best indoor basketball lens

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by justin_m|4, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. Hi ,
    I have a canon 7d with an 18 135 F3.5 lens , am new to this hi tech camera stuff.
    I know that the 70 200 2.8 is the best lens but is way too big for me to shoot my sons basketball games .
    What is the next best lens steeping down in size and price .
    is the 85 f1.8 any good for this .
  2. Without spending a lot of money, you need to be willing to exploit the very decent high ISO that your camera allows. If you will tolerate some noise and the need for post processing, there are a number of longer zoom lenses that will serve. The very reasonable, but quality, 55-250mm IS is a good possibility.
    Whether an 85mm lens will be long enough depends on access to the ball court and what kinds of shots you want.
    If I were doing this myself, I'd want a maximum-end 250-300mm zoom lens and would crank up the ISO very high, but I used to shoot very grainy, fast slide films in a previous life so embrace the grittiness of noise, just as I did the graininess of grain.
  3. I am not sure why the 70-200 would be way too big for shooting indoors - I've used the 70-200 both indoors and out at events for years, and it really isn't that much bigger than many other lenses. You need to respect those around you if you are sitting in the stands, but it's not that difficult, I think. I agree with JDM - more reach is better, and high ISO is your friend.
  4. Perhaps a helpful suggestion: A good, powerful flash will give you a small kiss of light that will help to capture action on the court. You can pick up an older flash like a 550EX for very little money. Cheaper still, and just as powerful, would be a manual flash such as a Vivitar 285hv. Then look for an inexpensive device called a "better beamer" to beam the flash for telephoto photography. Also google the "strobist" blog, which has an excellent (indeed, essential) lighting 101 section. As I recall, there is at least one exercise in there that deals specifically with lighting a basketball court. BTW, you can also add more cheap flashes, triggering them with radio slaves.
  5. I shoot my son's basketball games with a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 on a 7D. Granted, he is still young (9 yrs.) so I can get courtside with no problem. The focus isn't very fast, but fast enough and the quality is good. I stop down a bit to f/3.2 or 3.5 and keep the ISO at 3200 letting the camera choose the shutter speed.
  6. I shoot ice hockey but I would avoid flash. certainly at most hockey games you may well get thrown out for using a powerful flash as it distracts the players. A fast lens is always a good idea but an F2.8 70-200 is quite expensive. That said you do not need the IS version as you will need fast shutter speeds to freeze movement. I suggest you look at the focal lengths you normally use on the 18-135 and use this as a guide to the FL you need. A good cheap prime should do the job and the obvious candidates are the 50 F1.8 or F1.4, 85 F1.8, 100 F2.
  7. is the 85 f1.8 any good for this
  8. Hi; On full frame I found the 85 1.8 best for indoor soccer and tennis on a 7D I'm thinking give it a try or a 50 mm prime
  9. If you want to seriously consider the 85 mm, I would suggest you shoot a game with your 18-135 at 85mm to see if you like that perspective for the whole game. Also, review your previous shots to see what focal length you have historically preferred. If you are ok with substantial cropping that will give you more flexibility.
  10. Back in the old old old old days I shot about 100 H.S. basketball games with just a Minolta SLR and a 50mm lens (probably f/1.7). Manual focus (split prism) only of course. There is not a single Canon 50mm I'd recommend.
    These days? An 85mm 1.8 with nearly ANY Canon DSLR and you are WINNING.
    Like comparing a 2012 BMW M5 with a crummy '68 VW Beetle.
  11. I highly recommend the 70-200 2.8. Short of the NBA or big-time colleges, gyms are usually poorly lit and you need the fastest glass you can get. It may be bigger and heavier than you like, but that's just the way it is. A prime can be used but limits your shooting area since it will only be the right focal length for one or two specific spots on the court at any given time. That said, I used to shoot high school basketball courtside with a Mamiya TLR and 80mm lens, later Nikon with 50mm, so good pictures can be made with just about anything. I even did it with manual focus -- focus on the rim of the basket and wait for the players to come to you. Life is much easier if you can use flash. In those days I shot with a big Honeywell potato masher on the camera. The site referred to above explains how to bungee-cord a couple of radio-controlled units so you can actually get very nice lighting, but you need to know the coaches/school/etc. before you start doing that.
  12. I use Nikon camera, not Canon. I shoot a fair amount of youth basketball. I use a 35mm f2, a 50mm F1.8, and an 85mm f1.8. I have also tried a 135 F2 and a 200 F2. The two lenses I use regularly are the 35mm and the 85mm. the 35 is good for under the basket and the 85mm gives good shots out to 5 feet or so above the top of the key when I am standing at the baseline. The 200mm was great beyond half court. The 135 was good from the top of the key to half court.
    If I won the lottery, I would shoot basketball with a 20mm 1.8, a 35mm 2.0, an 85mm 1.8 and a 200 f2 along with a pair of Nikon D3s.
    BTW, in the league I shoot, no flashes are allowed.
  14. I recently shot two collegiate basketball games with a Nikon D80 & 85 f/1.8. No flash allowed. I left my Tamron 17-55 in my bag as there is no time to change lenses. All my shooting was from the court sidelines, and under the basket. Nothing from the stands.
    Even with a D80 there is just enough resolution to crop an 85mm long shot. Now I also have a D7000. If I shot basketball tomorrow, I would shoot my 85 f/1.8 on my D7000, and a 35 f/1.8 on my D80 at the hoop.
  15. 70-200 2.8 is the winner. If you sit in the corner you can shoot every part of the court, both baskets, you just won't get the action right in front of you in the corner you are in.
  16. Having shot around 200 basketball games in the last six years, I would recommend the 85/1.8 as the first lens you want. Many high school and [NCAA Division III] college gyms are no brighter than ISO3200, f/2, 1/500s and some a bit darker. In these gyms, an f/2.8 lens will not give enough shutter speed or will drive you to very high ISO settings. A 55-200mm consumer zoom will be useless.
    You can use other lenses for a change, such as a 50 mm for under the basket stuff, or an f/2.8 zoom (or the 180/2.8) for longer work in a bright gym, but the 85mm will be the most productive lens.
  17. I don't know what you mean by "too big" when talking about the 70-200mm. Do you mean too long? Too heavy? Too expensive? You can always rent to see how you like it. Here is a gallery of b-ball photos; some in a high school gym and some in a college arena. ALL were shot with a 70-200mm from the corner (except the few behind the rim shots). If you're worried about it being too long, this will give you an idea of what it will look like.
    You can check image details for ISO, f-stop, shutter. This high school gym is fairly bright for high school, but nowhere near televised college arenas. The primes are good for speed, but the fixed focal length is so limiting and changing lenses as fast as the action happens is impossible. Two bodies with two primes may work nicely. Maybe a 135mm and a 50mm?
  18. I leave my 70-200 f2.8 at home when it comes to basketball but in saying that there's a huge caveat: I own two bodies. For indoor sports I take my 50 1.4, 85 1.8, and 135 2.0 with me and mount one (usually the 50 1.4) on one body and either the 85 or 135 on my other body (Usually the 135 since it's an APS-H camera).
    If I had one body the 70-200 f2.8 would probably be my choice. I like the extra stop of the primes but without two bodies you're forced to choose the least common denominator.
    If price is the issue you could consider the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM. There's a new version that has optical stabilization that you can get for about 1200 but the older one can be found for 500-700. Tamron also makes a 70-200 f2.8 but the AF performance isn't suitable for sports.
    Here's a set I took with my 7D/T2i combo
  19. I have used the 135 f2 many times for indoor sports such as basketball and, volleyball with great success. Many times you will need the f2 because of dark gyms. The nice thing is the 135 is sharp at f2. As an example I would never shoot the 50 1.8 at 1.8 or 2.0 for that matter. I find the difference between f2.8 and f2.0 to be a meaningful difference inside gyms. I also like the focal length.
  20. The 70-200mm f/4L IS is great with the 7D with gym lighting. Pump the ISO up to 1600, use a little +EV and fire away.
  21. To use a 70-200/4 you must have some really bright gyms. f/4 and ISO 1600 would put me around 1/60s in most of the gyms I've been in.
  22. The 7D is fine at ISO 6400. Just don't under expose.
  23. I find my 7D IQ drops of rapidly above ISO 1600 so I try not to shoot it above this setting. For ice hockey my 70-200 F4
    LIS is a bit slow. I almost always use my 70-200 F 2.8 I suspect basketball is similar lighting
  24. Phillip, I wonder what you're doing wrong. I shoot in RAW and do my conversion to jpeg with DxO Optics Pro. Here's an example at ISO 6400:

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