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Photography Question 
David  A. Rowe

Photographing High School Basketball

I am looking to shoot high school basketball. I have a Nikon D50 with a 70-300 f/4-5.6 and a 18-55 f/3.5-5.6; neither works great. A flash helps but not preferred due to the nature of the event. What lens would you recommend I get? Thanks!

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11/11/2007 4:52:21 PM

Mike Rubin
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/15/2004
  Most gyms have very poor lighting. If you cannot (or choose not to) use a flash, you will need a faster lens. I use an 85mm f/1.8 and, at times, I can use my 70-200 f/2.8

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11/11/2007 6:57:27 PM

David  A. Rowe   I agree the gyms we play in have very poor lighting. Where would you recommend purchasing these lenses? I'd rather not spend a lot of money but I realize that for these speeds, it wont be very easy.


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11/11/2007 8:08:24 PM

BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  If you purchase them new, I suggest or

Both are reputable, legitimate companies with great prices.

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11/11/2007 8:42:51 PM

Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
Your choices are limited only by your bank account. Fast glass at 200mm can begin to get rather pricey. Really fast glass is out of reach for the average shooter.
Might I suggest one of Nikon's best-kept secrets? The 50mm prime 1.8! Given the crop factor, it actually shoots like a 75mm equivalent (at 35mm full frame). No, it is not a lot of tele, but you just might be surprised what some (scaling) can do in post-processing given the quality optics of this often overlooked lens.
Worst case scenario? You now have a 50mm fast prime of amazing sharpness and contrast for 100 bucks!
All the best,

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11/11/2007 9:20:23 PM

Ralph L. Nuerenberg   I am familar with shooting in low light conditions and the resulting issues of low exposure, white balance strugges associated with it, and subsequent color correction being necessary. Best option I have found to remain mobile and get high shutter speeds at lower ISOs is a lens with an f-stop of 1.2. I have a Canon (85mm f1.2); not aware if Nikon makes one in that range. Pricey, but the photos are worth it.

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11/13/2007 4:45:45 AM

Martin J. Preslar
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/25/2005
  I would suggest the Sigma 70-200 2.8 EX DG. It is affordable (You can get it for < $600 on e-bay) and great for indoor sports. I use mine for hockey, but it would work for basketball too. The 50mm prime might work, but I would try to go to something longer, in the 85 to 150 range. I don't know about the Nikon prices, but I just got a Canon 85mm 1.8 for under $300.

Marty in Central Illinois - The Land of Corn and Flatness

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11/13/2007 6:53:16 AM

Dale M. Garvey   I know you don't want to spend money, but I have the same problem even with the 2.8 lenses. Look at the specs of the new D300 camera that Nikon has just announced. Even at $1800 it will solve so many low light situations made it a no brainer for me to get on the waiting list. They claim that you can get good images at 3200.

Remember also that your current camera is using the crowd to give you a meter reading. You can probably shoot a speed higher. Look for hot spots in the gyms. Usually there are spots with more light. If all else fails look for situations where there is less movement (looking to pass, holding the ball over the head. Some blur is beautiful. Try panning with different shutter speeds.

Shoot in bursts of three or more. One out of three may be just what you want.

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11/13/2007 9:14:54 AM

Kay T. Bailey   Shooting in Gyms can be tricky. It
all depends on where you the photographer is located. I used a 60mm
f/2.8 and found that it did great. A
70mm and f/1.8 or less would be even
better. Sigma lenses as mentioned by
another photographer are a good choice.

I preferred the smaller lenses because
when taller individuals jump up such as
young men and women you are sure to find yourself cutting parts of them off with a 200+mm lens but with smaller
lens you can keep all of them in the frame. It depends on what type of action shot you want to take.
Kay Bailey

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11/13/2007 12:05:40 PM

Dale M. Garvey   Kaye makes a good point. If you can find a place above the floor the faces will have light shining on them. If the kids are into dunking you can prefocus on the basket and might be able to get great shots.

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11/13/2007 12:59:27 PM

Susan M. Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/22/2004
  I have the D50 and I bought the Nikkor 70-300mm F4-5.6, *VR* lens. I had a discount with Amazon so I paid under $400, but you can get it for $475. It works much better with less light. That was my lower cost solution (versus the more expensive F2 and greater glass).

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11/14/2007 7:12:45 AM

Jerry M. Pennington
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/11/2005
  One thing to remember about the VR lenses, is that they only cut down on YOU moving the camera. A slow shutter speed will still blur the same amount on a fast-moving subject.

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8/25/2008 7:56:43 AM

Dale M. Garvey   We have a photographer for the Seattle Times that has been covering the Olympics. Look through his blog for an exciting back stage look at taking sports photos

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8/25/2008 9:48:56 AM

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