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Messages - FTb-n

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I upgraded from a Rebel XT to the 60D and then added the 70-200 f2.8L IS II.  My main need was figure skating, grade school sports, and indoor events.  From the XT, this was a huge improvement. 

Shortly afterward, I added a 17-55 f2.8 IS.  It wasn't long when I realized that the XT was a poor second camera, then I heard the calling of a refurbished 7D direct from Canon.  The 7D proved to be a great improvement with more challenging sports action.

First, the difference for me wasn't really with the 8 fps.  I rely more on timing of the first shot then may burst a second or third one.  But, the biggest issue was with tracking erratic movement such as with figure skating.  My guess is that the 60D had an in-focus success rate of about 80% where the 7D was at least 90%.

But, perhaps the biggest problem was that I didn't fully understand the predictive nature of the AI Servo mode.  It isn't completely live focus, but rather it records movement to predict where the subject will be when the shutter is actually tripped.  So, it works great tracking a subject that moves in a straight line.  But, it can be off when the subject changes direction.   The 7D can usually keep up, but the 60D lags behind when tracking the change in direction.  It's sometimes best to momentarily lift your finger off the focus lock when the subject changes direction to force the camera start its calculations all over.

Another issue that you can run into is with burst mode or "near" burst mode.  The 60D can only burst a few RAW images before filling the buffer.  Part of this is due to the slower SD cards.  It does a better job with smaller JPGs.  Still, for me, this wasn't a huge problem.

That's the negative and is most noticeable with challenging sports action.

I still find the 60D to be a great camera and the articulating screen was quite handy for both creative shots and candids.  Today, I mostly shoot with two 5D3's, but I kept the 60D (and the 7D).  My wife kids now use these.  On occasion, I'll grab the 60D and 17-55 or the 35 f2 IS for a lightweight grab shot camera -- especially for times when I don't want to carry 5 grand worth of gear for more casual shots.

For crop bodies, if lots of sports was my main need, I'd be tempted to look for a refurb 7D.  But, for a more general purpose camera that can handle sports, the 60D is a great choice.  Keep in mind, it's only when compared to the 7D that 60D falls short in the sports department.

Lenses / Re: Next Lens Canon Should Release?
« on: June 08, 2014, 11:58:55 AM »
I'm waiting for an EF 50 f1.4 USM IS followed be an EF 85 f2 USM IS.  The 35 f2 IS needs a couple big brothers.

Lenses / Re: Covering 70-200 Indoors.
« on: June 07, 2014, 12:49:43 PM »
I shoot lots of indoor stuff from figure skating and grade school basketball to concerts and plays.  Before going full frame, I used a 7D with a 70-200 f2.8 IS II and a 60D with a 17-55 f2.8 IS.  I used the 7D/70-200 combo the most, perhaps 80% of the time.

Now that I shoot full frame with two 5D3's the 70-200 gets more use.  Because its "wider" than on the crop body, the I don't fall back to the short zoom as often.  For sports events, I often leave it home.

One thing to note.  I feared the loss of reach with going to a full frame body.  In truth the 70-200 is a more useful range on full frame for both indoor sports and candids at events.  But, when using higher ISO (1600 and up), I would rather crop a full frame image at 200mm than use a crop body image at 200 (effectively 320mm).  I find that the cropped full frame image is sharper and richer in color depth.

For outdoor shots with baseball and soccer, I'll switch between the 5D3 and the 7D with the 70-200.  With kids soccer, I find that the full frame is more useful.  I can position myself along the sidelines near the goal and wait for the action to come to me.  It's true that I have more reach with the 7D and can get shots across the field, but I rarely like these.  With baseball, I tend to rely more on the 7D.

Lenses / Re: What was your first L lens?
« on: June 07, 2014, 12:46:11 AM »
1st -- EF 70-200 f2.8L IS Mark II -- got hooked after an hour with a friend's Mark I.  My most used lens by far.

2nd -- EF 24-105 f4 IS -- love this lens, especially the oversized body cap model 5D3 that came with it!

3rd -- EF 24-70 f2.8 Mark II -- love this lens, too.  Wish it had IS, but it's tack sharp, great in low light, and a focus demon.  Excellent match to the 70-200.  With these two lenses, each on its own 5D3, I'm set for most everything that I shoot.  (Most everything, not all.  Still room for more glass on the wish list.)

I wouldn't stray far from what I have.  First the workhorse system:

5D3 with 70-200 f2.8 IS II
5D3 with 24-70 f2.8 II

Then add secondary gear:

35 f2 IS
40 f2.8 (ok, not essential, but cheap and fun)
50 f1.4 IS (if Canon ever introduces it)

Gear I'd be tempted to buy:

24-105 f4 IS

I went the 7D route before the 5D3 was available and I still use it for outdoor sports.  (It's alse a "trainer" body for my kids.) Now that I have both the 7D and the 5D3, I know that I don't really need the 7D.  But, if I never used one, I might be tempted. 

Same holds true for the 24-105.  This lens still gets use because I like the IS.  Still, I'm finding less need for it now that I have the 24-70 f2.8.  The latter is not only better in low light, but seems to focus quicker (maybe because ofits larger aperature).  Still, if i didn't own the 24-105, I'd be tempted by the IS.  But, the 35 IS and the future 50 IS would mitigate the need for 24-105 for its IS.

As for a "pocket" camera, I'd probably go for the G16 over another S100.  I know it isn't as pocketable, but it's still small and better in low light throughout its zoom range.

Lenses / Re: EF 24-70 f2.8L II Shutter Speedss
« on: April 19, 2014, 02:46:23 PM »
+1. There is a setting on 5DIII to restrict speeds slower than a set point (with auto ISO).

Thanks for the tip.  I mostly shoot in full manual, but I typically have Custom 1 set for grab shots with auto ISO.

Software & Accessories / Anyone use 3rd party presets for Lightroom 5?
« on: April 18, 2014, 01:48:31 PM »
I'm looking for ways to streamline my workflow and improve the results that I get from Lightroom 5.  Most of what I shoot are indoor sports (basketball, figure skating) and events (people candids) with a touch of landscapes.

Has anyone had success with third-party presets for Lightroom 5?  Are there any "must have" collections or collections worth considering?

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 08, 2014, 10:13:27 PM »
Great shot, Northstar.  I'll definitely have to watch 1Dx prices when it's successor comes out.

Regarding winter, I hope it's really over.  Summer is supposed to arrive tomorrow for a brief visit.  I'm hoping it likes it here well enough to return after spring -- if we get one this year.

I'm entering the busy season.  Right now warming up with 7-8 grade volleyball -- timing the shots have to be a lot easier than timing puck action.  The big ice show is in a few weeks and a competition in May.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: Tips on shooting hockey?
« on: April 08, 2014, 12:53:48 AM »
3. Take the time to get comfortable with "Register Camera settings" which designates the settings for "C1" C2" and "C3" on your mode dial. I had my camera settings prepped for three different lighting conditions, those being "on ice" bench/audience bleachers and inner hall/cafeteria. You be far more productive this way, instead of constantly switching up lighting, aperture, speed and iso as you move about the arena.

I have also found this quite useful for the same reasons.

Glad to have helped and I, too, love this site for sharing and learning from others.

Action shots for a fundraiser is difficult.  To get "the shot" you end up shooting lots of images.  If you need to turn this around for print-ready images before skaters or family leave the arena, there's no time to filter and post process anything.  And, you don't want to filter too much because you want family to find at least one shot of their skater.

At figure skating competitions, we hire a photography group who uses one photographer at rink side getting action shots and a second in a meeting room getting solo and group shots of medalists.  The photos are downloaded to a server and they use several laptops for participants to view and select their photos.  The vast majority of their sales occur during the competition.  It's rare that anyone buys online.  A benefit from the competition is that many skaters enter different events which are often scattered throughout the three day event.  So, they have time between events to view their photos.

If you find a solution to make action shots profitable for a fundraiser, please share.

Lenses / Re: EF 24-70 f2.8L II Shutter Speeds
« on: April 03, 2014, 11:47:35 PM »
Thanks for the feedback.  It didn't occur to me that today's DSLR may offer sharper images than yesterday's film gear.

Business of Photography/Videography / How do you insure your gear?
« on: April 03, 2014, 10:03:50 AM »
As a victim of Gear Acquisition Syndrome, my investment has grown significantly over the past few years.  Most of what I shoot is volunteer work for my kids' school and a local figure skating club.  But now, I'm starting to take on private clients on a very occasional basis.  I may be approaching that gray area between hobby and pro when it comes to my home owner's insurance.  So, I'm considering a separate policy that won't be voided should professional work accelerate.

For the pros and semi-pros, how do you insure your gear?

Is PPA membership/insurance worth considering?

Lenses / EF 24-70 f2.8L II Shutter Speeds
« on: April 02, 2014, 04:37:39 PM »
Long ago, before IS lenses, I developed good habits for holding a 35 steady.  I had too, since I was always pushing the limits of ASA 400 Tri-X and using relatively slow shutter speeds for candids.  But, with a DSLR, I've grown quite accustomed to using IS lenses.  For the past two years, the 70-200 f2.8 II has been my most used lens, supplemented by the 24-105 f4 during the past year.  Both are used on 5D3 bodies.

With last week's sales and rebate, I took the plunge and ordered the 24-70 2.8 II.  It arrived today.  So, the first thing that I try is comparing it with the 24-105, both at 70mm and taking shots at a wall calendar -- my makeshift test chart.  To my surprise, I'm not as steady as I thought I was.  With the 24-70, it was a challenge to hold the center focus point steady against intersecting lines on the calendar.  It seemed clear that I've been spoiled by IS.

For hand-held, non-IS shots, I've always adopted the minimum shutter speed = inverse focal length rule of thumb.  At 1/80 second (and 70mm), most test shots were sharp, but it wasn't consistent.  Some shots were blurry.  In contrast, the 24-105 at 70mm and 1/40 with IS on was more consistently sharp.  (To be fair, a few of the sharp images from the 24-70 were sharper than any of those from the 24-105).

Shooting candids and sports with shutter speeds of 1/200 and up was a key motivation for the purchase -- plus, I'm looking forward to its renowned IQ.  But, I have a question.  For those who own this lens, what's your most comfortable hand-held slow shutter speed at 70mm (assuming a sufficiently stable subject)?

Photography Technique / Re: What could I do better?
« on: March 18, 2014, 09:45:30 AM »
I have the 60D and the 70-300 non-L.  I upgraded to the 70-200 f2.8L II a couple years ago and it is considerably sharper.  I feared that I would miss the extra reach of the 300, but I did some testing by shooting the 70-300 at 300 and then shooting 70-200 at 200 and cropping to get the same field of view as the 300.  In my findings, the cropped 70-200 is still sharper than the 70-300.

Note that focusing the 70-200 may be more accurate because it can better leverage the 60D's center focus point which is more sensitive with 2.8 lenses.

I also highly recommend back-button-focusing. 

Regarding AI Servo, it helps to understand that this is a predictive focusing mode.  The camera tracks the subject's movement and predicts where the subject will be when the shutter is actually released.  Part of this is to keep the subject in focus during its movement while shooting at max burst mode.  With the 70-300, this may not be a big deal because the smaller aperture and the larger DOF gives you a greater margin of error.  But, with the 2.8 lens, the small DOF, and a fast moving subject; the subject could move out of focus during that very short window between firing the shutter button and releasing the shutter or during burst shots.

Because AI Servo is predictive, focusing is more accurate if you give the camera a second to record the subject movement before firing the shutter.  Try to press the focus button a second or so before you anticipate firing the shutter.

Also, note that AI Servo is more accurate while subject movement is in the same direction.  If the subject suddenly changes direction, AI Servo can take a second to detect and track the change.  I've learned this first hand with figure skating.  This is where the 7D is great asset because it has a processor dedication to focusing and it responds much quicker to erratic movement.  With the 60D, it helps to get in the habit of momentarily lifting your finger off the focus button when the subject changes direction.  This forces the system to start tracking all over and ignore the data from the subject's previous movement.

Lenses / Re: Thinking about this but wanting your thoughts....
« on: March 18, 2014, 01:47:11 AM »
Back when the 60D was my best camera, I invested in the 70-200 f2.8 II.  I needed the speed for low light, indoor sports such as figure skating and basketball.  The lens proved to be great for this purpose.  I also used it for event photography -- school concerts, church events, etc.  In short order, I added a 7D and a 17-55 2.8 and did more outdoor travel photography with both bodies and both lenses.  All tolled, the 70-200 was my most used lens on these crop bodies.  Today, I use two 5D3's and the 70-200 is still my most used lens.

My previous long lens was the 70-300 non-L.  In my experience, cropping images from the 70-200 is sharper than the 70-300.  I would expect that you will find the 70-200 very comparable to your 50-250 in usable range and a whole lot better in IQ.

Perhaps you don't "need" the 2.8, but it sure helps.  I use the aperture that best serves the need, but I'm often isolated on a single subject.  The 2.8 is great for this purpose.  I typically use 2.8 most of the time.  Granted, this shouldn't be a surprise because this is why I paid the extra dollars for this lens.

I highly recommend the 70-200 2.8 II.

EOS Bodies - For Stills / Re: 6D or 5Dm3?
« on: February 28, 2014, 08:45:13 PM »
I went from the 7D to the 5D3, mostly for shooting sports and events.  If you are accustomed to moving the focus point around or action is of a concern, you will love the 5D3.  After getting use to the benefits of the 7D's focusing system, the 6D may be a disappointment.  But, the 5D3 will be a real joy to work with.

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