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Old Feb 24, 2007, 5:31 AM   #1
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As a newenthustist to photography I am struggling with getting the right mix of settings to achieve frozen action withindoor basketball. Although to confess up front I have only todaystarted to experiment with a new lens.

OK -I have a AF-S 70-200 F/2.8VR IF. Now with my first outing today Ileft everything up to automatic withvery mixed result. Mostly the shots defaultedto f/2.8 withbetween 1/30 - 1/60 shutter & ISO 200 (there was very good natural lighting frommutiple skylights).

The biggest 'problem' though' is that while theprincipal player is in focus, the rest of the players where blurred.

Now from an earlier post I have read I should be using Shutter Priority at around 1/500. If I use this then I suspect the appeture will go to f/2.8 and I will still be left with poor DoF. If a stop down to f/8 or lower and lift shutter speed I am hoping I can overcome the DoF problem.

The question/request from anyone that can assist is do you have a matrixof 'ideal' settings mix, including metering, single or continous focus, ISO, etc. The camerais a D100.

Finally I know that 70-200 is not the best for basketball certainlynot from 4 feet from the sideline. For wider shots I think I will have to look at buyingeither;

a) AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28-70mm f/2.8D IF-ED or

b)AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF

or perhaps even a prime lens such as AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.

My second question then is that ifI go only down to a 50mm prime will this make any significant difference over the existing 70-200mm in terms of getting everything under the basket, as well as the basket and the inner ring in the shot or do I really need the 17mm.

Many thanks in advance to those that respond.





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Old Feb 24, 2007, 4:12 PM   #2
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The biggest issue when shooting indoor sports is lack of light. You're right in assuming the camera will select the widest aperature, as gym lighting is very dark (at least to the camera). Wide aperatures do result in less DOF. Just selecting a faster shutter speed, will only result in even darker images, as you will end up underexposing the shot. You will likely need to shoot a least 1600 iso, or even higher if your camera allows it. This makes the camera more sensitive to light, allowing smaller aperatures/faster shutter speeds. Flash would help alot, but I wouldn't recommend using it in a gym as it can be a distraction, and is generally frowned upon. Since each gym is different, you'll have to play with settings to see what the smallest aperature will allow a shutter speed of 1/250 or better, which should be enough to freeze the action. I rarely shoot in shutter priority as you can easily exceed the camera's exposure limits by selecting a shutter speed to fast. Just select aperature you want, and play with the Iso until you get a shutter speed that's acceptable.

In terms of lenses, bright primes work well, but shooting wide open will result in less DOF than even your f2.8 zooms. I think even the 50mm may be a bit long for what you're hoping to do, although it is wider than the lens you're currently using. The 28-70 is only a 42-105 after the crop factor so, this isn't truly wide either, making the 17-55 probably your best bet.

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Old Feb 24, 2007, 6:40 PM   #3
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sydneykiwi wrote:
Quote:
OK -I have a AF-S 70-200 F/2.8VR IF. Now with my first outing today Ileft everything up to automatic withvery mixed result. Mostly the shots defaultedto f/2.8 withbetween 1/30 - 1/60 shutter & ISO 200 (there was very good natural lighting frommutiple skylights).

The biggest 'problem' though' is that while theprincipal player is in focus, the rest of the players where blurred.
I doubt that depth of field was your biggest problem. Chances are, you were getting a *lot* of motion blur. I'd be surprised if you got a very high number of "keepers" trying to shoot at ISO 200 at 1/30-1/60 second (unless you happened to catch the players perfectly still), even when you nailed the focus.

Shoot at higher ISO speeds. You'll probably want to use ISO 1600 for indoor sports.

Each time you double the ISO speed, the camera can use shutter speeds twice as fast for the same aperture and lighting.

ISO 200 is *not* suitable for moving subjects indoors without a flash, period.

You'll want shutter speeds as close as possible to 1/500 second for indoor basketball. This is not a slow moving sport. :-)

If you were getting 1/60 second for a properly exposed image at ISO 200, you'd be able to get the same exposure (brightness) shooting at 1/360 second (round up to 1/400 for settings purposes) at ISO 1600 (which is 3 times as sensitive to light as ISO 200). That's where you want to be (at a minimum) for indoor basketball if you want a higher percentage of keepers. Unless the gym was *very* well lit, you probably weren't even getting a decent exposure at 1/60 second trying to shoot at ISO 200.

Go higher, much higher. A bit of noise/grain from using higher ISO speeds is preferrable to blurry photos.

Be careful with your focus point and live with the shallower DOF you'll have at wider apertures. If you were trying to shoot basketball at 1/30 - 1/60 second, Depth of Field is the least of your problems.

Quote:
Now from an earlier post I have read I should be using Shutter Priority at around 1/500. If I use this then I suspect the appeture will go to f/2.8 and I will still be left with poor DoF. If a stop down to f/8 or lower and lift shutter speed I am hoping I can overcome the DoF problem.
Don't even think about it. You'd have a very dark exposure, even at ISO 1600. trying to shoot at 1/500 second at f/8 indoors without a flash. You can't do that if you want usable images. lol

You'll want f/2.8 or brighter.

If you don't let the camera keep the shutter open long enough for the aperture, ISO speed and lighting, you'll get an underexposed (dark) image.

See this handy online exposure calculator for more information on how lighting, aperture and ISO speed (shown as film speed in the calcalator) interact to give you a properly exposed image:

http://www.robert-barrett.com/photo/...alculator.html

Quote:
My second question then is that ifI go only down to a 50mm prime will this make any significant difference over the existing 70-200mm in terms of getting everything under the basket, as well as the basket and the inner ring in the shot or do I really need the 17mm.
Buy the 50mm f/1.8. It's your best bet for a sharp lens at the apertures you'll want to shoot at for basketball (probably in the f/2.2 to f/2.5 neighborhood at ISO 1600).

My suggestion is to forget the wide zooms for basketball. They are really not bright enough for a high percentage of keepers for this sport, unless you happen to be shooting an NBA game in a super well lit gym

Better yet, grab an 85mm f/1.8 if budget permits.

As for metering, etc., use manual exposure. The lighting should be even enough to allow it. Take some test shots and look at your histogram to see how your settings are impacting exposure and go from there. You don't want to underexpose at higher ISO speeds (because noise will be worse if you need to brighten the images using software).

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Old Feb 24, 2007, 9:25 PM   #4
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Welcome.

You've gotten some good opinions here. You have a nice 2.8 pro-zoom, unless you want something wider (the 17 - 55mm f 2.8 on a D200 or better would be nice) to get in more of the court/ action, & since you want more dof - why worry about something faster?"

Try ISO 1600 or even 3200 - (the newly announced Canon Mk III offers ISO to 6400 & 10 fps).

More memory. Shoot a lot. In action shooting their will be many "throw-aways" for each keeper.

Best.
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Old Feb 25, 2007, 7:25 AM   #5
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Try it a few different ways.

The problem with apertures wider than f/2.8, is that you really need to target a face versus body if you're filling the frame much, because DOF is pretty darn shallow, which is hard to do with rapidly moving subjects.

But, if you don't get your shutter speeds up to around 1/400 to 1/500 second, you're going to get too much motion blur when the players are moving quickly.

So, it's Catch 22 (you may need the wider aperture settings to get your shutter speeds fast enough, but your focus has to be dead on because of the shallow DOF). lol Nobody said it would be easy. With a wider lens, you'd have a bit more leeway since you wouldn't be framing as tight.

I took over 600 snapshots yesterday morning at a kid's basketball game. I don't normally shoot sports (and this is the first basketball game I've been to in over 30 years, kids or otherwise). lol I used a 100mm f/2 and 135mm f/2.8 at the game shooting with a KM Maxxum 5D.

It was tough getting many keepers. :-)

With the 135mm, I needed to shoot at ISO 3200 to get my shutter speeds up to where they needed to be since I only had f/2.8 available. Shooting at ISO 1600 and 1/200 - 1/250 second at f/2.8 just didn't cut it (too much motion blur, even when I nailed the focus). Shutter speeds were not fast enough for this game trying to shoot at ISO 1600 and f/2.8 in the lighting I was shooting in. Those kids were moving fast. I can imagine that adults would be much tougher in that lighting. lol

So, I went ISO 3200 with that lens (although I did try some pushing ISO 1600 a tad and took some at 1/320 second and f/2.8, too). 1/320 didn't quite cut it for some of the more rapidly moving action either. 1/400 to 1/500 was about right (which I was able to achieve by shooting with the 100mm f/2 at around f/2.2 and ISO 1600, but not with the 135mm f/2.8 unless I went ISO 3200).

Judging by what you said you were getting (1/30 to 1/60 second at ISO 200 and f/2.8 , the lighting you were shooting in would be about the same. You're going to need higher ISO speeds with wider apertures. ;-) I doubt you'll be able to use anything other than f/2.8 or wider, even at ISO 1600 to 3200, unless you can catch the players relatively still. But, feel free to try.

You may want to spend some time reading through the threads in our Sports and Action Photos Forum, where you'll find lots of tips from more experienced sports shooters that shoot basketball often. This thread by JohnG titled Basketball Shooting Tips is a good place to start.


http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...mp;forum_id=82


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Old Mar 9, 2007, 8:47 PM   #6
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Many thanks for your answers. I'm still pondering the issue but in the meantime have accquired the AF-S DX 18-200. (Refer latest post for rather dumb question).

PS: To Fastglass the D100 goes to IS0 6400 but not the 10 fps. Due to budget tightening and as a second camera (probably primary for sports) I'm in the market for a second-hand D1H.

PPS: I've not yetgot over being burnt buying an expensive Nikon 5700 (shortly before the release of pro-consumer SLRs) and soam onlylooking atsecond-hand cameras in A1 condition.


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Old Mar 29, 2008, 3:30 PM   #7
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I shot this with a Nikon D80

Fixed Prime lens 85mm.

F 1.8

ISO 500

1/640 sec





With indoor sports shooting it really is a bunch of trial and error. I also have some great pics with my cheap zoom lens.

A Nikon 55-200 zoom. The ISO has to be set way up though. Like to ISO 1600 becasue the fstop can only go as low as 4.0 I believe. But you can still get some ok pics.

Only problem with the fixed 85mm I have is that its just 85mm. The pic above was when he was right in front of me which is why it looks so good. But for pics at center court it starts to get too far for a 85mm.

The pic below was taken with my 85mm, but in order to really feature her I had to crop her from the larger pic. Resulting in not as clean as a pic.





To fix this problem, I have just bought a 135mm fixed prime. I will test it out TONIGHT and see how it does. I imagine a pic like this will be all the better!

Ill keep you posted!
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Old Mar 29, 2008, 4:23 PM   #8
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These are nice shots, but you're shooting in a pro arena with much better lighting than one would encounter in the typical highschool/youth league/small college gym. This allows you to use lower iso's. If you're not in a pro arena, you'll still have to follow the advaice given the original poster.

By the way, go Sixers!! I grew up watching Dr J, Andrew Toney, Mo Cheeks and Moses. The last Philly team to win a title, which was 25 years ago this year .
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