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01-14-2007, 08:48 PM   #16
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Will,
Step back, take a deep breath and think "K.I.S.S.".
1) Choose your spot. Don't move.
2) Focus your Sigma in the middle of the key. At the age of these kids most of your action is there. Don't touch the zoom again.
3) set your ISO to 1600. Your don't need fine detail in this kind of photo. Use noise reduction in your work flow in PP.
4) Set the camera to continuous and just keep pressing the shutter. Expect to keep 1 out of 50.

Do this a couple of times and you will get better. As it is they are not to bad. You just need more practice, not a new lens.
regards,

01-14-2007, 08:52 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by -=JoN=- Quote
those big white things you usually see in sporting events

Canon Telephoto EF 300mm f/2.8L IS Image Stabilizer USM Autofocus Lens
That's the one, Jon. And if you see the black barrels (one in a dozen) it's sometimes this

Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8 VR ED Cameras - Vistek - Product Detail
01-14-2007, 08:58 PM   #18
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you will always need new lenses. heh...

It can and will get better, but there are limitations of what you and your equipment can do. it's like putting a small compact car in a an extreme off road trail such as the Rubicon, the car will only take you so far.



@ Alvin...

yeah...2 most used camera's in such event eh, N, and C. thats why most new comers think of those first due to their exposure
01-14-2007, 09:37 PM   #19
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Will,
I frequently shoot middle school basketball game for my school. Last year I used a *ist Ds, tamron 28-75 f2.8 and sigma 70-300 f/4-5.6. Even at 1600 iso I got many blured images; I considered it good to get 8 or 10 good shots of a game. Many of my keepers had the player's face focused while the ball and or hand was blurred; I liked that because it showed action. I found I gravitated toward free throw shots because of the lack of overall motion. The other day I used my K10d and new D FA 100 f2.8 and was really pleased with the results. I got several sharp shots under the basket. Though even at 2.8 and 1600 I still got many blured images. I think a faster lens (f2.8) would increase your satisfaction a little, though it was not cure everything. Many gyms are really poorly lit.
I recently read a suggestion on another site to set exposure to underexpose by 2 stops (-2) if shooting RAW and then increase the exposure in your processing on the computer. The photographer said this was a way to get 2 more stops; in your case this would allow you to increase your shutterspeed. I am eager to give it a try to see if it has a negative affect on image quality. I will try to let you know.
Best Wishes,
Erl

01-14-2007, 09:48 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
My fifth-grade daughter's basketball team played another game yesterday and once more I did my best to take some decent photos. Here's a link to the entire gallery (31 photos), but I wouldn't ask anybody to bother with the whole gallery. Would be grateful for comments on the following shots:
  1. ISO 1600, f/6.3, 1/100s @ 130mm. I'm not too unhappy with this shot. I don't mind - kind of like actually - the hands of the girls being out of focus. Good to have the players running right at me. Bit grainy, but it was high ISO and 130mm zoom, so I guess that's not surprising.
  2. ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/160s @ 110mm. What's wrong here? Is it simply that it's not quite focused?
  3. ISO 1600, f/4, 1/160s @ 28mm. I'd be happy if I could get a picture this sharp and clear most of the time. Even when I cropped this shot dramatically as an experiment, what I was left with was satisfactory.
I'd especially be grateful if anybody could give me some GENERAL advice on the best way to shoot this subject with my equipment. I have the Pentax K100D. All of these shots were taken with the Tamron 18-200mm DiII lens. I also have the Pentax 50-200, Pentax 75-300 and the Pentax kit lens that came with the camera.

I don't expect to be able to match the quality of the photos taken at NBA games by photographers from Sports Illustrated! I realize that I have one very big problem - the lighting in the gyms where my daughter's team plays just isn't very good, and of course flash is out of the question. Nevertheless, I think I should be able to do better than I'm doing. And I can't figure out how.

I tried shooting with a monopod - that didn't work. So in order to keep all the shots from being blurry from movement (mine or the players') I feel I have to keep the shutter at or above 1/100s - preferably above 1/200s. That makes me push the ISO up to 1600.

I'm thinking that perhaps I should give up trying to use the telephoto capability of my lens. Perhaps take the 18-200 lens off completely and put the kit lens on instead. Keep the aperture as wide open as possible at all times. One problem with this is that I can't really run up and down the court with the players, so I park myself down at the end of the court where our team is trying to score. With the telephoto lens, I have SOME hope of getting a half-decent shot across the length of the court, like this one. But if giving up telephoto is the Right Thing to Do, I'll give it a try next game.

Anyway, I'm open to any and all suggestions and/or critiques.

By the way, I hope to get the white balance right next time using the ExpoDisc that's on order and should be delivered this week. I'm not asking here for help with color so much as with focus and noise.

Thanks,

Will
I think that the biggest problem is that the shutter speeds that your camera selected are a bit to slow for the fast movement of some of the shot, giving the impression that your camera is out of focus.
thus there might be nothing wrong with how steady you hold the camera, but how fast your shutter speed is. the problem with lens that are on the slow side is you can't get the higher shutter speeds in order to capture fast action without a good flash.

My k10 with the sigma 17-70 between 17-35mm can take some fairly good lower light indoor shots, but don't anyone move a HAIR as they will be unsharp or downright blurry.

so if you do have a lens that can go to 2.8 or lower, that will let you increase the shutter speed, thus giving you the ablility to stop action better.

as far as

just some food for thought.
01-14-2007, 10:39 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by WMBP Quote
I'm so close that if I get any closer they're going to have to stuff me into a uniform. I've been going down to one end of the court and trying to stay out of the way - and to avoid getting hit by a loose ball!

Cropping would not be a problem if the original shot was satisfactory.

Will
You're that close, eh? For that matter I won't buy new, I'd go with a used 50mm f1.7 or even a f2. It's manual focus, but hey I wouldn't contest a $50 (f2) to $70 (f1.7) CDN experiment if it improves my chances of getting a good shot in your situation. And the 50mm f1.7 is a pretty decent little prime lens too.

My problem is I don't know yet how to use a MF lens on my camera. I'd send a message to Foxglove if you use a K100D.
01-14-2007, 11:09 PM   #22
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Thanks to everybody who's responded - excellent thoughts, all around. Especially glad to get the point of view of those of you who've shot in these conditions. It looks like I could improve my photos at least somewhat by keeping the Tamron 18-200 pulled all the way back (widest angle). As soon as I zoom much past the extreme 18mm end of the zoom range - before it gets to 35mm, for sure - I lose the f/3.5 aperture.

So I've ordered the Sigma Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Autofocus Lens for Pentax AF which looks like the best option that I can conceivably spring for. The f/2.8 is fixed throughout the zoom range. Looks like I will need to sell some other stuff now. If you're looking for the excellent Pentax 50-200, write me privately.

(NOTE added 1-22-07: I've now sold the Pentax 50-200 to another member of this forum, so it's no longer available.)

I will also need to start taking advantage of one of the Pentax's great advantages - its ability to use older lenses. Be grateful if anybody has any advice on where to go shopping for inexpensive used lenses.

Thanks again. I look forward in the near future to following up in this thread with some photos that show what I've learned from everybody here.

Will

Last edited by WMBP; 01-22-2007 at 10:18 PM. Reason: Added note that lens offered for sale has now been sold.
01-15-2007, 03:18 AM   #23
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KEH has a 50 F1.4 SMC M for $62.00 in bgn condition.
Cameras and used cameras available from KEH Camera Brokers.
Regards

01-15-2007, 04:37 AM   #24
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Will, I've been in similar situations where I have had to get shots in dim halls and auditoriums and have eneded up trading reach and AF on the DA50-200 for the low light capabilities of the K55 F1.8. It means I have to relocate to get closer to the subject but the change in lens speed really made a huge difference. Besides in the low light the AF often failed anyway. With the K55 still lots of wasted frames but more success overall.
01-15-2007, 09:14 AM   #25
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I have been using my 80-200 f/2.8 Tokina at our games and am very happy with the results. I do set autofocus on center so that my subject is in focus. I was shooting 1000 iso with 1/500 speed on my k10d with stabilization on and was very happy with the results.
01-15-2007, 09:28 AM   #26
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Even at 2.8, that's only one stop. I recommend trying some shots with the ISO up to 3200 and get PP software including noise reduction so you can shoot RAW with 1/250 second minimum. The review pics will look pretty dark on the camera LCD, so don't delete them until you get home and view them in your RAW converter. They will brighten up really easy in ACR, much more easily than tring to set levels manually on a JPEG.
01-15-2007, 12:25 PM   #27
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Get a 135mm f/2.5 or f/2.8. They're cheap on ebay (well less than $100) and pretty fast. Plus, in a kid's gym, you can get close to the court so the 135mm gets you fairly close. Just focus on a point and shoot when they get there.
01-21-2007, 11:49 PM   #28
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update 1/22/07

I started this thread last week and got some great responses. This is just a quick follow-up to let you know what happened.

Based on the recommendations I got here, I acquired two lenses (and sold some things). From KEH.com, I got a used Pentax M F1.4 50mm prime. And from Sigma4Less, I got a new Sigma 28-70 F2.8 EX zoom.

The Pentax M F1.4 50mm prime may be the best lens in my bag now, although it was the least expensive (not counting the kit lens, of course). I haven't yet done any real shooting with it, but the test shots are pretty impressive. This shot of my wife on the couch isn't very interesting as a photo, but the sharpness is great. Taken handheld, in very low light. I didn't use this lens for this weekend's basketball game for two reasons. First, no zoom, and I decided that I would like to have that. Second, I find manual focusing difficult. Next week, though, I'm going to give this lens a try anyway.

So yesterday, I used the Sigma 28-70 lens to shoot my daughter's basketball game. This has a max aperture of f/2.8 throughout the range of the lens. The whole gallery is online here, but I'm attaching one photo that's fairly representative. Had some white balance problems that I was not able to address perfectly in Adobe Lightroom. But I don't blame the WB problems on the lens. On the whole, this lens was a pleasure to shoot with and I'm quite pleased with the dimension of the results that can't be blamed on me or the camera. Definitely a HUGE improvement over what I used to do with my Canon S3 IS; with the S3, I had to use its highest ISO setting (800, roughly = my K100D's 3200) and the results were very noisy. The shots I took this week were also a clear improvement over the shots I took last week with the Tamron 18-200 F3.5-5.7 zoom. This week, I didn't have to shoot at ISO 3200 at all. I was able to stick to ISO 800 or 1600 and use shutter speeds around 1/400s much of the time. And as it happened, I seldom actually opened the lens all the way to f/2.8! I think the lighting in the gym was a bit better this time than it was last time, and that helped too.

As I said, I may yet find that the Pentax 50mm prime will work even better - if I can get over shooting everything at 50mm. However, I'm quite happy with the Sigma 28-70 F2.8 and think I can continue to grow with it for a good while. Now that I've sort of solved the technical hardware problem, I can really put my mind to figuring out how to take more interesting photos. Thanks again to everybody for your help.

Will
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01-21-2007, 11:55 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by chedoy Quote
Even at 2.8, that's only one stop. I recommend trying some shots with the ISO up to 3200 and get PP software including noise reduction so you can shoot RAW with 1/250 second minimum. The review pics will look pretty dark on the camera LCD, so don't delete them until you get home and view them in your RAW converter. They will brighten up really easy in ACR, much more easily than tring to set levels manually on a JPEG.
This sounds like a smart idea, but for one problem: My K100D's buffer can only hold two shots if I shoot Raw; shooting JPEG, I can get about five. And I rather like shooting continuous - not because I'm trying to "cheat" (hoping one of the shots comes out okay) but because I really like taking sequences of shots that shot a kid approaching the basket, then shooting, then show the ball going through the net. With my old Canon S3 IS I could shoot as many shots in a row as I wanted, at slightly better than 2 fps. But the K100D's five shots per burst is good enough most of the time. Anyway, I'm shooting Raw now more and more, but I yesterday I switched to JPEG for the game.

Nevertheless, maybe next week I'll consider giving up on the continuous shooting and try your suggestion. If I'd taken these pictures as Raw, I could probably have fixed the WB problems a little better.

Thanks,

Will
01-22-2007, 12:12 AM   #30
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Wow what an improvement! I know you'll be enjoying the games a lot more now!
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