2nd basketball lens (Nikon)

Discussion in 'Sports' started by chris_hansen|11, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. I am shooting a state high school basketball tournament in a large college arena. I shot there a year ago with a Nikon D300s and the
    50mm f/1.4D. I have since added a full frame body (d700) and added the newer 50 f/1.4G.

    I shoot basketball year round and have figured out how to get what I need need in poorly lit gyms from the baseline with the 50.
    Photography is only part of my job but I have a dilemma for the upcoming event. With and extra body I am thinking of renting a
    second lens for the week. I've narrowed my options to the 85mm f/1.4G and the 200mm f/2.0. I plan on buying the new 85 later this

    The lighting at the Erwin Center is better than most high school gyms but I don't feel comfortable going with 2.8 zooms. From what
    experience I have most of my shots at 1/400-500th are at f 2.2 or wider. I've never used the 85 sonI'm wondering if it will give me a
    different enough perspective from the 50 or if I should spend a little more money on the 200.

    Thanks for the feedback.
  2. Are you talking about "a little more money" between these 2 lenses ?
    so the price little difference is $5999 - $1700 = ...
    Perhaps renting the 200/2 would make sense to see how that works for you.
    If you were happy with 50/1.4, then 200mm non-zoom will be a different game.
    Perhaps try the 85 mm first. Possibly consider the 105/2 or 135/2 Nikkor lenses, or the 70-200/2.8.
  3. Back in the film days I used the 85/1.4 for near court and 300/2.8 for far court, each mounted on a different body. I added a 35/2 if I had a spot under the basket. Now I use a 80-200/2.8 AFS on a FX body for practically the whole game, with an occasional 35 or 50 under the basket depending on the venue.
    You state that at the Erwin Center you get " 1/400-500th are at f 2.2 or wider", at what ISO setting? I have no problem pushing the ISO up to 6400 on Nikon's current 12mp FX bodies. I have even ventured to 12800 to get a minimum of 1/400 sec at f/2.8 on the 80-200. As long as your exposure is correct noise is not much of an issue. Even at these high ISO settings it's a lot better than the film days of 800 color and pushed 1600 black and white films.
  4. Hi Chris. I don't shoot a lot of basketball and, like you, find that the 50mm f/1.4 is my best lens in our poorly-lit gyms. I shot our high school state regionals last year in a college arena and used the 85mm f/1.8 (and, in fact, will be doing the same thing today and tomorrow). I was very pleased with the end product. I would use (and will be using) the 85mm f/1.8. It's a wonderful lens. Here is a sample from last year's tournament.
  5. Frank, I am talking about the price in rental being close on a weekly rate. Iif the sales price was that close I would
    own the 200 already. I love Nikon's prime lens offerings and don't mind using the "move your feet" zoom for
    landscape and casual shooting. I may also be jaded by the one Canon shooter on our staff that uses zoom and
    despite it being an L 2.8 lens, I find the sharpness, contrast, noise to be a far cry from even the average shots from
    my prime lens on either the 300 or 700.

    I have shot the 200 before, but not for basketball. My boss uses the 200 all year long with and 85 for closer stuff and
    the 50 when the baseline is shallow. He is a much more seasoned photographer than I am, though I hope I am
    narrowing the gap.

    I am trying to get my head around having one FX and one DX body. Seems like a lens like the 200 f2.0 would need to
    be mounted in the d700 exclusively to take advantage of the higher ISO's. I have had good results up to 4,000 ISO on
    the d700 earlier this winter on the 50 1.4G. A year ago at UT's Erwin Center I had only the d300 and the 50 1.4D. I
    shot at 2500 and 3200 ISO and got very few shots at 1/500th. My well exposed shots seemed to be at 1/320
    and1/400. The 320th shots I wasn't happy with the overall freezing of the action. I plyed the game and feel like I can
    anticipate really well. Back to the venue; The lighting is best at mid-court and fades a little near the baseline, but the
    50 doesn't have the reach past the top of the key, even on the DX body. This is what is making me think the 200 on
    the d700 and the 50 on the d300 would be ok.

    What about the 85 1.4G on the d300? Would that give me a 110 or so reach on the DX body? Does anyone know if
    the light demands are similar between the 50 and 85? I guess what I'm asking is if 3200 ISO is adequate for both so I
    don't have to leave one on the d700 the entire time like I anticipate I'd have to do with the 50 & 200 option. My boss is
    on vacation so I can't pick his brain on this.

    Thanks for all the responses. Very much appreciated!
  6. Here is my process of elimination.
    If you use the D300 only then flip between the 50 and the 85. Yes, the 85 will obviously get you a bit closer to the action with very little light loss. Putting the 50 on the D300 and the 85 on the D700 makes absolutely no sense, since you now have the same field of view, and the higher resolution from the D300 will balance out against the marginally better high ISO performance from the D700. Putting the 50 on the D700 does not make any sense either since it puts you farther from the action.
    Now, keeping the 50 on the D300 (effectively 75mm focal length), which has gotten you results that you were happy with in the past, and putting the 200/2 on the D700, effectively getting you 2.7x longer does make a lot of sense. However is the 2.7x extra reach of the 200/2 too much. I used a 200/2 once for volleyball, but I shot from the viewing gallery of a huge gym. What about renting the 135/2 instead. Also worthy to note that handholding and manoeuvering a 135/2 is 10x easier than a 200/2. Don't forget that the 200/2 is essentially the same size as the 300/2.8. You certainly do not need the VR of the 200/2 if you want to stop the motion of the players.
  7. Thanks John. I switched over to the 135 f/2.0 and it was way cheaper than the 85 or the 200. Quite honestly the size of the 200 was my biggest reason for not doing it. It takes beautiful photographs but is a tank.
    Anyone have any experience with that 135 lens as it's a "defocus lens". I know that doesn't mean it is soft, but I've not used a lens that you can control the depth of botek like that before. I'm wondering if just setting it at 2.0 for both aperture and defocus is the best way to go. I definitely don't want to spend half my time messing with settings because of unfamiliarity.

Share This Page