Seeking (Lots of) Help With Indoor Basketball

Joined
Mar 8, 2009
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florida's east coast
Flagler College, St. Augustine, FL. The poorly lit...light in places and darker in others...gym is across from my office. I had my D300, 70-200, and SB800 in my bag when I found out there was a B-ball camp going on in the gym. Here are three shots, representative of what I was able to do, which evidently wasn't much, but it was a good experience. Suggestions?

1.
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2.
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3.
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Joined
Dec 6, 2006
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16,847
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West of Boston
Oh, I thought we'd left basketball behind until next winter :smile:

Where to start, basketball/indoor sports is tough between the cycling lights, minimal lighting, etc.

Looks like you've got the D300 jacked up to 3200, which is the max most will do. Some have been successful @ 3200 on the D300.

What lens were you using? I see f2.8 on some, f4 on last two.

Some of the flash mavens should pipe in; I personally don't use flash indoors, but most will try to get it off camera.

I think I'd try to open it up another stop, to f2, so your 351.8 might be your best bet.

Take a custom WB, shoot Manual, 1/500 minimum.

That's a start, others will jump in.
 
Joined
Jan 8, 2009
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San Jose, CA
For gym stuff, I've always thought that bouncing the flashes off of a gym wall is a good idea. But that'll take at least 2 speedlights.

I wouldn't set your D300 any higher than ISO 1600. Try to keep your lenses wide open (f/2.8, f/1.8, etc.). Why? Well, anything lower than F4 is pretty shallow depth of focus for sports, especially when you're standing as close as you'll probably be standing. So just go wide open and gather as much of that ambient light as possible.

You'll want at least a 1/320 of a second shutter speed. 1/500 would be better, as Chris said.

Set a custom WB using the kelvin settings. That's what I do for hockey. UNLESS you're shooting in RAW. Then shoot Auto-WB and don't worry about it, and adjust later. For Hockey, I shoot in RAW with Auto-WB and then adjust later in post.

If you want to do some edgier shots, set your flash up on a light stand or on your tripod. Set it to zoom in to something like 50mm or 70mm, depending on where you put your tripod. Trigger that with your CLS system. It'll blast your subject with light. Sometimes head-on looks cool, but you don't want to blind the players. So maybe from the side would look cool? You'll need to drop your shutter speed to 1/320 or 1/250, but your flash will freeze your subject.

The other option is to put your flash somewhere under the basket or off to the side, and set it to 14mm (pull the little flippy diffuser out). Then, again, trip the flash with CLS. It'll flood the area with a decent amount of light and you should be able to freeze your action with little-to-no ghosting.

I don't shoot indoors much with flash, myself, but those are my thoughts from shooting years of mountain biking in the middle of a dark forest with little-to-no light.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
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troy, mi
Looks like flash faster than sync speed so I'm guessing on camera and reduced power from fast sync.

I'm an either natural light (hard in gyms) or enough light to overcome ambient. Gotta be able to get over 2 stops greater than ambient to stop action at 1/250. You can do that with one flash, if you have white walls and just get action by basket, other than that you'll need more lights...
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
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2,727
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USA
The only frustration I found with the 1.4's (50 and 85) was the focus speed. Very slow on both of mine, so lots of missed shots. The other option is to volunteer to repaint the gym this summer with white paint and to clean all of the lights... :)
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2008
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2,283
Location
NY
May not be able to afford a D3s, but have you looked at a used D3 or D700? These type of environments, unless you feel like carting along a few speedlights, stands, gels, triggers, etc. are custom made for the D3(s)/D700s of the word. Case in point, here is a shot from a few weeks back. AAU tournament in a large field house type building. Settings on this pic were 1/640, ISO 8000, f/2.8 shot with a D3s and 70-200/2.8.

d3s_6964.jpg
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Joined
Mar 20, 2011
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1,959
Location
Australia
unfortunatly, the crappy light found inside most school gyms isn't very conducive to action pictures.

so, speed (ISO and lens speed) is of the essence. unfortunatly, speed often comes with a hefty price tag.

now, i know from experience, a 50mm lens is just long enough to shoot basketball with (on a 35mm film camera). you just have to be patient and wait for your shots.

a 50mm f1.4 would boost to ~75mm equivalent on the D300 (even betterer) and give you an extra two stops worth of speed over the 80-200.

looking at the first pic, that would allow you a 1/1000s shutter speed @ ISO ~1,600'ish (more or less).

short of recommending insane, exotic stuff like D3s', D700, 200/2, 85/1.4 and the like, i think a 50/1.4 would help a lot.
 
Joined
Nov 17, 2007
Messages
2,727
Location
USA
Randy, that is a great shot! I would say that the amount of light in that gym seems to be very good, and unusual compared to what I've tried to work in. On the other hand, on-camera flash is just as bad to me as having to shoot at 1600 and 1/100th on the older bodies.
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2008
Messages
2,283
Location
NY
I don't think I would call using ISO 8000 good light. I could have gone down to 1/500 at 6400, but I'm not a very steady person so that extra SS helps. I was at a tournament this past weekend where I was looking at ISO 12800 at 1/500. I said that heck with it. If I was shooting for a paper or something I could have squeezed some stuff out, but I think there is a time to say the heck with it and put the gear away. At an AAU tournament where many times you have 3 or 4 courts going side-by-side with parents and other teams all over the place, setting up remote flashes isn't a good idea.
 

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