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Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 02, 2022 09:59AM
The other day the wife asked about getting better shots at our kid’s high school games. She has an iPhone 12. I told her that her old point and shoot won’t be better. So she uses it to capture from video clips instead.

She’d be up in the stands, not on the floor.

We have a 6D, which does OK in low light and images can be cropped without falling apart. And being farther away, focus would probably be preset to overcome the camera’s AF limitations.

I’m thinking of an EF 70-200 f4 IS. It’s not fast but I don’t think trying to focus a 2.8 lens would be wise anyway, to say nothing of the added weight and expense. It’s a no-brainer lens for other uses of course but I’m trying not to let that influence this decision.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: PizzaGod
Date: January 02, 2022 10:38AM
God....when I was in High School (when dinosaurs trod the earth) my go to was a Pentax Spotmatic, 135 2.8 and one of those potato masher strobes. I went back and forth between Tri-X and Plus X.

I'd also use a Mamiya C3, standard lens and just take advantage of the 2.25 negative for enlargements

I was never on the floor, usually on the top of the bleachers or on the track that went around the gym.

That being said-the EF seems cumbersome to me. Especially now with phones doing such a good job. I'd really go with the 6D.

Just an old farts 2¢
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: Steve G.
Date: January 02, 2022 10:43AM

you just have to catch the right moment
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: January 02, 2022 11:34AM
I first shot high school basketball in 1977 using Tri-X pushed to ASA 1600 (now called ISO 1600). The last time was a decade ago with a Canon Eos 1Ds.

If you have to shoot from the stands, get near the floor and go to one end of the court. Shoot wide open with a shutter speed of at least 1/250th. Set the ISO to whatever will give you that. Zoom in to isolate your child. If you have a shoe mount strobe whose output can be adjusted, set it to 1.5 or 2 stops below the exposure (a pop-up strobe isn't strong enough to send light far enough). You want to just fill in the shadows, not make a flash exposure.

Shoot a lot of images, if you get one keeper in 50 shots then you are doing great. Those Sports Illustrated images are more like 1 in a few hundred shots, so don't get discouraged

Good luck.



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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: January 02, 2022 11:43AM
You already have a 70-200 f4 in hand or considering buying one?



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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: January 02, 2022 01:57PM
Quote
Steve G.

you just have to catch the right moment

This is how I felt when I refereed my first and last intramural basketball game in high school.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: January 02, 2022 01:59PM
Maybe hire a photographer for one game to get a once-in-a-lifetime photo.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: January 02, 2022 02:28PM
A 6D with a 70-200 will work fine from the stands. No need to pre-focus; it will AF just fine (and pre-focus will just mean most of your potential photos will be out of focus).
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: January 02, 2022 02:51PM
Get a monopod.



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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: January 02, 2022 03:23PM
Yeah a monopod was the idea.

Quote
pRICE cUBE
You already have a 70-200 f4 in hand or considering buying one?

I don’t. Otherwise we’d have already tried it. I know older models and without IS are affordable, but I have my eye on the last IS model since its IS is the best.

And it would also be the best lens my Elans ever had.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: Buzz
Date: January 02, 2022 04:03PM
The old "capture from video clips" is not such a terrible idea. Or you can use a digicam that has a decent burst mode. You can do a fair amount of editing in post production, if necessary, to get a more perfect shot. A good quality megazoom w/ said video and burst capabilities is a good investment for capturing a kid's escapades. I started w/ a Canon S1 IS, which delivered (sorta) usable images (c.2004?), and the cameras now available are significantly (hugely) improved. You don't have to schlepp a whole bunch of supporting equipment, save maybe a monopod, to preserve family athletic memories. Good luck, and enjoy the kid while you can.... next thing you know, you'll be taking pics of the grandkids' sports.... same problem; next generation.
==
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: AllGold
Date: January 02, 2022 06:24PM
IS (image stabilization) is mostly useless for sports because you need a fast enough shutter speed to stop the action anyway.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: datbeme
Date: January 03, 2022 11:31AM
At the very least, make sure you or your wife continues to grab plenty of video footage on the iPhone 12. Horizontal, stable as possible, not zoomed past optical. While maybe not what you want for stills, you are capturing memories. The quality is better than what you're going to get out of point and shoot, and the all the sights and sounds are great to have. Seriously...if you are close enough, the quality is phenomenal compared to what you could do just a few years ago.

The 6D should be plenty capable, and I don't want to discourage you, but it isn't easy without a lot of practice. I'm just a hobbyist, but most of my fellow parents came away with disappointing DSLR photos even at daytime outdoor sporting events, not to mention indoor and night games.

What lenses do you have now? Will she be limited to one spot in the middle of the bleachers? If you can move around at all, you can get a more interesting variety of shots, and even a speedier 35mm or 50mm prime can be very effective, but for indoor HS basketball on a crop sensor, I think you'll find the 70-100mm range (more is a bonus) the most useful the majority of the time.

If you don't yet own that lens, I would first practice shooting with the 6D at f4 with the best lens you have. Shoot in manual at 1/500 and find out how much you need to bump the ISO to get acceptable results. What does it look like at 1/250 or 1/125? When action slows, you should be able to get plenty of worthwhile shots at these speeds too, but if you have to shoot that way all time, you'll probably be disappointed. Still, huddles, free throws, bench shots, any stoppage in action will allow you to get good shots or closeups at slower shutter speeds.

As AllGold said, IS is largely useless for action. It might even be best to switch it off because it can slow things down. I think the best thing people can do (myself included) is practice and improve their ability to focus. I'm a huge fan of back-button single point focus (especially at fast apertures) that allows you to instantly switch between continuous focus and single spot to hone in on specific spots on the floor or field.
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Re: Is it worth trying to photograph a basketball game from the stands?
Posted by: btfc
Date: January 03, 2022 12:29PM
When I was shooting lots of high school sports, the uneven lighting in many gyms was a big challenge.
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