06-12-2013 07:17 AM - edited 06-12-2013 09:04 AM
Yes, the 7D is a great "prosumer" camera that was designed & marketed for action. I've owned them in the past & they did great when shooting sporting events (they were my bread & butter until I upgraded to Mark IV's).
To freeze the player & ball is very simple; set your camera into Shutter Priority Mode (TV) at a minimum of 1/500 second. Depending upon your lens & available light, the camera may "stop" the lens down from it's maximum aperture to achieve that shutter speed. Depending upon your level of expertise, I'd also recommend placing your camera in "Auto ISO". If your are moving up & down the field or the sun is moving in & out of the clouds, the ISO will definitely change throughout the day.
By setting the shutter speed & using auto ISO, the camera will select the aperture required. Personally, I'm not a fan of shutter priority but I'm a sports shooter with experience. But using these settings will get you started. I hope this helps!
06-12-2013 08:25 AM
There is a learning curve to the AF compared to most of Canon's other DSLR's BUT it has been recommended that for this situation it be set to Manual Focus & I agree with that. As for Sport mode on all the cameras that have it well it's a handy feature but it's a compromise because it has no idea of what sport you're shooting nor the intentions of the photographer. The cameras had to capture the scene in the same way the 7D will but the operator now has full control over how the scene is captured.
06-12-2013 11:12 AM
Using AF, Back Button Focusing, and Single Point along with AI Servo is very similar to manual focusing - puts the photograhper back in command - except it's far faster and much more accurate than you or I would ever be able to do consistently with manual focus. Heck, I shot with strictly manual focus gear for more than 20 years... including a lot of sports. Since converting to the Canon system in 2001 and learning to use its AF effectively in various situations, I get a much, much higher percentage of "keepers" than I ever could manage with manual focus.
IMO, learn to use the technology to your advantage... don't just defeat it. Learning Back Button Focusing and Single Point and AI Servo makes all the difference in the world and puts the photographer in charge of AF, rather than leaving it up to the camera to choose.
Also, today's cameras.... especially crop sensor DSLRs... simply are not very manual focus friendly. Smaller viewfinders, no manual focus indicators such as split image and microdiaprism rangefinders, and other factors make manual focus more difficult with a modern camera. With stationary subjects you can switch to Live View, use the rear LCD, focus manually or with contrast detection and zoom in to check focus... and it's highly accurate. But this isn't practical or possible when shooting sports/action. So, again, my vote would be to learn to use the AF system.
I shot a sporting event on Sunday and am post-processing the images right now. As of now I've edited the first 1000, out of around 2700. I always mark my missed focus shots in Lightroom with a "rejected" flag. So far, out of 1000 I've marked two images for missed focus (I've rejected a whole lot more for other reasons... bad timing or closed eyes or lousy composition, poor exposure, etc.). I know there will be a few more and I also recall a couple images that were questionable... focus isn't perfect but is good enough to be usable for smaller prints. I was shooting with a pair of 7Ds - mostly using the simple method I recommended above - and lenses were 24-70/2.8, 70-200/4 IS and 300/4 IS. I wouldn't expect anywhere near such consistent focus accuracy with manual focus, so I generally don't recommend it for sports (I do use MF for other things... landscapes, macro, some portraiture, etc.). But my point is that I challenge anyone to get close to that level of consistency manual focusing. I know I couldn't, and I was **bleep** good and fast with MF.
A key reason I wouldn't use MF shooting a baseball game is that, while it might work okay for the pre-focus situation of the batter at the plate, chances are you're going to see other action around the field and will want to quickly change your point of focus. With the right lenses and AF techniques on 7D, this can be done nearly instantaneously. There is no way you or I could MF fast enough and we also wouldn't have time to switch AF back on. We'd miss a lot of opportunities trying to use MF.
Another consideration... if you are using a zoom, the vast majority today are "varifocal". This means the lens does not maintain focus when the focal length is changed. Back in the good/bad old days of film and manual focus, more zooms were "parfocal" design... maintaining focus when zoomed. But with AF cameras, it's not necessary and varifocal designs are less expensive and easier to correct for higher image quality... might be smaller and lighter, too. So with today's zoom lenses, with any change in focal length you need to refocus. If using AI Servo autofocus, this is happening continuously and automatically. I don't know about you, but when I'm working with a zoom I am constantly changing the focal length and image composition. So this is another reason I'll keep using AF.
02-08-2014 04:28 PM
I had a EOS 30D recently stolen and thought I would upgrad to the 7D. My kids play a lot of sports and this is what I mainly use the camera for. The 7D seems so much different and there is not a sports mode on it. That is all I use to shoot in. I also have the EOS Rebel SR1 are you saying that I can take just as good of sports pictures with this camera with less headache? Do you know what is the largest lens I could put on the rebel for a sports shot?
02-08-2014 06:22 PM
You set the camera to Tv mode to control shutter speeds. Using the manual set the AF to AI Servo & the drive to multiple shot mode & if I remember correctly there is 2 selectable settings so you can hive High (more frames per second) & low (less frames per second but more than single shot mode)
02-08-2014 08:14 PM
You would probably get more responses if you started a new thread, rather than tagging onto this post from November of last year.
Did you read the info above? It pretty much tells you how to use 7D to shoot sports.
As mentioned before, 7D is sort of pro-oriented.... It doesn't have the highly automated "easy" modes that some of the less expensive models do. The camera's designers appear to have assumed that most 7D buyers would be fairly experienced photographers who had little need for the extra automation. .
Regarding changing the drive mode.... I presume you got a manual with tthe 7D. If not, you can download one for free on the Canon website. Page 97 of the manual tells you how to change the drive mode from single shot to low speed continuous (about 3 frames per second) or high speed continous (about 8 fps). The same button and dial combo also give access to a 2 second self timer and a 10 second self timer.
For sports photography there are two primary considerations.... First, do you want to freeze the action, or do you want there to be some blur reflecting the movement? The shutter speed you select is the deciding factor. A slow shutter speed will allow blur, while a fast shutter speed freezes everything. 7D can shoot at up to 1/8000 second, but to freeze a ball in flight or a bat in a swing, you will probably be able to accomplish that with 1/1600, 1/2000 or so. Either set the camera to Tv or to M exposure mode, then select the necessary shutter speed. Tv is an auto exposure mode, where you select the shutter speed and the camera chooses an appropriate aperture. M is the camera's manual exposure mode, where you have to set both the shutter speed and the aperture. You will probably also need to adjust the ISO in either of those exposure modes, to get in the range allowed by your lens and the camera.
In either Tv or M exposure mode, you change the shutter speed with the top dial, right behind the shutter release button. To change the ISO, you press the ISO button first, then use the same top dial to select an ISO.
The other big consideration shooting sports is tracking moving subjects with the Auto Focus, such as a runner heading for home base. You need to set the camera to AI Servo, which is a focus mode designed for this purpose. To keep it simple, I suggest you also select a single AF point and keep that right on your subject while tracking, with the shutter button half-pressed so that AF operates continuously . If yours is the original 55-250mm lens, it isn't very fast focusing. The newer "STM" version is better, but still not as fast focusing as a USM lens such as the Canon 70-200 and 100-400 zooms. In a sense, you have "hobbled" a fast camera with a slower lens.
There are some other ways to set this up and some enhancements you can use when you get more comfortable and experienced with the camera. But the above should get you started.
I have to reiterate what I wrote early in respose to the previous poster.... Spend some time studying the manual to learn the controls of the camera. Besides the lack of a lot of highly automated stuff that most experienced photographers don't use, it's really much like any other Canon or, for that matter, DSLRs in general. It will seem overwhelming at first, so learn a little at a time.
You also might want to go to Amazon and get a guide book for the 7D. I also highly recommend the book "Understanding Exposure", by Bryan Peterson.
With some study and practice, you can learn to use the 7D and get proficient with it. If instead you really just want to pick up the camera, turn a single dial to some highly automated mode, and start taking snapshots, well - to be rather blunt - the 7D might be the wrong camera for you. A 60D or one of the Rebel series cameras would be an easier model to use, for example.