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Indoor sports

Timothy Griffin , Mar 05, 2007; 08:47 a.m.

I'm a new user with a Nikon D50. I have an 18-55 MM lens that came with it and a Tamron AF 70-300MM Macro Lens. I know I need a speed light to help with the indoor sports, but in the meantime, what are my best settings for an indoor sport to take a shot of my kids while playing? Outdoor also.

Thanks, Tim


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M. Hayward , Mar 05, 2007; 08:51 a.m.

I doubt you can use a speedlight with indoor sports. Buy a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon lens for $100 or so, use aperture priority mode, set the aperture to f/1.8 and set the ISO to 800. Neither lens you have will get the job done indoors without flash.

Outdoors, use the 70-300 on program with ISO 200 or 400 and you'll get good shots.

Timothy Griffin , Mar 05, 2007; 08:58 a.m.

Thanks John. Any ideas for using what I have now without buying another lens?

Peter Hamm , Mar 05, 2007; 09:00 a.m.

Bump the ISO up sky high and hope for the best...

Warren Gold , Mar 05, 2007; 09:39 a.m.

I am not sure what sports you are covering nor what rules they have wherever you may be located, but I know most events do not allow sideline photographers to use flash while the event is underway. Another issue to get some practice with will be your white balance, as the large metal hallide(sp?)lights at indoor gyms / arena's can cause havoc at first until you get used to what settings to use for them.

mj t , Mar 05, 2007; 10:46 a.m.

hi Timothy ...

i shoot a lot of indoor sports ... using flash is disruptive to the players (or can momentarily blind them if looking your way) - this goes for any indoor sports: basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and so on.

my three lenses of choice, depending on the type of event, are the 17-35 2.8, 28-70 2.8, and 70-200 2.8 (all non-DX lenses). i shoot at 800 ISO, f/2.8 ... if shooting action (basketball/volleyball) i use a max shutter speed of 100; low-actions sports, such as wrestling, will hover anywhere from 30-80.

you could probably do well with the 50 1.8 lens, if the zooms i mentioned are out of reach.

HIH ... HAND ... michael

Rick Helmke , Mar 05, 2007; 11:26 a.m.

Nonsense. In most local gyms flash is a requirement even with a fast lens. I've taken to using ISO 1600 which lets me use flash as more of a fill and lightens the background. Some places though not often, will have a set of lights in house you can access and results can be outstanding. I've never been told I couldn't use flash indoors at a sports event.

Rick H.

Ron Andrews , Mar 05, 2007; 12:03 p.m.

Here's a recent example shooting with and without flash:


All shots use a 50mm f/1.8 lens on a D200. The first 55 shots use an ISO setting of 3200 (H1.0), 1/400th, and f/1.8. For the last 10 shots I used the on-camera flash with the ISO at 800, 1/250th, and f/1.8.

Timothy Griffin , Mar 05, 2007; 12:16 p.m.


What is the best way with the 18-55 MM and 70-300MM Macro lenses I have to shoot indoors? I'm new, so setting the F is confusing me. ISO I totally understand.

Thanks, Tim

Robert Johnston , Mar 05, 2007; 12:19 p.m.

I'd ask if you can use flash, the answer generally will be no. However many never ask, yet you see wasted flashes all over, which do nothing but light the people in front of them and make the picture look worse.

You can set ISO for highest level, dont know if it can be set AUTO on the D50, Id do that on the D200... Set it no less than 1/125th, and let it rip. WATCH for the peak of action, and shoot.

If a basketball play leaps, there is a fraction of a second they are actually paused in the air. In many other instances you can catch peak action. In others, say running, etc, most will still be sharp, if you PAN with the camera as they run, and shoot. The body can be razor sharp, the background may be blurred, legs or arms slightly blurred, but you get the shot. Decades ago, when the fastest speed we had on a lens was 1/125th or sometimes 1/250th PRO's always shot at this speed. Sometimes with BW film with film speeds of ASA 59-100 tops... We souped up the developers or over developed film to get any kind of an image no matter how grainy.

Slightly blurred photos are still used today, to portray ACTION...

Go for it, experiment in practice games, etc... get very familiar with what your current lenses WILL do, they are 1000 times better than what I was using in the 30's and 40's limited to a F5.6 lens... When I got my first f4.5, though it was as amazing as you would a f2.8... Check eBay, at times there are used lenses there, just make sure the seller has a rating of 10-20 or better, and no negative feedback. The higher the better.

Its better to get a picture not up to your standards, than none.


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