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04-19-2008, 09:41 AM   #1
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Indoor sports photography how to?

Good morning:

I looked around but didn't find a thread on this.

I am relatively new to my K100D (6 months). I LOVE IT SO FAR... My question today is what combination of Shutter Speed / Aperture and Lens should I use to get the best results for indoor, low light non-flash sprots photography.

I love to take pictures of my kids sports and currently my daughter is in volleyball.

I am using an SMC-M 50/2 with 800 - 1600 ISO and they are OK but not in great focus.

Is there a better lens to use that will provide good crisp pictures under these active conditions.

Thanks,

Stan

04-19-2008, 10:29 AM   #2
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Indoor Shooting

You need a fast lens. Depending on the amount of light in the gym, f2 may or may not be enough.

You need to use a minimum of 1/500th if you want to come anywhere close to freezing the action.

The faster the shutter speed, the more likelihood you will freeze it.

I would try all this at about 800ISO.

If you use flash either off or on camera, you can lower the shutter speed.
I took this photo at about ISO 800, f1.8, 1/500th and off-camera flash located in the stands and fired by Pocket Wizards

I would try the 77mm Limited.... I shot the above with an 85mm 1.8 on a Nikon....(sorry, I didnt have my K10D with me at that time)
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Last edited by pentaxshooter; 04-19-2008 at 10:32 AM. Reason: ADDED INFORMATION ON LENS
04-19-2008, 12:00 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by sglj3 Quote
Good morning:

I looked around but didn't find a thread on this.

I am relatively new to my K100D (6 months). I LOVE IT SO FAR... My question today is what combination of Shutter Speed / Aperture and Lens should I use to get the best results for indoor, low light non-flash sprots photography.

I love to take pictures of my kids sports and currently my daughter is in volleyball.

I am using an SMC-M 50/2 with 800 - 1600 ISO and they are OK but not in great focus.

Is there a better lens to use that will provide good crisp pictures under these active conditions.

Thanks,

Stan
I have used a variety of lenses, depending on distance. I generally find my sigma 70-200 F2.8 is too long for a gymnasium, my tamron 28-75 is much better for smaller venues.

I have also used my manual focus 50m f1.4, my 105 f2,8 and 135 f2.5, but it really all depends on shooting distance.

You should consier bumping the ISO to 1600 or 3200 because you can then stop the lens down to increase depth of field. That usually takes care of minor focusing errors

for shutter speed, you should consier at least 1/200 to stop action, 1/500 would be even better,

Note shake reduction does not help in this case because it is the subject that is moving
04-19-2008, 01:21 PM   #4
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Thanks - I didn't want to go above 800 for risk of graininess... I will try the 1600 or 3200 and stop down - thanks.

04-19-2008, 02:12 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by sglj3 Quote
Thanks - I didn't want to go above 800 for risk of graininess... I will try the 1600 or 3200 and stop down - thanks.
I shoot 1-2 horse shows , indoors in the winter. Some difussed light from a bank of windows, but not a great deal.
Using my D2H in Manual mode, my set up is F3.2 or 2.8 depending and shutter around 1/400 at
ISO 100 or 1250.

Side shots are pretty much motioned blurred, but head on jump shots are ok. Monopod is used and if not, VR is set for ON on the 70-210.

Neat image cleans them up fairly well. None of my sales have called back so far to complain about it.

Dave

Last edited by pentkon52; 04-19-2008 at 02:13 PM. Reason: Add info.
04-19-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sglj3 Quote
I looked around but didn't find a thread on this.
Oh, there's lots of stuff on this subject, here and elsewhere. But that's okay, the same questions get asked over and over, and sometimes the answers change.


QuoteQuote:
My question today is what combination of Shutter Speed / Aperture and Lens should I use to get the best results for indoor, low light non-flash sprots photography.

I love to take pictures of my kids sports and currently my daughter is in volleyball.

I am using an SMC-M 50/2 with 800 - 1600 ISO and they are OK but not in great focus.
Stan, I've shot thousands of volleyball shots just in the last couple of months. Shot a couple games earlier this afternoon. I've used a variety of cameras and lenses. My general observations.
  1. For any kind of moving subject, the shutter speed is the matter of first concern. Now, I disagree that you must keep the speed above 1/500th. In fact, I haven't shot at 1/500th sec in a very long time. I tend to shoot at 1/250th sec or even slower than that - I've gone down to 1/125th sec and gotten good pictures. But that's about the absolute limit. I'd say 1/250th sec is my target speed. You may get a little blur, in the moving ball, or in the hands of the players, but that can't actually be a nice effect. Once you learn to hit the shutter at the right moment, you'll be able to get most of the player's body at the point when it's frozen for an instant.
  2. Since the lighting in school gyms stinks, really stinks, and since you can't shoot at half a second or something like that, you've got to balance the moderately fast shutter with a moderately fast (large aperture) lens and/or high ISO. I find myself shooting quite frequently at something like 1/200th sec, ISO 1600 and f/2.8.
  3. As for lenses and focal lengths, that's a very tricky topic. Depends in part on where you like to stand and CAN stand. I am usually able to stand on the side of the court near the end of the volleyball net (by the pole on one side). From this vantage point, I can shoot mostly around 35mm. I prefer zoom lenses. Have used Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, which was good but I'd like it better if it were wider. Have used Sigma 18-50 f/2.8, which is excellent at the wide end but could be a tad longer. Lately have used Sigma 17-70 DC macro which is good in terms of range but doesn't have a fixed aperture, so I lose some light at the telephoto end of the zoom range which is unfortunate. Today I was tired and lazy for the first time in scores of games, and I took a Pentax DA* 50-135 f/2.8 and sat up in the stands rather than standing on the court. Problem with this location is its harder for me to follow the action like this.
With a Pentax 50mm f/2 you might be able to keep the ISO at 800, but I feel that the ability to zoom is more important than the loss of a stop. If it wasn't, I'd probably use my Pentax 35 f/2 more often.

Lower your expectations. This is really hard. The lighting is horrible so getting a decent exposure is very difficult. And the shot ops are not so good, either. Boring volleyball games don't give you many good action shots, and good volleyball games are hard to photograph because it's so hard to predict where the ball will go.

Good luck.

Will

P.S. Attached photo taken with K20D and DA* 50-135 f/2.8 at 135mm, ISO 1600, f/2.8 and 1/250th sec. Post-processing in Lightroom included bringing up the exposure, a little noise reduction (just a little) and a little sharpening.
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04-19-2008, 04:13 PM   #7
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Re-read #6 above, It's GOOD.
Gym lighting stinks! I've shot for years with ISO 1600 color neg. film
and tried it this winter with my K10D. Expect a yellowish cast with either type.
White balance is a problem for me - I need to learn more.
1/250 will be okay, and you'll probably need ISO 1600 setting.
I've shot Lots of pics to get a handful of good ones, so don't
expect too much.
04-19-2008, 05:33 PM   #8
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Hi Stan. I was in your same situation earlier this year except bball. Ditto to great advice above. After shooting bball with my two kit lenses, and M50F2 and an old "Image" M28F2.8 last year I was having a hard time convincing myself I needed yet another lens at 50 but I found this was where I was taking most of my shots at. Thanks to lots of good advice, examples, etc, I joined the FA50/1.4 crowd - it goes for under $200 and I'm very happy - being in the "consumer" end of the spectrum. For "good" high school gym lighting my better shots have resulted at 1/500, F1.7, and 1/350, F2.0 at 800 ISO. As light goes down I end up at 1600 and slower shutter speeds. Now and then I go for a slower shutter speed and lower ISOs to get nicer skin colours. The DOF at F1.7 and 2.0 can still cause lots to be out of focus. Trying to chase players around with AF at such Fstops with shallow DOF does not work well at least for me. My technique (comes from using the old M50) is to pick a few spots on the floor, practise some shots to figure out the sweet distance and make a mental note on the lens, I either prefocus with AF-S and/or manual focus on that distance and wait for the action to come to the spot. Still like the feel of the focus on the old manual lenses though. With your M50F2 you might try going to F2.8 with slower shutter speed to gain a bit in your DOF. Good luck. Ken.

04-21-2008, 10:29 AM   #9
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Not all sports photography requires stopping fast action. Below is a link to a photograph of a basketball game taken at 1/60th of a second (f2.8). I was located very high in the upper level and it was a hand-held shot. But for what I was trying to capture, the spacing of players on a fast break, I think the shot works fine.

Link: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3219/2364284198_aa78b6fe38_o.jpg

04-24-2008, 11:32 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone.

We were at the beach last weekend so back to the VB game tomorrow. I will post if I get anything good.
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