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Should I be able to get good indoor sports photos with the following camera/lens?

  • Canon T1i
  • Canon EF Zoom lens: 18mm-55mm, f/3.5-5.6, Canon EF-S

The indoor sport would be basketball. Just wondering if it's me or the camera/lens combination.

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1 Answer 1

Good is a relative term. I can explain how to get the best shot with your current equipment. Of course with added equipment, you could achieve better results.

The first obvious option is to select the sports mode from the dial on the top. This auto mode will help with sports the majority of the time, but may not select the ideal settings always. That is what the fully automatic modes are for.

You can of course get indoor sports shots of basketball with this camera/lens combination. You could get better shots with better equipment such as a lens in the 100mm range with an aperture wider then f/2.0 or so, but that is an additional cost that you may not be interested in.

Diving into the manual settings, here is a guide that will help:

Aperture

This is a big one. This is very important, especially with a variable aperture zoom such as the kit lens you have. You want to select the largest aperture, which happens to be the smallest number, such as 3.5 or 5.6. This will let in the maximum amount of light, and allow a faster shutter speed(reduce blur or subject movement). Another added benefit of a large aperture is a shallower depth of field, this will blur out your background and foreground and highlight your subject(player). Your lens may not achieve much of this, but the more the better typically in my opinion.

Shutter Speed

The faster the better. This will help to freeze your subjects, and lessen the chance of your body/hand movement jarring the camera and blurring the shot. Something in the range of 1/250th or faster(eg 1/500) is desirable, but without knowing the exact arena you are shooting in this is up in the air. Just try to make it faster without under exposing the image(too dark).

ISO

You want to increase this to make the sensor more sensitive to light. Since you are probably in a dark arena, higher sensitivity lets you do better things for the shot in regards to shutter speed and freezing the subject. Be careful, as increasing this too much may make the images more noisy, and create undesirable effects in the image that you will see later.

Conclusion

You want to combine the three sections above to form an image that is exposed properly. Eg - Large aperture, fast shutter speed, and high ISO(not too high). This is what photography is all about. Another option is to select the sports mode for your camera. It is on the top dial denoted by a running person. This will help out and make it easy to use.

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Absolutley agree here, I will add that Indoor sport photography is completely different to outdoors. I would normally be using a 300 or 400mm f2.8 for sports, and on a normal day be using a shutter speed of no less that 1/1000, at 2.8 and use the ISO to control the image when at the lowest shutter speed. However when you come inside, you will find yourself much closer to the action and in these situations, a 70-200mm 2.8 and 24-70 f2.8 are base the lenses of choice for most. But the light is usually terrible, so the shutter will need to come down to no less the 1/500th as @dpollitt said. –  Graeme Hutchison Dec 16 '11 at 7:53

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