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dartos Oct 29, 2013 5:23 AM

Indoor sports D5100
Hi guys,

I've been reading through some of the threads already on similar topics and I saw several saying that a sample non-flash image can help inform the best lens choice for a particular setting. I'm looking for a better lens for sports than the 18-55mm kit lens which came with my D5100.

Here is a shot I took at the last game. (JPG or NEF)

As an aside, do you guys agree with Ken Rockwell that if you're shooting lots of shots in sports its better to just shoot JPG?

I've been looking at the Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6G VR II DX IF ED but I wonder if it will be much better than my current lens for the $1k investment. The alternative is to try find a used lens, maybe something like the Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8 G ED VR II or similar? What do you think? I'm usually able to get at least front few rows of the stands if not court side but would like to be able to cover the far end of the court if I can.

Thanks, please let me know if you need any further info.

JohnG Oct 29, 2013 6:37 AM

I can't look at your photos because the sites you are using are blocked by my firewall. You mention indoor sports - no, the 18-200 will be pretty useless for indoor sports. Please provide additional info on the sport(s) you want to shoot - what level of play? What sport(s)? Where are you shooting from? Typically in most modern school gyms you'd be looking at 1/400 f2.8 and ISO 3200-6400.

TCav Oct 29, 2013 7:20 AM

The 18-200 isn't very good for most things. What it offers is convenience over image quality. Indoor sports are generally confined to a typical basketball court, so you don't need anything particularly long; 200mm should do it. But because of the low light and to avoid the noise that comes with using a high ISO setting, a large aperture will help get faster shutter speeds that will help prevent motion blur due to subject movement; f/2.8 should do it.

I'd also mention that what you want to shoot will require a faster shutter speed, so image stabilization (VR, VC, OS, etc.) is superfluous for this situation.

But, as JohnG has said, without more detail from you, you can't expect much more detail from us.

SIMON40 Oct 30, 2013 11:54 AM

For indoor sports,the 18-55 would certainly limit you... a great deal... with poor light gathering abilities,little zoom and slow AF....
Something like the 70-200 f/2.8 you mention would be MUCH more useful- and as TCav suggests, stabilization isn't really necessary- though of course can help with framing...

As for the jpeg v RAW... well,the D5100 will shoot longer bursts in jpeg,with the buffer clearing much quicker... so from a speed perspective,yes- a better proposition...

Wall-E Oct 30, 2013 1:31 PM

I've been shooting indoor girls volleyball with my D200 and D2xs.
Neither has high ISO available.
I've been getting pretty good stuff with my 35 1.8 at f2, and my 17-55 2.8 wide open.
Aperture priority, crank the ISO up to H2.0 (about 3200), RAW, custom white balance using the gray card on my color passport, single point/continuous focus, and fire away.

As to the RAW vs JPEG, well, I tried doing JPEG before I figured out how to do a custom white balance, and it turned out AWFUL. The RAW images shot the same way could be rescued.

Yes, I may do a *little* more work shooting RAW, but that means I have more ability to correct things than if they've already been compressed/processed into jpg's.

dartos Nov 2, 2013 11:30 PM

Thanks for all the replies guys! Sorry for my delay getting back, didn't have notification enabled.

JohnG, is there somewhere else I can upload them for you? Happy to put them anywhere.

As for what, its basketball almost exclusively, local, state and national levels. The shots I uploaded were a local game which are always the worst lit, basically on par with a HS gym.

You mention that VR isn't important, are there non VR lenses you'd suggest or is the 70-200 I mentioned a good one to go for with superfluous VR?


Wall-E Nov 4, 2013 1:41 PM


Originally Posted by dartos (Post 1361011)
Thanks for all the replies guys! Sorry for my delay getting back, didn't have notification enabled.

JohnG, is there somewhere else I can upload them for you? Happy to put them anywhere.

As for what, its basketball almost exclusively, local, state and national levels. The shots I uploaded were a local game which are always the worst lit, basically on par with a HS gym.

You mention that VR isn't important, are there non VR lenses you'd suggest or is the 70-200 I mentioned a good one to go for with superfluous VR?



I have the same problem as JohnG.
Don't 'put' them anywhere.
Attach them directly to your post.

JimC Nov 4, 2013 2:18 PM

Guys... just use or similar cloud storage instead.

It's perfect for that kind of thing, and allows you to post links to *any* file type (including raw files), so that others can simply click on a link and download those files, without all of the problems associated with a file sharing service like the OP was using (with captcha needed where you need to enter characters to download something, wait times for the downloads, downloads expiring after a certain amount of time, etc).

That kind of service is very frustrating to users, versus just having a direct link to a file you can click on without all of those types of problems.

I did download the jpeg from the link the OP included. But, I didn't download the nef file, and it's no longer available (and the jpeg link appears to be pointing to a totally different file from someone else now).

Those types of file sharing services are just too much trouble, which is one reason I keep dropbox installed for that kind of thing.

Basically, you install their software on your PCs and you'll have a dropbox folder added under your file manager (Windows Explorer, OS X Finder, etc.).

Then, all you have to do is copy and paste files into in folders under the created dropbox on your PC, and it will automatically copy them to the dropbox file servers in the background.

You can also use it to keep the same files on multiple PCs automatically, since of you setup the same dropbox account name on another PC, those files will automatically stay copied to other PCs you have installed with the same account, as well as having copies of those files on their serivers (and you can even shut down and it will restart where it left off later when you're connected again).

That lets you sync any desired files by putting them into your dropbox folders, so that the same files and folders show up on more than one machine, in addition to being stored in your dropbox folders on their servers.

It's cross platform with software for Windows, Linux, and OS X, and even some mobile phones now (with mobile versions available for IOS and Android.

It also works behind routers and firewalls without needing to enable port forwarding like you would need to do with your own ftp server. They also have a web based interface you can use to upload and download files to/from your folders without using their software.

I have it installed on multiple PCs now.

You can also install it on just one PC if desired, if you don't care about keeping important files synced between multiple devices. That way, the files are kept on your PC and their servers automatically (anything you copy to the dropbox folders on your PC is automatically copied to your dropbox folders on their servers in the background. It's great for important files (if your PC is stolen, damaged, etc., you can still get to any files you copied to the dropbox folders on your PC, since they'll be in your dropbox folders on their servers).

Dropbox gives you 2 GB of storage for free (and they offer more for additional cost) and only takes a minute or two in order to download and install.

You can easily get a "Public URL" for any file your dropbox folders on your PC, so that you can give links to others to download files without them needing to install any software, sign up for anything, log into anything, etc. (they can simply click on the link you give them and use their internet browser to download files you post links to).

That makes it perfect for sharing files with others (docs, spreadsheets, jpeg files, raw files, or any other file type), just by copying them to the dropbox folders (or any subfolders you create) automatically created on your PC when you install the software, right clicking on a file and selecting the menu choice to get a public link, then posting that link in a forum post or e-mail, without any hassles like the file sharing service the OP was using has, as the link is a direct link to a file (of any type), with no extra steps needed to download it other than just clicking on the link.

All it takes to do that is right click on a file you put in one of the dropbox folders on your PC (since files are automatically copied from that folder to the dropbox servers in the background), then use the dropbox choice you'll see in your file manager (Windows Explorer, OS X Finder, etc.), and select "Get Public URL". Then paste that public link into a forum post, e-mail, or PM so that anyone clicking on it can download the file without any hassles like you have with most file sharing services.

That means they don't need to install anything, sign up for anything or see any other screens to get the file. They can just click on it to download it directly.

Get dropbox here:

Again, it's super easy to install and it's free for 2GB of storage that you can use with *ANY* file type.

Heck, I even use it for "hot linking" to images in forum posts now. But, it's perfect for posting links to larger files (raw files, programs, etc.) that others can easily download just by clicking on a link (with no extra steps, no signing up, no typing in characters needed by CAPTCHA, etc.). Personally, I despise file sharing services with extra steps like that, versus just having a direct link to a file like dropbox allows you to give to others.

You can post a *direct* link to any file that way. That's a lot easier than trying to use a service like the OP was using for linking to files. ;-)

There are many other services that can give you the same ability (Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Wuala, and others). But, I've been happy with Dropbox and don't plan to change anytime soon.

If you prefer to keep files private, no problem. But, that means the user on the other end will need to have a dropbox account setup and install the software. That's great when you have multiple people working on a project (like a camera review), so that work done by one member of a team is automatically copied to the computers of other team members.

But, for sharing of files using public links, no extra steps by the receiving party are needed. They don't need to log in to anything, don't need to install anything, don't see any screens in the middle asking for CAPTCHA or trying to sell them something, etc. You can just "right click" on a file on your PC under the Dropbox folder and select the "Get Public Link" menu choice you'll see to get a public link to any file in your dropbox folders and paste it into a forum post, e-mail, etc.

That way, anyone you share that link with via e-mail, forum posts, etc., can just click on that "public" link and have direct access to that file, with no extra steps needed.

JimC Nov 4, 2013 3:33 PM


Originally Posted by JimC (Post 1361121)
Heck, I even use it for "hot linking" to images in forum posts now.

Here's a recent post I made about using dropbox for that purpose (embedding images in forum posts using dropbox as the host server). I also linked to some of the other services you can use for the same purpose (for example, Wuala, Google Drive, Microsoft Sky Drive)

Of course, please don't use those services to embed full size (versus downsized) images in forum posts, as that causes too many issues for members trying to view them (where page load times may be too slow with larger image sizes, with members needing to scroll to see an entire image). Please downsize any images you embed in posts so that they're no more than 1024 pixels on the longest side and try to use a JPEG quality setting of around 80% (or 8 on a scale of 1 to 10) to keep file sizes down, as not everyone has a broadband connection and a larger display.

But, for posting links to full size images (versus embedding them in posts) and RAW files (as the OP was trying to do), it's great for that purpose.

That way, forum members can get to the original, full size files for analysis and comments, by simply clicking on a link (without the problems associated with the file sharing service the OP was trying to use, that required CAPTCHA, etc.)

Those types of services ( and similar cloud based storage offerings) are perfect for posting links to larger files (raw files, full size jpeg files, programs, docs, spreadsheets, etc.) that others can easily download just by clicking on a direct link to the files (with no extra steps, no signing up, no typing in characters needed by CAPTCHA, no screens in the middle trying to sell you anything or trying to get you to sign up for something, etc.), and a number of them give you a lot of storage for free anymore (2GB with and even more with some of the other services).

JimC Nov 4, 2013 4:47 PM


I did download the jpeg image while it was still available. Unfortunately I did not download the nef file before it vanished (the link you posted no longer works), so I could see what the original image looked like.

From what I can tell, that jpeg image was probably processed from raw using Photoshop CS6, and I'm guessing you also brightened it some (which can cause more noise if an image is underexposed to begin with).

It was using an aperture of f/5.3 with a shutter speed of 1/160 second with an ISO Speed of ISO 1600 using Auto Exposure and Auto White Balance with a 43mm Focal Length.

CS6 (which you were using for processing) stripped out all of the more important Maker Notes information from the Metadata. So, I can't tell anything about focus point, etc because it was stripped out by CS6.

But, for starters, your shutter speed is way too slow. IOW, even though I can't tell what the focus point was, it's obvious that the photo has blur from subject movement due to the slower shutter speed used.

Because of the wider focal length (43mm) from too far away, you're trying to cover most of the court, versus ending up with a photo with more detail by zooming in more on a specific subject. But,. with a shutter speed that slow, blur from subject movement would have been much more pronounced if zoomed in more (because the movement would have occurred across a greater percentage of the frame with a longer focal length)

In addition, your use of Auto Exposure is usually a really bad idea in that type of lighting. I was unable to download the original nef file. But, I suspect you brightened the photo to taste using CS6 later, which can add more noise versus a photo that's properly exposed to begin with.

As a general rule of thumb, you'll want to use ISO 3200 with a lens with f/2.8 available in that type of light in order to get shutter speeds up to around 1/400 second with proper exposure.

I'd suggest using Manual Exposure (with a much brighter lens with wider available apertures, meaning lower f/stop numbers) and adjusting settings as needed for proper exposure. That way, your exposure won't be "all over the place" in that kind of environment, depending on how many lights are in a frame, uniform colors, etc. etc. etc.; which can mean you need to brighten some images later using software (which is going to increase noise and degrade image quality), and may have other images that are too bright. With that type of shooting environment (fixed overhead lighting), using manual exposure is usually a much better idea for more consistent exposure.

Of course faster shutter speeds are even better (meaning an even brighter lens or higher ISO speeds). But, it's probably more practical to use a zoom lens with f/2.8 available and shoot at ISO 3200, versus using a fixed focal length lens instead and try to get around 1/400 second at a minimum. That's usually a good starting point for indoor sports, using around 1/400 second at f/2.8 and ISO 3200 in that type of lighting; or around 1/400 second at ISO 1600 if using a brighter prime lens (85mm or 100mm f/2, etc.) with a wider f/2 aperture available). Then adjust as needed from those starting exposure settings (for example, slightly faster shutter speeds if the photos are too bright)

IOW, your idea of using a 70-200mm f/2.8 is a good choice. Sure, it's an expensive lens. But, it's much more suitable for dimmer lighting like that versus a much dimmer lens like you're using. But, you should expect to use ISO 3200 to get shutter speeds that are fast enough for sharper photos with an aperture of f/2.8 in that type of gym lighting.

Forget dimmer lenses with something like f/5 or so available (higher f/stop numbers are much dimmer lenses), as they are not suitable for shooting in that type of lighting, as your shutter speeds will be too slow to freeze most action (especially if zoomed in more on specific players).

You'll also want to use a Custom (versus Auto) White Balance Setting. A Gray Card (or Grey Card depending on your preferred spelling) or even a sheet of matte white photo paper is good for setting White Balance that way (just set a custom white balance "under the lights" on the floor before the action starts). See your camera manual for setting a Custom White Balance. That way, less adjustments to color are needed later, even if shooting RAW (since most raw converters can use the "as shot" white balance you set in camera).

In any event, you may want to post new links to your images if you want more comments (including the original .nef file, not a modified image you corrected with CS6) for better comments and suggestions.

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