basketball and shutter speed

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Jun 22, 2007
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Okay, before anyone chastises me about the search, I used it and google and things come up pretty inconclusive. The search here gave me nothing, I was shocked....I figured something like that might even be a sticky :biggrin:

Anyway, I have never shot basketball before. Tonight was a first (large tournament in AZ). I was shooting at 1/200 but in some shots, that's just not enough...man can these guys move FAST :eek: Is there a "standard" shutter speed that people aim for to stop human movement? I know "as high as possible", but in these poorly lit gyms it's not always that easy (which you all know far better than I).
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2008
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371
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Philadelphia, Pa
what camera and lens?

when i shoot basketball in h.s. gyms i usually shoot with my d90 & 70-200 2.8.

f/2.8, iso 1600 and 1/500 usually freezing up everything from hands,legs, and the ball.

sometimes i need to use a flash, but w/ 1/200th as the fastest shutter speed w/ flash and then u start to see blur.

so id say a good speed to stop motion imo would be 1/500th or faster

again what camera and lens, to give some of us a better idea on how to help you out.
 
Joined
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Northeast, CT
I prefer to be at 1/800th for basketball, granted it depends on the age group but for High School and above 1/800th preferred, 1/500th minimum. You will still get a little motion blur at 1/500th, but its manageable.
 
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
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For the little ones, you can get away for 1/400th most of the time. 1/500th is the bare minimum for 14 years and up though. 1/800th is what you want though. It's also the reason why strobing, and the D3/D700 with fast glass is basically needed at almost every gym.
 
Joined
Oct 17, 2007
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Orland Park, Illinois
I usually throw a SB flash unit or two into the equation. The short duration of the flash allows me to freeze even the fastest action with shutter speeds that are quite low.

This one was captured at 1/250th:

p472296665-5.jpg
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Glenn
 
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I'm shooting a D3, and I was using my 24-70. I also have a 50 f/1.4, but that wasn't wide enough under the basket. I had my SB-800 on the camera, and did have blur at 1/200.

Adrian, are you shooting in well lit gyms to achieve 1/800? I'll test my flash there, I know at a certain point half the image was exposed properly, and the bottom half was black. I just can't remember what speed I saw that.

Glenn, are you bouncing or using direct flash?
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
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PA
I'm guessing that you don't have a 2.8 70-200 lens. What do you have? Also, what body are you shooting with? Also, what is your intended audience? If you're selling pictures, that's one thing but if your kids are playing and they and their friends want to see themselves on Facebook, that's quite a different market.

I have a D90, I don't not have a 2.8 telephoto lens and I'm posting for my kids and their friends. I generally do not use flash...obviously that would help stop action a LOT. Maybe some places you can get away with that...I have done it a little at times and it definitely helps. I have a couple ways that I shoot b'ball. I have an old manual focus 50mm 1.2 lens. If I can get close, enough, that's a nice fast lens but of course, shooting wide open has a pretty narrow DOF. I typically focus on a "zone" and shoot when the action is in that zone. I also have an 18-55 that work with autofocus but quite honestly, the autofocus doesn't keep up well enough. I just got a 55-200 that I used for one summer league game so I'm not quite sure about that one...it seems to focus a bit faster and I'm working with different AF settings...the jury is still out.

My top ISO is 3200 so I normally shoot b'ball at 2500 and I generally shoot at 1/250th. That's a little on the slow side but, it stops the action pretty well...especially if you can time your shots to be at the peak of action where the action is actually stopped.

In this example, you can see that the main action "E-town shooter in blue, defender in black" is stopped but, another defender's foot has motion blur. I believe the focus point is a little closer than the action also. This isn't quite the quality that I'd like to post publicly but I hope it helps.

Here is one representative example - D90 body, 50mm 1.2 lens at f4 1/250th:
3768422881_6c007552ea_b.jpg
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Here's another b'ball example - D90 body, Nikon 55-200mm @116, ISO 3200, 1/250th, f4.8 - motion blur in ball but the focus is right. This also is untouched (well, other than the camera's jpg conversion;):
3769245348_d18627b649_b.jpg
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Joined
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I'm shooting a D3, and I was using my 24-70. I also have a 50 f/1.4, but that wasn't wide enough under the basket. I had my SB-800 on the camera, and did have blur at 1/200.

Adrian, are you shooting in well lit gyms to achieve 1/800? I'll test my flash there, I know at a certain point half the image was exposed properly, and the bottom half was black. I just can't remember what speed I saw that.

Glenn, are you bouncing or using direct flash?

Just depends on the lens, and gym. I either shoot at f/2, or 2.8. Whatever ISO3200 will allow me, I shoot at. I try and pick and choose the gyms I shoot at.
 
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if you search here for basketball, hoops, BB, especially from Nov thru Feb, I think you'll find a ton of pics w/ EXIF data....and search for threads started by most of who are responding to you...

I personally don't strobe, so I'm shooting my primes (f1.4) usually at f2, and strive for at least 1/500 if not higher, on my D300 (for high school). My 50f1.4 for baseline, or Sigma 30f1.4, and my 85f1.4 for deep in the corner or tip-off.
 
Joined
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Pueblo, Colorado
1/500 at a minimum, but I strive for 1/800. With younger kids, you can get away with slower. But, for high school and college, I think that 1/800 is ideal.
 
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I shoot without a flash or strobes, and it depends on the gym. I pretty much shoot manual with a 50 1.8 and like for my shutter speed to be 1/400. On a D300 I am comfortable up to ISO 1600. I don’t like to shoot the 50 1.8 wide open so if I am not getting close to proper exposure I will lower the shutter speed and take what I can get.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
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Thanks all. Chris, I'll start digging.

Jerry, I have a 70-200 but it seemed a bit much for the court. I had a pass that got me right on the court. Quite often I was under 50mm using my 24-70. I brought my 50 but didn't use it much. I'll work with it more to use it to my advantage.

Anthony, thanks. I'll bump to 1/500 with the 50 f/1.4 and see how that does. Maybe I can even squeak some flash in there.

This was just a two day tournament (and it was HUGE), the school season doesn't start for a bit so I can't get back till that starts. These were like all-star teams assembled from around the country, so I got to see some pretty good games. :wink:
 
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Adrian, fantastic links, thanks for sharing. Man, wouldn't that be ideal to setup AB's in the gym...amazing results! And your shots with no strobes were awesome. Here's two that I took, exif should be attached. I did use flash, and I know the white balance is off on the photo with #35. I can fix that when I get home, but I can't fix what the flash does to those awful uniforms (reflective material). You can see some blur on the hand in the first photo and foot in the second (1/200).

605222932_v7L8o-O.jpg
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605222925_EQvU3-O.jpg
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Joined
Jan 8, 2009
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PA
Those shots look good, John. Who am I to open my mouth with advice;) I'll bet #1's mom would never notice the motion blur in the hand...and if she did, well, "my son's just too fast, that's all" ;)

I've toyed a bit with setting the flash to a manual 1/8 or 1/16 power just to help out without blinding anybody.

Mike, I don't see how you get away with strobing the entire end of the gym. Doesn't that mess the players up?
 
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
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San Diego, CA
I shot about 10 ACC games last year, I'd highly recommend 1/800 to 1/1000 for college basketball. I wouldn't ever go less than 1/640 personally. Then again pushing the ISO on my D700 isn't a problem :wink:
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
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troy, mi
John, there is a couple things to take into consideration here. With your D3, I'd shoot at ISO 3200 without any qualms. 6400 if just for newspaper....

You shot at 1/200 with a single flashgun. to have the flash (or strobes) stop action, you need to be able to overpower the ambient light by 2.5-3 stops. That takes a lot of light in some gyms, surprisingly little in the dark gyms. Mike brings a lot, I use 4 SB800s to light a hole hockey rink. I can be done. Strobist has a ton of great info here:

http://strobist.blogspot.com/search?q=big+gym+
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
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ORLANDO, FLORIDA
I prefer to be at 1/800th for basketball, granted it depends on the age group but for High School and above 1/800th preferred, 1/500th minimum. You will still get a little motion blur at 1/500th, but its manageable.

John, I totally agree with Geoff. With the D3 and your 24-70 try setting the ISO to AUTO (high of 6400), f-stop to 2.8 and shutter speed from 640 to 800. You will be surprised at what you can get. The D3 is awesome with noise but if you need to you can also run it thru Lightroom or Noise Ninja or some other softwear to get rid of it.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
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Thanks Tim, appreciate it. I only have one sb-800 and a 600. I may take a look into adding more for things like this. This has the potential to turn into some money making for me (40+ sports team at a HS of 3,000 students), and if it does, I won't hesitate to get more equipment....need to make some money first, wife was not thrilled with the D3 purchase and no extra income :wink:
 

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