
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Yes, while the 85/1.8 may work ok on an APS-C body, it won't work as well for the same things on a 'Full Frame' body.

And, yes, you won't see much of a difference in noise going from a T2i to a 7D.

And lastly, indoor sports is indoor sports, regardless of whether it's light outside or dark. You won't see much difference, if any, when shooting during the day vs. at night.
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 10:02 AM   #6
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One thing to remember is that the T2i/550d is a good low light camera to start with and in doors is indoors it is still under the same light conditions. How much better the the id's will be is not easy to say can the op post some work
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 11:02 AM   #7
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tcav & wave01 - I think you missed the part in the OPs post about there being skylights in the new gym. That DOES make things different. It can be a blessing or a curse. It's good if sunlight falls evenly on the court. It's bad if it falls in 'hot spots' on the floor where you get rectangles of sunlight in certain areas but just darker areas elsewhere. That can be a royal pain in the but - as you end up with different exposures AND different white balance settings.
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 11:49 AM   #8
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yes sorry missed that and it can be a pain one would hope it has been designed well as they can be a pain for players too. lets see some pics
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 11:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
I think you missed the part in the OPs post about there being skylights in the new gym. ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg-M View Post
I'm transitioning into daytime games at a Sports Academy gym with combination lighting ... and not a lot of skylights.[Emphasis mine. -TCav]
No, I didn't miss the part about there being skylights. I think you missed the part about there not being a lot of them.
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Old Nov 21, 2011, 12:32 PM   #10
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TCAV - what matters is the placement of them. If light from one skylight falls in an area where the subject is, it makes a difference whether it's day or night outside when the subject is in that area of the court.

Have you shot basketball in those conditions TCAV? I have.
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