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Indoor Sports

CHERYL DUNAWAY , Sep 05, 2005; 03:39 p.m.

I have a digital rebel eos and shoot mostly childrens sports. My outdoor pictures are fine with my zoom lens. I need help choosing a lens for indoor sports such as volleyball and basketball. Could you please suggest some options for these indoor shots. Thanks


Adam Weiss , Sep 05, 2005; 04:18 p.m.

What is your price range? Most answers to this question will have four-digit price tags.

How close to the action can you get? If you are right on the sidelines you need different lenses than you do way up in the stands.

Without more information, I will recommend one of the 70-200 2.8L's.

Yaron Kidron , Sep 05, 2005; 04:19 p.m.

Canon: EF 35/2, EF 50/1.8 II, EF 85/1.8 USM.
Sigma: 30/1.4 EX.

Set your ISO to >=400 and enjoy.

Tommy Lee , Sep 05, 2005; 04:51 p.m.

The EF70-200 2.8L works best.For most non-pro gym you will need to set it to ISO 800. If the Canon is too pricy, consider getting a used 3rd Party (sigma, Tokina, Tamron) at the same zone range. They can be found for less them $500 sometime. The EF100/f2 also works well for volleyball and basketball.

Jeff Spirer , Sep 05, 2005; 04:59 p.m.

The 35/2 and 50/1.8 do not focus fast enough, and generally not in some lower light indoor sports shooting locations, to be useful for sports shooting. I think Adam asked some good questions that should be answered before making any suggestions.

Also, always make sure that people have images that show they actually know what it's like to shoot sports indoors. It's easy to pontificate if you haven't done it much.

I shoot boxing professionally, at ringside, with a 1DMkII and 10D. I use a 24-70, 85 and 50/1.4.

Mark U , Sep 05, 2005; 05:31 p.m.

A good choice would be the Canon 85mm f/1.8. You need a fast lens (with a low f-number in its specification). If you have the original Digital Rebel you will find that the Sports mode no longer suffices - you will need instead to switch to Av mode and turn the dial by the shutter button until you see the aperture setting get down to f/1.8 to f/2. You will probably also need to set the ISO to 1600. Combined, those settings should give you a reasonably fast shutter speed for stopping the action. If you have one of the firmware hacks installed on the camera, you might even try using ISO 3200 (one of the things that the hacks make possible). You will also need to do some post processing on your shots. Noise reduction using Noise Ninja or Noiseware (there's a free version of the latter) will improve the images somewhat. Depending on the lighting, you might also need to adjust white balance (fluorescent and some other kinds of lighting plays havoc with white balance at high shutter speeds, because it's actually different colours through the 60Hz cycle of the electricity supply, so you can't set a custom white balance that will work with all images). If white balance is going to be a problem, it's worth shooting in RAW, although that will limit you through a smaller burst depth when shooting. Finally, you'll need to apply some sharpening to the image (noise reduction software gets rid of the speckled appearance, but tends to soften the image) in Photoshop.

Mitchell Li , Sep 05, 2005; 07:24 p.m.

The 200mm F/1.8 is the king for indoor sports, I know I know, it is expensive and hard to find, the 200mm F/2.8 is another alternative.

Andrew Robertson , Sep 06, 2005; 05:05 a.m.

Or, just get the classic soccer mom lens, a Tamron 18-200 f/3.5-6.3. Everyone I have heard from who has one says they're as good as a 50mm f/1.4 prime lens!


Paul Turton , Sep 06, 2005; 07:33 a.m.

If you have access to the gym where you will be shooting, use your zoom to find the focal length that you prefer and then buy the appropriate prime - 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.8 or 135 f/2. When funds permit get a second focal length to expand your abilities. For our church gym and volleyball, the 85 f/1.8 @ f/2 gives me 1/800 ISO1600 with my 10D. If the gym is fairly evenly lit, I find it best to take the average exposure for the game area and set the camera to Manual mode. This gives even exposures throughout the shoot making post processing much easier. As mentioned, white balance should be checked in advance of the event if possible. NeatImage and other noise removal programs greatly improve high ISO usage with the Rebel and 10D cameras.

Ben S , Sep 06, 2005; 08:22 p.m.

indoor basketball, i've used a sigma 70-200/2.8, tamron 28-75/2.8, canon 50/1.4 and canon 85/1.8 with success. the faster the better! but it depends also how close to the action you can be. if you are the equivalent of right under the basket in basketball with a dslr and could only buy one lens, i'd buy the 85/1.8 (has usm!) and sneak in the 50/1.8 for another eighty dollars (i never could count well). f.2.8 is sometimes too slow for youth sports indoors. the canon primes i mention are used by many people for indoor youth sports.

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