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Best indoor basketball camera


I want to photograph my daughter playing high school basketball and soccer.  With that being said though I want it to take amazing pictures for every day things.  So what’s the best all around camera that will give me the great action shots? Trying to stay under $2000 for the camera body.

Second question, should I get the kit, body and lens and buy a separate upgraded lens for basketball?



Rising Star
Rising Star

for sport you need all the reach you can get.  R10 kit with 18-150 lens for $1379 and the RF 100-400 f/5.6-8 on sale for $499 at well known NY camera store.  If budget allows the R7 kit with 18-150 is $1899.


Rebel XT, 7D, 5Dm3, 5DmIV (current), EOS R, EOS R5 (current)


What camera gear do you already own, body and lenses?

Where will you be located when you are photographing basketball?  How close to the action will you be?  The closer you are to the action, then the better and sharper your photos are likely to be.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

A canon t1i or t2i. It’s got to be 16 years old. She’s always had a teammate whose mom took the pictures of them and I video, well that teammate graduated and well mine is just no option for this kind of photography. 


For indoor basketball, you need a fast (wide aperture) lens.  For high school and below, expect poor lighting in most venues and anything slower than f2.8 is going to limit you.  In general, stay away from kit lenses except for a good general purpose lens and shooting sports isn't a good match with a general purpose lens at the low end of the price scale.  You will find trying to shoot basketball with anything less than a wide aperture lens highly frustrating because you can't reduce shutter speed to compensate for aperture without getting severe motion blur.

Soccer can be a lot more forgiving since many of the games will be shot in the daylight although it will be common, especially at the high school JV level, to see most of those games played from twilight into early evening so in many cases you will find that a wide aperture lens is often needed there.

Current camera bodies allow good quality images at much higher ISO than just a few years ago but there is a limit AND maximum lens aperture also impacts focus acquisition time in low light which is critical in sports.

The Canon EF 70-200 f2.8 glass is an excellent all around sports lens in all of its various incarnations as long as you can get fairly close to the action and for anyone shooting sports this is a great lens to have in your setup.  If you need to buy good quality used to stay within your budget, it is better than a new tool that can't quite accomplish the task you have in mind.

Basketball photo shot using EF 70-200 f2.8 with 1DX III @ f2.8, 1/800, ISO 3200; soccer using 1DX III, EF 400 f2.8 @ f2.8, 1/1600, ISO 100.  And a final example that even in well illuminated venues, there will be important "dark spots" that push a fast lens and high ISO camera.  The football photo was shot at a field that just upgraded to LED lighting which provides generally excellent illumination with the endzones being the typical exception in HS football.  This endzone shot pushed ISO to 25,600 with a 1DX II/EF 70-200 f2.8 combo with the lens wide open at f2.8 and shutter speed at 1/1000.





EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video


Although Rodger's talent is remarkable (SI worthy) his equipment is probably closer to the $20,000 dollar mark than the $2000 range.

The bottom line is the two most important parts of sports photography is free. You must know the sport. In other words you must know what is going on and how to anticipate the action. That is key. It really runs true in most photography. Key in wildlife photography, too, for instance.

Number two in importance is location. Where are you shooting from. If you are restricted to the bleachers you are at a big disadvantage and different gear is required.

A last caveat might be to always keep in mind all camera equipment has its limitations. Even Rodger's extremely high dollar gear has limits to what it can do.

You next consideration is what gear there is for two grand can you get. In, 2022, you are wise to select the R series as it is the future. However, if just the next few high school years are you main most thing it opens up a lot more options. The basic requirement for indoor sports is a fast lens and a camera that has good high ISO support. No matter if you stick with the Rebel series like the T8i or go to an R10. Lower f-numbers and bigger ISO numbers is mandatory.

This suggestion, "R10 kit with 18-150 lens for $1379 and the RF 100-400 f/5.6-8 ... for $499.", is a possibility but the lenses are in the pretty slow to the very slow category.  A main factor is, the lens is the most important part of this equation. In other words a better lens is usually, to always, better than a better camera. However you have that budget limit of $2000 which is going to make a top drawer lens difficult. I can see you with the R10 and the RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens but I would not buy the very slow and perhaps useless for indoor sports RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM Lens.


EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!

Trying to keep the camera body at $2000 then I will work on the lens lol. Would you think the R would be the best choice or R7/R10 because I take pictures of everything not just sports and then find the lens you recommend maybe even used?

I would not recommend the EOS R for action photography.  I would recommend the R7 or R10, which are currently only being sold with a kit lens.  I would recommend an RF series STM prime lens for shooting indoor sports on a budget.


I would point out that there is more to the cost of a camera than the camera and a lens.  You would want a camera bag, which I assume you have.  You would also need a couple of memory cards.  I would also recommend at least one spare battery.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

I cannot emphasize how much sense Ernie's post makes.  You have a limited budget, limited experience, and great expectations.  The camera body is important, but the lens represents the longer-term investment.  Seeking one camera to rule them all is a challenge.  Like everything in life it is about compromise: in this case between budget, low-light performance, capturing action yet working for all other applications.

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris



Here is what  I want you to take and understand so I am going to repeat it. "The basic requirement for indoor sports is a fast lens and a camera that has good high ISO support." That is what you must look for in your next camera purchase. The future is in the R series gear. However, the DSLR cameras and lenses are still good as ever. For instance the 90D and a Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports Lens is a great combo and probably as good as you can expect considering price and budget limit. It misses your $2000 mark costing, though, around $2600 for both. It is possible to find both of these in good used condition.

I would avoid any prime lens such as the RF 35mm f1.8 mentioned above. Primes are simply too limiting in sports photography. And certainly an awful choice if it is your only lens. Keep in mind the location from where you shoot is critical. If you can't change focal length that can be a real problem.

However, that does bring up another thought. You need to shoot Raw file format. Not jpg, ever! This means you will need a post editor. Canon offers you a very good one for free. DPP4 can be d/l form Canon for your model camera.

You need to learn at least the basics of post editing for the best results to your sports photos. Again, this is free. It doesn't cost you a penny. Adjusting things and cropping cam make all the difference in a so-so photo to a great photo.

"...everything in life it is about compromise..."

This is so true and no more true than it is with photography. In photography there is no free lunch. You always give to get. So, when you start shopping for that next great gear look for high ISO number, low f-stop number and bank account number! Simple, go get'em tiger. 😉

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
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