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Lenses for Nikon for sports and portraits

19 Sep 2012 9:03PM
I am looking to shoot hockey and I am not sure what would be the best lens for this purpose ... I currently have a 50mm 2.8 - a 24-85mm and a 70-300mm lens ... what should I look at add to my three I own already.

Also I am wondering on on thing about portrait photos indoors - I have been using my 24-85mm lens for indoor shoots with a exteral flash - but I have been having a lot of shadow in behind the people. sugguestions on what I should do to help correct this. I have tried different angles for the lens and that just darkens the photos - and I had them move away from the walls and that didn't really help either,.

Thanks in advance ...

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Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
19 Sep 2012 9:28PM
An 85mm
Sooty_1 4 1.3k 203 United Kingdom
19 Sep 2012 9:34PM
How far are you looking to be from the action?

I have shot rugby, football and kids football from the touchline and from behind the goal line, with a nikon 24-120. using a 24-85 should be fine for a lot of the action, and your longer zoom for picking out action further away. A faster lens rather than a different range might help....if you can get a f/2.8 zoom it will give you faster shutter speeds, but it isn't essential as you can use a higher ISO. Better a grainy sharp shot than a blurred one!

But it all depends on how and what you want to shoot. I wouldn't rush into spending money, which might not improve the photography anyway. What you have should be fine for starting until you identify where your kit is deficient.

As far as the flash question, a diffuser will help, as will a reflector to bounce light back into the shadows. With one flash you are always going to have directional light, and where you move the light will determine the look of the shot. Two flashes will even the light, and having one on lower power will add modelling to the subject, but that is a whole different subject.
A diffuser such as a Sto-fen will help. You can also bounce the light from the ceiling or nearby wall, just be careful of the colours which might affect the shot! You can use a bit of white card for a reflector to start with, and crumple some tin foil then flatten it out to stick to the back of the card for a stronger effect (straight foil is too strong and will give hotspots).

Ingenuity is better than spending loads of cash!

Stuart463 e2
7 588 United Kingdom
19 Sep 2012 9:39PM
Your 70-300 (I assume f4-5.6) should be ideal for hockey photography. I recommend using a monopod for stability and upping ISO in gloomy conditions. VR also comes in handy.

Regarding your question on indoor flash - have you tried bouncing the flash off walls or ceilings to reduce shadows?

Regards, Stuart
nickthompson 7 133 England
19 Sep 2012 10:39PM
Agree with Stuart463, the 70-300mm should be o.k. I shot alot of my son's rugby using that lens.Keep the aperture at 3.5 for 70mm and 5.6 for 300mm, this should blur the background. I also kept the ISO on Auto and used aperture priority. As for the flash, it does sound like you need to bounce it. If you can't try and defuse it somehow.
20 Sep 2012 9:41AM
You have not said whether you are DX or FX - and whether you have loads of money Smile
For sports like hockey f2.8 zooms like a 70-200 and 300 and 400 f2.8 primes are what a full time pro would aim to buy - but combined cost more than quite a few cars bought new.
They are preferred because of faster AF and better ability to be used in low light than a 70-300 working at f5.6.
For portraits ideally you need more than one light and things like softboxes and reflectors to avoid unwanted shadows.
For indoor portraiture controlling the light is usually a lot more important than the equipment used.
For DX a 50mm f1.8 is a good choice. For FX there is a good case for an 85mm portrait lens for head and shoulder individual portraits.
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
20 Sep 2012 10:09AM
As you are in Canada, Andrew, I am guessing that when you say "hockey", you mean ice hockey rather than normal hockey. That being so, I would go with Len's suggestion of a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.

As Len also says, for indoor portraits really are best taken with at least two light sources - even better with three unless you have natural backlighting. Softboxes and reflectors give different results and you need to experiment to get the type of rendition you are seeking.

On a DX camera, your 50mm lens should be fine. On FX, your 24-85mm at the top end should be OK.

This one was taken with one flashgun refected from an umbrella at about 45-degrees 4 feet away from the baby on the RH side, a silver reflector at a similar distance and angle on the LH side and a second flashgun with a snoot behind the girl slightly to the left of centre:


puertouk 3 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
20 Sep 2012 11:19AM
Try using bounce flash, that should remove dark areas. Portrait lens 70-200mm.
20 Sep 2012 1:39PM
Re: Regarding your question on indoor flash - have you tried bouncing the flash off walls or ceilings to reduce shadows?

I have tried to bounce the light - the client seems to complain about how bright the image is after the shot is taken.
20 Sep 2012 1:44PM
Re: You have not said whether you are DX or FX - and whether you have loads of money

Who really has lots of money these days ... I don't at this point in time.

the 70-300mm is a Nikon AF Nikkor 4-5.6G

I have gotten some good shots so far using it for hockey this season ... what would be good settings to start with when shooting indoors at a hockey rink??
20 Sep 2012 3:48PM

Quote:I have gotten some good shots so far using it for hockey this season ... what would be good settings to start with when shooting indoors at a hockey rink??

In days of old when photographers had no more than 2 shots per game they concentrated on peak action - perhaps the start of play.
With something like a D300 or D7000 set 1600 ISO or higher - and accept some noise with images bigger than typical web size.
Also accept focus tracking may not keep up with players moving very fast with a lens at f5.6.
You can get far more good shots than in days of old - but not as many as a pro with pro equipment.
NikUser 2 1 United Kingdom
28 Sep 2012 12:30PM
Moving away from the wall will def help, you could also consider using flash compensation to reduce the power so you don't 'nuke' your subjects.

Using Manaul will give greater control.

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