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12-14-2015, 09:13 PM   #1
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Low light indoor sports photography

I need a better lens for shooting some low light sports, mostly hockey. The lens my camera came with just isnt cutting it. I use a pentax k5. Id prefer to stay under $1000 and am willing to go used. I have done so,e research and already have something in mind, but i just wanted to get some opinions. Any recommendations? Thanks

12-14-2015, 09:43 PM   #2
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Tamron 70-200/2.8!
12-14-2015, 10:19 PM   #3
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a prime lens under f3 should be fast. or bump the iso and get something in the 50-300 range. I was using a kit lens from another camera system and that did not work as good as a longer zoom last month.
12-14-2015, 10:37 PM   #4
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What sport? Lighting is not all the story. What shutter speed would you require? At what distance will you be from your subject(s)?

I am not a professional but I have shot volley-ball (VB) games when my wife or son are playing for the past 8 years. I try to shoot from the bench or from behind the 2nd referee, that is within less 10m from the players. I use lenses with focal lengths within 50-100 mm (not enough details when shooting shorter focal lengths and anything above 100mm is too long IMHO). My preference is for fast prime lenses (f1.8 or f1.4), setting up my camera (K-3) for continuous shooting (8.3 fps) and manual focus mode (MF). I obtained my best shots with Carl Zeiss 85mm f1.4, Pentax FA77mm f1.8, and Voigtlander Nokton 58mm f1.4 lenses. Basic post-processing is a must. In particular for orientation/rotation. My keeper rate is low: less than 5% are truly good shots. But my wife, my son and their friends are happy with my shots and their encouraging feedback keeps me going. (None of their friends take better shots...)

VB is a really fast sport and I cannot use a flash. I found that a fast prime operating in MF with pre-focus (based upon distance) works best for me.

I hope that the comment may help.

Last edited by hcc; 12-15-2015 at 12:21 AM.
12-15-2015, 01:16 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by swagpotato Quote
shooting some low light sports
In short the faster the better, focal length really depends on your level of access to the sport, i.e. how close you can get to the action.

Me... I use fast primes for this kind of work, but many folk around me use the faster F2.8 zooms.
12-15-2015, 08:52 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum!
12-15-2015, 10:51 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by swagpotato Quote
mostly hockey.
My question is what location relative to the ice will you be taking pictures from? You will want a lens that allows for getting a couple of players in the frame, such as a shooter and the goalie, defenseman and forward against the boards, skater trying to get past a defender in the neutral zone and so on. Light will be an issue, most indoor rinks have terrible lighting, which means slower shutter speeds. Fortunately, no one should mind if the puck is blurred and as long as the players' heads and sweaters are in focus, the most important details will be clear.
12-15-2015, 11:11 AM   #8
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I have used the FA*85 handheld at 6400 ISO to get many keepers in low light auditoriums. It does not focus fast enough, but if you are patient and willing to tame the beast - you might get spectacular results. the other choice would be the DA*50-135. If you can use a tripod, your keeper rate will increase significantly - but then I have never covered hockey or football, truth be told.


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