Indoor sports photography: which film?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by tbm, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I will shortly herafter be shooting a basketball game in a school gymnasium with my Leica R8 and several lenses. I've never photographed this before. Thus, what film and film speed do you recommend for handheld shooting? I don't like too much grain, so I don't want to use film speeds above, say 800, unless you can guarantee that, say, Neopan 1600 at ISO 1600 would be fine. Regardless, what has worked beautifully for you based on your experience? Thanks!

    Terry
     
  2. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    I have only used Delta 3200 for this, pushed in DDX (3200)

    Depending on your lens speed this 1 stop may do a lotta difference.
    Shadow detail is usually not so important so you can poush 1 or 2 stops easyly
     
  3. zenrhino

    zenrhino Member

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    I'm not entirely sure the film is going to be the key here. Having big, fat, fast glass seems like it would be a bigger help than anything else. Not that everyone has an f2.0 400mm sitting around in the storage shed, but it seems to (admittedly novice) me that the more light you get on the film through the lens, the less you have to worry about getting light through the film in the enlarger.
     
  4. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I forgot to mention that I would prefer not to use my Metz flash so as to not distract the players and the audience. Thus, again, my concern is what film and film speed to use.
     
  5. titrisol

    titrisol Member

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    once you get ther, setup and measure the light,
    Set the film speed so you can get decent shutter speeds (125 - 250) with the lens 2 stops closed at least. Don't forget to write that down and the process accordingly (pushing the film)
     
  6. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Indoor sports photography:which film

    Use the Delta 3200 as suggested....get permission to photograph the afterschool practice sessions....bracket and run your tests...your light will be constant....position yourself under and to the left and right of the basket.
     
  7. john_s

    john_s Subscriber

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    Having taken hundreds of shots of indoor speed skating in an old not well lighted rink, I offer the suggestion that big apertures make focussing so critical that, for me at least, it became hit and miss (more than usual, I mean).

    There are trade offs here. I like TMax 3200 and Delta when the subject fills the frame, so grain is not too bad. If the subject occupies only a small part of the frame, the degree of enlargement makes grain quite obtrusive. However, filling the frame requires either long focal length or close proximity, both of which need critical focusing.

    I think you will need to do some practice, and be prepared to go through quite a lot of film. Depending on the light level, if I were doing this today, I would go for a 400 film that pushes well in order to have not too big grain, and avoid very big apertures and long lenses if hand holding.
     
  8. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I spoke with one of the school's administrators on the phone this morning and she warned me that the lighting in the gym is somewhat dim. Nevertheless, I've seen scans of prints on the Web from ISO 3200 films that are so grainy that I can't bear the thought of using that speed at all. The administrator told me to visit her so she can show me the gym and so I can measure the light in the gym with my Sekonic meter at various film speeds. I might plan to take my M6 and 50mm f/1.4 Summilux lens to the game shoot and open it to that aperture so as to achieve a corresponding fast shutter speed, as long as the school will let me stand adjacent to the court rather than be stuck in the stands. So, this effort will be equivalent to sort of a treasure hunt involving discovering the light readings and the appropriate lens(es). That's one of the many things I love about this amazing hobby: Intermittently we find ourselves at a point of discovery that makes us feel like kids at Christmas again!
     
  9. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Is color acceptable, or rangefinders?

    Do you require B&W? Most of the 3200 or 1600 B&W emulsions are true 800 ASA films that need to be pushed or used with specific developers to achieve higher film speeds. Because of that, I've been shooting indoor soccer games for the last year with Fujicolor Superia 1600, which is fine at 1250 ASA for me. If you have to have B&W, you can scan color (sorry APUG) and convert to B&W. That also has the advantage of allowing you to convert different color layers to better distinguish team colors in B&W.

    Also, (and I know this wasn't the question) if you have a choice, try a good rangefinder for this if you don't need really long lenses, say over about 90mm, which should be adequate unless you're shooting the length of the court. I've been shooting with rangefinders, the Bessa T and Bessa R3A, using lenses from 40mm to 90mm. The advantages of these particular cameras for sports are 1:1 finders that allow you to frame (and follow the action outside the frame) with both eyes open, a finder that doesn't disappear during the shot (so you know what you got _during_ the exposure), a lot less shutter lag than a typical SLR, and fast focusing (at least on the R3A... I prefocus the T). I haven't used the R8, but my R4s has more lag than my R3 Leica SLR (not to be confused with my Bessa R3A rangefinder). My R4s finder is actually 1:1 with a 50 Summicron, so you might try that on the R8. I don't know the relative magnifications of these finders off the top of my head.

    When shooting a game with an SLR, I feel like I'm watching a fraction of the game through a tube. With the 1:1 rangefinders, I can watch the whole game with both eyes open and the frame lines floating in space, cropping to my shot. I can pan over to anticipated action and still watch the whole flow of the game come into frame, then shoot when the time is right. The Bessas also have a manual trigger winder for $160 that allows a steadier grip and at least 2 frames per second, no batteries needed.

    If you don't have 35mm rangefinders, consider an older TLR with a sportsfinder built in for some of the same advantages, but a slower film advance, less grain, and a lot more film changing. You might have to hunt for high speed film in 120 too. You never know, Christopher Lloyd might even show up in a tricked-up Delorean and bring you back to the present.

    Hope this is useful to someone, and that I haven't gone too far afield.

    Lee
     
  10. tbm

    tbm Member

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    I will most likely use my Leica M6 TTL with, perhaps, my 50mm Summilux and my 90mm APO Summicron for the reason given in your third-to-last paragraph, Lee. Thanks for your shared thoughts! Re your first paragraph, I've won awards in my camera club upon submitting numerous color slides, but since I left it earlier this year I have gone back to the emulsion I learned when I was 11, black and white, with only occasional usage of color emulsions. I failed to shoot any b&w during the three years I was in the club and I missed it dearly!

    Terry
     
  11. thefizz

    thefizz Subscriber

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    I have used Delta 3200 in a sports hall where the lighting was not that great and I had no flash. I developed in Tmax developer 1:4 at 24 degrees C for 11 & a half minutes. The results were quite good.

    Peter
     
  12. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Here is the problem. I shoot a ton of sports and a lot of basketball. Reember that you are going to need a shutter speed of at least 1/320 - 1/400th os a second to try and freeze the action and tha tis only if the are comign at you and at an angle. If they come horzintal you will get motion at 320th. IN most byms where the light is dim I will be at 1600 ISO at 1/400 - 1/320th @ f1.4. The wider the galss the more light you will get and will not hav eto be so wide open. I shoot with a 85, 28 and 50 1.4 lens.

    My best advice to you if you do not want grain is to remotely mount 2 strobes or flashes up high pointing tothe top of the key and triggering the flashes remotely via a pocket wizzard for a device like that. This way you can pull the ISO down to 200-500 and have a shutter spped of 1/250th and an Fstop between 2.8 up to 5.6 depending on the ambient light. Remember that you wabt the flash to be at leat 1 stop over and 2 is better. Never use an on camera flash.

    Also if you do go the color route and you want to convert the neg to BW digitally ( sorry apug ) you will want to pull the red back and increase teh green layer to pull the grain back. The red channel will be on the grainly side. I would set it to somthign like 30-40 red and 60-70 green. This will give you better results at higher ISO.

    If you need any more info feel free to PM or email me.

    Thanks,

    Kev
     
  13. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I found T-Max 3200 rated at 1600 in T-Max developer per Kodak's instructions worked well for high-school basketball. The grain at 1600 is tight and sharp, not too exaggerated. At 3200 you lose too much shadow detail. My exposures were about 1/250 at f/2.8, I used a 50mm lens and camped out under the basket. Don't expect miracles, this is a tough shooting situation. The gyms are always dim.

    Pete Gomena
    Portland, Ore.