Need help. Canon 60D for sports--is it better to pony up for the 7D?


Mar 5, 2013
I have a Canon 60D camera and I got it last week. So far, it has been great and the pictures have been impressive for the most part. It does have some trouble with night shots but I believe that is due to me. I'm still a novice at photo shooting. I had a Sony DSLR camera and it took decent shots on stills but a blur during fast action and I could never get it totally right. I can learn the Canon 60Dbut and I have been finding success with day shots and video recording with manual focus.

I think the 60D is a good camera but as football season approaches, it may not be enough. I like watching High School football games across the state and it has become a great hobby of mine. I like taking photos of the different stadiums, different settings, different elements, and the game action. Would it be better to go ahead and get the 7D? Many high school stadiums are not well lit and the 7D from what I read is good for sports and should handle the low light situations better than the 60D. Also, I hear the 7D can handle the elements better.

The 7D is $500 higher than the 60D. Compact Flash cards arent as prominent as SDHC or SDXC cards and seem to be a lot higher. It's a pretty big investment for me and I can scrap to get the 7D but is it worth it? Both cameras are getting replacements, I believe, this year. I dont think the 7D will be getting much cheaper than what it is but I could be wrong. I plan to have the Canon 60D or 7D for a couple of years, unless the newer 7D model is simply too good to pass up.

What do y'all think? Is the 7D worth the higher cost over the 60D? I'm not worried about the learning curve and can handle the effort and time it takes to make the 7D or 60D good for sports photography. Also, what lens do you recommend and is it better just to
get the body kit for the 7D and save up for a great lens. The 7D at Best Buy has a 18-135mm IS lens but the body kit is $300 less.

Thanks everyone. Feedback would be appreciated.


Nov 17, 2011
The AF system on 7D is MUCH MORE adv. than 60D. You can track your subject(s) way better. It will require some pratices.

If sport is your thing then:
1. 7D - good AF for tracking, not so good in lower light
2. 5D III - Super AF, very good in lower light - decent fps
3. 1D X - SUPER in everything - PRICE TAG???

4. DON'T FORGET ABOUT "L" LENSES. Get 135L, fast and sharp for sports. Decent price.

Canon 7D, AF System.
Jul 12, 2011
you have a week old 60D - if you're going to sell it, sell it now before the 70D (or whatever it's going to
be called) is announced. Also, the 7D is old and also due to be replaced this year. Learn to use what you have - the camera's just the tool. If you have to spend money and you want to shoot sports - get the 70-300L, short enough for court sports, long enough for field sports. Work with higher ISO ratings
to compensate for smaller aperatures. Waterproof? A 25 cent plastic baggie doesn't look so "pro" but it sure protects the camera.


I'm New Here
Mar 1, 2013
The 7D is better, but not necessarily for the reasons you cited.

First, low light. The 7D is not a great performer here. It has two image processors whereas the 60D has only one, but I've never noticed a difference in noise levels at higher ISOs-- which is what you'll probably use for football. Since most high school games take place in the evening, and because you'll need a high shutter speed to freeze action, you'll be living above ISO 800 virtually all of the time, over ISO 1600 some of the time, and occasionally up to ISO 3200 if you're really in a pinch. Having owned a 60D and shot with a 7D, I wouldn't use ISO 6400 unless your final output will be pretty small; the noise is distracting by that point. ISO 3200 isn't stellar but can be cleaned up in post. ISO 1600 is the highest level at which I consider detail and noise acceptable without some involved post work. But to return to your original question, I think low light performance is a wash between the two cameras.

Ruggedness and build quality-- the 7D wins. If you're rough on gear, it might be worth upgrading. I believe the 7D also has a more durable shutter, which could matter if you're keeping the camera for several years. That said, the 60D's build quality is unfairly derided. It's not magnesium alloy, but its solid, has some weather sealing, and (unless you've been carting around 1-series bodies for years) never feels like a toy. I have a T2i, a 60D and a 5D Mark III, and the 60D handles more like its big brother than its littler sibling.

To me, the differentiating factor for you is probably autofocus. Before I upgraded to a 5D Mark III, I shot semi-professionally with 60D, and I found its autofocus perfectly adequate-- assuming your timing is decent and that you're comfortable moving around the focus point (easy to do without lowering the camera from your eyes) in situations when the camera's tracking algorithms aren't up to the task. The 7D's autofocus shares more DNA with the upmarket 5D Mark III and 1DX than it does with the 60D. For a sport like football, that could make a big difference.

Burst rate is another big one. The 60D does 5.6 frames per second whereas the 7D does 8 frames per second. I've found the 60D to be just fast enough for sports. But the "perfect moment" arrives and vanishes in an instant, so having 30% more frames for every burst is an advantage. If you do a lot of burst shooting, you should consider buffer as well-- pretty sure the 7D is better.

Unless one of the above comments sold you on the 7D, I think the 60D plus a solid lens might be a better option for your needs. Shooting in dim light at high ISOs and high shutter speeds demands a bright lens. The 18-135 is convenient in its range but deficient on the aperture requirement, especially at the tele end (which you'll probably use more). Speaking of the tel end, if you're shooting the action from the stands, 135mm might not be long enough for you. It's not exactly a budget lens, but a used 200mm f2.8 might be a good option. You might find one for $600 - $700, you'll get the effective reach of a 320mm lens, and you'll have the brightest aperture you can get at a tele length without paying a fortune. In you're shooting sports at night, 60D + 200mm f2.8 > 7D + 18-135mm, in my opinion.

That said, if can find a way to delay your decision until the end of the month, the 70D might solve all your problems. It will probably be a little more expensive than the 7D's current price, but I expect it to be better for your needs than either of the cameras you're considering. Hope this helps.

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
CR Pro
Mar 25, 2011
I wouldn't worry too much, photographers managed to photograph sports with manual focus lenses for far more years than AF bodies have existed.

You can potentially do fancy things like track a moving player and keep him in focus with a 7D, and AF in low light is very good, but not great.

A Refurb 7D is a excellent value, and may hold its value better than a 60D. It is certainnly a more capable camera.


Canon Pride.
Feb 7, 2012
RocklandDragon said:
I think the 60D is a good camera but as football season approaches, it may not be enough.

It's simple, really - if you do af *tracking* the 60d is bad simply because there are too few focus points that are too far apart - plus the firmware has zero customability for tracking so the camera tends to loose focus fast if you don't stay on target all the time.

That being said, you can also shoot action on servo af with the 60d - but either your target has to fill most of the screen to use not only one af point, or it's horizontal movement, or your depth of field is not very thin (like f5.6+).

Still, with the 60d you get best results if you refocus all the time and shoot short bursts (maybe a 3x bracket with +-0.5ev) - the ~6fps is fast enough and the buffer is deep enough to be adequate.


I'm New Here
Sep 10, 2012
As 60D owner who likes to shoot sports on occasions (soccer), you can get some good shots with it.

If you'd asked this question before you'd bought the camera, I'd say go for a 7D - a second hand one considering it's going to be superseded within the next 6 months. However, as the 60D is already in your hands I'd say hang on to it til you feel you are being held back by it.

Why? Because you'll take a loss on selling the 60D plus the price difference with the 7D - that $500-$700 would be better put towards a decent lens, a lens that you can use with your next body when you are ready to take the plunge again. Good glass helps tremendously as you can keep your shutter speed up high whilst at the same time having enough light to expose the subject correctly or to go for a narrow depth of field to isolate an athlete. A 70-200 f/2.8 IS (I or II) helps produce excellent images, even on a 60D.

I understand that there are better bodies out there for sports, but for a novice the 60D is acceptable. With the better AF you will get more keepers with a 7D, and with more focus points you won't be as constrained with your framing. However, as you become more experienced, you'll get more and more keepers and better and better shots, than you may currently.


May 10, 2012
I think you answered your own question when you mentioned it is a big investmemt and youd have to scrape together some cash for a 7d. You'll take a bath on the 60d. Honestly your much better off taking the time to learn your camera and then decide what's holding you back then to make a rash decision based on inane "specs" which won't in any way make you a better photographer. Right now your biggest bottleneck is probably the kit lens you'll be using. It's fine for what it is, but if you work on your skills you'll likely find that its the lens not the camera holding you back. By then you'll have a good feel for what you want and won't just be throwing good money after bad.


Ecclesiastes 3:11
Mar 6, 2012
From someone who knows, let me say that you can't effectively use a 60D for sports. You could set it someplace ahead of the action and perhaps get one frame if you practiced. That's if you were lucky.

I tried using the 60D and the 5D Mark II for sports. Maybe they could suffice for someone who didn't have my standards, but for me they were worthless. However great they are, they simply could not get photos when it counted. You can get perhaps one good shot per game with the 60D or the 5D Mark II. The standards my job requires are to get one good shot per play. That's a huge contrast.

On the other hand, the 7D is way up near the top of sports cameras. Only in bad lighting does the picture quality decrease. And even then it isn't that bad because you can still boost the ISO very high, albeit with a lot of graininess. But the AF system still keeps up. Compared to graininess, getting the shot and getting it in focus is way more important. The 7D can do both, and the 60D cannot do either one.


EOS M6 Mark II
Nov 21, 2011
helpful said:
From someone who knows, let me say that you can't effectively use a 60D for sports. You could set it someplace ahead of the action and perhaps get one frame if you practiced. That's if you were lucky.
I respectfully disagree with this, I have a 60D and I've shot many football and hockey games, also people running and never had a problem with the autofocus even in very poorly light environments.. I simply don't understand why you say that. Ok you have the 1dx but don't compare apples and oranges.. 7d is better for sports indeed, but if you master your camera, you do get the shots when it count. 60D is a great camera but for now I would wait to buy a new aps-c camera..


I'm New Here
Jan 25, 2013
New Zealand
I think the 60D will be adequate. The 7D will give you a higher hit rate of in focus shots. I say hold on to the 60D for a year, then look at upgrading to a 7DII a few months after if/when it gets released to give it a chance for a price drop. In the meantime start saving for that 70-200 2.8 IS II


Canon Pride.
Feb 7, 2012
helpful said:
I tried using the 60D and the 5D Mark II for sports. Maybe they could suffice for someone who didn't have my standards, but for me they were worthless.

This: *your* standard, but what is the op's? It's all all about keeper rate, so 5d2 < 60d < 7d < 5d3 < 1d4 < 1dx ... if you have the highest standards you are also wrong with the 7d and should get a 1d ff with the appropriate glass. If you are like the rest of us and just want to get some good shots while it's ok to throw away a varying amount of out of focus ones, the 60d will also be fine.


Aug 6, 2012
Having both a 7D and 600D (similar focus to 60D)
- 7D built like a tank, great ergonomics, fast framerate, can be used as fire-and-forget-I'll-pick-best-image-out-later type of camera when doing sports. The focus system is anything which is not too much to the sides gets the lock and basically just works without having to do much yourself. Downside is that you can only use that if you don't want to shoot a particular subject within the field (for example, one player out of a goup of five), otherwise you'll be switching to center point and focus on body or bottom point and focus on ball anyway which the 60D can do just as welll
- 9-point focus on the other systems: if you keep the focus on whatever you want to shoot, it's exactly the same image as the 7D would give. It only takes a little more work to keep following the action. On the other hand, I tend to do this anyway, look through the lens and keep following what happens on the field. so if it is any sport where you have to pick the subject out of multiple people or with large enough objects (horses) you end up with using the same focus points anyway.
I'd suggest just taking your camera with a good lense to the game and following the subject with the focus point. If that works for you, then the 60D will definitely keep you happy till you outgrow it.


Sep 21, 2011
-Jarred- said:
I think the 60D will be adequate. The 7D will give you a higher hit rate of in focus shots. I say hold on to the 60D for a year, then look at upgrading to a 7DII a few months after if/when it gets released to give it a chance for a price drop. In the meantime start saving for that 70-200 2.8 IS II

I agree ..... focus on learning the craft of photography, and put the money aside for lenses, or for an upgrade in a year or so. Sometimes you learn more when using basic gear ..... upgrade the photographer before upgrading the camera!


Feb 21, 2013
The way I would look at this would be...... are you being paid for the photographs you take or are they just for yourself, friends, family maybe the local high school? if you are being paid maybe it's worth considering an upgrade if not then the 60D will be more than enough, apart from the frame rate and auto focus, they have the same M.P. and sensor and will produce a quality shot. get a better lens with more range, the 70-200's are great for this sort of thing, you bought the 60D for a reason what were those reasons?


Jan 1, 2013
Congrats on the 60D purchase. Even though I went for a 7D for myself, if you set up the 60D for birds in flight you will get the practice you need for shooting sports. If I get this wrong I will repost tomorrow.

AI Servo, ISO 800, 1,000 Shutter speed. Partial metering in the centre of the frame. If Things aren't going so well with the number of keepers use centre spot focus. I have my 7D set up this way and was not completely happy so I went out this past weekend and took pics of Seagulls flying. I got better results than on other occaisions. So if you don't at first succeed try, try and try again. I set my 70-200 F4 IS USM to mode 2 for panning. I would prefer to have the 70-200 F2.8
Mark ll but it costs more and wasn't out when I purchased the 70-200 F4 IS and 1.4 Extender. I think this lens combo
isn't what you will need for indoor sports. 70-200 2.8 IS USM ll and 2X Extender might work. F 5.6 is what I get and it works well outdoors with good lighting from the sun. Good Luck!


EOS 5D Mark IV
Mar 31, 2012
US - Midwest
7D...I shoot a lot of sports, FPS is a big deal, and so is AF speed/ accuracy. From what I have read, the 7d is better at both.

In sports, when trying to get interesting ACTION shots, a lot can happen in one or two seconds. When an exciting or memorable play happens, I would rather have my 1.5 second burst get me 12 images rather than 8 or 9. Over the course of a game, a week, and a season, you've significantly increased your chances of capturing more great "action" images....(if action shots are what you're looking for).

Lens....for football in the evenings, a good lens would be a 70-200 2.8, or for less money the 200 2.8 prime. I think you have to shoot at 2.8 when light is not great, if you don't you'll be shooting at iso 1600 or higher and that won't look good on either of those bodies when you have to crop an image.(which you will)

Have fun!


EOS M6 Mark II
Jan 17, 2012
I've gone from a 7D to a 5D III. Very, very occasionally I'll look at a sequence and know that the one that nailed the shot wasn't there because of the reduced frame rate. The increase in IQ and low light capability far outweighs the loss of 2 FPS, but I'm not sure I'd want to go lower.


EOS M6 Mark II
May 1, 2012
The camera is less important than the lens for what you are trying to do.

When my oldest child became active in soccer I wanted pictures. One attempt at action pictures with a Point and Shoot convinced me I needed an SLR and I purchased a 40D with a 28-135mm IS - immediately things were looking better.

Then the next season I needed more reach as the field got bigger. I first tried a 75-300mm, being on a budget, and the pictures in focus looked good but the number in focus was not fun at all. After one frustrating game, I picked up a 70-200mm f4L and was immediately happy. I missed the reach of the 75-300 but the camera was a pleasure to use. Our sponsor, Roger, puts it this way, this is a "gateway lens".

You didn't say which football games you want to shoot - if it's anything but Varsity games under the lights I would recommend spending your money on "good" but reasonably affordable lenses like the 70-200 f4L. If it is Varsity that you really want to shoot then yes, faster lenses with IS are going to be important. I happily shoot till sundown, but after a quick search in Lightroom found the last time I tried to shoot a game under the lights was back in 2009 and the shots weren't great. (I need to try this again as I've upgraded to a 7D, use a monopod, and just plain have a bit more knowledge and practice.)

The good news is your choice to move to Canon because of the huge catalog of lenses with offerings at almost every price point. I was kind of depressed for a friend who shoots Sony when he asked for a recommendation for an upgrade to his kit lenses and it was hard to find anything between kit lenses and very-expensive lenses in Sony's lineup. Third party lenses were the only choice for him at the price point he could afford. (There are some good third-party lenses but you have to be a bit pickier in your shopping.)

I won't say the 7D isn't a better camera than the 60D for sports - it is and was a choice I made when upgrading last year. It's also a more complicated camera and it's forced me to be more involved in setting the camera up to do what I want. My main point is either body will be frustrating unless you get lenses that are appropriate for the sports and the conditions you want to shoot in.

On my sports photography journey as a hobbyist, I've learned these lessons:
[list type=decimal]
[*]SLRs for sports,
[*]Better Lenses,
[*]Learn to Postprocess
[*]use a monopod
[*]shoot RAW if possible for more options in postprocess
[*]practice shooting and postprocessing.


CR Pro
Dec 20, 2012
My 60D works great for birds-in-flight and other AI Servo type shots. Very fast focus, especially in lower light. I have several friends with the 7D, and THEY swear that, even though we have the same sensor, the 60D does a slightly better job with noise in the shadows, which drives them crazy.

Fantastic camera, the 60D. I also have a 5DIII, but I bring the 60D for nature because of the crop factor, and I love to keep it in the car with a 50mm 1.4 for quick portraits and fun shots.

Agree that the lens for the situation is the most important factor once you have a good camera, much more important than minor differences between bodies. Get as long and fast as you can afford for football, but, as others have said, be mindful of the personal moments, for which you might need to swap to a shorter focal length.

Have fun!