New camera, one lens, last basket ball game... suggestions

Started Jan 31, 2013 | Questions thread
GPapa Senior Member • Posts: 1,919
Short list for first time indoor sports

1. Go to the gym early and take some test shots. Give yourself lots of time to try different settings. Use this time to find the settings that you will use once the game begins.

2. Shoot with manual settings. The light in the gym should be fairly constant. Use the autofocus tracking feature. Try both single shot and continuous drive at 5 frames per second. With a 20D, at 5 frames per second I got better results concentrating on timing my shots and using single shot mode. However, you should try both and judge your own results. If you have the option use a single focal point only, usually the center focal point. Don't let the camera decide what to focus on. You might miss but at least you will be aiming at your intended target.

3. Have your camera operators manual handy so you can look up how to set or reset features you may not be familiar with.

4. With a 3.5-5.6 lens you may have trouble getting shutter speeds that will stop action while keeping the exposure right. Don't panic. Just deal with it.

5. If you can't get the shutter speed up to 1/500 there are two types of shot you can concentrate on. Foul shots and other situations where the action slows down or stops, like throwing the ball inbounds, pausing at the top of the key for a set shot or pass. Another type of shot is panning players running down the court. You can get away with very slow shutter speeds if you are tracking their movement from the side. Concentrate on capturing facial expressions.

6. Don't be afraid of high ISO. Give the ISO 6400 a try. A well exposed image freezing the action with some noise is better than an underexposed or blurry image with low noise. My experience is you can get decent images at high ISO if you get the exposure right in the camera. I would lean toward over exposing the whites rather than underexposing the mid-tones and shadows. The histogram should show the bulk of the pixels on the right side of the scale. There is usually more light at center court than under the basket. Try setting your exposure to capture well exposed images in the key. You may get slightly over exposed images at mid court but most of the action takes place near the basket.

7. Shoot in portrait orientation for most shots.

8. Have reasonable expectations. If you walk out of there with 5 really good keeper shots you are doing as well as I do and I have been shooting for 7 years and over 300,000 frames.

9. Think about getting an 85mm f/1.8 or similar prime lens with a fast focus motor for next year.

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