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05-26-2013, 09:04 AM   #1
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Lens selection for Pacers/Heat NBA game tonight

So I'm going to the Pacers / Heat game tonight in Indianapolis, and I'm trying to decide what lenses to bring. Last time I went to a Pacers game, I had seats just a few rows away from the court. I mostly used my Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8, but I also had my Pentax 18-55mm for wide angle duties since that was the widest lens I owned at the time. Here is a gallery from that game (please note that the 50-150mm is incorrectly identified as a 70-200mm in EXIF data):

Indiana Pacers, Feb 23, 2011

This time, my seats are going to be in the 2nd level (Club Level), so I won't be as close, and I'm also going to be at much more of an elevation. I've circled the area where my seats will be in this picture:



So I'm wondering what lenses I should take. With this elevation, should I not worry too much about a telephoto since the perspective might be strange looking down on the players? If so, then maybe I should just take my 10-20mm for some dramatic shots of the arena, and then bring my Olympus XZ-1 for general purpose photography.

But if I'm bringing my DSLR anyway, then I have room for a couple lenses. So in addition to the wide angle, I could bring the Sigma 85mm 1.4, or the 50-150mm again. And it's hard to leave the Sigma 30mm 1.4 behind. I also have the Sigma 100-300mm f4, but that might be pushing things in regards to the arena camera policy for NBA games.

Here's the policy from Banker's Life Fieldhouse website:

Camera/Video Equipment

Pacers/Fever Basketball and other NBA/WNBA events:

NBA policy strictly prohibits the use of still photos or video footage for commercial purposes without the express written approval of the NBA head office.

Non-professional still cameras (digital or film) are allowed at Pacers and Fever basketball games in Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Non-professional lenses are generally defined as lenses less than 6 - 8 in length, and black in color. Professional cameras (generally defined as a camera with a detachable lenses longer than 6 8, or large lenses that are dark grey in color) are PROHIBITED.

Video cameras, and taking of video with other devices, are prohibited. We reserve the right to disallow cameras that, in the opinion of management will be used to produce professionally marketed images.

Tripods and other equipment that could pose a tripping hazard are not permitted.

Standing or positioning oneself in order to take pictures in a manner that obstructs the view or enjoyment of the event by others is not permitted.


05-26-2013, 09:23 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Edgar_in_Indy Quote
Non-professional lenses are generally defined as lenses less than 6 - 8” in length, and black in color.
Sounds like the perfect job for the DA* 60-250

If you had a fisheye I'd say that could be a lot of fun - sneak to the railing/overhang at the end of the steps (lowest row in your level) and get some shots of the seats directly under you with the court in one of the corners of the shot. You might still be able to pull that off with the 10-20. I would recommend that with the 50-150.

What I would do honestly if it were me is bring the 100-300 and see if you can get it in because at that point it is merely at the discretion of the ticket guy. If any questions are asked, play up that it isn't a Canon or Nikon "Have you ever heard of Pentax? Then how can it be professional?" ( ) and if still no, return to the car and bring the 50-150

Another school of thought is bring *just* the 10-20, get some shots of the stadium, some portraits with you family/friends with the stadium clearly in the background, and then put the camera away and enjoy the game

Regardless, have fun!

-Heie
05-26-2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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The 100-300 is longer and is dark grey so its a no-go according to their policy. This is a time when the 55-300 would be a good lens to have, black and smaller than 8". Even an old M135/3.5 would be useful. The 50-150 is 5 and a bit inches long so it ought to be ok.
05-26-2013, 01:55 PM   #4
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QuoteQuote:
or large lenses that are dark grey in color
So Canon L-glass is less professional than a budget zoom?

05-26-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
The 100-300 is longer and is dark grey so its a no-go according to their policy.
The lens actually looks black more than gray.

I think whoever wrote that policy probably should have said "light gray" rather than "dark gray", since the pro Canon lenses are light gray and I assume that's what they had in mind when writing the policy.
05-26-2013, 03:57 PM   #6
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Bring whatever lens brings the Heat bad luck
05-27-2013, 09:24 PM   #7
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Edgar those where amazing photos from the previous season. Wish I could do that as well however I have two problems: #1. Our local stadium here won't allow any camera with lenses having a focal length longer than 75mm so I won't get photos like yours, and #2 the last NBA team we had here left and moved to Memphis.
05-27-2013, 11:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by faceless_el Quote
Edgar those where amazing photos from the previous season. Wish I could do that as well however I have two problems: #1. Our local stadium here won't allow any camera with lenses having a focal length longer than 75mm so I won't get photos like yours.
Thank you. Although I'm fortunate that my stadium has a reasonable camera/lens policy, I must admit that I also have another advantage. Since I'm a cop, and I carry my firearm off-duty, I don't go through the normal metal detector / bag peek routine that everyone else does. Instead, security puts me to the side and calls for a cop to come check my credentials. My experience has been that once the cop verifies that I am who I say I am, and they know that I'm armed, they don't worry too much about whatever else I might have with me.

This worked out well for me for Sunday night's game. Since I couldn't decide which lens to take, I ended up taking an all-of-the-above approach. I took two medium sized camera bags, and took all of my Sigma lenses...10-20mm, 30mm 1.4, 50-150mm, and 100-300mm f4, as well as my Olympus XZ-1 compact. I ended up using everything except the 30mm.

All of the lenses would have been okay under the arena policy, except for the 100-300mm, which was about an inch too long. Security may not have given me a hard time about it, but then again, maybe they would have. But with me being up in the 2nd level, I'm really glad I had it. It ended up being the lens I used the most, and I was very pleased with how the combo of the 100-300mm f4 and the K-30 performed in both terms of image quality, and speed.

After experimenting with lower ISO and shutter speeds, I mostly settled on ISO 2000, f4, and 1/800 sec, and ISO 2500, f4, and 1/1000 sec. Some of the lower speed pictures turned out okay, but areas that were moving fastest (ball, hands, etc) would turn out soft.

I'll post the pics once I have time to process them, but I've been busy photographing several events lately at the end of the school year, so it might be a little while.


Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 05-28-2013 at 12:39 AM.
05-28-2013, 12:30 AM   #9
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Okay, here's a few pics from the game. Please note that the first picture ("Bird Man"), is not a crop, and was shot at 220mm. So the 100-300mm gave me more than enough reach, and I rarely used it all the way out to 300mm. The first shot was also one of the lower ISO shots, shot at ISO 800 and 1/320 sec. In this case it worked, since he wasn't moving too fast, waiting for the ball to come back down.

The fourth picture (George Hill, no. 3) was shot at ISO 1250 and 1/400 sec, and you can see that his hands and the ball are slightly blurred.

Click on each image for a larger version:










Last edited by Edgar_in_Indy; 05-28-2013 at 12:43 AM.
05-28-2013, 08:41 AM   #10
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Envy!
05-28-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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Thanks for sharing Edgar, envy indeed.
Go Pacers!

Last edited by faceless_el; 05-28-2013 at 01:18 PM.
05-28-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by lightbulb Quote
Envy!
Sarah Palin? Yeah, I know.
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