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12-17-2009, 09:26 PM   #1
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Hoops Lens

Ok, I've been shooting my daughter's basketball games in dim gyms. I can get close to the court and have been using an F 50mm f/1.7--usually at f3.2. It's performed reasonably well but I end up cropping a lot which makes me think I need something longer so I've been trying other lenses--like the 77mm ltd and Sigma 105mm macro.

In this context, I've been more aware of AF speed, which I've seen discussed much but has never been much of a concern of mine before. It seems to me that the 77mm in particular is fairly slow to focus (and sometimes cannot confirm focus at all) in these situations.

I'd be interested in comments and recommendations of fast, sharp, fast focusing in the 50-100mm range. I imagine, of course, that one suggestion would be the DA*50-135mm but I'd also like to consider less expensive, non-SDM primes (and would prefer a prefer sub-f/2 lens.)

12-18-2009, 12:11 PM   #2
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I doubt you'll find a faster-focusing lens in that range than the DA70, and I also doubt you'd really be wanting the DOF you'd get by trying to shoot at f/2 or below at that focal length.
12-18-2009, 12:21 PM   #3
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I would imagine that the DA* 50-135/F2.8 mated to the high-ISO capable K-x would let you follow the action up and down the court pretty nicely. My niece's college hoops career is done though, so I can't test it for you.
12-18-2009, 12:33 PM   #4
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Thanks for the input!

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I doubt you'll find a faster-focusing lens in that range than the DA70, and I also doubt you'd really be wanting the DOF you'd get by trying to shoot at f/2 or below at that focal length.
Yeah, I was guessing the DA 70 might be the ticket, Marc. I love the 77mm but it just doesn't feel like the right tool for the job. And you're absolutely right about not shooting wider than f/2.5--I tried that last year with terrible results.

QuoteOriginally posted by johnmflores Quote
I would imagine that the DA* 50-135/F2.8 mated to the high-ISO capable K-x would let you follow the action up and down the court pretty nicely. My niece's college hoops career is done though, so I can't test it for you.
I've been thinking that, too, John, but the well is kinda dry right now.


Last edited by dadipentak; 12-18-2009 at 12:42 PM.
12-18-2009, 01:33 PM   #5
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I've been shooting my younger brothers' high school wrestling matches, which usually take place on basketball courts, with my DA 70, and its autofocus has been able to keep up. A 50-135 would give me an ideal focal range. I'll probably try out my friend's DA* for an upcoming meet, and I'll let you know how it goes.
12-18-2009, 02:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by PrimeObjectif Quote
I've been shooting my younger brothers' high school wrestling matches, which usually take place on basketball courts, with my DA 70, and its autofocus has been able to keep up. A 50-135 would give me an ideal focal range. I'll probably try out my friend's DA* for an upcoming meet, and I'll let you know how it goes.
I wrestled but never photographed it but I'd think it's a bit different--at least when they're on the mat. But my son has a DA* 50-135mm: I'll try to borrow (if he's not too worried about getting it back ;~)
12-18-2009, 02:59 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
Ok, I've been shooting my daughter's basketball games in dim gyms. I can get close to the court and have been using an F 50mm f/1.7--usually at f3.2. It's performed reasonably well but I end up cropping a lot which makes me think I need something longer so I've been trying other lenses--like the 77mm ltd and Sigma 105mm macro.

In this context, I've been more aware of AF speed, which I've seen discussed much but has never been much of a concern of mine before. It seems to me that the 77mm in particular is fairly slow to focus (and sometimes cannot confirm focus at all) in these situations.

I'd be interested in comments and recommendations of fast, sharp, fast focusing in the 50-100mm range. I imagine, of course, that one suggestion would be the DA*50-135mm but I'd also like to consider less expensive, non-SDM primes (and would prefer a prefer sub-f/2 lens.)
Then only wish I can't fulfill is sub f2...
Otherwise, don't look further than F/FA 135.
Focuses quickly (nearly as quick as F50/1.7), is really sharp right from f2.8, built of metal, feels solid, comes with built in hood.
Only negative I can find is that it exhibits some PF at high contrast situations, close to wide open. Otherwise... suberb lens

BR
Peter
12-18-2009, 03:33 PM   #8
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I'd guess, though, that 135 would be too long for basketball from courtside a lot of the time (although no doubt it would have its uses).

12-18-2009, 05:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
Then only wish I can't fulfill is sub f2...
Otherwise, don't look further than F/FA 135.
Focuses quickly (nearly as quick as F50/1.7), is really sharp right from f2.8, built of metal, feels solid, comes with built in hood.
Only negative I can find is that it exhibits some PF at high contrast situations, close to wide open. Otherwise... suberb lens

BR
Peter
Hmmm, I have one of those as a matter of fact and I quite agree with your assessment of the optics (including the PF.) As Marc says, it might be a bit too long but I often position myself at one corner of the court and might give it a try shooting the action at the far end of the court rather than the near end.

Thanks!
12-19-2009, 03:03 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
...

I'd be interested in comments and recommendations of fast, sharp, fast focusing in the 50-100mm range. I imagine, of course, that one suggestion would be the DA*50-135mm but I'd also like to consider less expensive, non-SDM primes (and would prefer a prefer sub-f/2 lens.)
Dave,

I've had good success with a Nikon TC-E15ED (1.5x) teleconverter added to my Pentax-F 50:1.7.

This results in a fast (F2 or better), sharp, AF, 75mm lens.



The Nikon TC-E15ED attaches to the front of the lens & nominally does not affect the lens speed. It actually cuts the speed a small amount due to the extra glass & a little vignetting.

This TC sold recently for $40-90 on eBay. There are three listed at this time, one in the UK.

It was made for a Nikon P&S (5700 maybe) so the rear lens is recessed requiring its aluminum barrel to be shortened.... a job much easier than it sounds. A hacksaw will work for this purpose. After the barrel is cut, an empty filter ring is glued to the end for coupling to your primary lens.

I will document this set-up further if anyone shows interest. Meanwhile, here's a resolution test of the Pentax-F 50:1.7 with and without the Nikon TC-E15ED. These are full enlargements of a Siemen's Star pattern. As you can see there is little or no degradation due to the TC.


Dave

Last edited by newarts; 12-19-2009 at 03:27 AM.
12-20-2009, 07:02 AM   #11
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I have recently been shooting some basketball games also at my granddaughters school and have been using a 55mm/f 2 Tak. It's doing a pretty decent job in the low light and there is enough DOF at f/2.8 to keep most of the action in focus. I found the M135/3.5 too long. I attempted a few shots with my Sigma 70-300 at the 70mm short end of the zoom and that worked but was too slow for the light, even at ISO1600. I would think either the DA 70 or 77ltd would be ideal for those shots or a fast zoom which covers that range.
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