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01-26-2010, 11:46 AM   #1
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basketball with the 300mm kit lens?

A few weeks ago I tried to shoot my sons basketball team in a dimly lit gym with my wife's Oly e620 using a 300mm lens. Even at a shorter focal length (and presumably closer to f4 than f5.6) and with iso set to 1600 I ended up with a very dim picture at any shutter speed over maybe 1/60 or 1/80.
I would like to get to at least 1/250 for the moving shots.

When I ordered a k-x (arrives on Friday - whoo hoo) I was hoping that the improved iso range would allow me to get a picture even with the kit zoom in the same light conditions.

At this point though, I am wondering if the enhanced low light performance of the k-x will really make any substantial difference. I am betting that any f4 or higher lens will give a dim view no matter how I configure iso. Would that be correct?

So, is there any way to get a moving basketball shot in a somewhat dimly lit gym using the 300mm kit lens (even if at lower zooms) with a k-x at a shutter speed of 1/250-ish?

01-26-2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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can you use a flash? that would help, if you can get the af360fgz or the 500 model it will help out... i was shooting at 300 inside today and got 1/180, it stops the action enough...

i have the kx and did a football game on an overcast day without a flash, if you shoot raw you can correct later... it worked for me and the football shots looked good.

cheers
01-26-2010, 12:48 PM   #3
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I was in an arena, with barely any light at al (the ice might have helped though) and used my sigma 70-300 from f4-5.6 and although the shots were not as crisp as pictures taken with my 50mm f1.4 (well lit portrait), they were acceptable (to me, family thought they were great.) The shutter speed was (I think) around 180, and the shots came out without any visible motion blur. Hope that helps a bit lol.
01-26-2010, 01:16 PM   #4
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No it's going to make bugger all difference. Even 1/250 is a bit slow as you will get motion blur.

You need a big honkin 2.8 lens.

01-26-2010, 02:33 PM   #5
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if you dont mind, just where are you seated that you would need a 300mm lens since parents usually have the first few rows.

Also did you know you can ask the officials to brighten up the place?

Flash is usually not allowed in sports but there are photographers who ignore the rules to get the shots they are looking for even if the flash affects the flow of the game.

For this type of situation the TAv mode is pretty much my choice unless willing to fork out for a telephoto f2.8 lens. The TAv mode gives me decent pictures which can then be enhanced in post.
01-26-2010, 03:05 PM   #6
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You can make the picture as bright as you want - you just need to crank up ISO higher, or slow the shutter speed. Not that you *want* to do either of those, but the point is, you do have a choice here. Dim pictures are not the only possible result of shooting in low light - you have a choice betwene dim, noisy (from raising ISO), or blurry (from reducing shutter speed). Or you can get a lens with a larger maximum aperture: that wil give you a choice between somewhat less dim, somewhat less noisy, or somewhat less blurry - but it will still be a struggle, and now you'll be adding thinner DOF and thus more difficulty getting everything you want in focus to the list of problems. Only adding more light - a lot more light, like a powerful flash - will really alow you to be free of these limitations, but powerful flash isn't always a viable option.
01-26-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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Well, the k-x won't arrive till Friday, so I don't want to buy a fast lens just now. I need to have my fun with the kit lenses first.

As far as seating and flash, we usually sit up in the middle of the bleachers (for want of a better word) and you're right, we don't need 300mm, but probably 150-200ish is about right, and I'm assuming it's worse than F4 at those zooms right? Flash would be annoying for the other parents and I dare say the refs would get on me so no flash.

I would really like to use as fast a shutter speed as possible, and realize that it's still going to give some blur but was hoping for something approaching 1/250 as a feasible goal. Looks like it's not that feasible though.......

Oh well, I'll crank up the iso to 3200 or 6400, use the zoom as close to the wide angle side as I can and see what happens.

By the way I believe there's no TAv mode on the k-x. Might be wrong though.

cheers,
ken
01-26-2010, 08:00 PM   #8
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there is no TAv on the Kx.

but if you are in the mood for treasure hunting, try looking for second hand f/2 or even f/4 200mm prime lenses as i am guessing that Pentax had such lenses ages past. In most likelihood these relics will be manual but if the venue is as dark as you mentioned, forget the autofocus.

01-27-2010, 10:07 AM   #9
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The M200/4 is a very easily obtainable lens (ebay, keh.com, your local pawn shop) for well under $100. but I'm guessing that's still considerably longer than you'd want most of the time for basketball, unless you're nowhere near the court. Shoot with the zoom long enough to get a feel for the focal lengths you actually do need, then re-evaluate the situation. I'd personally be guessing that a 50 and either a 100 or 135 would be the right focal lengths, but sports is the one situation where I'd probably be wanting a zoom rather than a prime. Something like the old A70-210/4 zoom might be the best compromise; it's not too expensive either.
01-27-2010, 12:30 PM   #10
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As far as aperture is concerned, wouldn't the 300mm kit lens have close to f4 at 200mm zoom?

I can't swear to it, but I think 200mm is probably about right in a high school gym sat in the middle to upper rows. I will have a better idea this weekend.

Is there a readily available not too expensive f2.8 lens in the 100 to 200mm zoom lengths? I guess it would be an older mf lens.
01-28-2010, 06:25 AM   #11
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just under 200mm i got f/4.5 showing up on the k/x that probably will work!
01-28-2010, 10:56 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kace Quote
At this point though, I am wondering if the enhanced low light performance of the k-x will really make any substantial difference. I am betting that any f4 or higher lens will give a dim view no matter how I configure iso. Would that be correct?
Well if you raise the ISO one stop, your shot will be one stop brighter! (assuming the same shutter speed and aperture) I have plenty of non-dim shots at f/4 and narrower

Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" does a good job of explaining some of the basic concepts of photography.
01-28-2010, 12:18 PM   #13
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The M100/2.8 runs about $100, and there are a zillion 135/2.8's out there for less, including the not-all-that-well-regarded-but-not-completely-worthless "Takumar (Bayonet)" lenses.
01-28-2010, 12:34 PM   #14
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I paid $12 for my Sears 135mm f/2.8 from eBay a few years ago. It was a pretty decent lens. It became redundant when I bought my DA* 50-135.
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