Which Lense for Capturing Indoor Sporting Events?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by fstop, Sep 29, 2009.

  1. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    I'm about to purchase either a Nikon D90 or CanonT1 and my head is telling me to go with the body only and then buy the lenses separate. Here's where I'd like your input so that I don't overspend just for the sake of doing so.

    One of my main interests is capturing pictures of my kids INDOOR swim meets and Indoor Hockey games. My question is can I get away with something in the range of 70-300MM with F4.5/F5.6 and still capture decent action shots in the low light setting at the longer focal length? I understand I can bumpt the ISO up, but I don't know if 1600 on either of the above camera's is really going to compsensate for the lack of light without being too noisy.

    Or, I be disappointed and really need something more like a 200M F2 through the entire length? (will this even do it in a low light setting at longer focal length for action)

    This is a hobby and not a living, so I don't want to spend more just for the sake of doing so. At the same time, I don't want to make a sizeable investment and not be able to do what I'd like to do with the unit.

    Appreciate any perils of wisdom.

    Thanks
     
  2. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    swimming and hockey are pretty poorly lit sports from what I've seen, unfortunately. I guess the decision comes down to 2 things... #1, what is the quality of the photo you are going for. #2, what is your budget. If you want really nice looking photos, get a wide aperture lens. Also, from what I've heard, the D90 is really good at higher ISO settings. I've never used the D90 or the T1, so I can't speak from personal experience on the body, but a wider aperture lens will always give you a faster shutter speed.
     
  3. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps, I should spell lens properly before buying one. Sorry, early here and the sinus infection isn't helping the ol' brain.
     
  4. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    lol yeah you'd be surprised at the number of people who spell lens incorrectly.
     
  5. SushiWarrior

    SushiWarrior TPF Noob!

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    Your hockey arena is dark? Where I play it's almost enough to hurt my eyes! Have you tried taking pictures with a different camera and seeing how they turn out? It will give an indication of how bright or dark it is.
     
  6. robertwsimpson

    robertwsimpson No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'm sure in Canada, things are different when it comes to hockey. plus, I was thinking mostly of swimming. I might also be wrong there...
     
  7. Craig J

    Craig J TPF Noob!

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    You can pick up a used Sigma 70-300mm lens on craigslist and if you do not like it you can turn around and sell it again. I have one and it is an OK lens that picks up some CA in bright light.

    Craig
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Quality indoor sports photography can require some of the more expensive cameras and lenses available.

    Because of reflection from the ice there is usually more available light at a hockey venue than an indoor swimming venue.

    300mm will be just enough and most images will still require a crop to get sufficent subject size in the final image.

    Indoors a maximum, constant aperture of f/2.8 will be needed to get high enough shutter speeds to stop motion, even with the ISO capabilities of the D90. (Nikon AF-S 300 mm f/2.8 VR ED = $5300)

    Many hobby sports shooters go with a 70-200mm f/2.8 focal length to keep the lens cost down. (Nikon AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 VRII $2300) To get good subject size in the final image you'll have to crop much deeper if you use a 200mm.

    Consider the non-VR, Nikon AF 80-200 mm f/2.8D ED, $1100.

    Nikon's 70-300 mm lens is just to slow for use indoors. It works fine outdoors.
     
  9. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for input thus far. I haven't been able to tinker or try anything because all I've got at the moment is a Canon point and shoot. All I know is that with any zoom, I can't capture anything in either indoor environment (hockey/swimming) that is bearable quality. My last SLR is an old Nikon film camera and I don't have any telephoto lenses.

    I just want to avoid buying a kit or tele lens that doesn't do what I need it to. I guess I could get the body and then go rent a lens or two to give it a shot.

    Thanks
     
  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Generally they all are in terms of trying to capture a good exposure with a fast enough shutter speed to stop motion and an ISO that won't just kill on noise. What looks bright to you can end up looking like complete and utter crap without having a good enough camera or a fast enough lens.

    Crap lens for badly lit indoor sporting venues. I wouldn't recommend anything less than a 70-200 f/2.8. IS or VR won't matter for sports, but might be something worth checking out for other things.

    Swimming is no sweat in the focal length deparment, what's going to suck is hockey. 200mm isn't exactly very long, not like most would think.
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Canon's 70-200 f/2.8L IS can be found for as little as $1375 new at some places.
     
  12. fstop

    fstop TPF Noob!

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    Ken, I was actually thinking that 70-200mm 2.8 would be a necessity if I'm looking for a decent image. I wasn't sure if that was overkill for my needs, but doesnt sound like it. My daughter is also in theater and it drives me insane that I can't get decent shots from 50-60 feet in low light. Probably can't go wrong with the 2.8.

    Asides from more light from the 2.8, is it possible also get some DOF at the longer focal length? I'd also use outdoors for kids baseball, etc. in the spring/summer but don't need 2.8 at 200mm for this (I wouldn't think). Though, it would be a nice bonus to actually get some DOF at the longer focal length. (again, not sure if this is attainable at longer focal length...though I understand it would depend upon proximity of subject to other elements, etc)

    The 300MM 2.8 is definitely NOT an option for me right now. My wife would have me sleeping in the car with it ;-)

    Thanks again all for your comments and suggestions.
     

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