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

Macroramphosis

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pake - also perhaps a reflection of the courts she plays on. They are not well lit at all. But it also may be due to my GX8, which even in good light can't do much above ISO 400 before falling apart. I am well jealous of all those who say they shoot happily at 1600 - just does not happen for me....so I'll rephrase that.

f2.8 on my GX8 is next to useless for my purposes.

Better? :D
 
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  • 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.

The 45/1.8 is my unlikely hero for basketball anyway. I think you're actually the one that recommended that one to me a couple years back. It's just telephoto enough to get some reach, bright enough to keep things sharp. And really small and light too. So eager +1 on that.

I was very much underutilizing it before -- primarily just for portraits, and flower pictures. Since then it's been an important fixture for my "light" kit (when I don't feel like dragging out my 12-40 and 40-150mm Pro lenses)...
 

pake

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pake - also perhaps a reflection of the courts she plays on. They are not well lit at all. But it also may be due to my GX8, which even in good light can't do much above ISO 400 before falling apart. I am well jealous of all those who say they shoot happily at 1600 - just does not happen for me....so I'll rephrase that.

f2.8 on my GX8 is next to useless for my purposes.

Better? :D
Far better. I get useful ISO6400s with my E-M5III & f/2.8 zooms. Obviously I'd be happier if they were as clean as the current ISO1600s but.. Maybe one day... Meanwhile I work on my techniques and noise reduction skills in PP.
 

demiro

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pake - also perhaps a reflection of the courts she plays on. They are not well lit at all. But it also may be due to my GX8, which even in good light can't do much above ISO 400 before falling apart. I am well jealous of all those who say they shoot happily at 1600 - just does not happen for me....so I'll rephrase that.

f2.8 on my GX8 is next to useless for my purposes.

Better? :D
I don't know Roddy, maybe you, I, and some others are just bad photographers. I agree with your assessment regarding the usefulness of 2.8 lenses in typical indoor sporting events. Good lighting is the exception for me. I know people post shots at times with that set-up, so it can be done well, but I really question the viability of that when shooting a decent volume at tennis match, basketball game, etc.

I don't want to have to denoise images, or do much of anything else for that matter, if I don't have to. PP is not fun to me, just a chore that I don't need more of. If you do buy more gear I'd recommend taking a look at Nikon D600/D610. Really cheap to buy used in the US [<$500]. Best low-light bang for your buck imo.

BTW, how is the Champ doing? If you've posted anything recently I've missed it. Hopefully she's getting a chance to compete.
 

Macroramphosis

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I don't know Roddy, maybe you, I, and some others are just bad photographers. I agree with your assessment regarding the usefulness of 2.8 lenses in typical indoor sporting events. Good lighting is the exception for me. I know people post shots at times with that set-up, so it can be done well, but I really question the viability of that when shooting a decent volume at tennis match, basketball game, etc.
Yeah, that's the reality - decent volume and poor light just don't go together for me. As you say, it's not that it can't be done but I just can't seem to do it with the GX8 and either the S60 or even the P42.5. Doesn't help when the coach won't turn on all the lights either.... :)

The GX8 works fine outside, but when it gets gloomy everything turns to s**t.
I don't want to have to denoise images, or do much of anything else for that matter, if I don't have to. PP is not fun to me, just a chore that I don't need more of. If you do buy more gear I'd recommend taking a look at Nikon D600/D610. Really cheap to buy used in the US [<$500]. Best low-light bang for your buck imo.
I borrowed a friend's D600 last year for a while. Unfortunately it did not have a very good lens on it and it fared little better., much which could probably be ascribed to operator error, I suspect. I might plump for a And to be frank, where the Champ is heading soon I won't be there with her. Mum takes her on tournaments and hopefully they'll be starting soon. I hold the fort and look after everyone else.
BTW, how is the Champ doing? If you've posted anything recently I've missed it. Hopefully she's getting a chance to compete.

There's been no competition now since October, so no one knows where they stand at the moment; but right now Gigi has evolved enough in the past six months of Covid restrictions that she is hitting harder than a 21 year-old guy ranked at a 0 who she plays each weekend (Gigi is ranked at a 2/6. Popular opinion says a 0 ranked man plays at about the same level as a lady ranked minus 15 - which is national to WTA level).

We have high hopes things will come to fruition. She has no one locally to play against that is ranked high enough to have had the right to travel and train (in fact she is the only female player in the department of any age ranked high enough to have had that honour) so she's been training since last October solely with a named sparring partner and her coach. We'll just have to see.....tournaments are a mental battle and she's still inexperienced on that side of things. Thanks for asking.... :D

You can have a geek at how she is progressing on her Instagram account.
 

slmoore

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I shoot a fair amount of indoor basketball for my daughter and her teammates. I use the Panasonic 35-100 2.8 and an E-M1.2. I am generally trying to get photo of a single player and even on the near court I am rarely all the way out to 35mm. I typically try to position myself on the baseline about halfway between the bucket and the corner (usually on the right side, so right-handed shooters won't have their arm obscure their face). Typical camera settings are 2.8, 1/640 and ISO 6400 (max auto ISO). I don't doubt that as her teams get older they will get faster and 1/640th will get to be too slow.

One thing that I do to help with poor gym lighting is use DXO Prime Denoise. I think it has helped make stuff look good enough for social media. I haven't tried as many wide shots under the basket and should try to do that some time. But I wouldn't discount using your 40-150 on the near court. But here are some shots of my daughter for reference. First one is ISO 6400, the other two I had better light. For under-the-bucket driving shots most of what I have is other players so I don't feel confident in posting those. I still think the 35-100 focal range works fine for that too - if you are trying to focus on one player instead of many.
 

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exakta

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Or scrap the m4/3, and use my APS-C dSLR with the 35 + 50 f/1.8 primes.

I'll bite...how do you get away with nothing longer than 50mm on APS-C but need 150mm on m43???? You literally can crop APS-C that much?

P.S. always wondering about the film days, people shooting indoor sports with ISO 125 Ektachrome Type B (sometimes pushed to 320) and much slower zooms than today.
 

demiro

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Yeah, that's the reality - decent volume and poor light just don't go together for me. As you say, it's not that it can't be done but I just can't seem to do it with the GX8 and either the S60 or even the P42.5. Doesn't help when the coach won't turn on all the lights either.... :)

The GX8 works fine outside, but when it gets gloomy everything turns to s**t.

I borrowed a friend's D600 last year for a while. Unfortunately it did not have a very good lens on it and it fared little better., much which could probably be ascribed to operator error, I suspect. I might plump for a And to be frank, where the Champ is heading soon I won't be there with her. Mum takes her on tournaments and hopefully they'll be starting soon. I hold the fort and look after everyone else.


There's been no competition now since October, so no one knows where they stand at the moment; but right now Gigi has evolved enough in the past six months of Covid restrictions that she is hitting harder than a 21 year-old guy ranked at a 0 who she plays each weekend (Gigi is ranked at a 2/6. Popular opinion says a 0 ranked man plays at about the same level as a lady ranked minus 15 - which is national to WTA level).

We have high hopes things will come to fruition. She has no one locally to play against that is ranked high enough to have had the right to travel and train (in fact she is the only female player in the department of any age ranked high enough to have had that honour) so she's been training since last October solely with a named sparring partner and her coach. We'll just have to see.....tournaments are a mental battle and she's still inexperienced on that side of things. Thanks for asking.... :D

You can have a geek at how she is progressing on her Instagram account.

Wow. Always impressive to see an update. It must be kind of crazy to think your daughter may very well be knocking red clay off her sneakers on Court Philippe-Chatrier some day soon. We'll look for you in the family box!
 

ac12

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I'll bite...how do you get away with nothing longer than 50mm on APS-C but need 150mm on m43???? You literally can crop APS-C that much?

P.S. always wondering about the film days, people shooting indoor sports with ISO 125 Ektachrome Type B (sometimes pushed to 320) and much slower zooms than today.

For APS-C, I am stuck with 50mm as my longest fast lens. So I have to crop deep, and pass up far court shots.
Nikon D7200, ISO 3200 with the 35 and 50, I can crop deep. The noise is pretty low.​
My next long lens at f/4, is a 70-200/4. I tried it, and except for shooting from the bleachers, it was too long.
It was also confusing to switch between the 50/1.8 and 70-200/4, because I had to also change my ISO level and shutter speed. So I tended not to change lenses.
BTW, last year, I did try the Tamron 35-150/2.8-4, and it worked great for basketball. The only issue was the aperture slowing down to f/4 on the long end.

For m4/3, the higher noise at ISO 6400 when cropping deep forces me to use a longer lens, to avoid deep cropping.
Last night I lowered the shutter speed to 1/500 so I could shoot the f/2.8 at ISO 3200. I still have to look at those images.

As for the film days, I did not shoot high school indoor sports with color film.
The pros at professional arenas with LOTS of light did, but not at the high school level in DIM gyms.​
One of the schools had a gym that we called "the cave." I will let you imagine why.​
Tri-X pushed to 1200 was as high as we could get. And pushing was not reliable. Sometimes it came out, sometimes not. For me it was 50/50.
Back then I was dumb and ignorant. I used a 43-86/3.5 in the gym, cuz that was all I had. I really should have used a 50/1.4, or let someone else with a 50/1.4 shoot the gym sports. The f/3.5 zoom was WAY TOO SLOW for the gym. It was 2-1/2 stops slower than a 50/1.4, and I did not have 2-1/2 stops to give up.
In LOW light, FAST GLASS ruled.
We shot at much slower shutter speeds than today. I do not think we shot faster than 1/125. And me with the f/3.5 lens was slower. We had to shoot "peak of the action," to avoid action/movement blur. So learning timing was critical.
 
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exakta

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We shot at much slower shutter speeds than today. I do not think we shot faster than 1/125.

That's pretty much what I remember doing. I didn't shoot sports but lots of rock shows before they started banning cameras. I used an OM-1 with a Soligor 75-260/4.5 zoom handheld and used to shoot f5.6 at 1/125 in arenas and theaters, because the stage lights were bright enough. Mostly ISO 400 B&W but I experimented a couple of times with pushed Ektachrome Type B and the results were pretty good. In nightclubs I had to use flash, getting as close to the stage as possible with a Canonet G3 (the flash at least stopped motion). If I got one or two great shots per 36 exposure roll I was happy.
 

ac12

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That's pretty much what I remember doing. I didn't shoot sports but lots of rock shows before they started banning cameras. I used an OM-1 with a Soligor 75-260/4.5 zoom handheld and used to shoot f5.6 at 1/125 in arenas and theaters, because the stage lights were bright enough. Mostly ISO 400 B&W but I experimented a couple of times with pushed Ektachrome Type B and the results were pretty good. In nightclubs I had to use flash, getting as close to the stage as possible with a Canonet G3 (the flash at least stopped motion). If I got one or two great shots per 36 exposure roll I was happy.

The "good old days" were not always good.
They were ROUGH.
 

Ed Diaz

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The 45/1.8 is my unlikely hero for basketball anyway.
+1 on the 45. I've tried the 40-150 2.8 a few times, but not usually satisfied with the results unless the gym is really well lit, which is not typical. I'll bring the 75 too, but the focal length can be pretty limiting, depending on where you're shooting from. I've tried the Sigma 30 1.4 too, but find it not long enough. The 45 seems to hit a sweet spot for me. At least most of my keepers are with that lens.
 

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ac12

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In trying a few things, I recall a Robin Wong video, where he said to use the mechanical shutter to minimize high ISO noise.
So I tried it, and that seems to be true. The mechanical shutter shots have less noise than the e-shutter. So I can raise the ISO, a bit.

Although that kinda takes away some of the reason for the e-shutter, less wear on the mechanical shutter and faster burst rate.

In using the f/2.8 lenses, I discovered that 1/400 sec is really not fast enough for basketball, at least how I shoot it. I had quite a bit more burred images; usually the arms, sometimes more. And 1/400 is definitely not fast enough to freeze a volleyball spike. I need to try to get back up to 1/800 sec.
How did I do it with film at 1/60 sec??? :confused:

I tried swapping between the f/1.8 primes and the f/2.8 zoom. But having to adjust the ISO, shutter speed, and/or f-stop, when I change the lens is a PITA. I have switched lenses and forgotten to change the exposure, and the next shots are over or under exposed. ARGH.
KISS, just shoot at ONE f-stop.

I think I've resigned myself to using two cameras; with 17 and 45 f/1.8 primes.
I just have to find a workable two camera harness.
 
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In trying a few things, I recall a Robin Wong video, where he said to use the mechanical shutter to minimize high ISO noise.
So I tried it, and that seems to be true. The mechanical shutter shots have less noise than the e-shutter. So I can raise the ISO, a bit.

Although that kinda takes away some of the reason for the e-shutter, less wear on the mechanical shutter and faster burst rate.

In using the f/2.8 lenses, I discovered that 1/400 sec is really not fast enough for basketball, at least how I shoot it. I had quite a bit more burred images; usually the arms, sometimes more. And 1/400 is definitely not fast enough to freeze a volleyball spike. I need to try to get back up to 1/800 sec.
How did I do it with film at 1/60 sec??? :confused:

I tried swapping between the f/1.8 primes and the f/2.8 zoom. But having to adjust the ISO, shutter speed, and/or f-stop, when I change the lens is a PITA. I have switched lenses and forgotten to change the exposure, and the next shots are over or under exposed. ARGH.
KISS, just shoot at ONE f-stop.

I think I've resigned myself to using two cameras; with 17 and 45 f/1.8 primes.
I just have to find a workable two camera harness.
For a two camera harness, I’d suggest OpTech’s Duo Sling. I like it, although I prefer to connect the QD connecter to the left strap lug. I made a safety strap that connects to the tripod socket. You can see it in one of my earlier posts. The stretchy neoprene pad makes it very comfortable to wear. https://www.optechusa.com/utility-sling-duo.html
My setup. I use it when I'll be using two bodies at the same time.
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/strap-or-harness-for-cameras-and-binoculars.111018/post-1466191

If you prefer one that has backpack like straps, there is a dual camera harness or sling too.
https://www.optechusa.com/dual-harness.html and https://www.optechusa.com/double-sling.html

BTW, I hardly shot any indoor sports with film back in the day. Film was so slow (especially color) that, as you said, getting shots at 1/60 was not unusual. I think we would have to use Tri-X and push it to get the ASA up high enough to get a reasonable shutter speed. I think motion blur was just inherent in the results. Given that most of us wouldn't have motor drives anyway, we had to time the shot for the peak of the action when relative motion was at its lowest. Or, we had to use flash, which was disturbing to the players.
 
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ac12

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For a two camera harness, I’d suggest OpTech’s Duo Sling. I like it, although I prefer to connect the QD connecter to the left strap lug. I made a safety strap that connects to the tripod socket. You can see it in one of my earlier posts. The stretchy neoprene pad makes it very comfortable to wear. https://www.optechusa.com/utility-sling-duo.html
My setup. I use it when I'll be using two bodies at the same time.
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/strap-or-harness-for-cameras-and-binoculars.111018/post-1466191

If you prefer one that has backpack like straps, there is a dual camera harness or sling too.
https://www.optechusa.com/dual-harness.html and https://www.optechusa.com/double-sling.html

BTW, I hardly shot any indoor sports with film back in the day. Film was so slow (especially color) that, as you said, getting shots at 1/60 was not unusual. I think we would have to use Tri-X and push it to get the ASA up high enough to get a reasonable shutter speed. I think motion blur was just inherent in the results. Given that most of us wouldn't have motor drives anyway, we had to time the shot for the peak of the action when relative motion was at its lowest. Or, we had to use flash, which was disturbing to the players.

Thanks Walter.
I gotta figure out how to do a two-camera setup.
Switching around the cross straps is a pain.
I like the backpack style harness.
 
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Thanks Walter.
I gotta figure out how to do a two-camera setup.
Switching around the cross straps is a pain.
I like the backpack style harness.

I have one suggestion when you get your harness. I put on the sling/harness first, and then put on my camera bag or backpack over it. In that way, I can swing the sling or backpack (with side access) around without tangling up with the straps. I have no problem with the cross-body straps. The cameras attach to sliders which move freely up and down the straps. The straps don't really move. Usually, once I set up (unless I change lenses) the bag stays put anyway.

The photos on the OpTech site show you how to set up their slings/harness. I much prefer the cameras at my side than hanging from my neck and bouncing off my gut (or banging into each other). I never use the neck straps, so mine are still in their plastic wrapper. I also have wrist straps on all my cameras, so I can unclip them from the sling and use them freely. I have the QD connectors on everything, so it's easy to clip and unclip when needed. The modularity of the OpTech stuff makes it easy to customize your rig. I've even used carabiners and OpTech components to hang cameras from my backpack straps for quick access.

Amazon sells their stuff, sometimes cheaper or on sale. In fact, they have several variations of the dual harness listed.
 

jhawk1000

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I have tried just about everything to carry two cameras, a strapped camera with a chest camera bag, a Street and Field belt, vest, and hang-on cases, and even a harness. Damn cameras kept whipping around on the harness, the shoulder strap and single case on my chest were not at all comfortable. The dedicated Street and Field system as worn with a belt killed my back from all the weight around my waist so I had to add a suspender or a Street and Field vest. Not only was it heavy, but it was also hot, uncomfortable and made me look the fool when out in the wild. I really was never a vest guy, even those with mesh since they looked strange to me. When I would go into the wild with two of my friends who were genuinely wildlife photographers, they generally had a camera with a long lens attached to field quality Gitzos over their shoulders with a backpack for any second body or other lenses. I never saw them use them though.

One of them shot for National Geographic in the Yellowstone area and he knew what he was after, what equipment it would take and that is what he took. The other was a little more equipment user since he wrote and illustrated books for several Mountain states so he had the wildlife stuff and the other lenses for closeup or close up of vegetation.

Like ac12, my wife and I shoot sports for a top-rated high school program as well as volunteers for the inner-city baseball league. It is rare that we use more than one camera and one lens each but generally have extra batteries, lens or two, cards, rain covers, hand warmers in an Osprey crossbody carrier which we stash with the cheerleaders until we need them which is not often.

I can tell you that our McClatchy News sports photographers laugh when they see all the cameras slung all over the amateur bodies. One of the guys who photographs for ESPN as a freelancer along with his news roles might have a couple of bodies with lenses, one with a super long lens and another with a mid-range zoom but the small lensed one is generally holstered at his belt.
 
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