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Old Dec 5, 2004, 6:29 AM   #1
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OK, first this is an inaugural game for me. At my disposal I have the 50-1.8, and the 85-1.8. Baseline to wall is about 7ft. in the shooting area. The lighting is giving me at best the 1.8 with between 160 to 200 shutterspeed between both lenses. As I look at the practice pictures the focusing is terrible. Although the green ready beeps, my images are fuzzy.Im assuming the shutter is not stopping motion or camera shake.Or is there another setting for the focus in the manual that I missed. I noticed in another post something about setting the auto focus.Would the best angle be shooting coming toward the basket, and picking 1 subject to focus on with these particular lenses. And also would a monopod help, even with these lenses. MurphyC I know you haveused the 50-1.8. Can you help me with something. My game is 4PM Monday.

Thanks
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Old Dec 5, 2004, 8:21 AM   #2
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Some other specifics to get some help. The ISO for the Shutter & Aperature i was praticing was 1000 to 1600. I also noticed the subject I was focusing was blurred but the far background was sharp at 1.8. My gut feeling is im not setting the lense properly.
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Old Dec 6, 2004, 11:18 PM   #3
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Here are a couple of high school basketball shots that were handy. Both are pretty much out of the camera.

This was my favorite shot with the 50mm f/1.4 at f/1.8 from this past weekend.

http://collins-home.com/gallery/albu.../DSC_2289a.jpg

This was from a 50mm f/1.8 at f/2.0 if memory serves...

http://collins-home.com/gallery/albu...r/DSC_1384.jpg

What you have to think about in focussing is that you are dealing with trying to track a fast moving target, with a razor thing depth of field, with a small point of focus, and continuous focus, and then avoid not shaking the camera when you fire... while barely having enough shutter speed anyways, and set to a high ISO which is likely to produce noise. All of that means your opportunity to mess up a shot is high. I have a lot of very nicely composed shots, where the wall is in perfect focus.

It certainly helps the focussing to catch the players coming head on at you, but I think I've had the best success standing in the corners. Under the basket is kind of close and the basket is in the way if you are trying to get them going up. The corners are good because you can get them on a break coming at you, or get them crossing the court for a layup. This is also close enough to get jump ball situations under the basket. You definitely want to focus on one subject and follow them, or try to predict where they'll be. I use continuous focus, single point.... that means that you really need to stay on your target. If you just point into space, it is going to focus on the wall... and the lens isn't fast enough at focussing to refocus on the player when they run through the viewfinder. I also use aperature priority, and usualy go a little above wide open... not necessarily a full stop. I set ISO to the point that gets me at least 1/200 shutter speed.

White balance is another nasty problem I've not solved. Some of the gyms have really messed up lighting that varies dramatically from one spot to the other. You can be following a player for a series of shots and have the white balance off from one to the other. I currently set it on auto, and then deal with it in Nikon Capture since I'm shooting RAW. I just got a good grey card and my plan is to try making reference shots from the corners I'll shoot in before the game. Then I can use those to set the White Balance in Capture if I can't get it otherwise.

Beyond that, it helps to watch the same team for game after game... you start to pick up plays and predict how the different players are going to act.


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Old Dec 7, 2004, 1:27 AM   #4
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bern, hopefully you saw my post in the other thread about my sports shooting last weekend. I shot another basketball game Monday, this time in a MS gym. Believe I shot in M mode, aperature 1.8 shutter 1/320 and ISO at 1600 most of the time. Alternated between various WB settings, lighting didn't seem to bounce around as much as it did Sunday. I'm going through the photos now, higher % of keepers than yesterday. Only problem was there was maybe a foot between the line and wall. The side I started on was the walkway for people entering the gym so I kept having to let people walk by in front. I changed to the other side of the gym ASAP. It would be really nice if the paper sent one of their photogs out for a game so I could spend a whole game experimenting then looking at pics on screen (as opposed to the camera's small playback screen) to see what worked.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 1:18 PM   #5
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Well it has come and gone. And regretfully it was no easy chore.Trying to shoot this first basketball game for money was like learning photography all over again.:?The fortunate thing is I have more games before I turn in the product. This Community college has no activity photos of their sports teams, so I actually could pass offsome of these shots that I took . But im truly not satisfied. Almost embarrass for myself. You guys are so right on with your imput. Although it was after the fact I experienced every bit of what I read in your post. I panicked, and commited the sin of shooting flash with permission from the authorities. Although it did help freeze some shots, in many the angle caused the ill-fated ghost shadows. Im trying to figure if I froze a shot at the near in of the basket how come I see a shadow behind all the players, which makes it look like the far wall was just behind them.

What I was able to findout was indeed it is the technic of focus moreso then the brightness of the lens. My best shot turnout to be the very first shots I was taking on 'M' shooting 1.8 around 160-250 before I even switched to flash. Indeed the lighting was changing everywhere I moved. I also foundout the best angle was corner baseline just like convergent said. Now I wish I had just consentrated on focusing and stayed shooting manual. Would you think a monopod would be too restricting and too much diverting from consentrating on focusing. Or would it be a much more asset helping freezing the subjects.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 2:19 PM   #6
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bern, were you using your 50 or 85? In looking at my shots, there were enough shots where an 85 would have been helpful I'll probably end up getting one (esp. due to current rebate). With the 85 I will probably stand by the corner as convergent suggested since 85 would be too tight under the basket. I believe (can't say for sure since I don't have it yet) the 85 should be a faster focusing lens than the 50 which would certainly help matters. That, combined with the extra reach, would allow you to pick up action (i.e. a layup coming at you) sooner and thus get more shots.
If I got the 85, I might just have the 85 on one camera and the 50 on the other, since I don't know if gyms like the ones I had the last two days would be bright enough for a 2.8 lens to be used without flash. The 2.8 probably would have worked Friday since that was a main HS gym.
As for flash, another thing to consider is the ability to do sequences. Without flash, you can fire off a big sequence with no problem. The pics wouldn't necessarily all be keepers, but you'd have a shot. Using flash, you have to keep in mind recycle time. It's probably not recommended you do 3 or 5 fps with the flash, if your flash would even be able to do that.
As for a monopod, I don't know how much good that would do simply because it would hinder/slow you down if you needed to get out of there stat. If the ball is coming right at you and two players are charging after it, you'll need to move quickly and IMO the monopod would slow you down, especially if you have limited room to run. As I mentioned in my previous post, the gym I shot in yesterday had maybe a foot between the end of the court and the wall. The back of the backboard (right above where I was standing) was still inbounds, so at one point both teams crowded the area as the ball bounced around. I had to quickly escape in a narrow area, and a monopod would have made things much more difficult I feel.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 2:24 PM   #7
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bern, since you're shooting a community college I would suggest finding when the team has its practices. Shoot the practices and try out different settings/techniques. If that won't work into your timing, at least try to get to the game early so you can do some practice during warmups.
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 5:00 PM   #8
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Murphy, I started with the 50, then I tried the 85. Between the action going onand my own unassurity (apprehension) I found the 85 a bit too tight for this situation. Thats only because I panicked like I said and went to the flash with the 28-75. I really couldnt get into somekind of pattern of switching situations with the lenses, So Once I went flash I basicly finished out.

Thanks for the suggestion with the monopod. InfactI dont see how possible the D-70 could feel anymore relaxed in my hand. One problem im having in the early stages is keeping one eye in the viewfinder to focus and the other eye trying to follow action. That keeps from a perfectly steady hand. But that comes with practice i know.

Sometimes I get into a string of haste makes waste. Well I picked up the 50 1.8 last Wed. Well after Monday I took it back and got a 1.4. For what im going to get paid it was worth getting the faster lense.

The team has one more game before the holidays and thats Wed. inwhich I had a commitment. I told the coach I would make some arrangements with their schedulealong the lines of what you suggested the first of the year. Thats another thing that makes this gig more enjoyable then stressful.

Thanks buddy, keep me informed
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Old Dec 7, 2004, 11:45 PM   #9
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Why did you trade up for the 50/1.4 already? If you can afford it certainly feel free to move up to a $150 more expensive lens, but why did you give up on the 1.8 so quick?
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Old Dec 8, 2004, 10:48 AM   #10
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Well Murphy it probably had more to do with me panicking from a first gym thats probably darking then any other gym I'll be in. I did get a really, really nice shot with the 50 1.8, but I believe I was at my max with the shutter speed. I figure the 1.4 will give me more flexibility with some DOF, along with the fact I already got paid so I had the money anyway. I guess it was to my advantage.
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