Getting Really Into Sport Photography. Need Input

Hof8231

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Hello all, some of you know me and those of you who do know that I'm relatively new and have been trying to find what kind of photography I find most appealing. I love portraiture and nature/landscape, but sport photography has really peaked my interest. I plan on working really hard this summer, taking classes, etc., and trying to get a job with the school paper when I get back in the fall. Most of the sport photography I am and will be doing is at night and I don't feel like my current camera is very suitable for that. I currently have a T3i and the AF is very sluggish/inconsistent at night and the high ISO needed produces way too much noise for my liking.

The current lenses I have are:
EF-S 18-135 3.5-5.6
EF-S 55-250 4.0-5.6
70-200 L 2.8 IS (on the way)
100-400 4.5-5.6 (plan on buying)

I'm looking for a different body though. I know the 5D III is pretty much exactly what I'm looking for, and I technically COULD afford it, but I don't know if I want to sink that much money into a body just yet. Any other recommendations on Canon bodies that could suit me well for less money or should I just buy the 5D III while I can afford it?
 

JohnTrav

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For sports look in to getting a canon 7D. You can always get a used body for a little cheaper if you don't want to spend too much money.

The 70-200 f/2.8 is a great choice of lens for sports. It's a great focal length. On the 7D it also will give you a little more zoom with the crop factor.

Ultimately you are correct though. The 5Diii would be the better choice. But it does come with a price tag. The 7D will be great for you also IMO and will be 1/3 of the cost.
 

Big Mike

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I agree. If sports will be your focus, then look at a 7D. It's got a rather advanced AF system and because it's got a crop sensor, it will give you a narrower FOV, which translates to more 'reach', which is usually good for sports.

And to go along with that, you'll likely want to look for a lens with a large maximum aperture. The 100-400mm lens has plenty of reach, but doesn't have a large max aperture, which may mean that you'll struggle to get shutter speeds fast enough for freezing the action.

Unfortunately, sports photography is one of the most demanding types of photography....demanding on your gear and demanding on your pocket book.
The average pro sports photographer is probably walking around with $15000 worth of gear.
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Thank you both for the input! I'll look into the 7D more extensively. I've already looked into it a bit and the better AF and faster FPS make it appealing, but I've noticed that the ISO is the same as my T3i, going from 100-6400 with the 12800 "H" setting. Currently, I'm shooting mainly an outdoor basketball league and a few indoor sporting events to get a feel for it and I've noticed that especially at night I need a much higher ISO than I would like. Is there any less image noise in the higher ISOs with the 7D than with my T3i?

I really feel more connected with sport photography than some other types because frankly, I love sports. I know a good deal about all major sports and know what to look for, what to capture, etc. when it comes to in-game photography. That's why I'm looking into this. Of course I pick the one that costs the most money lol.
 

Big Mike

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Shooting sports at night (especially when it's not under big, bright stadium lighting) is going to be a challenge.

I'm not sure of the comparable difference in ISO between your camera and the 7D...they are likely very similar. So in that regard, something like the 5DIII would be a big advantage. But it the advantages of something like the 7D are still in play. Part of the issue, is that you don't yet have 'fast' lenses. You'll find that if you're using something like F2.8, you are getting 4 times as much light as when shooting at F5.6...which means you can go down two stops in ISO (or up two stops in shutter speed).
You might even consider something like the 85mm F1.8 or 50mm F1.4 for basketball. The larger aperture will help get you faster shutter speeds and/or lower ISO.

You'd have to do some snooping around the rumor sites...but I'd think that the 7D is just about due for a replacement/upgrade.
 

jaomul

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You could also look at a 1d mark 3 or 4. Both are very fast and rugged and are excellent for sports. Only thing is your efs lenses wont work and if you decide on a mark 3 do some research on the focus problems related to some serial numbers
 

Big Mike

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Good point.

If you did go with the 5DIII, your EF-S lenses would not be compatible...and you'd end up having to buy new 'full frame' compatible lenses.
 

EDL

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Since you list the 70-200mm f/2.8 as "on the way", wait till you get that and give it a try on your T3i body. With f/2.8 you should be able to step the ISO down some for less noise.

I've seen some photos from someone shooting a 70-200mm f/4 at night HS football and there were some very good shots, although I don't recall the particular body used. I am thinking it was a crop sensor body though, so it might be along the lines of the T3i in terms of higher ISO performance.

At the very least, that'll give you a better idea as to whether you need to upgrade to a pricier body or not.
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Thanks for the input. I'm aware that the EF-S lenses won't work, so I'd have to buy 1 or 2 to make up for that. I do like your idea EDL about waiting to see. I think I'll do that. I'll try a few different sporting events at night with the T3i and 70-200 and see how it goes. If I still feel I need a better body, I'll sell the T3i and all the EF-S lenses to help the cost of a pricier body not cripple me so much. It should be here tomorrow or Friday and I'm beyond excited. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve lol. Got it for a good price too. Like new condition for $1600. I was set on buying the 2.8 non IS before I found that deal.
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Well the 70-200 2.8 came in today and I also picked up a 85mm 1.8. As far as I can tell with this glass, I won't be needing a new body immediately unless I want to go for a faster frame rate, in which case I'd likely go with the 7D.
 

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As far as I am aware mate the 7D uses the same sensor only with more cross point focus points on the af and you can get a higher burst rate. Other than that fast glass is the way to go. I've shot a few basketball games (as a punter) with the 7d and the focal length I used most is 135mm, but I'd have no qualms about a 200mm. So I'd echo the comments, wait and shoot with the f2.8 and see if you are happy. If you want more the by all means upgrade after but you should be able to get great shots with that lens
 

Juga

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My advice is either settle for the 7D or just get the 5D Mk III because once you touch it you will become obsessed...like I have. It is a remarkable camera and the AF system is second to none not to mention that it feels amazing in ones hands. Amazon is offering an extra 4% off until June 15th ($3167 USD) for the body only.
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Ugh I know. I know it would honestly not be a terrible choice to just buy the Mk III, and I technically CAN afford it. I also wouldn't have to upgrade for quite a long time if I were to buy one and could probably get a decent amount for my T3i and everything I have for it. I just need to convince myself that spending that much isn't completely insane.

Not that it's a deciding factor at all, but it'd make my ex ungodly jealous too :p She always said it's the ONLY Canon she'd ever buy. Did I mention she's stupid?
 

Juga

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Ugh I know. I know it would honestly not be a terrible choice to just buy the Mk III, and I technically CAN afford it. I also wouldn't have to upgrade for quite a long time if I were to buy one and could probably get a decent amount for my T3i and everything I have for it. I just need to convince myself that spending that much isn't completely insane.

Not that it's a deciding factor at all, but it'd make my ex ungodly jealous too :p She always said it's the ONLY Canon she'd ever buy. Did I mention she's stupid?

She may be stupid but the 5D Mk III is smart. I am getting the 6D but I have played with the 5D Mk III for hours just to verify my purchase. If you are having a hard time decide then I would suggest going to a camera shop and playing with it (that's what she said.) The 7D is also great when it comes to AF systems and ability to produce excellent images especially with high $$$ glass like you have with the 70-200 but it won't perform like you want under low light like the 5D Mk III will. The 7D has 19 AF Points, 11 of which are cross type, and a burst rate that is better than the 5DIII but again low light is no where near the ability of the 5DIII.

The reason I decided against the 5DIII is because with this being just a hobby and the type of work that I am getting on side I feel like the 6D will more than deliver for almost $1500 less however I will admit that the 5DIII feels better in my hands, the AF system is fantastic, and the button layout is more functional. If you can afford it then my choice would be to make the purchase and never look back.
 

curtyoungblood

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The 70-200 is a very capable lens for sports, as long as you have good access and are willing to get up and move around a little bit. The 100-400 is a little bit of a strange lens, in that it is a push/pull zoom and is pretty slow. I have been seriously considering getting a 300 f4 for some extra reach (it'll be a little faster than the 100-400), with the added benefit that you can ad a 1.4x converter and get a 420 f5.6, which is comparable to the 400 f5.6 (the other affordable option). Also, used ones go for about $1,000.
 

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