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Archive 2012 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?
  
 
Chris Noyes
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p.2 #1 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


I shoot quite a bit of Middle School/Junior High sporting events. Depending upon the sport, strobes/speedlights might not be allowed.

I avoid arguments, I have opted to not shoot with stobes/speedlights and have used either a 24-70 or 70-200 f2.8 lens mounted on either a D300, D700 or D4. I almost exclusively shoot shutter priority and boost ISO to whatever level necessary to get a good exposure without motion blur. Most public school gym's are poorly lit with lights that cycle, making good exposures even more difficult . . . which explains the evolution of my camera bodies.

I hardly ever shoot basketball with the 24-70 anymore, and I rely on the 70-200 VR II (a must for FX camera bodies). I just added the 200mm f2 VR II to my lens collection and plan to use it quite a bit this season.

Here are some Volleyball images from the gym I often shoot in (sorry, no current Basketball images conveniently available)






Nov 28, 2012 at 03:50 AM
Grantland
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p.2 #2 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


Grantland wrote:
i shoot a lot of high school sports and i would recommend a D700 w/70-200 VR II.

i'll be using this setup tonight for a girls high school game and will post a few shots.



a couple pics from tonight's game.






  NIKON D700    70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 lens    105mm    f/2.8    1/400s    3200 ISO    0.0 EV  






  NIKON D700    70.0-200.0 mm f/2.8 lens    70mm    f/2.8    1/320s    3200 ISO    0.0 EV  




Nov 28, 2012 at 04:29 AM
Mark Price
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p.2 #3 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


If you're on the sideline or baseline, a D7000 (or D700) and 85 1.8 will work for shooting half-court action. If you're under the basket, use a Sigma 1.4 or Nikon 35/2. I usually set my camera to 1/320 @ f/2 with auto-ISO and auto WB to get consistent results. Sometimes I add up to +.7 exposure compensation if I need an exposure boost.

Set your camera to AF-C, use the AF-ON button for focusing, and fire with the shutter release button. I prefer to shoot in continuous low (CL) bursts. I usually take about 50 snaps per game and get 30-35 keepers. YMMV.



Nov 28, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Gregstx
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p.2 #4 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


pbraymond wrote:
I am a far cry from an expert sport photographer, but given your parameters in the OP, here's my recommendation, hope you don't mind me chiming in.

1. D7000
2. 70-200 f2.8 VR first version (due to cost, and it's super on a DX Nikon), or even the older 80-200 AFS since VR does not come into play with basketball)
3. Something wider, though fast focusing and wide zoom in Nikon DX land is likely the 17-55, which may be attainable in your budget of $3000
4. Second D7000 body so you don't have to change lenses (later on in the season)

I choose the
...Show more

I agree. First, you need to check to see if you can even use the strobes that many have recommended. My local school district prohibits the use of strobes for basketball. I use a D7000 with the older 80-200 push-pull 2.8 lens for sideline action at high school football. I would like to have a 70-200 VR but it isn't in the budget. You will hear many experts tell you that the D7000 doesn't focus as well in low light as Dxxx. Or that it won't drive the older screw type lenses as well as the "pro" bodies. But mine performs amazingly well. I was able to capture a sideline reception near the end zone (lowest light level on the field) just raising the camera quickly and firing. There was no focus tracking or anything to make it easier or faster for the lens/body combination. And the D7K nailed it. And it does it repeatedly. Another advantage is that the DX body will give you more reach with a given lens than a FX body, like the D700. I would have to go with the D7000 recommendation, given your budget.



Nov 28, 2012 at 07:21 AM
black magic
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p.2 #5 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


I hear what you're saying, but more importantly I looked at your shots here and on MP. Very impressive. If I could get the great balance that you've acheived in the above images, I might be willing to give it a try.
One little issue I have is that the athletic director at the main high school I've been shooting balked when I mentioned using strobes. However I've noticed that a couple of the newspaper guys are shooting flash and no one seemed to be bothered. Maybe when I said strobes he was thinking of really conspicious lighting setups. Guess the only thing to do is to discretly place a couple of strobes and see if anyone freaks out.
Mind if I ask where you place yours?



Nov 28, 2012 at 03:08 PM
black magic
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p.2 #6 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


Gregstx, I used to have that lens and it was really a thing of beauty. Like a fool I sold it along with all of my other nikon equip about 5 years ago. Thanks for the insight about what is working well for you.


Nov 28, 2012 at 03:20 PM
black magic
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p.2 #7 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


I really appreciate everyone posting their shots for me to see exactly what each setup will do. It makes it much easier to narrow down my equipment choices.



Nov 28, 2012 at 03:25 PM
 

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mdalby
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p.2 #8 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


If you are asking me where I put my strobe placement, I put them along the baseline outside the line of play on light stands.

I point my strobes towards center court.

I think strobes can be a scary word for ADs. The first time i used them I went to the AD and told him and he asked the refs about them and the refs said no problem and I have never asked any ADs or coaches about them since. I introduce myself and tell them I am with MP and that I will be shooting the game but I don't ask them if they have any objections to strobes per se.



Nov 28, 2012 at 03:47 PM
kapytalyst
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p.2 #9 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


You are correct in the fact that there are lots of ways to get a good setup for indoor basketball action. Since its HS, I presume you have no problem getting close access to the floor, which should influence your buying decision (IMO).

I prefer to sit on the baseline whenever possible, as it opens up the action to getting pictures of the players faces. I also shoot basketball in portrait orientation 80% of the time.

From the baseline, you need to be somewhere between 50mm-120mm in portrait to cover the offensive end (i.e. get the ball in flight, basket and floor in the action). Obviously you need to go longer if your covering the defensive end.

Given the ridiculously low D700 resale prices, I would definitely build my kit around the D700 with grip. From there you have a number of primes (50mm, 85mm, most obviously) that focus fast and that work great in low light. On top of that I would layer an 80-200mm zoom. Forget the VR, it costs way more and VR isn't going to help stop action or do anything for you in the gym. Outside shooting football and other sports VR isn't necessary either since you're going to be shooting high shutter speeds.

So for $3k you can build an extremely strong kit along the lines of a d700 w/grip ($1,800), 85 f/1.8 ($350), 80-200 f/2.8 ($850) that would be suitable for a variety of indoor & outdoor sports and smoke your current kit by a mile.

Later I'd layer on the 70-300VR and a 35-70 f/2.8 if you can find a good one.

This is how I would do it, but you know the saying about opinions.....

Good luck!



Nov 28, 2012 at 04:53 PM
black magic
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p.2 #10 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


Thanks much. Seems the general consensus is the D700 so I'm going for it.


Nov 28, 2012 at 07:33 PM
brunobarolo
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p.2 #11 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


black magic wrote:
Thanks much. Seems the general consensus is the D700 so I'm going for it.


From my experience (as a newspaper photographer), definitely go with a D700 and not with a DX camera for indoor sports. At ISO 3200 and above, noise control is much better than with any small sensor camera.



Nov 28, 2012 at 08:14 PM
mdalby
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p.2 #12 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


I agree on the D700. There is a saying, "The poor man pays twice." It pays to do it right the first time even if it hurts a bit rather than trying to get by with some cheaper solution and then finding you aren't happy and then doing it right the second time.


Nov 28, 2012 at 09:21 PM
kapytalyst
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p.2 #13 · Which Nikon equipment for Basketball?


The OP has already decided on the D700, but I think it's worth mentioning that in addition to the lower noise levels from the fx D700, the large and bright viewfinder will really aid in getting the shot when shooting in dim/dark gyms. This is an aspect of the camera that frequently gets overlooked by budding sports shooters...


Nov 29, 2012 at 10:49 PM
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