Lenses for basketball photography?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Shacklebolt, Jun 2, 2008.

  1. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    I'm sure at football games and baseball games you're going to see plenty of 300mm f/2.8s and 400mm f/2.8's on the sidelines, but what about basketball games? A 300mm prime would obviously give you a great view of Kobe Bryant's nostril, but you're probably going to want something sligggghtly wider than that.

    So, to be egalitarian, say you have a Canon 1Ds Mark III and a Nikon D3, and have just been hired as a basketball photographer and have been given an unlimited operating budget. What lenses to you make sure to carry?
  2. 66217 Guest

    Jan 30, 2006
    For Nikon I would opt for the 70-200 f/2.8 and a wide angle lens. Maybe the 17-55 f/2.8 would do it.

    Are you planning to get into that kind of photography? Or just curiosity?:)
  3. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Mostly curiosity. I don't watch a great deal of basketball, but basketball photography is so different from football or baseball because the field of play is just so much smaller. So, just curious as to what the equipment would be.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    So you are shooting with a full frame camera, not a crop body? Then you need a little bit longer lenses. I think the classic lens for this would be the 70-200mm f/2.8.
  5. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    All depends on where you are seated. The 70-200mm f/2.8L IS is a good zoom choice, but it can be slow when indoors. The 85mm f/1.2, 135mm f/2, and 200mm f/2 primes would do the trick quite well.
  6. juanm macrumors 65832


    May 1, 2006
    Fury 161
    From the top of my mind:
    - 14-24 if you get the chance to get close to the basket.
    - The 200 f/2 might be nice to get close-ups of the players.
    - A standard zoom (24-70 or the like)
  7. Shacklebolt thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Seated/standing where _this_ photograph is taken from.
  8. termina3 macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2007
    However fast you go with the glass, you're still going to want faster. Not to mention, the DoF at /1.8 is so thin that you'll get one letter on the ball but not another. At lower level ball (sub-MBA, sub-NCAA) the lighting is horrendous, and you'd need strobes to get the freeze-frame speed you (i.e. I would) want. (Personally, I've tried it with 3 strobes in different corners/walls, reflecting off the walls into the court with some success.) Pros from SI put lighting systems in the rafters to get light everywhere and prevent distracting the players––but not all of us are so well endowed.

    Low aperture (/2.8) with high ISO is more realistic.
  9. Lebowski macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    i shoot alot of pro sports.

    i carry a 70-200 2.8 IS canon and a backup body with a 17-55 2.8 canon.

    between those, i am usuallycovered. I still keep a super wide and a fisheye for rare occasions, and will lug the fatty 400 from time to time as well.
  10. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Strobes, strobes, strobes. Pocket Wizards, second shooter for the other end of the court, 70-200/2.8, 300/2.8.
  11. NeXTCube macrumors member

    May 14, 2002
    Upstate NY
    I used to shoot NCAA Div III basketball with TMZ 3200P and a 135 f/2.8 prime on my Nikon F2. The good old days! :) The 135 worked well from the sidelines; had to do some cropping in the darkroom afterward...

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