I posted a similar question in another forum but thought this was actually the correct forum to use. Anyways, I like to shoot Basketball (high school) and was just curious to what you other photographer's use in terms of lenses, film speed, and type of film. Also what settings you use on your camera. I usean N80 with usually a 28-200 3.5-5.6 lens with a hot shoe flash. This combo works pretty good although I would appreciate anyone's suggestions on the af settings that work the best in this setting on the N80. I usually use spot focus (center) set to continuous. Thanks in advance
#1. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 0Wed 07-Feb-01 06:02 PM
I shoot high school basketball as part of my newspaper job. Personally, I prefer the look of existing light to that of flash. I generally use my F3 with a Tokina AT-X 80-200 f/2.8 set at 2.8 in aperature priority. I use Fujicolor Press 800 film, usually pushed to 1600 (of course, this all depends on the lighting in the gymnasium). There is one local gym where the lighting is very bad, so I thought I'd give my N80 a shot and got very good results. I shot with Dynamic AF and continuous. I think dynamic helps follow the action a bit better and almost every shot was dead-on, focus-wise. I used my Nikkor 28-105 3.5-4.5 and SB-27 flash.
You can check out a few of my photos at: http://www.geocities.com/rick_wiese/ricksportspics.html
#2. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 1Thu 08-Feb-01 12:14 PM
Thanks, I shoot with a flash all the time because I do not have a very fast lens. I use a 28-200mm 3.5-5.6. I would love to shoot without a flash but can't justify buying a lens fast enough as I do this for hobby. Just how fast an aperature would it take to not have to use the flash - without getting blurry pictures. I usually shoot with Fuji Superia 800, would it help to push it to 1600>? I guess it would depend on the gym. I looked at your shots the other day - they are great. Thanks again,mimiya
#3. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 2Thu 08-Feb-01 07:01 PM
When I first started shooting sports, I used a flash for a long time for the same reason you do -- because I didn't have a fast enough lens to do otherwise! And I still see a lot of photographers using flash with good results. You're right that it would depend on the lighting in the gym as to what aperature you could use, but as long as you get a shutter speed of about 1/250 of a second or more you should have no problem. Even 1/125 of a second is fine, as long as you don't mind having hands in motion blurred a bit, etc. In the gym I was telling you about that is poorly lit where I used the flash for a couple of games recently, I finally beat the light in there by getting an 85mm 1.8 AF-D lens. I tried it out the other night and finally was able to get good existing light shots there. I picked up the lens on eBay for $260, so if you're interested in shooting without a flash, you might keep an eye out there. I shot at f2 and was able to get a shutter speed of 1/250 to 1/500 of a second with my film pushed to 1600. In a well lit gym, I could easily get a higher shutter speed. Of course, shooting at 1.8 or 2.0 doesn't give you a lot of depth of field, but that's where the autofocus comes in handy! A couple of things to keep in mind if you decide to give existing light a shot: If you push your film, you'll need to check with your film developer (unless you do this yourself as I do) about whether or not they can push process. Of course, there are ISO 1600 films out there that would be no problem for anyone to do, or you might find the gym is lit well enough to use ISO 800. Personally, I find the Fuji films to be much less grainy than the Kodak at these higher speeds. Also, you'll probably find that under the flourescent lights in most gyms, you'll get either a yellowish or greenish cast. That's easily corrected, though. You might try some night just moving your camera's ISO speed to 1600 temporarily to check out what kind of shutter speeds you're getting at your maximum aperature. Anyway, keep experimenting and you'll find the way that's best for you. And thanks for your comment about my shots.
#4. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 3kmeinerth Basic MemberSat 10-Feb-01 03:45 AM
I've used a 80-200/2.8D w Fuji 400 at Sacromento Monarchs games w great results. Seems to me that unless you have a press pass, a flash is pretty much useless because of distance indoors. Nothing beats a fast lens & fast film. Need either a filter or film to adjust for the lighting though.
#5. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 4Sun 11-Feb-01 10:25 PM
I just signed on, and in the process of wandering around the site I got here. I work for a mid-size paper near Pittsburgh and most of what I do is prep (high school) sports, with a dash of college and pro events mixed in.
If I can, let me offer a suggestion or two about shooting in high school gyms.
First and foremost, shooting action is dark rooms is a matter of managing light. Go straight to the Fuji 800. Don't debate the merits of grain or Yellow vs. Green box film. Trust me on this one, the Fuji will do better for you, and should cost less.
Second, no matter how bright the light, shoot wide open. Depth of field will be lost if you trade away shutter speed and gain blur.
Third, use a flash. On - or off camera if you can afford a slave rig. Any light you add in will break players out from the background. A two-light setup is even better, but that's usually a budget buster for most folks. Shooting wide open will reduce the recycle time of your flash, meaning you'll possibly get more that one well-lit frame from a given series.
Fourth, all action isn't under the basket. Plant yourself along the sidelines, and work them too. There's more to hoops that hairy armpits. Because I have the gear available, I frequently use one body with an 80-200, and one with a 35-70 Two lenses, two looks.
Now if I just had a web site to show you all..
#6. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 5Mon 12-Feb-01 12:45 PM
Wow, great advice. By 'wide open' do you mean aperature. Sorry for asking-I am fairly new to photography. My lens is a 28-200mm 3.5-5.6. I do use the flash all the time and get pretty good results. So should I set the camera to aperature priority and set the aperature to 3.5? As I (think)understand it, my widest aperature at 28mm would be 3.5 - correct? Then as I zoom it goes smaller until 5.6. Anyway, I am going to the gym today (my husband is the coach so I have access) during practice to well, practice! Any suggestions before I go would be great! Thanks,mimiya
#7. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 6Mon 12-Feb-01 01:36 PM
HOLD THE APERTURE PRIORITY!
If you set the camera that way, it will want to try and run the shuttter speeds up and down to provide a proper exposure in relation to the light it sees. Go straight to manual, and set your lens wide open - in this case f3.5 - and go to. Keep your shutter speed up at the max flash sync speed and fire away. Bear in mind that because your aperture at 200mm is fairly slow, you'll chew up batteries quickly as your flash will need so put out a lot of light. Be sure to start with a fresh set and consider changing them at halftime if your recycle time seems too slow.
#8. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 7Mon 12-Feb-01 01:54 PM
O.K. I will try those settings. I have two rolls of 12 exp. film (800 speed). Would it be worth shooting the second roll pushing it to 1600 and trying NO flash? Or will the results be horrible?
Your help has been great. We are headed to State playoffs Thursday so this comes just in time! thanks,
#9. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 8Mon 12-Feb-01 04:40 PM
Unless you have a lab that can actually push-process yur film, all you are doing is fooling the metering system into underexposing by 1 stop. Color negative film has enough exposure lattitude that the 1 stop difference won't make a huge differsnce in your result. If you have a pro lab that can actually push film, do it - remember to override the DX setting on you camera. That will re-calibrate the meter and flash. Remember to reset it when the game is over...
Shooting without a flash is probably a bad idea unless you're working in a gym that's lit for broadcast TV. Otherwise the light level probably just won't work with the relativly slow glass you have.
I'd follow this kind of scanario:
If your husband is the coach, you should be able to access floor credentials - either team or press.
Stay close to the action, shoot lots and edit well.
Here in Pennsylvania, the PIAA has a no-flash rule that they only enforce during playoffs. Go figure. If you run into that, make your shots of non-game action. Sideline conferences, locker rooms, warmups and particularly post-game. Win or loose there's a story to be told. Once the game ends, add the flash back in to the equation.
Stop and get some longer rolls of Fuji 800. It will cost less to process 1 roll of 36 than 3 rolls of 12. Take more film than you think you'll ever need. You can use any extra later, but if you run out.....
( who covers teams that are just finishing the season)
#10. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 8pretzelboy Basic MemberThu 15-Feb-01 11:57 AM
I'ver read your postings about high school basketball and maybe I can help too.
I work as a college photographer and freelance for a local newspaper occasionally. High school basketball is a big deal around here and I've been to a number of games in gymnasiums of various lighting conditions.
First off, you don't need an expensive lens to photograph basketball (especially high school). In most high school situations, access to the baseline is, for the most part, unrestiricted (at least here in Western Mass. it is). With that in mind, I have used a 50mm f1.4 and a 105mm f2.5 with some exceptional results. These lenses can be purchased at some rock bottom prices (even the AF models) if you look in the used market. Also, the faster speed makes for a brighter image in the viewfinder.
You mentioned that the team you were photographing was going to the state finals, here in Mass. these games are played in professional arenas (like the Springfield Civic Center or the Worcester Colleseum). The light in these facilities is excellent. If I read correctly, you have an in with the coach (he's your husband, right?). To get descent photos in these places you need to be at the baseline, not in the stands. You're just too far away up there. But, at the same time, you need to have a pass to access the court (and the press room with the yummy food!). While your down there, make a note of the equipment and positions of the pros who will, no doubt, be there.
The exposure for most of these places (at least the ones I've been to) is 2.8 @ 1/250th with ASA 800. If you have a faster lens, try for a quicker shutter speed. The chief photog at the paper I work at shoots UMASS basketball at the Mullins Center with an 85mm f1.4 and fujicolor 800 (okay, thats a really expensive lens, but the point is you don't need a 300mm, or even a 200mm).
When I shoot, I use a 80-200mm f2.8. Most of the time I sit on the baseline, about 7 feet in from the corner. With the lens at 80mm, I get all of the action under the net. The longer focal lengths let me capture guys coming down the court towards me, or get guys who are taking jump shots from the opposite side of the net.
Hope some of that helps a bit. Here at the college, I use several white lightinings (very large flash units) to illuminate the court, so most of that experience won't help you. But try finding an inexpensive, fast lens in the 50-100mm range, that'll do you a world of good.
Good Luck with the game!
"When in doubt, duct tape it"
#11. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 10Thu 15-Feb-01 01:30 PM
You have been very helpful. So, if I were to start looking for a used lens to use for Basketball - would I want a fixed length? If so, what length? Or should I look for the 80-200 2.8? I would probably lean towards the zoom, only because that's all I have now and I like the availability of different lengths. Thanks again.
#12. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 11Thu 15-Feb-01 02:35 PM
If you want to conside a new (er, used) lens, I'd look for an 80-200 f 2.8. There have been several versions made, and there should be a ready supply of clean used ones. Make sure you reserve the right to actually take a few rolls before you're committed to keeping it, and remember that the exterior cosmetics haven't got anything to to with image quality.
Dave (the other one)
#13. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 11pretzelboy Basic MemberThu 15-Feb-01 04:13 PM
I agree with Dave P. about the choice of lens. I use the same one every day.
Here's some things to keep in mind. A first version (used) 80-200mm f2.8 AF will go for around $600 (in reasonably good condition), with more recent versions becoming a bit more expensive. At the same time, you can get a brand new 50mm f1.4 AF-D for $265 or an 85mm f1.8 AF-D for $385 (both prices from B&H catalog). The question here is what your budget will allow, and what do you see your future shooting needs/styles to involve. This is a highly personal question, and you may not be able to answer it right this second, which is okay.
As or the question of zoom over fixed, again that's personal. I use both depending on how I feel that day (seriously). Sometimes I feel that, with a zoom, I tend to shoot very loosely and a fixed focal length forces me into a set composition; a challenge, as it were. But, that's also a weak point for someone who may not have a lot of experience. There is also the question of the physical size and weight of the lens. An 85mm f1.8 is MUCH lighter than the beefy 80-200.
Ask yourself what other sports or types of photography would you be doing? How would thoses lenses fit into those equations?
At any rate, I hope we've helped and haven't made your head spin too much Have fun at the games (go get a brick of film and some extra batteries and go to town!). Post some of the pics you take, we'd love to see 'em!
"When in doubt, duct tape it"
#14. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 13Fri 16-Feb-01 07:11 AM
I just wanted to jump back in here and agree with Dave the pretzelboy. I think the 85mm AF 1.8 is an excellent lens to use in combination with the N80 (or any AF camera) and it comes much, much cheaper than the 80-200 AF 2.8. If I'm in a gym with decent light, I use my manual focus 80-200 2.8 with my F3 and MD-4 motor drive, but I'm usually shooting in a focal range of about 100mm from the corner of the court, so I could do just about as well with an 85 or 105. The 80-200 zoom gives me a little more flexibility, but it's not really that big a deal. Also, most people used to the smaller, lighter cameras would probably have a hard time with the weight of my normal setup. That 85mm lens is much, much lighter and a better fit, really, for cameras such as the N80. And, it's fast enough that if the gym is well lit you can get away with the ISO 800 film (use Fuji, not Kodak. The Kodak is too grainy!). And, if there's not enough light to use what's available, it's easily usable with a flash. I'm probably repeating myself here, but I picked up my 85mm on eBay for $260 in like new condition, so if you don't want to spring for a new one, you might check there or at one of the used camera sites, such as Charlotte Camera.
#15. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 14Fri 16-Feb-01 12:17 PM
I think I will look for an 85mm 1.8 Af lens used. It seems to fit the situation the best for my budget. I can get good pictures with my current zoom but the 85mm would give me more options (flash-no flash). I have noticed the same thing about the Kodak film so I now use only Fuji 800. Great results. I hadn't heard of Charlotte Camera but will check it out - thanks!
#16. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 15Fri 16-Feb-01 03:24 PM
I checked at Charlotte Camera and they don't have that particular lens in stock at the moment (although they could get one in at any moment), nor, strangely enough, is there one currently listed on eBay. However, KEH Camera Brokers has three of them. They're a little higher ($349 and $364) but they have an excellent reputation. Of course, you can always check with B&H, which is a great place to do business. Hope you find a good one soon!
#17. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 10Thu 01-Mar-01 11:43 PM
> You mentioned that the team
>you were photographing was going
>to the state finals, here
>in Mass. these games are
>played in professional arenas (like
>the Springfield Civic Center or
>the Worcester Colleseum). The light
>in these facilities is excellent.
Just got back from our team's final four round today (we lost ) and the lighting at the Birmingham Civic Center Colloseum where it was played yielded about the same shutter speeds as our local gym does--way too slow . There were some roving pros, but one whom I chatted a little with was camped out about 7 ft. from the corner with a 70 or 80-200 f2.8 on a FM2 with motor drive. Very disconcerting to take a shot, only to hear it followed by about 5 clicks from this guy's camera. I told him he was giving me a self-esteem complex . Anyway, with my 28-80 3.5-5.6, I was mostly getting speeds of around 1/90s. Just realized I was using 1600 today and used 800 the last time I shot at the HS gym. Oh well, so the lighting was worse at the civic center. My next lens is going to be the 70-300 4-5.6 ED, which should be a little faster at 80 (almost a stop). We'll see. However, I'm not doing only sports photos, so springing for a 105mm prime doesn't appeal to me--yet .
#18. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 2
LAST EDITED ON Mar-15-01 AT 10:34 PM (GMT)
>Thanks, I shoot with a flash all the time because I do not have > a very fast lens. I use a 28-200mm 3.5-5.6. I would love to >shoot without a flash but can't justify buying a lens fast >enough as I do this for hobby. Just how fast an aperature would
> it take to not have to use the flash - without getting blurry
> pictures. I usually shoot with Fuji Superia 800, would it help
> to push it to 1600
I have a 28-80 3.5-5.6 Nikkor, which I use for basketball shooting in side gyms, and I have found that it can attain decent shutter speeds with 800 or 1600 film. Our local gym I shoot with 800, but when I went to the civic center for our team's final four games, I shot Fuji Superia 1600, with the meter showing the same shutter speeds in our local gym (with 800), so I assume the lighting was worse. Anyway, my max shutter speed has been 1/90s, with 1/60s being more common. Nevertheless, I have never found stopping the action to be a problem at these stutter speeds. Occasionally, however, a hand will blur, but sometimes that's good:
This picture was done without a flash.
You might want to back the lens off to, say, 105 and get a wider aperture setting.
#20. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 18spguyer Basic MemberSun 03-Jun-01 12:35 AM
For basketball, which is one of those lucky sports in which the photographer is fairly close to the subject, it is a good investment to go with a 50 or 80 1.8 prime lens (~$80-150). The results will be better than a zoom and shutter speeds of 1/125 to 1/250 can be achieved with 800 film pushed to 1600.
#21. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 20Sun 03-Jun-01 07:47 PM
> it is
>a good investment to go
>with a 50 or 80
>1.8 prime lens (~$80-150).
Definitely. The 85 1.8 looks good, but it's ~$350 new . I also want it for its portrait possibilities .
#19. "RE: shooting basketball inside gymnasium" | In response to Reply # 0
As a sports photographer, I have shot all types of sports including basketball. I use a Nikkor 80-200 2.8 lens mounted on a N70. With 400 speed film (sometimes 200 for fine grain) and a SB-28 for a spot of fill-flash with a 1/125 exposure at a 2.8 stop, the pictures look great in even the worst lighting conditionss. Most photographers hate to use fill-flash; but for my own personal taste, I like to enhance the photo with a little burst of light in the foreground rather than pushing film beyond normal limits.