Sun 24-Feb-08 02:13 PM | edited Sun 24-Feb-08 02:30 PM by escrowdog
Just got my D40 last week. I have the stock 18-55 and the 55-200 DX VR. I am just getting back to the SLR thing after pointing & shooting the last few years. (I previously owned a Minolta XTsi & Tamron 28-200.)
I took quite a few shots at my sons basketball game yesterday. I had some decent luck with VR lens, set on P (did not thumb it to any other setting). I went to the menu and set the ISO priority to 1600...based on something I read here. I also set the WB accordingly. NO flash. Very pleased with the exposure considering the crappy lighting, just getting blurring on any remotely quick movement. I tried S but just got nearly a black screen...don't know enough yet on how to compensate for it.
I bought a D40 in December 07 and have been taking a lot of basketball pictures, much like yourself. I was very frustrated with the quality of pictures I was getting from my kit 18-55 and my 55-200VR. The lighting was so poor I was unable to get a sufficient shutter speed to stop the action. Flash just isn't a good option for basketball games so I was shooting with available light. At best I might be able to get 1/60th or maybe 1/100th and that won't stop action. It's all personal choice, some like the blur, but I prefer to not have it.
As a low-cost alternative to those pricey f/2.8 zooms, I bought a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. It does not autofocus on the D40/D40x, but the large opening lets in a ton of light so I'm able to get good pics at 1/250th. The challenge now is focussing. It's really hard to get it spot on due to the shallow depth of field at f/1.8. But when you do get it right, the pictures are great.
You can get a new 50mm f/1.8 for around $110. There is also an 85mm version available, but it's a little more expensive. If I'm standing on the corners of the floor several feet off court, the 50mm seems to be about right.
Ya, I went and looked up a few of those f2.8 zooms....HOLY $^#& !! Most of them are more than the camera package was! But, I know that the glass makes the photo too. I think I'll keep shooting with what I have and then maybe keep an eye out for a used 2.8 zoomer of some kind. Or add a better flash as suggested.
I'd say start saving money and keep an eye on what focal lengths you're using most and let that instruct you on what lens to get next. If you can nail down a specific focal length that you use a lot then you can possibly find a little cheaper way to go with a prime. The Nikkor AF-S f/2.8 primes will all run you over $1000, some a lot over.
Nikon has a great line of f/1.8 & f/2.0 primes which are fantastic quality and great bargains, but unfortunately none will autofocus on the D40.
I don't shoot kid's basketball so I have no idea what focal length you'll use most. Once you learn that you might consider any of these lenses under $1000, any of which will AF on your camera:
Ya, it sounds like that 50mm f1.8 is worth a try just to get a feel for the quality of a shot with that much light in general...without breaking the bank. If nothing else I can harass my wheaten terrier with it for that crazy gleam in the eye close-up.
I shot my first basketball game a week or so ago. My Grandson was playing, and before the game I asked both couches if the flash would be a bother. They both said no, no problem, I have the SB600, and used the 55-200mm lens. I got good pictures even from the other end of the court. I would not take my second flash unit to the game to fire as a slave however as it is too powerful for that purpose (it is a METZ 402) I think it would blind someone if used on the court trying to fill in all the shadows. Just keep in mind before the game ask the couches of both teams if the flash is a problem, then if it is you have to do something else. You could raise the ISO to say 1600, and try that, then process in black & white, that would give some strange results I am sure.......
So do any of the primes you mentioned above AF with the D40? $350 is in the realm of doing....$1000 would probably be better spent on different model camera that will AF with the cheaper Nikkor lenses.
No unfortunatly they do not autofocus on your body. The only primes that auto focus on the 40 are super telephoto. Which costa pretty penny. and are to powerful for inside shots. unless your in a big stadium.Heres a great list of fully compatible glass for the 40/x/60.
Thanks...I had been on that link but just wasn't processing the AUTO FOCUS part of the title! It all makes sense.
I went ahead and ordered a Nikkor 50mm 1.8 from Ritz...about as cheap as anywhere using Paypal $116 shipped. It will be a good test for what I'm doing, even if it is manual focus. God help me if I begin to justify a $500 friggin lens!! We'll see how far my son wants to go with this competitive basketball tournament team before I spring for anything more substantial.
BTW, getting some really nice shots with the D40 in general. Even the stock 18-55 lens takes some nice non-flash photos indoors...provided nobody makes any quick moves!
116 shipped is a good deal. You should be happy with it, despite the manual focus. I'm happy with my 40 also. I use the 55-200 more often than I do the 18-55 but it is a good lens, I use it occasionally for landscape shots.
Try it in S Mode (Shutter Priority) and try to dial up the shutter speed to 1/500. If the lighting isn't good enough for 1/500, lower it until it is. Somewhere between 1/250 and 1/500 should be decent for stopping action. As far as ISO, it will again depend on the lighting of the gym. Use Auto ISO with an 800 max to start as this will keep noise fairly minimal. If you still aren't able to get decent shutter speeds, then bump it up to 1600.
Wow, it's been one month since you ordered that prime from ritz...congrats on the lens(if you get this one.)I don't think you will need 160 ISO for the shots using that lens, but hey, you never know. I think it would be wise if you changed the whitebalance yourself as opposed to using the auto function. I assume the stadium uses fluorescent? This should improve the lighting a little further. You are using the built in flash right? A sppedlight would probably be better, even if you went for the SB400 or a cheap third party.
Thanks for jumping back on this thread for me! I HAVE the lens in hand and have been messing around a little with it. The few snapshots I took around the house and of my daughter are VERY nice. I'll take it to bball practice this Tuesday and give it a whirl. Trying to shoot without a flash...that was the goal in getting this lens.
This is probably a stupid question, but I'm on my own as far as focusing this correct? Meaning the focus brackets that the AF uses is all I get...no split circle thing to match up some vertical lines or anything like my Minolta had?
Unfortunately you only have the focusing dot in the bottom left of the viewfinder to go by other than your eye. It's pretty accurate though. If you want a split prism, there are focusing screens made by Katz Eye optics for every Nikon camera and from what I've read, they work very well. I just ordered one on Friday for my D40 since all of my current glass will only manually focus on the D40. Their website is here:
Please let us know how this works out - I'd love to see your results. I've been considering what to do about basketball too - I tried shooting my son's game with a 18-135mm but was not getting any decent results, the light is just too dim.
I've been considering getting the 50mm too, but I'm holding out thinking that Nikon will be releasing a sufficiently fast and cheap AF-S prime any day now.... I see that Sigma are releasing a f1.4 50mm with HSM which would seem ideal, but there's currently no price or availability.
C'mon Nikon! Get that AF-S 50 or 85mm in my hands ASAP!
My thoughts exactly. I figured I'd try this for $110 in the mean time and see what kind of results I'm getting, get a taste of some nice glass at a cheap price. Then pop for something with AF down the road. The 50mm will bring 90 used on ebay so I'm not out much.