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Messages - FTb-n

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EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 06, 2013, 12:14:54 PM »
I don't follow hockey, but would recognize the Wild, the Gophers, and the old North Stars.  I grew up here in the 60's and "north star" means hockey, not a light in the sky.  Your nickname made me suspect Minnesota, but it was this from your April 4 post that gave it away.

A couple shots from the Minnesota HS state hockey tournament....both through the glass...70-200ii

You have a knack for capturing the moment.  I particularly like the shot with the player in the black jersey seemingly levitating above the ice.  How much of this do you credit to timing vs. a capture from a 12 fps burst.

Most of my sports action has been with a 7D.  8 fps is nice, but I can't rely on it in figure skating.  When you start photographing skaters in jumps, you realize that 80-90% of their air time is less than flattering when frozen in time.  8 fps isn't fast enough to reliable capture that prize moment.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 05, 2013, 04:30:30 PM »
Northstar, thanks for sharing the details and for the discussion.  I found it quite valuable.

I like using the monopod for shooting 90 minute figure skating exhibitions where I can shoot from one of the hockey player boxes.  I can't say that it really helps sharpen the image vs. hand-held.  But, after about a half hour of constant tracking of skaters, some fatigue sets in and the monopod makes it easier for me to track skaters while constantly following with the zoom ring.  For other indoor school sports, like basketball and volleyball, I free hand it.  A monopod would get in the way.

FYI, small world.  That local rink that I shoot at isn't far from the Xcel Center.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 05, 2013, 11:47:24 AM »
I think we offer more than our opinions.  We share our experiences, our understanding of the technologies, and our resources that form these opinions.  This is why I like this forum.

I've heard the IS/VR has no affect at speeds above 1/500 argument before.  But, this never made sense to me.

My experience has been heavily influenced decades ago by trying to get sharp images with an FTb-n and an FD 80-210 f4.0.  1/500 just wasn't fast enough to reliably eliminate camera shake.  Consequently, I equated the "turn VR/IS off after 1/500" as "1/500 is fast enough to eliminate shake" debate.

More recently, I've taken photos of still subjects (people posing)  with small primes including the 40 f2.8.  According to the reciprocal rule,  1/80 of a second should be more than fast enough to eliminate camera shake.  But, group photos of my kid's volleyball team at 1/80 just aren't nearly as sharp as ones taken at 1/800.  Similare phots taken with IS lenses at 1/80 were tack sharp. 

Thanks to Northstar's link to Scott Kelby's comments on VR, I did more digging on the technical limitations of VR and IS.  I can see where 1/500 does represent the upper limit of VR lenses, but I'm still in search of that limit for Canon's IS lenses.  (Sure wish Canon would address how best to use IS on it's lenses, which I suspect may vary with the lens.)

Most of my action experience with the 70-200 f2.8 has been with a 7D in poorly lit ice rinks and gyms.  (Sadly, the rinks don't often use all the lights for figure skating, but they turn them all on for hockey.)  I've rarely been able to shoot above 1/640 and most often shoot at 1/500, not fast enough to feel I didn't need IS.  So, I've been eager to learn of the experience of professional Canon shooters.

The post of Jon Willey was most informative, just the kind of first-hand experience that I was seeking.  Thanks for posting it.  What was missing in the interview was typical shutter speed range.  What's the slowest Willey feels comfortable with?  I can't say that I've ever experienced the IS "jump" to which he referred.  This does make me wonder if this is more an issue with the big lenses and not so much with the 70-200.

I've recently purchased a 5D3 and can now shoot closer to 1/1000 at the rink.  Thanks to this discussion, I'm compelled to experiment more with IS on and off.  At the rink, I do shoot with a monopod (and IS on) and believe it has helped sharpen my images.  But, I don't have concrete evidence (haven't really tried side by side comparisons).

Northstar, about those hockey shots, do you recall the shutter speed?  Were you hand-held or monopod (or something else)?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 05, 2013, 03:05:06 AM »
Great shots, Northstar!  Having spent countless hours trying capture figure skating, I can appreciate everything that went into these shots, particularly the timing.  Was this with your 1Dx or 5D3?

Back to the IS question.  When to use IS is still a hotly debated topic.  I suspect the real answer is “it depends.”  It may depend on the focal length, the body (FF or crop), the subject matter, and/or the manufacturer.

In this thread, we are considering a T2i with the EF 70-200 f2.8L USM IS II. 

First, I still contend that 1/500 isn't fast enough to eliminate camera blur while shooting hand held action shots with a 200 mm lens on a crop body, which magnifies image movement over that of a FF body.

Second, Nikon's VR and Canon's IS are different systems with different algorithms.  Canon pioneered lens-based image stabilization in 1995.  Nikon played catch-up in 2000.  Canon starts stabilizing the image when the shutter is pressed half-way, before focus is locked.  Nikon initiates when the shutter button is pressed half-way, but does a “recenter” action just before the shutter is tripped.  Nikon uses a sampling rate of 1000Hz (1/1000 sec) which means it's only accurate to half that speed, or 1/500 sec.  This supports Scott Kelby's advice to turn off VR when shooting at or above 1/500.  It also supports the notion that VR can get in the way of rapid burst sports bodies.

However, Kelby was talking about Nikon's VR, not Canon's IS
[Here's more detail on Nikon's VR system]

Canon hasn't published it's sampling frequency and Canon officially states that it's IS system is designed to aid the focus system even at high speeds.  When asked about using IS for photographing skiing with high shutter speeds, Canon's Chuck Westfall, says leave it on (see 8th question).

The Digital Picture's forum includes a more detailed response from Canon on this subject [from]:

Canon does not quote the sampling frequency for its Image Stabilizer mechanisms. Also, Canon does not recommend users to avoid using IS at fast shutter speeds. The visual effects of IS in captured images diminish as the shutter speed increases over 1/focal length, but the use of IS for moving subjects in these conditions can be beneficial because it presents a steadier image to the camera's AF detection mechanism.

We can can confirm that it takes about a half second for Image Stabilization to become operational with most IS-equipped EF and EF-S lenses. Even so, Image Stabilization is a useful tool for many photographic applications including bird photography at high shutter speeds. However, like any other tool, it requires good technique on the part of the user for best results. Additionally, some photographers may prefer to shut it off at least occasionally depending on their shooting style. Bottom line, it makes no sense to declare that IS is either "all good" or "all bad" when it comes to bird photography. Use it when you need it, and for best results, let it come up to speed before you release the shutter.

Incidentally, it is not necessarily true that IS must be shut off and re-engaged when AF is shut off and re-engaged. IS can operate independently from AF through Custom Function control. On current EOS models, for instance, Custom Function IV-1-2 allows IS to be operated by the shutter release and AF to be operated by the AF-ON button. Using this method, IS remains active for several seconds after pressing the shutter button halfway while disengaging and then reengaging AF.

Canon IS and Nikon VR do not share the same operational principles, so this question cannot be answered as written. The IS specifications mentioned in "EF Lens Work III" refer to the degree of lens movement, not the sampling frequency of the gyro sensors.

Back to the question of IS on for hockey with a T2i.  The T2i FPS rate is 3.7 and likely too slow for image stabilization to impede it's rate (if Canon's IS would do so).  This leaves us with two questions.  Is there a shutter speed limit with Canon's IS such that faster speeds do nothing to further steady the image?  Is there a shutter speed and/or frame rate that will “fight” with Canon's IS system and impede focus lock?

Sadly, Canon's official documentation and lens user manuals do not answer either of these questions.  I have found nothing definitive from Canon or specifically about Canon's IS system that supports the notion that it's IS is not effective beyond 1/500 second or will degrade focus lock at higher speeds.

While I still think it's best to leave IS on with high shutter speeds – that it won't hurt and may help – I'd still like a more definitive answer from Canon.  With a 70-200 on a T2i at 1/500, I still say leave it on (in Mode 2).  At 1/1000, it may not matter.  In between, good question.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 04, 2013, 11:01:25 AM »
$336 is a good price for the T2i, congrats.

Regarding IS, leave it on and in mode 2.  According to Chuck Westfall, IS provides a steady image that helps the camera lock on to focus.

Also, remember the reciprocal rule of thumb for film/FF bodies.  On average, the minimum safe hand-held shutter speed is the reciprocal of the focal length.  This general assumes a stationary subject and a stationary  photographer who is bracing the camera in some fashion (typically with how they hold the camera).  For sports, the photographer is moving the camera to shoot.  I would suggest a shutter speed 2-4 times faster would be necessary to eliminate camera movement from the equation.

A 200mm lens on a crop body is effectively a 320 (when compared to FF).  The minimum safe shutter speed for stationary subjects would be 1/320.  For sports, 2-4 times faster would be 1/640-1/1280.  But, it is still possible that a moving camera (as with tracking the action) could impart some blur even at 1/1000 of a second.

I shoot in similar situations and lighting with the same lens and similar body.  Shooting at 1/1000 indoor could be challenge.  Don't be afraid to shoot above ISO 3200.   Also, leave the IS on, it may help and won't hurt.

Regarding the T2i (or any non-7D crop) and hockey.  Use AI SERVO and center point focusing.  But, understand what AI SERVO does.  It does NOT read the exact focus at the time that the shutter fires.  Instead, it tracks the speed and direction of movement and predicts what the focus will be when it fires.  This means that it might take a second to get accurate focus and it can be fooled when the subject changes direction.  The 7D has a processor dedicated for focusing to keep up.  The other crop bodies do not.

When shooting hockey, get in the habit of letting up on the shutter when the subject changes direction.  When you again press half way, the camera will start over with the tracking and won't be fooled by the previous direction of the subject.  I've had lots of OOF shots with my 60D because of this.

Last note regarding ISO.   This sounds counterintuitive, but it's better to overexpose at 6400 than underexpose at 3200.  Noise happens when pixels are starved for light.  Overexposing (1/3 to 2/3 stops) helps prevent this and the exposure can be fixed in post.  Experiment with ISO.  If you doubt shooting this high, experiment with some, then go back to comfort ISO.  1600 was my comfort zone max until I started experimenting, now I routinely shoot between 2000 and 4000.

Good luck.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: April 03, 2013, 12:05:22 PM »
For the past year, since buying my 7D, I thought it or the future 7DII would have a permanent place in my kit.  Now, I'm not so sure.

I'm a two-body shooter.  The 7D is now my second body, but I find myself shuffling lenses to shoot mostly with the 5D3, thus defeating the purpose of using two bodies.  Need to payoff the 5D3 first, but I'm already considering a second FF down the road and will be weighing the merits (and price) of the 6D vs. another 5D3 for this purpose.

Curious side note.  The full resolution JPEGs from the 5D3 volleyball shoot averaged between 5-6 MB.  Those from the 7D averaged 8-9 MB.  ISO for both cameras were mostly 3200.  I'm guessing that extra noise accounts for the added data in the 7D files.

Also, I made a rookie mistake during the first game.  In switching from RAW to JPEG, I inaverdently switched to Large compressed.  But, even those images are cleaner than the ones from the 7D.

Funny that TrumpetPower mentions the 135 and 645 comparison.  Decades ago I went from a Canon FTb-n to a Mamiya 645 1000s.  When I first started playing with the 5D3 around the house and comparing it to the 7D, I did think "this is a lot like the Mamiya" -- only a tad lighter.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 7D or 5D3 for low light candids?
« on: April 03, 2013, 01:11:35 AM »
When you only own crop, you really don't want believe that FF is so much better due the added expense.  But, it is. 

Just shot a grade school volleyball event with the 5D3 and the 70-200 f2.8 II.  I shoot these events for my kids' school yearbook and upload a bunch that don't make the yearbook to share with parents.  For this stuff, I prefer to save time and space by shooting JPEGs.  With the 7D, I often got the shot, but I always had to post process the shoot to cleanup noise, and sometimes add some presence to the color.  But, I can see now that the 5D3 will save lots of time.  My shots from tonight need no post work, save for cropping on a handful of images.  Lack of noise was amazing.

With volleyball, you need to aim and shoot quick.  There's really no tracking of a subject.  Just pick the player who looks ready to hit the ball, aim, shoot.  I've been impressed with the 7D's ability to lock on quick, so far the 5D3 is just as quick, maybe a tad quicker because it offers a larger expanded point focussing option.  I had a shorter lens on the 7D and used it for a few shots.  All of a sudden, the 7D felt old.  A pity, really.

It was a fun night...we also won...

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 03, 2013, 12:54:52 AM »
I've used a T2i and a 60D for figure skating.  Both can handle the higher ISO, but both will have theire fair share of OOF shots do to relatively slow focus tracking.  The T2i has a very slow burst mode and buffer.   The buffer on the 60D is better for JPEGs, but RAW will fill up if you're not careful.

Consider Canon's refurb store.  I saved a bunch last year with my 7D from there.

Of the crop bodies currently available, I think your choice will narrow down to two options.

1. T4i -- With Digic 5, has the best high ISO noise reduction for JPEGs.  RAW images should be very similar.  Also offers auto-focus for video.  However, this is NOT a high action body.  Only 5fps and a RAW buffer of only 6 shots.  You can get excited about the action on the ice, fire lots of shots in a hurry (not all in burst), only to have a full buffer when the puck enters the net.  But, the price is good.  (The new T5i is essentually the same camera with minor updates.)

2. 7D -- The best sports crop Canon makes.  Compared to the T-series and the xxD, it's focus system is amazing and a great match for the 70-200.  I bought my 70-200 when I had a 60D and was frustrated with roughly 20% OOF of figure skating shots.  20% doesn't sound bad, but if your key moments are among the 20%, it's terrible.  For me, the 60D held me back from the full potentual of the 70-200.  As for the buffer -- nothing to worry about (I use use Transcend 600x cards).  8fps is a nice bonus.  Slower burst rates are often useless after the second shot.  For figure skating, I prefer shutter speeds between 1/500 and 1/800 at f2.8.  I routinely shoot at ISO 1600- 3200.  You will get noise, but Lightroom 4 does a great job at cleaning it up.

Lenses / Re: Prime vs zoom
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:22:53 AM »
"Standard" kit for me was a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8 and a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8L II.  For a while, I used a 35 f2 for low light, but I had better success with the 17-55 even with slower shutter speeds (down to 1/30).  Now I've added the 40 for those times when I want to travel light(er).

With a recent acquisition of a 5D3/24-105 f4, I'll be shuffling lenses between this body and the 7D more often, but still relying on zooms.  But, I can see myself using the 5D3 with the 40 for short work in lower light.

Lenses / Re: Re-kitting on FF
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:06:48 AM »
I just added the 5D3 + 24-105 f4.0L IS to my collection.  (The 24-105 with IS will be more useful for me than the 24-70 without.)  The 60D is relegated to the kids along with an 18-135.  But, I'm keeping he 7D for sports/second body with the 70-200 f2.8 II. 

I most often shoot with two bodies (I hate changing lenses).  For outdoor sports, I still anticipate using the 7D with the 70-200.  For indoor sports, I expect to use the 5D3.  I love the 70-200 for indoor candids at events, even though it is sometimes a little long for crop.  But, I expect it to be even more useful on the 5D3.

In the short time that I've had the 5D3, it is easy to see that I will favor this body over the 7D most of the time.  I may still end up switching lenses more than I did with two crop bodies just to keep the most desirable lens on the 5D3 for the given situation.   

I hate to say this already, but I can easily see myself wanting a second 5D3 down the road and limiting myself to three lenses for most events -- 24-105, 70-200, and the 40.

Bottom line, it's way too early for me to give up on the reach (not to mention buffer and FPS) of the 7D for sports.  Time will tell.


Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: April 01, 2013, 12:39:17 AM »
I know what you mean.  I got my 35 before my sister in-law's wedding and it proved to be my best lens for that event.  (I wasn't the wedding photog.)  I had a new found fondness for this classic.  Even after purchasing the 17-55, I still thought highly of the 35 as my low light, travel-light lens.  Granted, I didn't like is as well as the 17-55 when I needed it in low light.  But, it was still my travel-light lens.  I put off the 40 for some time because I already had the 35, and it was faster.  I thought the 40 was neat, but unnecessary.  But, when the winter rebate hit and the price fell to $150, I gave in and ordered it.  No offense to my 35 (or my 50), but I think this 40 is the new classic short prime.  It will make you forget about the nostalgia for the 35.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:50:42 PM »
When using the 40 pancake, I grip the camera like an old rangefinder.  I hold the lens with my thumb an forefinger.  The other three fingers are folded into my palm with the body resting on these fingers.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 31, 2013, 03:05:04 AM »
Just finished playing with various lenses on both the 5D3 and the 7D in a poorly lit basement.  I repeatedly focused on stationary subjects a few feet away, about 8 feet away and about 12 feet away.  Granted, this is highly unscientific.

On the 7D, exposures with the 35 were at 1/30, f2.0, ISO 6400.  The 17-55 seemed a tad quicker than the 40, but both were locking on without hunting for the 8' and 12' objects.  There was more hunting at the shortest object.  I switched lenses quite a bit.  There were times when the 35 seemed as quick as the 40 and there were times were it clearly lagged behind when focusing on the 8' object.  Each of these three lenses handled the 12' object without hunting.  I also tried my 50 1.8 and found it hunting on just about every attempt to lock on each object.

On the 5D3, exposures with the 35 were at 1/80, f2.0, ISO 12800.  The 24-105 f4.0 was the quickest to focus when set to 24mm and the slowest when at 105mm.  When set to 35mm, it was about even with the 40 and the 35.  I do think focusing the 35 on the 5D3 was constantly quicker than on the 7D.  But, the 50 1.8 brought up the rear and had similar hunting issues as with the 7D.

My take-aways:

- the zoom lenses focus quickest when zoomed out and set the bar for comparing the primes.
- the 40 f2.8 was consistent and kept up with the zooms.
- the 35 f2.0 was more inconsistent on the 7D.  It sometimes rivaled the 40 and sometimes did noticeably worse.
- the 35 f2.0 was more consistent on the 5D3 and rivaled the focusing performance of the 40.
- the 50 f1.8 likes to hunt -- a lot.

For me, the real test will be backstage at this upcoming ice show.  I'll leave the 50 home, but will be playing with both the 40 and the 35 on the 5D3.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 30, 2013, 04:49:29 PM »
First, the 50 1. 8) to which I referred was supposed to be a 50 1.8.

The 5D3 is less than a week old.  I'm still in the mode where I'm comparing various lenses and ISO settings on the 5D3 versus the 7D.  Today, it's a head-to-head comparison between the 5D3 24-105 vs. 7D 17-55.  I know what the results will be.  But I still want to see it for myself.

Haven't gotten to the 35 on the 5D3 yet.  I'll play with that more tonight as the sun falls.

Lenses / Re: Canon EF 35mm f/2.0
« on: March 30, 2013, 02:48:52 PM »
I had the EF-S 17-55 f2.8 IS for the crop bodies before purchasing the 40 2.8.  Optically, the 40 didn't offer anything that the 17-55 already gave me -- except it's compact size.  I do feel less conspicuous with the 40 and for me, the difference between the 40 and the 35 in focal length is negligible.

It really comes down to that extra stop.

I shoot a lot of figure skating events.  The most challenging are ice shows where I'm contending with spotlights for performance shots and flashlights for backstage photos.  Two years ago I rediscovered my old 50 1.8 for backstage photos with a borrowed T2i.  At the time, my main lenses were the 3.5-5.6 zooms.  The 50 made these backstage photos possible.

I then upgraded by adding the 60D, 35 f2, 70-200 f2.8, 17-55 f2.8, and 7D (in that order) before last year's ice show.  I expected to be using the 35 extensively for behind the scenes shots at ISO 6400.  I actually found the 17-55 more useful do the IS and quicker focusing.

More recently, I shot a school event at a bowling alley with "cosmic bowling" (as in very little light).  All I took was the 7D and the 35 2.0.  My keeper rate was very low and I attribute this to problems locking in on focus with the 35.  I had better success at a similar event with my 60D and the 17-55 f2.8 IS.

My conclusion is that the 35 on crop when shooting ISO 6400, f2.0, and shutter speed slower than 1/100 is a hit-or-miss thing.  I'm better off with the 17-55.  But, if there's enough light to shoot at 1/200 of faster, the 35 may give you an edge in stopping action.

My solution to the low light backstage challenge was to add the 5D3 to my kit.  There's another ice show in a few weeks and I plan on using the 35 on the 5D3 for that extra stop and comparing this to the 40 (and likely the 50 1.8).

As for overall value, my 40 is used a lot more than the 35.  Candidly, I'm still debating the real value that the 35 offers.  For very low light on crop, it has been of little benefit over the 17-55.  I have higher expectations with the 5D3.  But then, the 5D3 is so much better in low light, I may still prefer the 40 for its sharp corner-to-corner performance.  I'm not adding any more lenses until I get more experience in low light with the 5D3, but FWIW, if I didn't have the old 35, I'd rather put that $300 toward the new 35 2.0 IS (or the 35 1.4).

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