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Old 27th of July 2012 (Fri)   #1
AusDoug
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Default lens choice for indoor basketball

Hello,

My daughter is starting to play basketball, so my wife has volunteered me to take pictures of the team. I've read quite a bit of various posts and have learned quite a bit. However, I have one question about lens choice.

I have a 7D with a 50m 1.4 lens and a 24-105 4L lens (with image stabilisation). Now I'm a bit confused as to whether it's better to shoot with the faster lens (1.4) or a slower lens (better quality) with image stabilisation.

Based on the posts in various threads, I plan to use:

1. ISO of 1,600
2. manual exposure (since the court is indoors and evenly lit)
3. single point of focus (centre focus point)
4. minimum shutter speed of 1/500

Thanks for your help.
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Old 27th of July 2012 (Fri)   #2
Croasdail
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Not to rain on your parade, but unless she is playing at a division 1 college arena, your assumption that you will have even lighting is a bit premature. I agree with the premise of shooting manual, but don't be really surprised if the lighting isn't what you thought it was.

The IS means nothing here, so ignore that fact. In most likelihood your f4 lens well be way too slow. You will either have to bump you ISO or decrease your shutter speed. If you are shooting from the ends of the court, action coming toward you, you actually can shoot much slow shutter speeds and have things work out. But baseline access is rare... so I wouldn't plan on it.... though use it if available.

Long story short is that you will likely need to use your 50. With the 50 you will really need to plan your seat well because often it will be too short. You really don't have an ideal lens, but you 50 is the best choice of the two. I prefer an 85 and shooting from the corners of the court when doing high school. In the early days when my son played I used a 24-70 f2.8, and had decent results in high school gyms.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #3
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Quote:
Originally Posted by AusDoug View Post
Hello,

My daughter is starting to play basketball, so my wife has volunteered me to take pictures of the team. I've read quite a bit of various posts and have learned quite a bit. However, I have one question about lens choice.

I have a 7D with a 50m 1.4 lens and a 24-105 4L lens (with image stabilisation). Now I'm a bit confused as to whether it's better to shoot with the faster lens (1.4) or a slower lens (better quality) with image stabilisation.

Based on the posts in various threads, I plan to use:

1. ISO of 1,600
2. manual exposure (since the court is indoors and evenly lit)
3. single point of focus (centre focus point)
4. minimum shutter speed of 1/500

Thanks for your help.

The near-universal choice for a basic basketball lens for indoor available-light photography, is a 70-200mm f/2.8.

Example from a Sigma version.



Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500)
ISO equiv: 6400
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB

However, considering the illumination (or lack of such), in all but the very brightest gyms, you'll find the a 24-105 /f.4 lens (which transmits less light than a f/2.8 lens), will not capture enough light to use the exposure settings listed. That leaves the 50mm f/1.4 lens as the best to use.

The faster lens, while limited in field of view, will handle indifferently-illuminated gyms.

Examples from a similar Canon 50mm f/1.8 II.



Focal Length: 50.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500)
ISO equiv: 1600
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB

Focal Length: 50.0mm
Aperture: f/2.0
Exposure Time: 0.0013 s (1/800)
ISO equiv: 2000
Exposure Bias: none
White Balance: Manual
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB

Even with a f/1.4, don't be surprised if you need to use an ISO higher than 1600 in the dimmest gyms.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #4
AusDoug
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

G'day,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Croasdail View Post
Not to rain on your parade, but unless she is playing at a division 1 college arena, your assumption that you will have even lighting is a bit premature. I agree with the premise of shooting manual, but don't be really surprised if the lighting isn't what you thought it was.
Yes, you're right. She's playing with the other elementary school kids in the local gym. To my untrained eye, the light looks even, but no doubt there are brighter and darker patches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Croasdail View Post
Long story short is that you will likely need to use your 50. With the 50 you will really need to plan your seat well because often it will be too short. You really don't have an ideal lens, but you 50 is the best choice of the two. I prefer an 85 and shooting from the corners of the court when doing high school. In the early days when my son played I used a 24-70 f2.8, and had decent results in high school gyms.
Excellent advice. I have a 50m 1.4 and an 85m 1.8, so will experiment with both of them. Shooting from the corner makes quite a bit of sense, because it considerably lowers the likelihood of catching a basketball with the front of the lens. As well, I assume that having the kids not running directly at me will increase the likelihood of accurate focussing.

The pictures I shot earlier don't look sharp at all, but I only shot at 1/250. Going up to 1/500 will hopefully help with the results. No doubt shooting a few thousand pictures and studying the results will create better pictures too...

Thanks for taking the time to respond to my question.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #5
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Yup, 50 and 85 are two good choices. I'd shoot at f2, hopefully at ISO3200 you can get 1/400 or better. That's about what I see for the low end at the gyms I shoot at. Last year I shot with a 50D and 3200 was as high as I felt I could to go.

With the 50 you will want to shoot from closer to the basket, even with the 85, I would be in from the corner.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #6
AusDoug
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

G'day,

Quote:
Originally Posted by DC Fan View Post
Examples from a similar Canon 50mm f/1.8 II.



Focal Length: 50.0mm
Aperture: f/1.8
Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500)
ISO equiv: 1600
Exposure Bias: none
Metering Mode: Matrix
Exposure: Manual
Exposure Mode: Manual
White Balance: Auto
Flash Fired: No (enforced)
Orientation: Normal
Color Space: sRGB

Even with a f/1.4, don't be surprised if you need to use an ISO higher than 1600 in the dimmest gyms.
Yes, this is an excellent example of what happened this week. As your picture above illustrates, the letters on the uniform looks crisp, but the young man's face isn't as sharp. (Please don't misinterpret this as criticism of your pictures -- it's what happened to my pictures of my daughter's game -- I just don't understand why.)

I wasn't sure if the lack of definition in the eyes and on the face resulted from a too-slow shutter speed. However, you shot the picture above at 1/500. Therefore I wonder if I'm expecting too much from the light in the gym. My other thought is that maybe I'm inadvertently focussing on the wrong part of the player (uniform instead of face).

In any event, I'll definitely use the faster lens. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question with the excellent examples of pictures.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #7
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

I agree if those 2 are your choices the 50. I got a lot of nice pics with my 50mm 1.4. If you can get close it's great.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #8
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Quote:
Originally Posted by AusDoug View Post
G'day,



Yes, this is an excellent example of what happened this week. As your picture above illustrates, the letters on the uniform looks crisp, but the young man's face isn't as sharp. (Please don't misinterpret this as criticism of your pictures -- it's what happened to my pictures of my daughter's game -- I just don't understand why.)

I wasn't sure if the lack of definition in the eyes and on the face resulted from a too-slow shutter speed. However, you shot the picture above at 1/500. Therefore I wonder if I'm expecting too much from the light in the gym. My other thought is that maybe I'm inadvertently focussing on the wrong part of the player (uniform instead of face).

In any event, I'll definitely use the faster lens. Thanks for taking the time to reply to my question with the excellent examples of pictures.
Fast lenses (such as a f/1.4) have shallow depth of field.
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Old 28th of July 2012 (Sat)   #9
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Standard settings for MOST gyms using a 7D and 85mm f/1.8 and a 50mm f/1.4. Then some comments afterward:

Setting: 7D, AI Servo, centerpoint only (the one that looks like this: [o] is best!) and usual sports settings. Either lens set to f/2, shutter speed to 1/640 and ISO setting that ensures proper exposure. Usually we're talking numbers like 1600-2000.

I've been lucky that most gyms in my local school's conference are really nicely lit and even across the floor for the most part.

As someone mentioned, the 50mm is really short and wide. Good for getting free-throw shots and at least one side of the rebounding team in the same shot. The 85mm f/1.8 on a 7D is perfect for everything inside the 3-point line. Good vantage points for using the 85mm is 3' behind the baseline and 3-10' inside the sideline.

Here's a shot from that vantage point with 7D and 85mm f/1.8 lens shot at f/2, 1/640 and probably ISO 1250. Best lit HS gym I've ever shot in:


IMG_2834 by snyderman3, on Flickr

Bottom line for your wife is that she HAS to be on the floor, near the action to get shots like above. Not UNDER the basket, but somewhere inside the sideline and behind the baseline.

dave
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Old 9th of August 2012 (Thu)   #10
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

85mm f1.8 does real well on the 7d. 70-200mm f2.8 if the lighting is good enough.
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Old 12th of August 2012 (Sun)   #11
AusDoug
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

G'day,

Just a brief note to say thank you to everyone who provided advice in this thread. I took more pictures of my daughter's recent game and they were -much- better.

1. 85mm 1.8 lens
2. manual settings of f2, 1/500, ISO 1,600
3. servo mode with centre focus and expanded focus

If I could ask one last question, is there a general ratio for ISO and noise reduction in Lightroom. Because the high ISO resulted in noise, I've found that a luminence noise reduction of 30 has relatively good results. Does that sound about right?

Thanks again to everyone for all your help.
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Old 15th of August 2012 (Wed)   #12
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

I have three high school sports accounts and I shoot hoops one way: Strobed with a 70-200 and a 24-105. Now you might not have the money for it, but if she starts moving up through the levels and sticks with it. There really isn't a better way to shoot in my opinion.
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Old 15th of August 2012 (Wed)   #13
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

Quote:
Originally Posted by AusDoug View Post
G'day,
If I could ask one last question, is there a general ratio for ISO and noise reduction in Lightroom. Because the high ISO resulted in noise, I've found that a luminence noise reduction of 30 has relatively good results. Does that sound about right?

Thanks again to everyone for all your help.
There is no set rule as each sensor type will produce different amounts of noise.

Here is a shot with a 1DMkIV at ISO 10,000 (f/2.8, 1/640):



It would not be close as clean and sharp with a 'lesser' sensor.

Lightroom makes it real easy. Just find your first image that is well exposed and sharp focus, adjust until it looks the best, then sync your color balance, and noise settings and then they are all ready for cropping and other adjustments.
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Old 15th of August 2012 (Wed)   #14
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Default Re: lens choice for indoor basketball

notice what I captured on the far left side of photo.....my bud, d.j. Stephens (won a national dunk contest in 2012) jumping up in excitement.




Last edited by missjtiger : 15th of August 2012 (Wed) at 17:21.
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Old 15th of August 2012 (Wed)   #15
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