Kids Basketball Games in Low Lit Gym

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Chris Stegner, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. Chris Stegner

    Chris Stegner TPF Noob!

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    I'm shooting a school basketball tournament for the next few weeks for a friend that does a video at the end of the year for the kids and I'm having some lighting/focusing issues.

    I'm shooting with a 5D and my 70-200 f2.8 Canon lens. I'm getting decent exposures at 1600 iso (don't ind this speed because the noise really isn't to bad on the 5D) at f 2.8 and shutter speeds around 160-200.

    The problem comes with focus. I shoot the hell out of every game (300-400 shots per game) to make sure I have bunches to choose from, but as reveiw them I'm finding quite a few out of focus. I'm using center weighted focus.

    Anyone with a 5D have any suggestions? If you've shot basketball before you'll know there's quite a few people in the shot at once (I prefer tight shots to see expressions etc) so there's lots of "spots" for the lens to focus on. I'm sure part of this is because I'm shooting at 2.8 and have a very shallow depth of field, but I was expecting better results than this.

    I'm not at home so I can't post a shot here. If you need to see something I can add to the post later, but hey, it's just out of focus, what's to see?

    Any help or suggestions would be highly appreciated. I'm getting shots for my buddy, it's just very frustrating not getting everything I think I am.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Sorry, but I can't offer any specific help with the 5D. On the other hand, I've found with my 7D that the issue with my kids' basketball becomes the aperture. As you mention, f/2.8 is going to give you a very narrow DOF with very little room for error. You might consider cranking up your ISO a bit more and stopping down a couple and see what happens. I did this and it helped incredibly. I'm also finding that I really need faster shutter speeds than you mention. (I use a Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 with spot or center-grouped focus).
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Centre weighted is a metering mode, not a focus mode.

    So what focus mode are you using? For sports, you probably want AI Servo. But part of the problem may be that with so many body parts moving around, the focus might still jump around. I don't shoot sports, but what I do, is change CF#4 so that the AF activation is controlled with the * button, rather than the shutter release. This way, I can turn AF on or off just with my thumb and I can also keep it constantly on while pressing & releasing the shutter button. I don't know if that would help you or not.

    The 5D isn't renowned for it's high speed AF abilities but it shouldn't be terrible either.

    If you still have trouble, maybe try concentrating on moments when the players/action isn't moving in and out of your DOF. For example, shoot when they are moving laterally in front of you, not away from you. Or shoot while they are standing relatively still.
     
  4. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

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    I think I'd try Big Mike's idea of disabling the shutter button focusing. That can throw your focus at the critical moment, especially when things are moving around (and it's annoying).

    I might also try f/4 at 3200 ISO. With a body like that, you're well withing the acceptable ISO range (weird photo-nerd pickup line?). f/2.8 at 200mm is getting into some thin depths of field.
     
  5. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I have a 5D and 70-200/2.8 L-IS and 135/2-L. Honestly, the 5D's got a rather weak AF module in it...it simply is not up to the task of rapid, one-shot focus acquisition compared with higher-end bodies. Also, and this is another problem the 5D has, in shooting sequential shots, the firing rate is so slow that the AF system simply does not collect, process, and send the AF information/data to the lens rapidly enough to shoot sequential action like in basketball with a high keeper rate. I have shot in some badly lighted high-school gyms,and a couple that were *abysmally* lighted. I mean, really,really poor lights,and those are the worst venues-there, a faster lens like the 135/2 or 85mm works better than a slower 2.8 zoom does.

    In an AF camera, the AF system collects AF data ONLY when the mirror is in the down position. Simple fact. Since the firing speed of the 5D is the real world is around 3.5 to 3.9 frames per second, that means the AF system only gets "new" data roughly every quarter of a second. And each frame shot sequentially on a 5D looks quite "different" and well-spaced compared to a faster firing camera. The faster firing cameras are not designed so much to simply hold down the trigger and machine-gun, but so that the AF system collects, processes, and acts on the AF data faster,more times per second.

    Basketball has a lot of widely-changing action. Shooting at f/2.8 you have limited depth of field,and if you shoot from close range, the lens has to rack the focus quite a bit on different shots. If you shoot from the stands, perpendicular to the action, there's a bit less of a focusing distance change; if you shoot from the baseline, on the near end of the court, the focusing distance changes *tremendously* on each play, from far to near typically. The 5D is a great studio/wedding/portraiture camera--I love mine. But it is simply not going to deliver a high keeper rate like an action-oriented body would. Have you tried ceiling bounced flash, triggered remotely, with the ISO cranked to 1600 and the lens set to f/5 or thereabouts a 1/200 second? There's a fellow named D. Nagel who shoots a lot of junior high school basketball and volleyball this way (using a Nikon D700),and with the flash assist, the shots look exceedingly beautiful--and I mean really,truly first-rate.
     
  6. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Frames per second doesn't make much difference pick your moment, use back button focus center focus point only AI servo, the 5D is better than people make out at one event i put my 1Dmk2 back in the bag and got out the 5D because i had to shoot at ISO3200 with the 300F2.8L using one shot it worked a treat loads of sellers
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Shockey

    Shockey TPF Noob!

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    Spot focus on the object you want in focus if you are in C mode the camera will track your subject. At those shutter speeds you are undoubtedly getting some motion blur as well.
     
  8. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    A dog jumping over a pre-determined spot--a railing. One of the easiest focusing situation in sports. Does not matter if it's a dog, a horse, or a human--whenever the "athlete" comes up to a pre-determined spot to execute a move, all you need to do is pre-focus and wait. Basketball isn't quite as easy as dog jumping.

    That's a nice, single frame, shot at a pre-determined location. How about a sequence from a 5D....or some random action as an example of the 5D's AF prowess?

    I'd love to see some NFL football shot with a 5D.
     
  9. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    That dog shot was not pre focused :p
     
  10. gsgary

    gsgary Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    If we had NFL i would show you
     
  11. BKMOOD

    BKMOOD TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm... I wouldn't be much help. I shoot college sports with a Canon 30D and old manual focus Pentax screwmount film lenses attached with an M42 adaptor. Oddly, I get twice as many keeper shots with manual focus than I do with modern AF lenses.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  12. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    I'm not a pro but shoot a lot of high school sports for our yearbook and for fun.
    One thing I do is to prefocus on somewhere around the basket. (bottom of the net, front of the rim etc) then hold the focus and wait for the play to come to you. You will get lots of cool layup shots, rebounds and dunks all happen right there. I use a Canon 28-135 IS, shoot portrait and use a monopod.
    Also it is easier to get action shots while the team is doing their warmups before the game. They will be running drills so you know exactly where they are going and what they will be doing. Plus no one care if you are right on the sideline or moving around the bench area during this time. You can also use your flash during warm ups without making anyone mad. Hope these ideas help.
     

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