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Old Nov 22, 2006, 9:59 AM   #1
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Ive been tryiing to shoot basketball indoorswith a Nikon D1X and a Nikon 50mm f/1.4. My current lineup is: a 24-120 f/3.5, and an 80-400 f/4.5 VR. Im ready for my next lens and Ive narrowed my choices down to the following Nikons:

(1)---85 f/1.4

(2)---105 f/2.0

(3)---135 f/2.0

(4)---70-200 f/2.8 VR-

(5)---any other suggestions

With the 50 Im finding that Im only capable of shooting 1/2 the game and doing alot of walking back and forth. Im willing to back off the floor in order to be able to shoot both sides of the ball. This is 6th grade ball so access to the court isnt an issue. Most timesIm able to stand under the basket. Just a little background info: My first love is outdoor nature shooting, landscapes, buildings, animals,etc...Id like to get intoshooting alot more outdoor motorsports and recently have gotten into High School football, usually played at night.My thinking is as follows, get the 105 for basketball/volleyball/swimming(which I was inspired to try from some of the shots posted here), and get the 70-200 later this year for the football.A large percentage of the gyms my 6th graders play are very poorly lit, usually necessating shooting at 1.8-2.0 @1600. I havent had much success in clearing up the noise when shooting at 3200, so Im trying to stay away from that. The High school gyms are much better lit. Last week I was able to shoot at 2.8+ @800. Ideally I would like for the 70-200 to be my choice but am hesitant becauseof the poor lighting with which Im faced.All suggestions would be considered so please feel free to step outside of my parameters. Sorry for the long-winded post.
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Old Nov 22, 2006, 10:35 AM   #2
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My choice would be to stay with the 50mm lens. I shoot all my basketball with a Canon 50mm F1.8 lens. Because of the close quarters (I know all about that) have you considered a 28-50 or 28-70 f/2.8 zoom? AS for outdoor sports the 70-200 would be a good choice of the ones you have listed but I think something in the 70-300 or 400 range would do you better. Most of all get what you are comfortable with. Have fun!
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Old Nov 22, 2006, 1:52 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply K1. I was wondering if a longer lens would be of any more benefit for basketball. After all, I have only one camera body and another prime would just mean exchanging lenses all the time. I just have an itch in my wallet and Im looking to scratch it, if you know whatI mean. Thanks for your input.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 6:15 AM   #4
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DRGSin, I would not go for a zoom indoors unless you have a fantastically bright gym to work in. I have no choice as I don't have a prime but I will be looking at Canons 85mm f1.8 for indoor work. If you want more court coverage consider one of the longer primes IMHO. You say that you manged to use 2.8 at 800, but did you have to raise levels/curves for good results or were these exposed correctly first time? I guess that you had to increase the levels which is not goingto help the final result and you are better off getting a good exposure first time otherwise noise is far worse. As for field sports the 70-200 is a good choice although not too much range, if you get afford the cost have a look at the Sigma 120-300 which is very nice and will turn into a great 168-420mm f4 with a 1.4x telecon.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 11:49 AM   #5
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Here's my take.

105mm is a bit odd length. As mentioned 85mm is great for basketball and near volleyball. Then the 135mm. IMO 85mm and 135mm is a great indoor shooting combo. I would also recommend against a zoom for indoor sports below college level. For outdoor sports, it depends on the sport. The 70-200 2.8 is a great start - just get a TC for use during good lighting as 200mm is a little short.

I find that 200mm is good for about 25 yards, 300mm for 40 yards and 400mm good for about 50 yards if you want sharp photos with close crops. Outside of those ranges your ability to frame/crop tight to the action and retain sharp photos really goes down. The 70-200 plus 1.4 TC really gives you the most flexibility. You'll definitely want the 280mm reach or more for motorsports.

But, for a complete list, here's how I would rank outdoor sports lenses:

Canon 300mm 2.8

Sigma 120-300 2.8

Sigma 100-300 4.0 (unless night sports - so not a good option for you)

Canon 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC

Sigma 70-200 2.8 plus 1.4x TC

Canon 100-400

Canon 70-300

Bottom line - there is no single 'sports lens' - each sport requires something different and indoor and outdoors are COMPLETELY different. The 70-200 is a very good start for outdoor sports but not good for indoors. I would think your 80-400 could hold you over for motorsports and you can continue to use the 50mm for basketball. So, my advice would be go for the football lens - whichever option you can afford (120-300 or 70-200 plus TC) then come back later and buy a better indoor lens.

By the way, I don't think 1.4 buys you anything as a sports lens. Get the 85mm 1.8 and save some money there.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 12:46 PM   #6
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What about the Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 zoom? I have it but have not had the chance to use it for basketball yet. Pro's ~v~ Con's Will it do good for basketball and maybe be the lens for DGRSin?
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 3:27 PM   #7
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2.8 is too slow for most high school gyms. In addition the Sigma lens is lacking HSM (Sigma's fast focusing motor) so it's not an ideal sports lens. From the couple serious sports shooters I've talked to that used it - it does well enough in good light but it's slow in low light (compared to other 2.8 lenses with better focusing). So if you already have the lens it's worth trying. But I would never recommend buying ANY 2.8 lens for low level (below college) indoor sports - much less without HSM, USM or whatever fast focusing mechanism the manufacturer has.
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Old Nov 23, 2006, 3:44 PM   #8
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Hello i'mquite new to digital photography. Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't Nikon stick with the 35mmm format with there lenses and so a ratio of approx 1.5 come into effect for digital slr's including the D1?, if so then something like a sigma or nikon 50 - 105mm f2.8 would cover the 80 - 200mm of a canon lens!! please help me understand the format as i have a nikon d100 and want to purchase further lense!!:-?


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Old Nov 24, 2006, 4:34 AM   #9
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Well, it's not true to say you will have more reach with a nikon than a canon.

All new nikons are 1.5 and I believe your camera is the same. Canons are 1:1 with the more expensive cameras (5D/1D) and 1.6 for the others.
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Old Nov 24, 2006, 1:15 PM   #10
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Hi Graham,

Basically with a Nikon you multiply the focal length by 1.5 so a 50mm lens appears to have the same focal length as a 75mm lens in 35mm (actually it's focal length is still 50mm but we won't worry about the terminology used) and a 100mm is equivalent to 150mm and so on.

Steven,you are going to hate me as you were so close with the Canon's but missed that there are differences in the current 1D models. The 1Ds Mark II is full frame but the 1Ds Mark IIN (the sport and reportage shooters choice - and the one I would like - is 1.3x)......:blah::blah::blah:hehe!!

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