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03-07-2010, 12:04 AM   #1
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Suggestions for shooting sports

I have a K7, and I want to shoot some action sports shots, mostly from high school. The games that are under the lights at night make it difficult to get action without blur, or if I set the shutter speed fast enough to reduce blur, the images are too dark. The same problem occurs for indoor basketball games.

Any suggestions?

Also, how do you get the signature line, that says "proud owner of a K7", or whatever camera you choose?


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03-07-2010, 12:10 AM   #2
Damn Brit

Increase ISO. If you've increased it to the point where you get too much noise, then you need a faster lens.

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03-07-2010, 12:49 AM   #3
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Damn Brit is right about 'get a faster lens'. I suggest a 70-200 2.8 for football, but probably something shorter focal length (28-75) for basketball and volleyball. Depends on your lighting, but, as an example, here are a bunch of shots from a US high school football game shot under lights back in 2008:

Picasa Web Albums - Doomba - Beavercreek v...

All were taken with the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 EX DG II HSM and K20D. Most of the shots were taken at around 1/200th, f4.5 (trying to get a little bit of depth of field) and ISO 3200. It seemed to work.
03-07-2010, 01:11 AM   #4
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.. and here is a shot I took yesterday of my son's school volleyball game using the same lens at a focal length of 70mm. 1/200th, f2.8, ISO 1250, and I bumped up the brightness a tad in Photoshop before resizing. This was taken in a very dimly lit gym.

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03-07-2010, 02:34 AM   #5
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which lens will you use?

especially for indoors you gonna need a fast lens in my opinion.

here are some examples of indoor basketball with the 43mm ltd. Lens; with information about the settings:

1/160, f2.2, iso 400

1/250, f1.9, iso 400

1/250, f2.5, iso 400

1/250, f2.5, iso 400

1/320, f2.5, iso 800

the pics where published earlier in another thread:
03-07-2010, 03:50 AM   #6
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Quite often you will not be able to avoid motion blur. And then it may be better to use motion blur to show the dynamics of the sport. Here's an example

and another one I took more than 25 years ago on iso 100 slide film.

As others have mentioned already, for completely freezing the action indoors you will probably need to use a very fast lens plus high iso. And I often find that these shots, although reasonably sharp, can be quite boring if the timing was not absoluty perfect. So the hit-rate can be quite frustrating. At least I have made this experience.
03-07-2010, 06:38 AM   #7
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I used the DA* 50-135mm for basketball and soccer with desent results. For soccer it was a little on the short side so I primarily stayed on one side of the field. However, it wasn't quite fast enough for night games.
Before this I switched between my manual 50mm f1.7 and 135mm f2.5 for basketball. Although the 50mm was fast enough, the lack of AF limited my shot selection.
So in a nutshell, the fastest lens you can get even if the focal lenght is not ideal, is what you want.

03-07-2010, 01:02 PM   #8
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Thanks for all of the great advice. Sounds like I need to get a 2.8 or better. Without a faster lens, I'm going to be constantly battling the blur.

I better start saving some $$$!
03-08-2010, 10:00 AM   #9
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I have shot indoor basketball games at our local high school gym with a 55/f2 Tak with good results. The length is about right for the bleachers there. A fast AF would be better but I already have the Tak. It will all depend on the gym and the lighting. If the seats are close to the floor, you won't need a long lens. Football is tougher and a longer fast lens necessary for night games. I haven't done much but I have shot some night baseball games with a Sigma 70-300/f 4-5.6 with so-so results. Shot at 1600 ISO and cropped they certainly aren't Sports Illustrated material but suitable for my own albums. You can get away with slightly slower shutter speeds with baseball than football. The motion blur of a moving bat or pitchers arm can make a nice shot, but football, where everybody is moving, my lens isn't fast enough to work. A 2.8 lens should do fine.

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