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| p.1 #8 · Shooting basketball with primes... any experience, recommendations? |
Due to abysmal light in all of the venues in which I shoot (newspaper photog and reporter), I'm forced to do both VB and BB with primes. Shooting at f/2.8 pushes the ISO out the ceiling. I can't speak to Nikon lenses, but I assume there are analogs to the Canon's I use: 85mm f/1.8, 135mm f/2.0L, and not very satisfactorily the 50mm f/1.4. Using these lenses I shoot Tv @ 1/800, which almost always can stop action (even in volleyball). I shoot center point selected (with side assist), back button focus, and center weighted metering. I've found this metering mode to work better with center point AF as it evens out the exposures. I ran with center only for a while, but found that I got wild swings in exposure as the metering didn't have enough area to work with.
Shooting with primes is a real challenge because (1) DOF is normally quite shallow so there are often wonderfully focused shots of a spectator on her cell just past the shooter I was aiming at. Without a doubt there are fewer keepers than when I can work with a zoom as I do in softball, football, and baseball. (2) Framing is a real challenge. I move to different parts of the floor and bleachers using different lenses and try to "set up" for the action before it comes. I don't know about "have to think about framing, composition differently than with a zoom" as I've never had a chance to work in an arena where there was enough light to have a choice. I note thetaobear's recommendation of the 35mm f/1.4. One really does need a wide fast lens (for say working under the basket trying to get a player on the boards ). I have a very poor success rate with my 50mm f/1.4 and given how much better the 85 and the 135 do, I have to think it's the lens that is failing to focus fast enough. Need to consider the 35L though I'm not sure where I'd find the capital in this very depressed region.
If you've never shot indoor sport with a prime, I guarantee you'll be in for a "new and different" experience. Can't say that it's better though I can say when I do nail a shot it is often remarkably good. On average, I'd guess 80% of my shots don't even make it to evaluation state. Aperture is most often 2.0 - 2.2. (I generally take 400-600 shots a game. Depends on the action.) Others may do better than I, and I'd say my hit rate is slowly improving, but I can't imagine that a fixed focal length lens will ever match the success rate of a zoom.
Food for thought from the very dark trenches.