7D for shooting sports

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by bill_george|1, Dec 27, 2009.

  1. I've been shooting soccer games on a weekly basis using a Nikon D300 and the Nikkor 70-300mm zoom but as my grandchildren move up to bigger fields the lens just doesn't cut it anymore --- 300mm is a little "short" of what's need + the fact that quality falls off past 250mm. My problem is the 80-400 mm Nikkor doesn't focus fast enough and the 200-400mm Nikkor is out of my comfort zone with respect to price
    I've been thinking of switching to the new Canon 7D and I'd like some comments on which Canon lens would be suitable -- I've handled the 100-400mm L lens and don't care for the way it handles and I'd like something "brighter".
    I've been thinking about the 70-200mm f2.8 IS with an extender but don't have any experience with extenders of any kind. Games can start early (8am) or late (4pm) which is't a problem in the summer but we play year-round in California and I'd like to stay around f4 if possible.
    Since I'd be starting a new system I'm open to any suggestions or combination of suggestions.
     
  2. Bill,
    A crucial factor is your available budget. Your ideal lens is probably the 400 f/2.8, but that’ll cost you about four times as much as the 7D body.
    On the other hand, the 300 f/4 is a superb lens and “only” costs a few hundred less than the 7D. It works great with the 1.4x extender, turning it into a very good 420 f/5.6 image- stabilized lens. Canon’s 400 f/5.6 costs about the same as the 300 f/4; it doesn’t have image stabilization, but focussing is faster than the 300 + teleconverter, and image quality is a little bit better as well — though the image quality of the bare 300 is a bit better than the 400 f/5.6 (we’re talking very minor differences mostly only visible when pixel peeping).
    Another factor is how large you print. If your printer sits on your desktop, you can crop images from the 7D quite aggressively. Even the 70-200 without an extender may be adequate if you can crop. And if you only ever post your pictures to the Web, then the 85 f/1.8 might even be your lens of choice.
    Cheers,
    b&
     
  3. For sport and action shots IS does not help very much - a monopod is a better investment than a stabilized lens. The Canon 400mm f/5.6 is an excellent and very light lens. Given the 7Ds very good high ISO performance you could have the winning ticket in your hand with that combo.
     
  4. I can't help you with recommendations specific to sports, but maybe I can help a bit with some of the other stuff.
    Mr. Goren mentions the 300/4. I used to have that one, and used it both with and without the 1.4x II TC. Without the TC, it's very sharp, even wide open, with quick autofocus. With the TC, it's noticeably less sharp wide open; stopping down a stop fixes that, but then you're shooting at f/8. If 300 will do it for you most of the time (or if, as he suggests, you can afford to crop out some of those 18 megapixels), you may not need the TC. Also keep in mind that in the Canon system, AF automatically slows down a bit if you have a TC attached, though this probably won't be a big issue - it should still be more than quick enough to keep up with kids playing soccer.
    I have the 70-200 you mention. It's an excellent lens. To be honest, I've never tested it with the TC; based on my experience with the 300 prime, I always stop down at least one stop when using the TC with this zoom. And the 70-200 with a 1.4x only gets you to 280, which doesn't satisfy your wish for more than 300. The general opinion is that the 70-200 with a 2x is inferior to the 100-400, and I suspect you may find it inadequate.
    I've only recently bought my 7D so I can't tell you much about its high-ISO performance; there are probably a number of online reviews which contain much more knowledge about that than I have. I also have no idea what your D300's high-ISO performance is like or how it compares to the 7D's (though the dpreview review of the 7D compares it to the D300s, which might help give you a bit of a reference point). So it may be that a good answer is "get the 7D and a lens that's a bit slower than you might consider ideal, and just crank the ISO up a notch" - or you may find it's just too noisy if you do that. Sorry I can't give you a solid answer there.
     
  5. This is one for W.W.
    This folder was taken with the 70-200 and 2x converter. http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=942325
     
  6. If 300mm is a little short, the 100 to 400L would seem to be the best compromise. I have used it in sports extensively in California and as long as you have good light it is a very good lens wide open especially with the zoom feature. It takes a little getting use to with the push pull but after using for a while it becomes second nature. Set your shutter speeds high enough to stop the action and let the ISO fall where it may.
     
  7. Since you have pretty much ruled out the Nikon 200-400, Nikon 80-400 and Canon 100-400 there is not much left. As far as the Canon and Nikon 300/4 and xx-200/2.8 there is no real difference between the two manufacturers. I'd say save yourself some money and stick with Nikon. Get either the 300/4 ED AF-s and 1.4x or the 80-200/2.8 ED AF-s and either 1.4x or 2x. If you go the 300mm prime route I will tell you that you will miss the zoom. For soccer, I use a 200/2 AI and 400/2.8 AIS with and without a TC-16A on a D2X and really wish I had a D2X for each lens. I have been considering a zoom for a couple of years now and have discovered the same thing as you. The 200-400 is ideal but I can't afford it, the 80-400 is apparently too slow, and the Canon 100-400 is too soft. I will eventually likely go with the Nikon 300/4.
     
  8. I appreciate the responses.
    I like prime lenses available are great but a really need a quality zoom set-up --- (1) I only use one body and a prime lens, no matter how good, would make me miss a lot of good shots (to far but mostly to close), (2) I'm not a youngster anymore and running up and down the sidelines isn't practical but I do roam about half the sidelines and I find the "sweet" spot is near one of the corners with the sun at my back, (3) I use a monopod and turn the VR off on my Nikkor, (4) I size all my usable shots at 4"x6" but that's just for my files -- my "normal" print size is 11"x14" which, to me, is a great compomize size.
    Does anyone shoot with something like the Sigma 120-400mm lens -- it's a little slow but the range seems ideal for soccer? The reports I read are mixed tending to the positive but I don't know anyone shooting one.
     
  9. IMHO, the 100-400mm IS is the best compromise if you want focal-lengths above 300mm. A 70-200mm f/2.8 with a 2X TC won't be any "brighter" (same f/5.6 aperture as the 100-400mm @ 400).
    If you would consider brand-X lenses, the Sigma 50-500mm has a very good reputation, and the Sigma 150-500mm OS also sounds good.
     
  10. A Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM fast focusing zoom.
    A Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and maybe the Canon Extender EF 1.4x II "ready" and hanging by your side.
    Tricky, but is workable with one Canon EOS 7D body.
     
  11. If you are shooting sideline, a 70-200 f2.8(non IS) will do fine with a good monopod. I also shoot for the intercalifornia adult football(soccer to some) league in LA. I prefer the 100-400L when sammys has it available for rent. The copy they have is very sharp even wide open and super fast focusing. I use it with a 7D and its a real joy to use that combo.
     
  12. William_W

    William_W Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Scott . . . Season's Greetings to you too.
    I think you missed the folder . . . some of the images in “Five Training Daze” are made with the 70 to 200 and the x2.0MkII. Here is a folder full of it: http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=944717
    ***
    “I've been thinking of switching to the new Canon 7D and I'd like some comments on which Canon lens would be suitable -- I've handled the 100-400mm L lens and don't care for the way it handles and I'd like something "brighter". I've been thinking about the 70-200mm f2.8 IS with an extender but don't have any experience with extenders of any kind. Games can start early (8am) or late (4pm) which is't a problem in the summer but we play year-round in California and I'd like to stay around f4 if possible.”
    The Sports I regularly shoot, now, are: Field Hockey and Swimming.
    I have not used a7D but on its specifications, it would seem a massively good and well priced camera for sports use.
    I offer the following points for your consideration.
    1. The EF 70 to 200 F/2.8L USM and the EF 70 to 200 F/2.8L IS USM are very good Sports Lenses on an APS-C Body. I own the L version and have ready access to an IS version. IMO the IS version is NOT necessary for Field Sports, such as Soccer or Hockey; a Monopod is a better investment for that particular application.
    However (please read this sentence carefully): there are very few people who buy a version of 70 to 200 for only ONE specific purpose.
    In your case - whilst you are asking about Soccer Photos - if you do buy this lens I strongly suggest you buy the IS version, as it is my educated guess you will use the lens for other purposes than just Soccer Photos of your Grand-Children.
    2. If you do move to a Canon system, and keeping in mind the generalist approach to having a kit which is flexible – it makes much more sense to me to spend money on a 70 to 200 and a x1.4 and even a x2.0 than just have a 400F/2.8 (or a 300F/2.8). I have immediate access to both of the these longer lenses and I am not suggesting that either is not a good lens, but especially the 400F/2.8L is not a lens I would carry around to a kid’s soccer game, just my personal opinion.
    3. For Kid’s games (Family Photos), IMO: the ability to gain access and to roam the sideline with a zoom is more valuable, than having a fixed, longer lens, such as a 400 or 300, or having only one body and changing the lenses on an APS-C body.
    One does not have to be super fit and be running everywhere, but rather be cunning and know the game. If your team is on top, then strolling down at the side of the opposition’s goal mouth and shooting your team’s strikers coming head on to the goal is always a good shot. If you team is struggling, then perch at Halfway Line and shoot the Midfield and Defence, as that is always good action.
    On the other hand, if your Photos are to be only about your Grandkids, then set yourself in a spot and roam around their play.
    Also, if you expose properly and use a relatively low ISO (about 800 or 1000) and you don’t need a 30 x 40 artwork print – you will find you can crop, crop, crop and still have acceptable results.
    4. I have been tempted by the 300 F/4L IS USM – it is a nice price, and a nice lightweight lens but it keeps coming back to: “I got a 98 to 280F/4 zoom – why do I want a 300F/4 . . . because on the sideline, a 98 to 280 zoom is more useful than a Prime . . . if I can roam”
    Disclaimers / full discloser: As mentioned, I have access to a 300 F/2.8L and 400 F/2.8L. But I would use neither for a kid’s soccer game – I would use my 70 to 200 and maybe the x1.4MkII and move around – I would normally use a monopod.
    I don’t like the 100 to 400 zoom, mainly because it is varying maximum aperture and it is soft at 320 and beyond when wide open.
    I like fast lenses and I do not hesitate to crop images: the largest I need for these tyoes of Photographs is a 7 x 5 print and I can do that easily from half an APS-C frame of a correctly exposed image at ISO 800.
    This point is very important: If you are shooting in failing light or rain or heavy cloud cover – IMO it is better to open to F/2.8 on the 70 to 200 and crop to half or one third frame than have F/4.5 at 100mm on the 100 to 400 or a constant F/4 on a 300mm fixed FL lens.
    When I need to pay my own money for the longer telephoto primes, I will buy a pair: the 300F/2.8L and the 500F/2.8L. That pair, with the 70 to 200F2.8L and the two Canon MkII tele-converters, is the most flexible telephoto kit, IMO.
    Below are two examples which better address of the 70 to 200 and the x2.0MkII for a field sport. In this game, for the first half, I opted to perch near one end and in the first row of the Grandstand – and not move, as the sun was strong providing good low angle and hard directional light.
    The top image is ¾ up the field and on the opposite sideline and the Orange Jersey is defending. The shot is cropped hard with about 40% of the frame missing. It was at shot at FL = 400mm
    The second shot, Orange Striker Shooting and the FL is 170mm and it is full frame crop on the horizontal.
    I think the two images show the value of a zoom and one method of a (relaxed) approach to enjoying the game, using a good at a good vantage point and still being able to nab interesting shots.
    Noted these two sample shots could have been pulled with the 100 to 400 – but for the second half when (the sun was little higher) I dropped the x2.0MkII and used the 70 to 200 only, electing to roam at the rear of and near the goal-line when Orange was attacking (with the sun then behind them).
    Shooting into low sun, is easier, if one can move quickly to adjust the angle of the lens on the subject to reduce Flare and Veiling Flare.
    So for the whole game I use:
    >a 20D,
    >a 70 to 200F/2.8L
    >I had the x2.0MkII in my pocket.
    A very light weight, relatively cheap and a very flexible sports kit . . . I also had a monopod, but for these images I did not use it, as I was pulling Tv > 1/1000s. The images were all shot at ISO1600, and the originals are tack sharp at 7x5 prints. The game began at 0830hrs.
    If I had a 7D, I would have been in ISO and AF heaven.
    If I were doing it for serious money, I would have two or three 1 Series bodies and a collection of at least 3 lenses: but it is Saturday Hockey and I like watching the game, too – it just depends what you want: Flexibility and a useful, all in one kit to capture memories . . . or is it a job?
    WW
    FYI: An International Hockey Field is 300ft x 180ft- A Soccer field is usually 300ft x 210ft, so shots of the far corner need more cropping, if one is stationary.
    00VLw4-204241584.jpg
     
  13. William_W

    William_W Moderator Staff Member

    Closer range:
    00VLw6-204241684.jpg
     
  14. " 300mm is a little "short" There is not a huge difference from 300mm to 400mm.
    " 80-400 mm Nikkor doesn't focus fast enough" What are you basing this comment on? Have you actually used the lens yourself on your D300?
    The 100-400mm works better overall and gives better image quality overall as compared to the 70-200mm with a 2X. Also, the viewfinder 'brightness' will be the same between the two.
     
  15. The 7D works well with any of the f4 or larger aperture L-series lenses. The 70-200 f2.8L should be excellent and fast focusing. I've got the 70-200 f4L IS and handles very nicely.
    Don't forget, the 7D has a 100%, bright viewfinder and excellent high-ISO performance, so it doesn't "require" the fastest lens available. IME, an f4 will serve your well for outdoor sports. If you expect to do a lot of indoor sports photography, then the f2.8 may be "required."
    The 100-300 and 100-400 lenses are excellent alternatives. The EF 400mm f5.6L is a super sharp and excellent lens, but it's more of a birding and wildlife lens and doesn't AF with a 1.4TC.
     
  16. None of these superzooms below $2500 USD are going to blow you away. There is really nothing to choose between them. The Canon may be fast enough but by most accounts a Nikon 70-200/2.8 and 2x will be pretty darn close in speed and IQ. The only way to high IQ is a prime or the Nikon 200-400. You will likely drop a couple of grand switching to Canon so can you absolutely not afford the $6000 for the 200-400?
    I recommend renting the Nikon 70-200/2.8, TC2E, and Nikon 80-400 and see what you think first. Beyond that you could rent a Canon body and 100-400 and compare. The Bigma route is not worth considering.
     
  17. The 70-200 F2.8 (IS or non IS) works great for arena sports on the 7D (I use it for ice hockey). The 1.4x TC slows it down a bit but quality does not suffer too much. I do not use my 2x TC much (it is the newer version) since it does reduce image quality. You probably don't need IS unless you go 300mm or longer for action sports as you need a fast shutter speed to deal with motion. Unless you are a long way from the playing surface or want head and shoulders type shots then you probably never need to go beyomnd 300mm (this is effectively a 480mm lens on the 7D) so at 150 feet the frame covers an are 11 feet by 7.5 feet
     
  18. Be sure to consider the Canon rebates on lenses right now:
    http://www.usa.canon.com/app/pdf/Promotions/rebate_eosselect_102209.pdf
    Ignore the Nikon dweeb that's bad mouthing Canon IQ in the wrong forum. I'm a Canon guy, but generally wouldn't suggest that a Nikon guy make the switch. However, your decision to move to Canon, as you get into the longer lenses, makes sense. If you change your mind, that's fine, but this isn't the place for a Canon/Nikon pissing match.
     
  19. William_W

    William_W Moderator Staff Member

    "it just depends what you want: Flexibility and a useful, all in one kit to capture memories . . . or is it a job?" . . . (my comment) . . .
    Ah! I see from your other thread that “a job” is under serious consideration. Then in this case, you need to have a complete rethink, IMO.
    The first question is: what’s your second (and third) camera?
    You mention “affluent” Parents, and its seems that you smell easy money to pad your hobby – at least one comment suggests you charge as much as you can get . . . IMO if you sell a few prints and then the fact that you are “The Photographer” becomes the expectation, with expectation of performance.
    At the end of each Hockey Season I usually give each player and the coach a disc of the highlights of each game. These are affluent Parents, too: if any want to engage my Professional Services my rate card is very simple to read. I go to these games to enjoy the games and not beholden to “clients”, IMO there is not a middle ground, YMMV.
    Where I reside and work most popular sized Print from Kids’ sports photos is 7x5 inches and the average going price is between AUS$15 to $25 each, which is about 12 to 20 ish US$.
    If this is to be a business venture: even a “casual” business venture, then I think you need to get what system you will be using sorted first – and as I mentioned - you will need at least a second camera for that system, before you think about lenses.
    Also, you should check out Elliot Bernstein’s portfolio as he has many treasures and this one is relevant: D3, 70-200mm, 2X Converter.
    Elliot, I really liked the folder showing the photos “they” say you can’t make with a 5D.
    WW
     
  20. ww ... Shooting club soccer will always be just a hobby but as I said on the Sports Forum some parents have ask to have large prints made of shots I've taken of their daughters during the game. I've been passing out 4x6's to the girls (no charge) whenever I get what I consider a good shot of them in action and it's these photos that instigated the requests for larger prints ... plus a couple of them have seen my "book" at my grand-daughter's house.
    I enjoy sharing my photos but I don't care to give away big prints (11x14 is my favorite size) but I don't want to gouge anyone and I don't want to undercut what some of the pros who attend tournaments charge (haven't generally been impressed with their images) either...and it would be nice to show a little income when my wife looks at the American Express and sees Adorama's name listed -- a lot.
    With respect to the Nikon-Canon issue I shoot what works for me and believe that a digital camera bodies get overcome by new technology long before they can be worn out by even an active amateur --- lenses last forever (almost) but bodies do get out of date.
    The 7D "feels" much better than the D300 + it's a lot quieter and while I don't use the motor drive a lot, the Canon is quicker than the Nikon without the added MB-D10 --- which adds more weight.
    I'm comfortable with the choice of body --- it's just the variety of lenses from which to choose.
     
  21. William_W

    William_W Moderator Staff Member

    "Shooting club soccer will always be just a hobby . . . I don't care to give away big prints (11x14 is my favorite size)"
    Thanks for the explanation. I believe I now understand, completely.
    In regards to the money (the question on the sports forum) - when asked for a copy of a print, I suggest you provide a 11 x 14, if that is your favourite and charge the same price as the going rate from the Pros in your area - here an 11 x 14 would range from $30 to $60 in that situation - if that is any guide.
    ***
    In regard to lenses / Soccer Shooting and the 7D: my first comments are sufficient and with the added information I see no need to modify them, as I assume, if you want to go mad with that fantastic flat plastic AMEX card, you can weed out that my “extended” personally owned rig would be, in the order of purchase:
    > 70 to 200F/2.8L IS USM
    > x1.4MkII
    > Monopod
    > x2.0MkII
    > 300F/2.8L IS USM
    > 500F/4LIS USM
    WW
     
  22. Since I own some Canon gear, my choice would be the 7D + Sigma 50-500 (which I like very much). No TC.
     

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