Hi everyone. I have been having issues and recently had 60D repaired. I purchased a new canon 70-200 F4 IS USM and tried it for the first time today. I have purchased the 90D due to the issues on the 60D but has not arrived due to it being on backorder from Canon. I used the lens today on my 60D and need help deciding if the camera is not worth fixing or is my settings. My settings are in manual mode with an f/4, shutter speed 1/1000, auto ISO, AI servo and high speed continuous shooting. Initially I used 9 point autofocus and then switched to single point focus.
Thank you for your help.
With the 60D, I would leave all AF points enabled in AI Servo mode. Just keep in mind that the camera will select the nearest subject to the camera for focus tracking.
Have these images been cropped in post? In the top photo, the ball kicker’s left foot is tack sharp, but off center. In the bottom photo, the grass at the bottom edge of the image seems to be the sharpest part of the image.
I do not think there is anything really wrong with how your 60D focuses. Action photography is almost an art from. It takes some practice, and a detailed knowledge of your gear.
I have used both multi-point tracking and single point AF for soccer and most of the time I prefer single point AF. At the age range you are working with, they are moving slowly enough that you should be able to keep the focus point on the player you want and at F4 you do have decent depth of field. Depending upon the lens and camera setup, the highest accuracy points are only in part of the AF array and you want one of those points where it will normally be on a contrasting part of the target.
For fields with fairly even lighting, I check exposure during warmup and lock ISO to avoid odd effects. Keep an eye on the exposure to make sure it is within reason as the match progresses, I save as RAW so it is easy to handle some deviation from "standard exposure" in post and sometimes auto ISO will come up with some pretty odd choices when a scene changes suddenly which is why I prefer fixing ISO when possible. At night matches or when part of the field is heavily shaded you will probably have to revert to auto ISO but in most cases fixed works better.
Don't become too reliant upon high speed continuous shooting because your keeper rate will go way up with careful timing. HSC is very useful when you want a complete kicking sequence or similar and I made sure to capture the entire sequence when my daughter scored the goal last Spring that broke the school single season scoring record but even though I leave the camera in HSC drive mode most of the time I am just triggering a single exposure for most plays. With more shooting experience with soccer, your anticipation and timing will become finely honed and you will end up with fewer images but a lot more great ones.
A coach at another high school graciously provided lessons to my daughter this summer and I shot some images at his opening game for the Fall boys' soccer season a month ago. These were shot with a 300MM 2.8. They look a whole lot better than the images I took back when my daughter was playing in the park district league and I was simultaneously coaching the team and doing team photograpy 🙂
“I have used both multi-point tracking and single point AF for soccer and most of the time I prefer single point AF. At the age range you are working with, they are moving slowly enough that you should be able to keep the focus point on the player you want and at F4 you do have decent depth of field. Depending upon the lens and camera setup, the highest accuracy points are only in part of the AF array and you want one of those points where it will normally be on a contrasting part of the target.”
I agree that you will get best results using the most accurate AF points. Except, when it comes to keeping the center AF point on a subject it is far easier said than done. I think it is easier to learn how to track subjects with the camera by using a small zone of AF points, instead of a single point.
Tracking a subject can be even harder when the subjects are fairly small in the frame, which seems to be the case here. These images appear to have been cropped, so the subjects would have [been] much smaller in the frame than what these images show.
Since the OP is using an f/4 lens, there is no increased AF accuracy at the center AF point.
At f/4, all 9 AF points will perform similarly, as f/5.6 cross-type AF points. There might be nothing to be gained by using only the center AF point if you are not using an f/2.8 lens. However, the camera firmware just may recognize the f/4 L glass, and go into high performance, f/2.8 mode with the center AF point, anyway. I think this latter case is highly likely, too.
[EDIT]. You will get about 10 feet of DoF at f/4 at a distance of 100 feet.
The 90D will definitely provide improved AF performance over your current body in addition to other advances.
A 70-200MM is the perfect lens for youth soccer. Playing field length in this age group is generally around 55 yards or equivalent to the width of a regulation footballl field so it is a fairly compact area of play well suited to a medium telephoto zoom. I shoot almost all youth soccer with a 70-200 2.8 and most of the time it will be near the 200MM end. For high school and college level I will use a 300 or 400 depending upon field setup but for youth those are really too long for much of what you want even with a full frame sensor, when I am using one of those longer telephoto lens I will have the 70-200MM on the second body.
With any sports shooting, location is the prime determinant of shot quality and with youth soccer you want to stay mobile and follow the play. As long as it is clear that you will stay out of the way, most coaches will let a parent with a good camera setup on the players side of the field IF you make it clear that you will share images with all team parents and that you aren't just photographing your own child. This is important because frequently fields are set up where the sun is behind the players/coaches so that they won't be staring into the sun during the game and this is the placement you want. If you want to do this, check with the coach and official (usually only one or two at this age level) well before the game starts. Of course stay well out of the way, particularly watching for the line judge as your child moves up in age because they have to run with the play and stay with the defensive line to make the offsides calls which occur with increasing frequency as your player moves up in age group. Respect the coaches and officials AND do NOT try to talk to the coach or your player when you have the privilege of being on the player side. If you are over there and a player goes down, take a knee with the rest of the team.
Current cameras provide an amazing array of tools to help us capture better images but you are still the key. Focus on the game just like the players and you will be able to anticipate most of the action allowing you to keep the exact player(s) you want in perfect focus. Don't try to capture every bit of action because that is impossible, instead follow the flow of the game and you will be ready for headers, goal shots, and you will soon know which players are likely to make interesting ball control moves and passes. One of the toughest games I photographed was a youth soccer game a few years ago when the coach was more interested in talking to the photographer than coaching and sports photography requires your full concentration to do it right.
Enjoy your new 90D and be sure to calibrate your 70-200 to it using the AF microadjustment procedure. I use a modified version of the protocol Canon suggests and shoot a series of test images with the lens I am calibrating with microadjustment offsets sequentially in both directions to choose what works best via a review in DPP and then I make that final calibration setup and do one more test run to confirm. Done this way, you can perfectly calibrate the lens to the camera in 5 minutes or less.
" My settings are in manual mode with an f/4, shutter speed 1/1000, auto ISO, AI servo and high speed continuous shooting. Initially I used 9 point autofocus and then switched to single point focus."
Yeah, I would consider these are all wrong. Until you learn to walk don't try to run! Put the 60D in Av mode and fix f4 if that is what you want. Set, fix, the ISO to 800 or possibly 1600 if the grain is not objectionable. It will certainly be better on your new 90D but try it on the 60D. Use One shot and just the center focus point for now. Set AWB and choose Raw file format (requires a post editor). Almost no pro, to no pro sports photographer uses manual mode, so follow their techniques. I wouldn't do high speed until you start to get good in focus shots.
I know some guys are instant you use all the high end features of the camera but they are not beginners. They have done it for a while and know what works. Most of the time they are forgetting how they started, too. Until you know keep it simple. Then add more advanced settings so you can get more spectacular shots. Best advice is keep shooting and see what works. WHat you are doing now doesn't, so stop it!