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Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: dochocson
Date: March 21, 2008 08:40PM
My 9 year old daughter is very gung-ho into basketball, and I'd like to do some photography for the team. If my work bonus comes through, I should be able to get myself a new MBP and a dSLR (I have wanted both for some time, so the purchase is not predicated on the sports photography)

I know that there are a bunch of photographer types around these parts, and I'm looking for a little advice.

1) Camera suggestions? Initial thoughts are something in the Nikon D40 or comparable range. Brand is not particularly important, though I do have fond memories of my old Nikon F3

2) Lenses: Best options/flexibilty for indoor sport and general purpose photography?

3) Good resource for tips on shooting in low light situations. Some of the gyms are pretty well lit, some are more dungeon-like. Flash use is not an option.

Thanks!

Dan
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 21, 2008 08:48PM
send pRICE cUBE an PM. or whatever Danny goes by these days
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: spearmint
Date: March 21, 2008 09:14PM
Price Cube or whatever his persona is this week is a pro. I still think he does it to get up close to the cheerhotties at the Jazz games.




Da Good Life
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: slbett
Date: March 21, 2008 09:15PM
Also, you might want to include a price range. The D40 has limited autofocus lens' due to no motor in body. You will need a fast lens. I needed a camera for baseball and soccer. I found a deal on a Canon Rebel XT. I ended up with the Nifty Fifty 50mm 1.8 prime lens for an inexpensive (less than $100) indoor lens since my shots are mostly outside. I am satisfied with the portrait shots and worked OK for couple of volleyball meets I went to without flash. As others will tell you that for indoor sports you need a good fast lens. I like the 3 shots per second and I recommend a fast flash memory card. A second great play can come at any time in any sports. I guess I'm saying the lens is more important than the camera for you. I have two other zoom lens' for outdoor shots. Price Cube is the real answer man.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/21/2008 09:18PM by slbett.
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: Sam3
Date: March 22, 2008 05:12AM
My favorite lens when I shot indoor volleyball on 35mm was a 85mm f1.8. It was a nice, high speed and a good length to capture the players.

With the 1.6x factor in the prosumer dSLR's, slbett is getting about the same, a 50mm would get you and 80mm equivalent. 50 x 1.6 = 80. You should be able to pick a used one up fairly cheaply at a local camera store.
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: Mr645
Date: March 22, 2008 08:03AM
The only issue I see with the entry Nikon is ISO limits. Once you reach 400ISO and beyond on many Nikon cameras, Noise starts showing up. The D300 and D3 are the first ones that really do great at high ISO, with the D3 probably the current leader. I would look for a left over Canon 30D, typically $699 body only

[www.adorama.com]

And the 50mm F1.8 as others have said.

Where the D40 will get a little noisy at ISO 800, the 30D will let you get pretty clean images at ISO 1600 and since it's a mid level camera body, should perform very well compared to the D40/Rebel class cameras
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: Dik2
Date: March 22, 2008 09:25AM
Go for a 50 1.8 (very good quality and cheap) and an 85 1.8 ~ $300. The 85 is verry nice.
Canon 40D for best high ISO image quality, bright viewfinder, fast focus and frame rate.
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: pipiens
Date: March 22, 2008 10:40AM
What ever camera you choose it will help if you know how to light the place. You can find tutorials on lighting here.
[strobist.blogspot.com]

A basketball specific example is here [strobist.blogspot.com]
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: dochocson
Date: March 22, 2008 12:27PM
Thanks for all the help, very much appreciated!
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: slbett
Date: March 22, 2008 11:37PM
Another word on Canon's 50 mm. I bought it for indoor shots of grandkids at holidays and portraits. It also works in gyms and museums but there are better, sturdier lens' than the Nifty Fifty but of course more money. At a sporting event in the stands, a little more durable lens might be a better choice.
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Re: Indoor Basketball Photography Advice
Posted by: thermarest
Date: March 23, 2008 08:26PM
The features you will most want in a body are

1) image quality at high ISO
2) fast frame rate
3) auto focus speed and tracking

If you can afford it, the Canon 40D or Nikon D300 are clearly tops in the mid-range category.

On the Canon side if you want to watch the budget I'd suggest a used 20D. The image quality, frame rate and focus speed are exactly the same as the 30D and it will be cheaper. Probably $450 or less. The Rebel line and the Nikin D40 and D50 will probably lack a high frame rate for sports.

As for lenses, you will want fast auto focus and a wide aperture. The focal length depends a lot on if you are shooting from the stands or courtside. Either way you'll want a 50 1.4. I have this lens and it is great. I've heard good stuff about the 50 1.8 but I think its focus speed is quite a bit slower.

The Canon 17-55 2.8 is a good choice for courtside though pricey. The Tamron 28-75 f2.8 and 17-55 f2.8 have comprable image quality but slower focusing but at a much much lower price. Used 28-75's can be had for $250.
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