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Old Sep 11, 2006, 11:21 AM   #1
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I am an amateur photographer who recently volunteered to take some sport photos for the college paper. One of the sports I was asked to cover was volleyball. I havea Canon Rebel XT with 2 lenses. A Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, and a Quantary 70-200mm f/4-5.6.

I have been searching around the Internet for a few days, reading up on the problems associated with indoor gymnasium photography. Based on this reading, it sounds like I have one of two solutions:

1) Buy a good flash, which I would prefer not to do as I suspect this may make my presence unwelcome.

2) Buy a lens with a lower f/stop

Since I can take photos from court side, the 70-200mm doesn't seem to be a good choice. That, and the fact that since it's a community college, the lighting is about that of a high school gym.

It sounds like I need something along the lines of a f/1.8, but most of them seem to be expensive. I did find a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 for $75 and wanted to know if you guys thought this lens was a good solution to my problem. I realize this is not a zoom lens, so I'll have to rely on zoom feet. :-)

Any other suggested lenses or tips are definitely welcome. My price range is simple -- as cheap as possible. :-)
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Old Sep 11, 2006, 1:10 PM   #2
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Just thought I would follow up with a sample image of what I was getting.

I was using the following settings:

ISO 1600, Shutter 1/250, Aperature F/5

I felt that I needed the ISO 1600 to help freeze action, but then couldn't go higher than 250 without the photo becoming way too dark. SinceI was using Tv, the aperature was setup authomatically.

Was looking more and found a Sigma 28-70 / 2.8-4 ASPH (no cue what ASPH is) for $119.00. Would this be a better lens?

Also, do those two red dots mean my camera is defective? They appear in EVERY photo regardless of which lense I use.



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Old Sep 12, 2006, 9:35 AM   #3
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The pros use ceiling mounted strobes...

But since you can't access to one, a flash is usually your best bet - much more contrast and saturation this way (and the pictures will look sharper too as a result of this)

-> if you don't want to use flash then a faster lens is your only option - an 85mm f/1.8 (instead of the 50) may be since you're pretty close to the court...
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 10:44 AM   #4
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I have shot indoor volleyball with a 50mm 1.8 and while it was fast enough for good shots in terrible lighting, even courtside wastoo short. I had to shoot in 1600 ISO even at 1.8, so croppingafter the fact to isolate subjects wasn't an ideal approach.

I'd try the 85mm 1.8 if budget allows. about $350 or so if memory serves.
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 10:21 PM   #5
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Matt McMahon wrote:
Quote:
Just thought I would follow up with a sample image of what I was getting.

I was using the following settings:

ISO 1600, Shutter 1/250, Aperature F/5

I felt that I needed the ISO 1600 to help freeze action, but then couldn't go higher than 250 without the photo becoming way too dark. SinceI was using Tv, the aperature was setup authomatically.

Was looking more and found a Sigma 28-70 / 2.8-4 ASPH (no cue what ASPH is) for $119.00. Would this be a better lens?

Also, do those two red dots mean my camera is defective? They appear in EVERY photo regardless of which lense I use.


Settings: First off, Tv is a poor mode to use in low light- either use manual mode or Av mode with a lens wide open. There's quite a bit of noise in your photo and it's still under-exposed. A proper exposure will get you less noise. You MIGHT be able to get a proper exposure with f2.8 and 1/400. But, the Sigma 28-70 is not an ideal solution because it doesn't have HSM - so it's not quick to focus (not quick by sports shooter standards). The 85mm 1.8 is really the best bet but even then it's a bit short.

What you have to decide is: what will you get more use out of - the 85mm 1.8 or a good flash. Quite honestly for newspaper coverage you don't need 50+ images from a match - you only need 10 or less (editors don't want to look through dozens of images to select one) so a flash solution may be better for your purposes. But, what other sports have you agreed to cover? The lenses you have aren't really good for any sports work so the other sports you have to cover may drive your purchasing decisions. You really want to buy the least amount of gear that will cover the most shooting areas. If you'll be shooting basketball or wrestling then the 85mm becomes a good investment. If you're shooting a lot of sports you'll need several pieces of new gear.
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Old Sep 12, 2006, 11:29 PM   #6
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First of all, thanks for all of the replies. I've only had an slr since May, so all the feedback is tremedous help.

Technically speaking, I really shouldn't be spending any money on my camera right now... I kinda need to be saving money, so $350 for a lens isn't something I can do at the moment.

I went ahead and ordered the Sigma 28-70 because I found a brand new on Ebay for $73.90 including shipping costs. I'll try that with my built in flash and manual mode next time. I hope it does good enough...

The other sports I need to cover are all outdoor; women's tennis, women's soccer andmen's soccer. My Quantarary seems to do a good job on soccer, so for now I really only need something extra for volleyball.

As soon as I get the cash, which may be a month or two, I'll invest in the 85mm and a flash.

Here's what I was able to get with the Quantaray, and a little help from Noise Ninja.


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Old Sep 14, 2006, 11:47 AM   #7
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Searched around a bit for this shot from last winter, to show you what I got with the 50mm 1.8. It's a pretty large crop, and at ISO 3200 fairly noisy even after PSing. But I wanted stop action and at 1/1250 I got it...:blah:
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Old Sep 24, 2006, 12:56 AM   #8
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Another consideration is noise reduction software. I hope you don't mind me passing your photo through Noise Ninja ... http://www.picturecode.com

If the settings were more favorable for this picture, it could have looked better.

I have been shooting VB for about 2 years with good results using a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens. Some day, an 85mm will be on my 20D. Not now though, I have other things to spend my money on, and I don't shoot professionally anyway.

My most common settings call for ISO 3200, F2.2, 1/250 - 1/340 with Custom White Balance setting shooting with a digital gray card. No Flash is used. Refs and Coaches, most times, do not want that to be the cause of a missed call or a missed hit. I have been asked to shut off the flash only once. I now ask for permission.

Good luck in your pursuit. VB is very rewarding to shoot.

PS - One more thing. Become a member of www.fmforums.com for learning pointers about sports shooting.
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