35L for Indoor sports?
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OntheRez
Registered: Jul 16, 2008
Total Posts: 2641
Country: United States

This question grew out of a discussion on the sports forum, but is more appropriate here. I shoot HS sports for a small (very) town newspaper. All of the venues in the local (term used loosely as travel times are generally at least 2 hours one way) league have very poor lighting. This has forced me to cover VB and BB using primes to keep ISO from going stratospheric. I shoot with the 85mm f/1.8, 135mm f/2.0L, and a 50mm f/1.4. Using these lenses in Tv mode gets SS= 1/800 and I can get the ISO down to ~3200. Shooting at f/2.8 just doesn't make it. I get good results from the 85 and the 135. The 50mm f/1.4 just doesn't seem to have quick enough AF to follow action properly. (It's relatively new and working properly.) I'm considering the purchase of the a 35L to go on my 1DIV to get wider action shots, e.g. capturing the entire player making a lay up while standing on the baseline near the basket. I've never learned the math to calculate the "equivalent focal length" of the 35mm on a 1.3 crop, but I'm guessing it's in the 42-45mm range.

Anybody out there using a 35L in this way? I recognize DOF will be quite thin, but I'm already dealing with that on my other lenses. My real question is how fast will the 35L AF work? Experience from those who have shot action with the 35L greatly appreciated.

Robert



GC5
Registered: Jun 05, 2008
Total Posts: 2210
Country: United States


I shot one of my son's basketball games. Results were so/so (as much me as the lens). It's a little too wide for this purpose for my taste. Focus is faster than the 50 1.4.



stempsons
Registered: Dec 30, 2005
Total Posts: 443
Country: United States

the 35l works well for close to the hoop shots if you don't mind a larger scene. The 85 1.8 is great as well for basketball.

-seth




erikburd
Registered: Feb 03, 2010
Total Posts: 533
Country: United States

It's good for sports, if you don't mind the wider view. For hoops you should be able to get relatively closer to the action, so that would work. The focus is extremely quick.

I typically use my 85 f/1.8 for soccer and other sports, which works very well.



rachelsdad
Registered: Apr 13, 2010
Total Posts: 323
Country: United States

For me it is way too wide. I have used either my 70-200 or 85 F1.8 for Basketball. In the case of the 85 I will be close to the hoop. There are guys shooting 300 F2.8s on Basketball.



dwweiche
Registered: Apr 19, 2009
Total Posts: 1399
Country: United States

Equivalent field of view of a 35mm on your crop is simply calculated as 35x1.3 = 45.5, so good guess



rolette
Registered: Dec 08, 2009
Total Posts: 441
Country: United States

If you are able to use the 135 at f/2.0, 1/800, ISO 3200, that's not bad light for HS gyms. With your 1D4, you can shoot your f/2.8 lenses at ISO 6400 and do a little NR.

The HS gym I shoot most of my VB games in is relatively new and I'm shooting at 1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 8000 on a 1D4. Apply a little NR in LR4 and I'm good to go.

Not sure if your deadlines allow for any post-processing or not, but seems like you shouldn't have to switch to primes. Of course, everyone's tolerance for noise varies so YMMV.

Jay



kapytalyst
Registered: Jun 13, 2006
Total Posts: 692
Country: United States

I use the 35L (in conjunction with 50 1.4, 70-200 is II and 135L) all the time on my 1d3 for HS basketball. The 35L is best used in portrait orientation when you can position yourself right under the basket. You will find that sometimes the ref is in your way, but for the most part you're in a great position to get layups and other action under the hoop. The wider angle in portrait allows you to get the basket and the player's feet in the shot, which gives a great feel for the action.

And on a 1.3 crop cam the 35L is just wide enough to get good posed team shots when the action is over. I say pull the trigger - worst case scenario you'll sell it for nearly what you'll pay for it.



Lutefisker
Registered: Mar 21, 2009
Total Posts: 359
Country: United States

I've shot basketball with 1DIV at ISO 6400, 1/800, and f2.8. I don't like the noise either, but for your small-town newspaper, I'm surprised it is not sufficient (especially if you use a light amount of noise reduction). Just curious, are you shooting tight and still have too much noise, or are the images noisy because of heavy crops?

I presume you've tried using your 16-35 or 24-70 and you like the look at 35mm. I shot a game last night using a 16-35 and like the results as part of an overall set, but I wouldn't want to rely on 35mm for the whole game.

Best,
Rick



OntheRez
Registered: Jul 16, 2008
Total Posts: 2641
Country: United States

@Stempsons, that's the kind of shot I'm looking for but not often able to get to work with the 50mm f/1.4.

@rolette, f/2.0, 1/800, ISO 3200 is my absolute best case scenario at one rez school that had a new gym built about 4 years ago. Most of the time I'm at 6400+ and one gym demands 12800.

Several have noted the 85mm f/1.8. I think I get about 70% of my keepers using it. Great lens, particularly for the price. My problem with it is getting close. I have the privilege of working anywhere on the floor that isn't a playing surface. Most of the gyms are waaay too small to shoot with a 300mm (or most of the time even with a 200mm). I've experimented with both my 24-70 and 70-200 f/2.8s and there are only a couple of venues where light and space is big/good enough to work. One gym in particular has less than 3 feet between the court line and the wall. The home gym is a bit under 4' along the sideline but generous room on the baselines.

I have some time to process and thus always shoot raw. Everything gets NR, and I do often have to crop to feature a player. (Rules about who shows up in the paper how often can make you crazy and require one to sometimes use a less than best action shot.) The paper prints in B&W on cheap newsprint and I could get away with a lot in that format. It just added a subscriber PDF version with color photos, so I'm now having to submit twice for each pix. Quality of the online version needs to be significantly better than the print version.

I find the 1DIV crops well, just so long as one doesn't get excessively tight. "Excessively" is of course variable depending on lots of factors.

Great feedback. I think I'll go for it as I notice Canon has the 35L on sale. I can probably get about $300+ for the 50mm so I'd be out $1K, serious money down here in nowhereville, but probably doable.

Robert



Caleb Williams
Registered: Dec 05, 2006
Total Posts: 2603
Country: United States

Check with Russ Isabella from the Sports Corner. I believe he uses this lens for gymnastics a lot.



Steve Spencer
Registered: Nov 08, 2006
Total Posts: 6990
Country: Canada

One tip you might want to try for you 50 f/1.4 is to set the aperture to f/2 and prefocus for the zone where right under the basket where someone is shooting a layup or getting a rebound. Once you know where this area is you just need to time the shot so the player is in the area and you don't have to worry about autofocus. For shots at a specific location this technique can work well. Heck, this was the only technique that people used before autofocus and people still were able to get some pretty good sports shots.



Russ Isabella
Registered: Jan 30, 2005
Total Posts: 9921
Country: United States

Robert: Caleb is right, I use the 35L for gymnastics and I've been very pleased with it. You've got to be pretty close to the action you're shooting, but beyond that, the lens is more than up to the challenge.



Caleb Williams
Registered: Dec 05, 2006
Total Posts: 2603
Country: United States

Russ Isabella wrote:
Robert: Caleb is right

Don't say that. It will go to my head.



jkermani
Registered: Oct 04, 2004
Total Posts: 2898
Country: United States

Robert, I used to use the 35L for karate almost exclusively. I think you'll find the AF is great.

Jeanette



OntheRez
Registered: Jul 16, 2008
Total Posts: 2641
Country: United States

Well, I came in from shooting the preseason tri-team BB scrimmage and promptly put my 50 f/1.4 on B&S for a cheap price. Gone within a day. So now I'll go buy a 35L and have no one to blame but myself I hope my skill level combined with the 35L will allow me to get closer to the bucket and capture some of the excellent play which the 50 couldn't focus on and the 85mm chopped off arms and legs. Won't be untill after T-giving for the next game, but I'll report back giving at least one data point on the subject.

Thanks for the input from each of you,

Robert