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7D for shooting sports


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Peter J , Dec 28, 2009; 01:40 a.m.

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.

Angel Bocanegra , Dec 28, 2009; 02:33 a.m.

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.

William W , Dec 28, 2009; 02:58 a.m.

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://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?


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.

70 to 200 + 2.0MkII at 400mm. 40% of the frame cropped away

William W , Dec 28, 2009; 03:00 a.m.

Closer range:

Same rig at 170mm

Elliot Bernstein , Dec 28, 2009; 07:35 a.m.

" 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.

David Stephens , Dec 28, 2009; 11:06 a.m.

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.

John Crowe , Dec 28, 2009; 12:07 p.m.

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.

Philip Wilson , Dec 28, 2009; 12:13 p.m.

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

David Stephens , Dec 28, 2009; 12:24 p.m.

Be sure to consider the Canon rebates on lenses right now:


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.

William W , Dec 28, 2009; 01:16 p.m.

"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.


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