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I am a beginner looking to purchase a SLR camera to photograph indoor volleyball.

Danajacobs
Apprentice
I would like to spend around $1,000. Any help would be greatly appreciated it.
1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

What you’re trying to do (capture fast moving subjects indoors) is hard, and people spend a lot to get equipment that helps them capture it.  Unfortunately in this market $1000 isn’t much.  Complete novices are walking around with $5000 setups, so there’s no incentive to lower pricepoints from the manufacturers standpoint.  But I digress…

 

For that budget, if you need a camera and a lens, you’re pretty much looking at something in the rebel lineup.  Truthfully, there’s not much difference in any of the cameras when it comes to low light performance until you look at full frame cameras, which is way outside the budget.  So you’re looking at the Rebels XXXD, the mid-level 50/60/70D, and the 7D which is specifically for sports (but wouldn’t leave much money for a lens).  My recommendation would be to get an older Rebel like the T3i, and put as much as you can into a decent lens.  This is the one you want:

 

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-70-200mm-f-28l-refurb...

 

But there’s no money left for a camera.  This one is good too and much cheaper, but it lets in a full stop less light, and you’re trying to capture every photon you can:

 

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-70-200mm-f-28l-refurb...

 

Then there are also prime (no zoom) lenses, that allow even more light in and are cheaper, and sharper, but novices can really struggle without zoom and unless you can move around a lot all your shots will be similar in composition.  But if you’re able to move around and you find out what focal length works for you, that’s also an option.  Perhaps the best option is to get a Rebel and a cheap 50-250 lens, get some practice, expect to miss a lot of shots, and upgrade the lens when you can afford it.

 

 

As far as settings, you have to learn manual if you want to eek out every last bit of ability of your setup.  I know it’s intimidating, but it’s not that hard, especially if you’re ok missing some shots as you learn.  Since it’s indoor the lighting isn’t changing, so you can play around before the game and learn what setting(s) to use.  It’s really not that hard if you’re trying to milk everything out of your camera.  Aperture you set to the widest possible setting to allow the most light in.  ISO is your cameras light sensitivity and you want it high to get the most light, but that will increase noise.  I would start at about ISO 800, but the best thing to do is to go shoot in the gym at a variety of ISO and then go back to your computer and see how much noise you’re ok with.  Obviously lower is better, but it’ll be a compromise between how high you’ll go with ISO vs how high of a shutter speed you need to properly expose.  You’re not going to be able to completely freeze the action with that little light, so you need to see what shutter speed gives you the results you like.  1/100 is fast enough that you don’t have to worry about camera shake, and it’ll freeze a body in air, but any hands and feet and balls will show movement.  Some like that, some not.  If you want to go faster to freeze limbs you’ll have to push your ISO up.  That’s really all there is to it.  Oh, and shoot in RAW, you can eek out another f-stop or so of exposure in post (though this will show a lot of noise if using high ISO).

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3 REPLIES 3

cicopo
Elite

Can you give us an idea of how close you'll be while shooting & whether the gym is well lighted or a bit on the dim side or even worse a bit of each depending on where the players are located during the action.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."

The lighting is low and most shots are 10-40 feet away. No flash is allowed in the gym. I was using a rebel t4i in the sports mode I borrowed for a little bit. However, most of the shots were a split second off from the exact moment I was hoping to catch or parts were blurry. I realize know I may have to learn to make some manual adjustments (lord hep me). I just don't want to buy a camera hat is not enough or buy one that has so many features tht I will never use. Thank you so much for your help!

What you’re trying to do (capture fast moving subjects indoors) is hard, and people spend a lot to get equipment that helps them capture it.  Unfortunately in this market $1000 isn’t much.  Complete novices are walking around with $5000 setups, so there’s no incentive to lower pricepoints from the manufacturers standpoint.  But I digress…

 

For that budget, if you need a camera and a lens, you’re pretty much looking at something in the rebel lineup.  Truthfully, there’s not much difference in any of the cameras when it comes to low light performance until you look at full frame cameras, which is way outside the budget.  So you’re looking at the Rebels XXXD, the mid-level 50/60/70D, and the 7D which is specifically for sports (but wouldn’t leave much money for a lens).  My recommendation would be to get an older Rebel like the T3i, and put as much as you can into a decent lens.  This is the one you want:

 

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-70-200mm-f-28l-refurb...

 

But there’s no money left for a camera.  This one is good too and much cheaper, but it lets in a full stop less light, and you’re trying to capture every photon you can:

 

http://shop.usa.canon.com/shop/en/catalog/lenses-flashes/refurbished-lenses/ef-70-200mm-f-28l-refurb...

 

Then there are also prime (no zoom) lenses, that allow even more light in and are cheaper, and sharper, but novices can really struggle without zoom and unless you can move around a lot all your shots will be similar in composition.  But if you’re able to move around and you find out what focal length works for you, that’s also an option.  Perhaps the best option is to get a Rebel and a cheap 50-250 lens, get some practice, expect to miss a lot of shots, and upgrade the lens when you can afford it.

 

 

As far as settings, you have to learn manual if you want to eek out every last bit of ability of your setup.  I know it’s intimidating, but it’s not that hard, especially if you’re ok missing some shots as you learn.  Since it’s indoor the lighting isn’t changing, so you can play around before the game and learn what setting(s) to use.  It’s really not that hard if you’re trying to milk everything out of your camera.  Aperture you set to the widest possible setting to allow the most light in.  ISO is your cameras light sensitivity and you want it high to get the most light, but that will increase noise.  I would start at about ISO 800, but the best thing to do is to go shoot in the gym at a variety of ISO and then go back to your computer and see how much noise you’re ok with.  Obviously lower is better, but it’ll be a compromise between how high you’ll go with ISO vs how high of a shutter speed you need to properly expose.  You’re not going to be able to completely freeze the action with that little light, so you need to see what shutter speed gives you the results you like.  1/100 is fast enough that you don’t have to worry about camera shake, and it’ll freeze a body in air, but any hands and feet and balls will show movement.  Some like that, some not.  If you want to go faster to freeze limbs you’ll have to push your ISO up.  That’s really all there is to it.  Oh, and shoot in RAW, you can eek out another f-stop or so of exposure in post (though this will show a lot of noise if using high ISO).

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