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Old Aug 12, 2006, 2:37 PM   #1
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Hello Everyone,

I'm new to photography. I have always used point and shoot digital cameras. But I recently received a Canon 30D as a gift. I'd like to take indoor high school basketball photos of my son. I've never had any luck with the point and shoot in auto mode. I know there are many other variables to take into consideration here but I'd like some advice on what lens to use for this. I'm on a budget and am looking for a lens in the $600 or under range. Anyone willing to provide settings info would be greatly appreciated as well.

One last question. Does a lens with image stabilization lend itself well to this type of photography? Thanks
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 10:30 PM   #2
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Firstly, you don't need image stabilisation as your subjects will be moving. Any shutter speed fast enough to stop them will also be fast enough to stop camera shake (which is what IS is used for).
What you need is a fast lens. Which lens depends upon just how close you are to the action.
Ideally I guess you would get a 70-200f2.8 which would cover pretty much the whole zoom range you need and should be fast enough. New, the cheapest is a sigma and it's just a little bit out of your price range.
A very cheap option is a 50mmf1.8. This is a pretty quick lens and is incredibly cheap at well under $100. This would be great if you can get close enough to the court.
There are other fast primes between 50 and 200mm but they are nowhere near as cheap as the 50 and you may want to blow your budget and get the 70-200 instead as it's a lot more versatile and is a lens you will never regret owning.
If you know the equivalent focal lengths that you use most with your P&S this will be a pretty good guide to what to buy. Take the 35mm equivalent focal length and divide by 1.6 to allow for the 30D's crop factor to get the length of lens you need.
Settings wise, you will probably need to use ISO1600 and your lense's widest aperture to get a fast enough shutter speed. If you can stop the players (ie have no motion blur in your pics) then turn down the iso a bit to reduce noise and see how that goes. Closing the aperture slightly will increase depth of field and help if your camera has trouble focusing accurately enough, but generally you want shallow depth of field to blur the background and make your subject really stand out. Widest aperture also helps with shutter speed.
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 8:00 AM   #3
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Jacks that's some great information. I do appreciate it. As far as my location to the action, I'll probably be close to courtside. I did a little research on your recommendation of the 50mm f/1.8 and also found an 85mmf/1.8which I assume would allow me to be farther back from the action.

Newbie question here. I see lenses with ranges such as the Sigma you mentioned 70-200mm f/2.8 While the 50mm lens does not show a range. What does this mean?

Also i notice the Sigma lens has a focus control description of "two touch" while a comparable Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 ($200 less) has a focus control listed as "non-applicable". Can some explain this difference please.

I may have to break budget and go with the 70-200 lens. . I'm sure my wife will understand. .

And also thanks for the settings info.


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Old Aug 13, 2006, 9:19 AM   #4
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The 50mm and 85mm lenses mentioned are prime lenses. This means that they do not zoom. You have one focal length and if you want more or less in your pictures then you have to walk backwards or forwards. The 70-200 is a zoom so it can zoom in to 200mm (medium telephoto) and out to 70mm (slight tele, nearer a normal magnification).
What other lens are you talking about? Canon make a 70-200f2.8 and also a 70-200f2.8 with IS, but they are, respectively, more expensive and much more expensive than the sigma.
From courtside you may be able to use the 50mm. It's so cheap that it's definitely worth buying. With the 30D you have plenty of pixels you can crop out if the lens doesn't have enough magnification. If you want pics for the computer screen or just standard prints then this would be fine and let you learn how to use your camera without blowing a lot of dough.
Do a search on this forum for basketball and see what lenses and results others have got. I'm sure there would be some school basketball snaps here somewhere.
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 2:58 PM   #5
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If you 're in no hurry Sigma has a new 50-150mm f/2.8 lens with HSM which might be cheaper than the 70-200:
... and for people who always complained about the weight of an f/2.8 - This 'digital' lens is lighter! (and probably sharper too!!!)
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=00HQmu
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 9:18 PM   #6
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http://www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/len...mp;navigator=6

Hadn't seen that before, NHL. Could be on my xmas list...
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Old Aug 14, 2006, 7:08 AM   #7
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Soliz39,

A 2.8 lens is most likely not going to be good enough for high school basketball. Not many gyms are bright enough - some are, but most are not.

The 85mm 1.8 is the lens of choice as long as you're shooting from the baseline. It's extremely fast focusing and a good range on the 1.6x crop body.

The 50mm 1.8 is the second choice but it's slower to focus and obviously doesn't have as much reach.

The good news is the 85mm 1.8 is only around $350 so quite a bit less than a 70-200 and it's gauranteed to work - again, assuming you're on the floor.

If you want to shoot from the stands, that becomes more problematic. You need a prime lens since Canon doesn't have any zooms with an aperture of 2.0 or better. So, you're stuck picking a focal length and trying to get a seat in the right location.

But if you're serious about taking photos you need to do it from the floor - most high schools will allow that up until playoff time so access shouldn't be an issue.

For settings:

1. Set a custom WB (read in the manual how to do this)

2. Set ISO to 1600

3. For starters, until you're used to shooting, start in Aperture priority mode. Start at 2.8 and keep going to a higher aperture (lower f-stop - e.t. 2.4, 2.0, etc) until you get shutter speeds around 1/500. I don't suggest going below 2.0 (even if you have a 1.8 lens) - and hopefully you can stop around 2.2.

4. Adjust ISO to 3200 if you need to to get the shutter speeds close to 1/500. 1/320 should be you minimum acceptable speed - you'll still get some hand/foot and ball blur at that speed but torso and face will be well frozen.

5. Make sure the camera is in AI-Servo mode multi-shot mode.

6. Put camera in center-weighted metering (as opposed to evaluative - you don't care how the background is exposed)

7. You'll have a very shallow depth of field (meaning only a few inches will be in focus anything in front or behind that focus plane will start to be blurred) so, use only the center focus point. This is the most accurate focus point and will give you the most control to ensure the camera focuses on what you want it to. But it also means you have to keep that single focus point on your subject. You want faces in focus, but those are very difficult to track - it's much easier to track the chest and it's a fairly close focal plain to the face - especially from the front. So track the chest.

8. 75+ % of your shots will be taken in portrait orientation - so either get used to holding/shooting like that - this is where a vertical battery grip comes in handy because it will have a shutter release button that will rotate to the top right of the camera in portrait orientation which is a more natural shooting position.

9. Finally, don't bother with action down at the other end of the court - just concentrate on action around the key at your end. If you want to get defensive shots then position yourself at the other end to get them.

10. Invest in some good noise reduction software - I use Noiseware Professional - but neatimage and noise ninja are also good programs. Practice with the software ahead of time so you can develop a deft touch - many people use too much noise reduction software which destroys too much detail and you end up with people that look like they're made out of plastic.

You want to shoot from a sitting or kneeling position rather than a standing position - as an upward angle just looks more attractive than a downward and it will help with keeping you from cutting off the feet.

I think that's good enough to get you started. It's going to be tough - especially with the shallow DOF so don't get discouraged. It will take you several games to get used to it and probably the entire season before you're good - so you may want to practice during practices.
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Old Aug 14, 2006, 8:19 AM   #8
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Thanks for the insight NHL. Might be worth the wait.
NHL wrote:
Quote:
If you 're in no hurry Sigma has a new 50-150mm f/2.8 lens with HSM which might be cheaper than the 70-200:
... and for people who always complained about the weight of an f/2.8 - This 'digital' lens is lighter! (and probably sharper too!!!)
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-...?msg_id=00HQmu
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Old Aug 14, 2006, 8:25 AM   #9
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JohnG the tips are greatly appreciated. I'm almost postive I'll be picking up the 85mm 1.8 and also one of the other 2 zooms talked about (70-200 or 50-150). . . just because. :G

This is a great forum with much insight. I'll definitelyu be back and show some shots I take. . . probably later in the year after I figure it all out. :O

Thanks again guys. The guidance is both needed and appreciated.
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Old Aug 14, 2006, 5:58 PM   #10
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When following these lens conversations, I like to then go research the lenses and their respective costs. Where are some of the sites you guys buy from? bhphotovideo is one I visit but don't seem to see a very extensive collection. neither prime mentioned here, as an example. where else??
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