need lens for Nikon D40 for sports pics in a gym

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by snapperjet70, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. snapperjet70 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    #1
    I recently bought a Nikon D40 and love it. But I am needing to get a lens for sports pics inside a gym.. primarily taking basketball and volleyball pics. Needs to be lower on the cost scale - I am a teacher. I currently have a 18-55 mm lens.

    Or can someone tell me the best way to set this one for better pics. I can change my manual settings to a higher ISO and and lower my shutter speed.. but the pics are still too dark.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #2
    Most school gyms are terribly lit. I have a Nikon D300 and a 50mm 1.8 and most of my action shots were still at no better than 1600 ISO. That should tell you something.

    However, the 60mm AF-S worked well for the time I had it. You may want to try that. Other than that, thanks to the D40, you're looking at either third-party glass or slow Nikon glass. Or very expensive Nikon glass (like the 70-200).
     
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #3
    So the 55mm lens gets you in close enough? Then you don't need a longer lens. Your problem is that the D40 lacks an in-body focus motor so the best, least expensive lens options are not available to you. For example a low cost 50mm f/1.8 would be great but not on a D40. The new 50mm f/1.4 AF-S costs about the same as D40.

    It would actually be cost effective for you to upgrade the D40 to a used D50. You could swap for about even money and then pick up any number of low cost fast primes. You your could manually focus using your D40.

    I have a D50 and my preffered lens for this application (shooting in a gym) is my 85mm f/1.8 lens. It has plenty of "reach" and is fast.

    Another idea is to get a external flash. If yo can get to within 25 feet of your subject flash can help but maybe they this would not be allowed as it would annoy the players.

    It's OK to buy a len used, they last "forever", well the decades at least but most of the older lenses you'd want for this usage will need a body with it's own motor.

    You could look into any of the current f/2.8 Nikon zooms but they are expensive (four digit prices)
     
  4. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #4
    Wow, I completely forgot the new 50mm 1.4 AF-S. I need to get used to it being available. There's also the Sigma version of it, which some actually consider superior to the Nikkor lens, though it's also a bit more expensive (both around $450).

    I almost mentioned the 85 1.8, but didn't because of the D40's lack of an in-body autofocus drive.

    I'd advise you to avoid anything that's not 2.8 or better, unless you have a great camera that enables you to bump up the ISO to high levels while still getting decent quality out of them (I'm referring to sports pictures, which tend to require fast glass).
     
  5. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #5
    The Sigma 50mm 1.4 is cheaper right now than the Nikkor by about $50-60 (check B&H for estimate pricing).

    The D40 has excellent high ISO capability thanks to it's "low resolution" sensor, so that's a plus.

    Other than that, what you're saying is pretty much spot on. There's not a lot of good choices for fast glass at a reasonable price for the D40 right now. Oh, and a for swapping the D40 for the D50... well, I'd never consider it even to get the faster lenses. A coworker of mine has the D50 (I have a D40) and it's just a big bulky clunker compared to the D40. The screen is crap compared side by side as well, which makes a huger difference in actual usage imo.
     
  6. luminosity macrumors 65816

    luminosity

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Arizona
    #6
    Even the D40 can't go above ISO 3200, and that's with the Hi-2 boost. It also doesn't go faster than 2.5 frames a second, which may or may not be a factor for the OP. It's good at ISO 1600, but remember that it also can't get the mid-point ISOs like the D300 or some other cameras can.

    I shot a lot at ISO 2000. Above 1600, but better than 3200.
     
  7. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #7
    Add light. On a budget go the strobist route and read all the stuff on strobist.blogspot.com. You'll probably want something in the 200mm or so range, but if you add light you can go with a cheap lens. The biggest hassle is triggering the flashes, but you can probably get away with those cheapo eBay triggers since the occasional FTF won't kill you. You can probably get away with two flashes, two light stands or clamps and one transmitter and two receivers. You can use cheap flashes that go on manual, but make sure they've got good battery power and enough power for where you have to place them.

    You want the flashes high up so they can't get in the player's eyes. There are examples on strobist. Some school districts have "must be above the Nth row" requirements, so you may want to see if your district/conference/state has requirements like that too.
     
  8. snapperjet70 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2008
    #8
    For example a low cost 50mm f/1.8 would be great but not on a D40. The new 50mm f/1.4 AF-S costs about the same as D40.

    I am still learning about the camera and the best applications for it. I do not mind spending around $500 - $600 dollars on a lens if the one mentioned above would help me. Adding another flash is not an option. This may be a stupid question, but would the lens mentioned below work on a D40 or is only for the D50. Or is it really expensive?

    I have a D50 and my preffered lens for this application (shooting in a gym) is my 85mm f/1.8 lens. It has plenty of "reach" and is fast.

    It's OK to buy a len used, they last "forever", well the decades at least but most of the older lenses you'd want for this usage will need a body with it's own motor.

    If I bought a used lens, where is the best option for it.
     
  9. natebookpro macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Location:
    Maryland
    #9
    If you are willing to spend that much you should get the 50mm lens. I think once you have a fast prime lens like that you are going to find it on your camera quite a bit.
     
  10. illanikz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    #10
    I'd recommend the 50mm f/1.8 if you're on a budget and plan on keeping the 18-55mm.

    You also might want to consider selling your current lens and getting a 85mm f/1.8. I photograph indoor basketball games, and been through many zoom lenses and prime lenses. Usually the 85 prime is attached to my camera when I'm photographing a game.

    IMO, only zoom lenses worth getting for indoor sports have f/2.8 or better . But those are pretty expensive.
     
  11. compuwar macrumors 601

    compuwar

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2006
    Location:
    Northern/Central VA
    #11
    It's worth noting that while autofocus isn't always a necessity, neither of those lenses will AF with a D40, and with fast-paced action like basketball and a slimmer DoF with it opened up it'd be a challenge for the OP to get good shots.

    Adding a couple of flashes is still the cheapest option (and flash duration freezes action well.) Two old Vivitars , clamps and some cheap eBay radio triggers is still likely to be about $200.
     
  12. deanjohnson7 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    berkeley, ca
    #12
    for what it's worth, I recently got the AF-S 50mm f/1.4 and absolutely love it on my D40. I started out with only the AF-S 55-200mm f/4-5.6, and the difference between the two is amazing. if you're unsure, go check out the AF-S 1.4 at a local camera store. give it a test run and make up your mind from there.
     
  13. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #13
    I assume that means you're using the internal flash. These in-camera flashes are pretty weak. It isn't going to throw enough light to help you much in this type of situation and more likely than not it's screwing up the metering (the camera's meter says 'hey! I gotta flash! I can dial down the exposure' but the light from the flash is only thrown a few feet and falls far short of the subject). Try keeping it turned off and keep your ISO up around 800ish and see how the photos turn out. If you do want to use a flash, then it would probably be worth looking into an SB-600.
     

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