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Old Aug 17, 2005, 4:00 AM   #1
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Hey all, I'm new to DSLRs and have owned my D70 w/24-85mm F3.5-4.5 Gtype Nikon lens for about a month. Last night I shot some basketball at the local sports centre. I run the basketball associations website and intend to shoot all the league's images this season.

I tried shooting on sports mode but it limited the shutter speed to 1/30 which obviously wasnt quick enough. So I switched to S mode and set the shutter speed to 1/100 which is just about quick enough but gives you slight motion blur. I then set the ISO to auto but it had to go up to 1600 in order to get enough light. The images look alright brightness wise but they are obviously fairly grainy due to the high ISO. I don't really want to use the flash.

I used the lens at 24mm most of the time to take advantage of the faster F3.5 apperture but it didnt help much. I guess my only option is to buy a faster prime lens. After shooting yesterday I realised that 50mm is far too much zoom as I am on the sidelines and baselines when I am shooting, about 3-7 metres away from the action. So I'm really looking for a fast 35mm prime.

Does anyone have any ideas which ones perform well? And have I analysed my problem correctly or am I looking at it the wrong way?

Thanks in advance
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Old Aug 17, 2005, 8:33 AM   #2
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As you've learned, shooting in a gymnasium is not easy. I typically shoot with a 50 mm 1.8 prime in shutter priority or if i need zoom, I use the 18-70 kit lens. One thing to be concerned about using a fast prime wide open is that you have signifcantly less depth of field. This would make it tougher to keep up with a moving player, or getting more than one player in the frame in focus. Also keep in mind the crop factor of your d70. A 35mm prime becomes a 52mm prime, as the digital sensor is smaller than a 35mm frame (by a factor of 1.5).

I like the flexibility a zoom offers in this situation, and only use the prime if I really need the extra couple stops of light or need to print the images. Either way 35 mm primes are readily available on ebay or from a used vendor like KEh for a reasonable price, (around $200) The 18-70 is slighty more expensive, but does give you a wider end than your current lens allowing you a little more flexibility. Many pros' would rather have a wider angle than the longer telephoto. It's often easy to get closer, but not so easy to back up (as you've found with your 50mm).

One final consideration...are you printing these images or just posting them for the web?? If printing is not going to be a necessity, then your set up is probably fine as is.



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Old Aug 18, 2005, 5:27 AM   #3
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I'm just posting to the web but even so ISO 1600 is pretty crappy, even if it is just for the web. When I set my zoom lens (24-85mm) to 35mm I get the kind of field of view I'm looking for. Does this mean I look at getting a 35 mm prime or do I have to get a smaller prime because of the digital thing. I havent explained that very well. What I mean is does the 24-85mm G type nikon lens I currently use take into account the 1.5x magnification thing? Is 24mm on my zoom lens a true 24mm or does it end up actually taking a 35mm shot?
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 6:46 AM   #4
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You have to apply the crop factor to any lens you attach to your D70. That means your 24-85 lens is actually equivelant to a 36-128 lens. If setting your zoom to 35mm gives you the field of view you prefer, then you would be ok getting a 35mm prime. the crop factor creates problems for film users when the switch to digital as it changes the equivelant focal lengths of their current arsenal of lenses. Its great for those who like using telephoto, but not so great for wide angle shooters.

I'm suprised you're not happy with the results at 1600 ISO. Results at 1600 have been much better than my experiences using 1600 iso film which produced prints I found to be unusable. I've been able to makedecent 4x6 prints at 1600 ISO. Nothing i'd blow up and hang on the wall, but quite usable. There are also some decent noise reduction applications (I use noise ninja) that do a good job of reducing noise (at the expense of losing some shadow detail).
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Old Oct 4, 2005, 9:35 PM   #5
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my d70 when compared with my f100 and fe2 does not perform at iso 1600 but at iso 800 when set to iso 1600. maybe thats the problem or something similar? i used to and as a test just recently shot an indoor sports event to prove to myself that the d70 did in fact meter and the sensor respond at minus one f stop as compared the standard and it is indeed true. so if you think you are getting iso 1600, you are only getting iso 800. ps, i also proved this to myself using the sunny f16 rule where everything was also one stop under exposed thus meaning the sensor matches the meter, both are off by minus one f stop, so if you do indeed use the meter you will get a decent picture.
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Old Nov 24, 2005, 3:34 AM   #6
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Last year I was shooting basketball for the first time. Mainly shooting from baseline or under the basket, I actually found the 50 to be too far away most of the time, and thus found my 85 1.8 to be an ideal lens. Plus the 85 seems to be a faster focuser than the 50. I found the D70/50 1.8 combo to be a bit slow in gym sports (Vball, basketball) in terms of focusing.
One thing you didn't mention was how good (or bad) the lighting is. If lighting is at all decent, I would suggest bumping ISO to 1600, put it in manual mode at about 1/400 shutter speed and 1.8 aperature, WB probably on auto. If gym is dark, you would probably have to come down on shutter speed a step or two.
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Old Dec 16, 2005, 9:38 PM   #7
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I am also in this quandry. Have tried the nikor 24-85 f/2.8. Seems reasonally fast for my
purposes. I would like to get a little more zoom and was wondering about the 24-120 f/3.5. Would this lens be fast enough where I wouldn't have much blur? I am usually at one end of the court and would like to be able to get some shots of the action at the other end of the court, without too much graininess. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, John
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