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11-03-2018, 04:47 PM   #1
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Basketball photography and focus

I upgraded to the K3II. Iíve had very good luck shooting my grandsonsí sports, til we moved indoors for basketball. ISO and white balance were fine, but I could not focus or stop action, no matter what I tried for settings. I was using a 75-300 mm lens. Any suggestions for settings? Thank you!

11-03-2018, 05:12 PM   #2
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I'd suggest AF.C, fixed single spot focus, back button focus only, focus priority, shutter speed 1/500 or faster. I like to use a battery grip for basketball as I'm usually shooting in the portrait orientation, at least under the basket. I suspect you could could benefit from a faster lens, such as the D FA 24-70 or D FA* 70-200. The Tamron 28-75 is a pretty decent performer for a fairly low price. I've only shot from the sideline. If you are shooting from the stands then you would need a long lens like you have or a 70-200. Good luck!

Last edited by dave2k; 11-04-2018 at 07:10 AM.
11-03-2018, 05:24 PM   #3
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You really want 1/500 shutter at a minimum, preferably higher than that. Unfortunately, if your lens is a variable aperture zoom with f5.6 or f6.3 max aperture, you will have to increase iso quite a bit. Even with f2.8 or f4 lenses, I was routinely at iso 1600-3200, and the court was one of the better lit I had seen.

About focus, it's a combination of technique and practice, and having a lens that 1) has a wide aperture, to allow enough light for the camera to focus quickly; 2) has a fast drive system that can track action (your k3ii is pretty good if the lens keeps up)

If you can (are permitted and have a prime), my suggestion is to go to the end of the court with a prime lens (you can make anything from 20 to 60mm on apsc work, just need to move around as needed), and shoot closeup action under the hoop. The wider aperture should allow you to get fast shutter speeds. If you still have trouble with autofocus, prefocus on the hoop, they'll more or less be in focus when they jump, certainly better than with focus hunting around.

edit: I second dave2k's suggestion for AF settings, with the addition that I prefer medium AF hold (in custom settings) so that players passing in front of the camera don't make the focus jump on the foreground

Last edited by aaacb; 11-03-2018 at 05:36 PM.
11-04-2018, 03:50 PM   #4
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As above, although I would suggest also trying AF.S with a small aperture F8This will enable quicker frame rate that AF.C. TaV mode 500 - 1000/sec F8 and let the ISO look after itself. You will get some noise especially being indoors with low light but give it a go. It may also help if you can predict the play and pre-focus on a section of the court, rather than trying to follow the players.


Select different aspects of the games and shoot those for a while and then move to something else. Track a particular player for a while, obviously your Grandson but not exclusively. His team mates will appreciate a photo or two of them as well. Include off court action too for interest


Try several techniques swapping from one to another and back again.


Take lots and be prepared to spend time culling and cropping.

11-06-2018, 01:05 PM   #5
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Thanks, everyone! I will be back at it this weekend. I was on the right track, just not quite there. Iíll make adjustments, and see how it goes. At this level of play, I can shoot from stands, sideline or under the basket. And I may need to consider a new lens. I appreciate the advice.
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