Indoor sports

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by njfiremegs, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. I'm a new user with a Nikon D50. I have an 18-55 MM lens that came with it and
    a Tamron AF 70-300MM Macro Lens. I know I need a speed light to help with the
    indoor sports, but in the meantime, what are my best settings for an indoor
    sport to take a shot of my kids while playing? Outdoor also.

    Thanks, Tim
  2. I doubt you can use a speedlight with indoor sports. Buy a 50mm f/1.8 Nikon lens for $100 or so, use aperture priority mode, set the aperture to f/1.8 and set the ISO to 800. Neither lens you have will get the job done indoors without flash.

    Outdoors, use the 70-300 on program with ISO 200 or 400 and you'll get good shots.
  3. Thanks John. Any ideas for using what I have now without buying another lens?
  4. Bump the ISO up sky high and hope for the best...
  5. I am not sure what sports you are covering nor what rules they have wherever you may be located, but I know most events do not allow sideline photographers to use flash while the event is underway. Another issue to get some practice with will be your white balance, as the large metal hallide(sp?)lights at indoor gyms / arena's can cause havoc at first until you get used to what settings to use for them.
  6. mjt


    hi Timothy ...

    i shoot a lot of indoor sports ... using flash is disruptive to the players (or can momentarily blind them if looking your way) - this goes for any indoor sports: basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and so on.

    my three lenses of choice, depending on the type of event, are the 17-35 2.8, 28-70 2.8, and 70-200 2.8 (all non-DX lenses). i shoot at 800 ISO, f/2.8 ... if shooting action (basketball/volleyball) i use a max shutter speed of 100; low-actions sports, such as wrestling, will hover anywhere from 30-80.

    you could probably do well with the 50 1.8 lens, if the zooms i mentioned are out of reach.

    HIH ... HAND ... michael
  7. Nonsense. In most local gyms flash is a requirement even with a fast lens. I've taken to using ISO 1600 which lets me use flash as more of a fill and lightens the background. Some places though not often, will have a set of lights in house you can access and results can be outstanding. I've never been told I couldn't use flash indoors at a sports event.

    Rick H.
  8. Here's a recent example shooting with and without flash:

    All shots use a 50mm f/1.8 lens on a D200. The first 55 shots use an ISO setting of 3200 (H1.0), 1/400th, and f/1.8. For the last 10 shots I used the on-camera flash with the ISO at 800, 1/250th, and f/1.8.
  9. Ron,

    What is the best way with the 18-55 MM and 70-300MM Macro lenses I have to shoot indoors? I'm new, so setting the F is confusing me. ISO I totally understand.

    Thanks, Tim
  10. I'd ask if you can use flash, the answer generally will be no. However many never ask, yet you see wasted flashes all over, which do nothing but light the people in front of them and make the picture look worse.

    You can set ISO for highest level, dont know if it can be set AUTO on the D50, Id do that on the D200... Set it no less than 1/125th, and let it rip. WATCH for the peak of action, and shoot.

    If a basketball play leaps, there is a fraction of a second they are actually paused in the air. In many other instances you can catch peak action. In others, say running, etc, most will still be sharp, if you PAN with the camera as they run, and shoot. The body can be razor sharp, the background may be blurred, legs or arms slightly blurred, but you get the shot. Decades ago, when the fastest speed we had on a lens was 1/125th or sometimes 1/250th PRO's always shot at this speed. Sometimes with BW film with film speeds of ASA 59-100 tops... We souped up the developers or over developed film to get any kind of an image no matter how grainy.

    Slightly blurred photos are still used today, to portray ACTION...

    Go for it, experiment in practice games, etc... get very familiar with what your current lenses WILL do, they are 1000 times better than what I was using in the 30's and 40's limited to a F5.6 lens... When I got my first f4.5, though it was as amazing as you would a f2.8... Check eBay, at times there are used lenses there, just make sure the seller has a rating of 10-20 or better, and no negative feedback. The higher the better.

    Its better to get a picture not up to your standards, than none.

  11. P.S.

    Your efforts with even the 70-300mm at F4.5 and ISO 800-1600 would look better than mine in the 40's or even until the late 50's, when I got my first Nikon... Back then _everyone_ thought "available" light was "artistic" or fantastic, and Life or local newspapers bought them by the 100's. The lights in Gyms, etc today, are much better than they were then also.
  12. Thank you Rob. You seem to know what you are talking about. Wish I had your email address to correspond. Since I'm still new, I need to know more about f4.5 etc. I'm confusing myself with F, appeture, etc.

    Thanks, Tim
  13. Tim,

    One more thought on what to practice on...learn the pace of the sport your kids play as this will help you determine just when to press your shutter (whether indoor or out). This plays a great deal into what Bob said above. With practice you will know just when to anticipate the leap, swing, throw, etc and this help assure better "action" shots when you are shooting continuous. I shoot a lot of USTA Tennis where the ball is moving at an astonishing speed. Initially I shot tons and tons of photos in continuous mode hoping to find a few good ones. After alot of photos and much more "feel" for the game I am able to anticipate the "swing" and catch the ball just leaving the raquet with out bogging down my buffer.

    I suggest shooting with what you have, and not running out and dropping 1-2k on new equipment. Learn your technique on the cheaper stuff as a pro lens does not aasure an amazing photo if there is no technique and experience behind the viewfinder. Besides,post processing can do wonders to a "so-so" photo.

    Good Luck,

  14. When you get ready to use flash for indoor sports, and before you spent a lot, I strongly suggest you read some of the suggestions and see the examples at In particular:

    A good entry point for general off camera flash is:

    There is a lot to discover there. Have fun.
  15. I also use flash pretty often. I have 3 cheap vivitar 283s, each with a quantum power source and either a radio or photo slave. I set them up with twine and ducttape before games/matches. i can use my 18-135 (Geeee, it's a G lens) at f8, iso 200 or 400, shutter at 250th . To set up for whatever lens you have, shut off flashes, set the speed at 1/250, start wide open and stop down until you get a mostly black image on your lcd. That's where to shoot. if you ar under-exposed -- add more cheap light.

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