12-100 vs f/2.8 vs. primes for gym sports

ac12

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Last night I was shooting basketball at the local high school (so lighting is NOT good).
I used the EM1-mk2 and the 12-40 at ISO 6400 at f/2.8.
The deep cropping (when the players were in the far court) was really UGLY (high ISO noise). Mild cropping (near court) was OK.

So I've been looking at my pics from last year, trying to figure out which route to use.
  • 12-100 for more reach and zoom range, but f/4 speed.
    • The ISO 8000 I used last year does not survive much cropping at all. So I have bring the ISO down.
    • I will be at ISO 6400, at f/4 and 1/400 sec. But with greater magnification than the 12-40, I don't have to do the deep cropping. And I don't need to carry two cameras and two lenses.
    • But I don't think ISO 6400 is much better than 8000.
    • A 12-100/2 would be PERFECT :biggrin: But the bulk and price would not be :(
  • 12-40/2.8 + 40-150/2.8 for faster f/2.8
    • IF I use it, the 40-150/2.8 would be for the far court, so I don't have to deep crop. But that means carrying two cameras or changing lenses.
    • Just using the 12-40 means near court only. Based on last night, the far court requires too much cropping.
    • Limited zoom range with each lens.
      • Said another way, basketball on the court floor, requires just too much focal length range.
    • If I drop the shutter speed to 1/400 sec, I can lower the ISO one stop, to 3200, for less noise. I don't know how much less.
  • I used 35 + 50 f/1.8 lenses on an APS-C camera.
    • Better exposure and less noise, but with all the limitations of using a prime lens for sports.
    • I would use the 17/1.8 + 45/1.8. Fastest lenses, but fixed FL, means I WILL have to crop
    • At f/2, I can drop the ISO another stop, to 1600.
  • Or scrap the m4/3, and use my APS-C dSLR with the 35 + 50 f/1.8 primes.
As I told someone else, shooting sports in LOW light stinks.
It really pushes the limits of the gear.

I am shooting half the game with the dSLR, so I have known reliable quantity for half the game.
Then figuring out the m4/3 for the 2nd half.
 

ac12

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Yes, I've been tempted.
But for me, that would be a very limited use lens. And I am "trying" to limit my purchase of limited use lenses.
I don't want to push what the CFO will let me get. I think I am near the line.

Unfortunately shooting in LOW light pushes the limits.
 

Baenwort

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I think you hit the nail on the two lens solution. This is what you'd do with your other setup.

There is always the ZD 35-100 f2.0 if you don't mind adapting.

Hopefully one of the HS sports shooters like @ac12 or @jhawk1000 or @demiro and others I can't recall right now will weigh in.
 
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JensM

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Depending on your post-processing workflow, you could try the Topaz Denoise, and see if it handles the noise. I think they have a 30 days try before you buy thingie.
 

demiro

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For me, m4/3s at f/2.8 is not adequate for the task. I like to keep SS at 1/800 though, so ymmv on that a bit.

My kit these days is two FF bodies, with 50/1.8 for near-court and 80-200/2.8 for far end. Every pro I see shooting is carrying two FF bodies, usually with 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8. A 24-70 would be way better than my 50, but not worth it to me.
 

demiro

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Depending on your post-processing workflow, you could try the Topaz Denoise, and see if it handles the noise. I think they have a 30 days try before you buy thingie.

I regularly have 100+ photos to process when shooting basketball, so my goal is a little crop and maybe adjust exposure, if I have to. What kind of time are you looking at for denoising? What is your editing machine spec'd at? I assume you can batch process, so maybe somewhat irrelevant?
 

JensM

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There is batch proccessing available, havent had to use it, so no how it fares in that regards. Machine is a Dell G5 I7 9th gen with 32 Gb ram and 1 TB SSD for programs and 2TB SSD for storage, works a treat...
 

demiro

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I just can't see splashing out for the 40-150/2.8 primarily for basketball, given the inherent compromises. My 2 body/2 lens FF kit, purchased used, cost less than that lens new. But if you're looking for a reason to add that beast to your m4/3s kit then it kind of makes perfect sense. I love purchase rationalization. :)
 

jhawk1000

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We are blessed with having new gyms with better lighting for indoor sports. My wife and I both shoot football, some volleyball, some basketball, and awards and signings to colleges in the gym. For basketball, the wife uses the 12-40mm 2.8 and the 40-150mm 2.8 at no more than 3200. I have been known to use the 25mm 1.7 under the basket and the 50-200 for cross-court shots. We are now shooting for the baseball league for kids (male and female) 5-14yrs old. Some of it is late evening baseball with lighting but not major-league type. We have gone up to 5000 ISO but crop with the lens and not in photoshop. Football is a one lens sports shoot with the two favored telephoto zooms. My wife uses a 1.4X converter on the 40-150 2.8 and if it is a special night like senior night, she takes a second body with the 12-40mm 2.8. If we are in a game for a championship, we both take second cameras with shorter lenses for the celebrations. Always a monopod if night football.
 

jhawk1000

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The baseball shooting is purely for fun and for the kids. We post our photos on the Facebook page called League 42 which is an inner-city league with very affordable costs and lots of free things such as diamonds (3) all with lighting, safely caged dugouts, grandstands, uniforms, gloves, balls, and instruction. We are breaking ground on a learning center with computers to have the kids use them all year round. It keeps us young and after 7 years with this league, the kids will come up to us and ask us if we remember them and ask for us to take their picture.
 
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Hi @ac12, I don't have a lot of experience shooting indoor sports, but shot a girl's high school volleyball game once. My niece was playing. I used the 45 f1.8 and the 17 f1.8. I felt I needed the speed of the primes, and even so, I had some blurry shots from motion blur. Back in those days, DeNoise AI wasn't available yet, or I would have pushed up the ISO more. I felt the 45 was just long enough to use around the net, but too short to get the ends of the court. I have a 75 f1.8 now and think that would have been ideal. I was a spectator, not a school photographer, so felt that I couldn't move around. I stayed near the net so I could shoot the action at the net and on both sides. The high school gym was poorly lit. The university's arena is much better lit, but we have no control over that.

The 12-100 f4 Pro has a great range, but I think it's too slow for indoor sports. I know it's even more expensive, but there's the PL 10-25 f1.7. Big bucks though. Otherwise, your best bets seem to be the 12-40 for close-medium work and the 40-150 f2.8 Pro for mid to far shots. I figure two bodies will be required to eliminate lens switching.
 
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Yes, I've been tempted.
But for me, that would be a very limited use lens. And I am "trying" to limit my purchase of limited use lenses.
I don't want to push what the CFO will let me get. I think I am near the line.

Unfortunately shooting in LOW light pushes the limits.

I managed to pick up a used 75 f1.8 for a very nice price on mu-43. They used to be available for a decent price on the reconditioned list, but not now. :-(

If I were going to go all primes, I guess it would be the PL15 f1.7, 45 f1.8, and 75 f1.8 (because that's what I have) and two bodies, so probably keep the 45 on one body and switch between 15 and 75 on the other.
 
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demiro

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I managed to pick up a used 75 f1.8 for a very nice price on mu-43. They used to be available for a decent price on the reconditioned list, but not now. :-(

If I were going to go all primes, I guess it would be the PL15 f1.7, 45 f1.8, and 75 f1.8 (because that's what I have) and two bodies, so probably keep the 45 on one body and switch between 15 and 75 on the other.
There's a 75/1.8 on sale here for $450. I've seen cheaper, but not by much and not very often. Nice price for sure, and a great lens.

75/1.8
 

ac12

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Shot volleyball in the gym tonight, but I'm too tired to evaluate the pics.

Olympus:
  • 45/1.8 at ISO 1600, f/2, 1/500 sec
    • This worked well. It was just like using the 50/1.8 on my APS-C camera.
  • 12-40/2.8 and 40-150/2.8 at ISO 3200, f/2.8, 1/500 sec
    • I dropped down to 1/400 and 1/500 sec, in order to not shoot at ISO 6400. Tomorrow when I'm awake I will evaluate how ISO 3200 compares to 6400. I suspect the spikes will be a lot more blurred at the lower speed.
    • I did not like the Olympus zoom ring, too much drag for fast action, and constantly working the zoom ring. It is way over dampened, for my style of shooting.
    • The metal zoom ring was slippery in my sweaty hand. I ordered some silicone tape to try to increase the grip on the zoom ring. I shall see how that works out.
Nikon
  • 35/1.8 + 50/1.8 at ISO 3200, f/2, 1/800 sec.
    This is my standard APS-C kit, and it works with good results.
I have used two cameras, but . . . I generally do not use two cameras, because wearing two cameras with cross shoulder straps is a clumsy and a pain to use. The upper strap gets in the way of the lower strap. Tonight when I switched cameras, at the end of each game/set, I swapped strap positions, to put the active camera on top, and the camera I was not using on the bottom.
To actively use two cameras, I would have to switch to a purpose built two camera harness.
 

Macroramphosis

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From the limited time I have sent indoors with the tennis champ, f2.8 on a m4/3 body is next to useless. There's a lot of PP after the session to find a useable shot. At some stage I'll need to move to a used APC or even an older FF body and find a lens to go with it for this one specific use that is within my very limited budget.
 

pake

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For years I have asked Olympus to give us a 25-75mm f/1.8 or f/2.0 lens. That would be perfect for indoor events.

But since we don't have one, I have had to settle for 2 camera setup with the two PRO f/2.8 zooms (sometimes one of the zooms is replaced by either Sigma 56mm f/1.4 or Oly 75mm f/1.8).
 

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