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New Contributor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎08-05-2017

New to the board and need some advice

I've been allowed on the sidelines of high school football games for a few years now and my current set up is a canon EOS 70 D with a Canon 70-200 f 2.8.


I've been able to get excellent shots early in the game but when the sun sets and the lights come on it's a different story. Under the lights I'm getting only about 20% of my shots with the balance being a combination of blurry or dark or both.

I'm thinking of money whipping this problem by upgrading my equipment so I'm looking at buying of of the two following frames and one of the following two lenses:


Canon EOS 1-DX II

Or Canon 5D Mark IV


Sigma EX telephoto F-120-300mm - F/2.8

Canon EF telephoto EF -300mm-F/2.8


As mentioned I'm an amateur and my only concern about the 1 Dx is that I've heard it's really for people who know how to "dial" in their equipment, I'm not that guy. So how long is the learning curve for this camera? FYI my local camera store is suggesting the 5D


thanks in advance

Honored Contributor
Posts: 5,558
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: New to the board and need some advice

I know only one amateur sports photographer who's good enough at it that I'd trust his advice. He uses a 5D Mk III and (I believe) a 70-200mm f/2.8. He seems happy with it, and he's had it long enough to know if it was inadequate in some way..


I wouldn't get the 1DX-2. It's overkill in both price and weight. Get the 5D4 and put the money you save into more or better lenses.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,388
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: New to the board and need some advice

I shoot a different form of action & used my 300 f2.8 L IS today which I'm thinking of selling so I can start shopping for the Sigma you mention. It gets VERY good reviews & as good as the Canon I have is (AF is amazingly fast) a zoom is much more versatile. (Not trying to sell here & I'm in Canada. Easy to sell locally when I decide that's what I want to do).


Can't help re body choice because I don't have either nor are they in the future for me. What I have still gets the job done just fine.

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
Posts: 11,807
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: New to the board and need some advice

[ Edited ]

I agree with Bob.  For what you're doing, a 1Dx II is probably overkill at it's worst.  If you want a full frame, then a 5D3 or 5D4 are perfectly fine.  


If you wanted to stay with an APS-C body, and spend less money, then a 7D2 or the 80D, are great choices.  Having used them both for several months, I would have to give small nod to the 80D.  The AF tracks subjects seemingly nearly as well as the 7D2.  The 7D2 just might re-acquire a subject faster, but that is a subjective comparison.  


The 80D also produces lower noise images at high ISO settings than a 7D2, which nearly rival my 6D.  But, the 7D2 has a professional grade body, which is probably what you really need.

I mainly wanted to point out that your 70D and a 200mm lens has an effective focal length of 320mm.  A full frame body with a 300mm lens is not going to gain you more reach.  In fact, you will lose a little reach.  Those are great lenses, but they are still f/2.8, so your low light issues are not going to be resolved with either of them.

Finally, if the football field has poor lighting, then there isn't going to be much that you will be able to do about it, which is a common issue with high school fields.  I think the 5D3 is the best fit for what you're doing.  It should give you much better results at high ISO settings than your 70D.  


"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,133
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: New to the board and need some advice

Been there done that.


Here is the gear you want;

EOS 5D Mk IV and the Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Lens.  You know this is serious gear and it costs seriously at around seven grand.  You will have the pleasure of knowing if this gear can't do the job nothing can.


However you mentioned, "for people who know how to "dial" in their equipment, I'm not that guy."

Well my friend you have to be "that guy" or the best of the best won't work.  We are not splitting atoms here.  You, too, can learn some basics and make great shots.  They are just waiting for you.  So, do you have the hard part, the seven large?  The rest is easy.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,133
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: New to the board and need some advice

BTW, two more thoughts,

One, get a good heavy duty monopod, and.........two,

the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports Lens for Canon.


When I get pressed into duty on HS sidelines, I take my 1D Mk IV, ef 24-70mm f2.8L II, the Siggy 120-300mm f2.8 and the big Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 S.  My Manfrotto monopdo, extra batteries and CF cards.

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,854
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: New to the board and need some advice

The cameras you are considering are "technical" cameras.   In addition to the controls you have on your current camera, they have more sophisticated focus and tracking systems.  


They wont miraculously work better all on their own.  You'll want to spend some time learning how to use the focus and tracking system so determine which modes work best for your needs.


The 1DX II has an insane burst speed.  It has multiple processors so it can muscle it's way through image capture.  It can capture 14 frames per second (there's a way to get it to 16 frames per second) but the resolution is 20MP (more than adequate for most needs.)


The 5D IV, in contrast, maxes out at 7 frames per second, but it has a 30MP sensor.  It doesn't have multiple processors like the 1DX II.  


Even the 5D III is technical.  The focus seems seem to be the same but there were some advancements made (metering is more advanced in the 5D IV and the focus tracking system factors metering into account on the 5D IV).  Otherwise the cameras look and feel very similar (I own both and I have to check to make sure I know which body I just grabbed.  There are some subtle differences that I check for.


The full-frame cameras tend to have better ISO performance than the APS-C cameras, but the 7D II is also optimized for action photography, has a very fast continues burst speed, etc.  So that may be worth considering.


You might want to "rent" the bodies you are seriously considering (e.g.,, etc.) and see how they perform for your needs before you settle on a choice.


Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
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