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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Flo Bringas
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/4/2007
 

Indoor High School Sports Photography


I am looking for a lens that will be good for indoor high school sports photography. Typically, high school gyms and pool areas do not have the best lighting. I have a 100-400mm, but it's not fast enough. I am interested in the f/2.8 70-200mm. I went to a local camera store here in Chicago and was told that the f/2.8 70-200mm would not work well for this type of photography. Of course, the lens they suggested instead was the f/2.0 200mm with a price tag of close to $5,000. Any thoughts on the f/2.8 70-200mm? Or any suggestions on a different lens? I appreciate any input!

11/14/2009 4:51:53 PM

 
Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer

member since: 1/7/2009
  To my mind, I would sacrifice a stop to have the versatility of the 70-200mm. A fixed focal length lens isn't always going to give you optimum focal length at a sporting event since you have action moving towards and away from you. Basically, you have more framing options with the zoom. Assuming you are using a digital camera, hopefully one that has low noise at high ISO, I would take my chances with the 2.8 70-200mm and pick up the lost stop with an increase in ISO. Depending on the difference in price, you might be able to upgrade your camera body to something with lower noise at the higher ISOs.
Jeff

11/14/2009 5:46:17 PM

 
Ken Smith
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member since: 6/11/2005
  I have the 100-400mm lens, but I do know the 70-200mm F2.8 is a super lens. That's a lot of extra dollars, considering you already have the 100-400mm. Assume you could not bump the ISO a little higher, then use noise software. If $$s aren't a problem, then certainly get the 70-200mm lens.

11/15/2009 4:41:01 PM

 
Jeffrey R. Whitmoyer

member since: 1/7/2009
  Ken makes a good point in regards to noise reduction software to help correct for excess noise if it becomes a problem. If you can avoid a major expense until you absolutely need a new piece of equipment, you are always better off to do so, unless you really want a new toy and have the resources to get it. I should have thought of that myself in the original answer.

11/15/2009 5:08:15 PM

 
Scott Wohlman
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member since: 8/22/2006
  I've done volleyball and basketball in high school gyms, and my best shots have not been with my 70-200 2.8; they have been taken with my $125 50mm 1.8.
SW

11/15/2009 7:41:46 PM

 
Flo Bringas
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 12/4/2007
  Thanks for all of your input. I don't necessarily want to spend the extra money, so the alternate solutions were great. I have a 50mm 1.8, so I am going to experiment with that during this weekend's events. Any suggestions on a noise reduction program??

11/16/2009 11:05:45 AM

 
Ken Smith
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member since: 6/11/2005
  Noise Ninja:
http://www.picturecode.com/

11/16/2009 2:46:27 PM

 
John W. DeHority

member since: 11/27/2005
  My 70-200 f2.8 IS lens is my lens of choice for indoor sport photography. I have taken thousands of indoor sport shots (mostly volleyball), but some basketball and indoor soccer too. In most gyms I do have to push the ISO to 1600 to get acceptable shutter speeds. F2.8 is addequate for most gyms, depending on how the noise performance of your camera is at higher ISO speeds.

If I can get real close to the action I'll occasionally use a 28-70 f2.8 lens. But the 70-200 is my indoor sports workhorse.

11/17/2009 5:56:35 AM

 
Michelle T. Hekle
BetterPhoto Member
heklephotoimages.com

member since: 9/3/2009
  Volleyball and Basketball are very hard to get good pics. Use the 50mm and crop.
I used a 85mm 1.4 and still found it dark at times in a gym. You could rent one at your local camera shop I would think.
I use a 80-200 mm 2.8 for Hockey and Ringette in club arenas and works well.
Pro sports have much better lighting so I think the 70-200 f2.8 would work great there but not in a school gym where lighting is so poor.
I set my lens wide open and speed 320 or faster and Auto ISO (which sometimes goes to 3200) using a D300.

11/17/2009 8:50:58 AM

 
David Pearce
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fullrangephotos.com

member since: 5/18/2005
  I have both lenses, the 70-200mm f2.8L and 100-400mm f4.5/5.6L, and have used them quite a bit. I am much more impressed with image quality from the 70-200, and I feel it has a bit quicker autofocus. I often find myself using the 100-400mm due for its reach when shooting wildlife or outdoor sports, but will always use the 70-200 for weddings due to IQ and that extra stop.

Image quality and one stop advantage may still not justify the $$$ for the 70-200 f2.8 depending on how good your final prints need to be. If possible try to borrow/rent one and see.

Best of luck with it.

11/17/2009 9:36:36 AM

 
Dennis Flanagan
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member since: 12/31/2005
  If your sensor has a 1.5X magnification factor, you will find 70mm may be too long. I should a lot of high school basketball and volleyball. I use a 50-150 f2.8 lens. Even at 50mm with the 1.5 factor, I have trouble getting what I want in the frame if it's on my side of the court. I typically position myself along the baseline for basketball. I think at 70mm, if you plan on being close to the action, it will prove frustrating. I shoot at 1/250 and f2.8 and bump the ISO to no less than 400 and not over 800.

11/17/2009 2:58:56 PM

 

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