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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎10-01-2017

Shooting in low light....

Do a lot of shooting at the local drag strip, once the sun goes down and the lights come on that is when I really start enjoying it. I have a 5D Mark IV. Have a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 along with a Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS II. Which one I use depends largely how bad my back hurts as the Sigma is HEAVY. 

I recently decided I want to not only take shots from 60-100' from the starting line but I like taking shots from right along side the cars as they launch. I have a Sigma 24-70 f/2.8 ART as well as a Sigma 50 f/1.4 ART.

A friend suggested the 7D Mark II. Found a deal on a lightly used one. Very impressed with its 10 FPS ability. Have taken some really good shots with it. Just not all that impressed with it in low light. I have went into the settings and switched it to H1, think that is what it is called...where the body will shoot at ISO25600. While the pictures look decent once I edit them they just are not good enough. I realize shooting at this high of an ISO noise is always a problem. But the noise associated with this ISO makes the nighttime pictures look very appealing to me.

I realize that I can simply switch the lens on my 5d when I want to go from one shooting position to the other. Thing is I hate opening up the camera to switch lenses at the track frequently. One look at the oily residue on the mirror of the 5D and you would understand why. Not to mention as I am fumbling around switching from one lens to the other I am missing shots.

It is not like $$ is no object for me as I am disabled. But at the same time I look at investing in a Camera body as a long term investment...with the occasional hiccup when mistakes are made...lol.

With all the above boring nonsense out of the way...any suggestions for another body? I am now a CPS member, so I can "borrow" one before buying it. Really considering buying another 5d Mark IV body simply because I know it works. Have seen mixed reviews on the 6D and 6D Mark II bodies. I could probably swing buying a 1 DX Mark II. While I really "want" it I question if I "need" one. A friend has one...and has told me that when push comes to shove the low light performance of the 5D Mark IV and the 1DX Mark II is very minor, if at all. I really respect my friends opinions as he has been shooting for almost as long as I have been alive. He has told me that, in his opinion, for shooting motor sports and the other stuff that makes up the majority of my hobby, my dogs, sunsets etc that the 1DX would be a waste of money.

Apologies for rambling. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. I am sure I am leaving out all sorts of vital details...so please if any more info is needed to help form an opinion please do ask.

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Reputable Contributor
Posts: 853
Registered: ‎01-25-2018

Re: Shooting in low light....

[ Edited ]

The 7D II crams a lot of pixels onto its APS-C size sensor and as pixel size decreases so does the amount of light falling onto each pixel.  Sensor technology and low noise amplifiers have improved markedly over the relatively short life of the DSLR but within a generation of sensor and amplifier technology, larger pixels provide for better noise performance.

 

Your 5D IV uses 5.4 um pixels, the 7D  II pixel size drops to 4.1 um, by comparison the better low light performaning  1DX II has 6.6 um pixels.  As you push up the ISO speed you are amplifying the output from the sensor array and random sensor noise is amplified along with the desired signal so noise is far more apparent as more amplification is required to "push" the ISO speed and a sensor which has the best base noise performance will respond best to this ISO speed increasing amplification.

 

I expect 10 years from now the low light performance of current cameras will be considered pretty poor compared to the next crop although the relative improvement likely won't be nearly as great as we have seen over the past 10 years barring a huge change in sensor technology.  I bought my 1DX Mark II specifically because I was trying to get decent images from very poorly lit indoor sporting events and it does have very good low light performance however they still cannot equal the results from the same camera and lens in a well lit venue.  If you move up to a 1DX II I think you will be happier with the noise and resultant quality of photos in lower light and it will be noticeably better than the 7D II low light results but noise and the reduction in sharpness and color quality that are side effects of the noise reduction process will still be noticeable with the 1DX II.   

 

If you can get fairly close to the action then it is possible to get excellent images in pretty horribly underlit situations.  But even with a high speed telephoto lens that allows the desired subject to cover most of the sensor you can't overcome physics and light intensity follows the inverse square law meaning as your distance from the subject increases the amount of light reaching the sensor rapidly diminishes at a far greater than linear rate as you initially move further from the subjec  (and the same smoke/oil/fume field that gets on your camera makes that rapidity of attenuation with distance even more problematic where you are shooting).  If you are close enough that a 70mm lens fills the sensor you will probably get a very nice image while filling the sensor with the same basic scene using a 400mm lens will result in far less quality.  And if you have to severely crop after using a lens from a distance the results will be even less desirable.

 

A full frame camera with current sensor technolgy providing the same resolution (8 megapixel) as my early 1D Mark II could provide excellent low noise performance and good quality but in the current MP driven market where even smartphones make ridiculous pixel count claims the market for an expensive DSLR with only 8 MP resoloution would be vanishingly small and limited to those who had a need for exceptionally good low light/noise performance and understood the tradeoffs needed to get this performance versus being able to brag about megapixel laden sensors.

 

Rodger

EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video
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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 2,362
Registered: ‎11-14-2012

Re: Shooting in low light....

You may want to read some of the info in this thread which is talking about your problem & some PP solutions. There are a few VERY impressive samples shot at high ISO's.

 

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1561329

"A skill is developed through constant practice with a passion to improve, not bought."
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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,789
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Shooting in low light....

You might want a monopod or gimbal.

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎01-30-2018

Re: Shooting in low light....


@inkjunkie wrote:

I could probably swing buying a 1 DX Mark II. While I really "want" it I question if I "need" one. A friend has one...and has told me that when push comes to shove the low light performance of the 5D Mark IV and the 1DX Mark II is very minor, if at all. I really respect my friends opinions as he has been shooting for almost as long as I have been alive. He has told me that, in his opinion, for shooting motor sports and the other stuff that makes up the majority of my hobby, my dogs, sunsets etc that the 1DX would be a waste of money.


Several months ago, I bought the 1DXII and I cannot believe how happy I am.  I upgraded from a 7D that I had for 10 years, so you can imagine the wave of improvements that came with the 1DXII.  I cannot speak to the 5DIV as I have never owned one, but I shoot high school sports a lot, and the lighting is obviously awful.  Below are some images with high ISO for your reference with Lightroom Noise Reduction applied to a RAW file.  They are beyond anything I could have hoped for in quality, and I really love the 12fps for sports.  

 

 

CAMERACanon EOS-1D X Mark II
LENSCanon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
ISO25600
FOCAL LENGTH200.0 mm (200.0 mm in 35mm)
APERTUREf/3.2
EXPOSURE TIME0.0008s (1/1250)

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.23.10 PM.png

 

 

CAMERACanon EOS-1D X Mark II
LENSCanon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
ISO12800
FOCAL LENGTH95.0 mm (95.0 mm in 35mm)
APERTUREf/2.8
EXPOSURE TIME0.0008s (1/1250)

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.25.19 PM.png

 

 

CAMERACanon EOS-1D X Mark II
LENSCanon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
ISO25600
FOCAL LENGTH200.0 mm (200.0 mm in 35mm)
APERTUREf/3.2
EXPOSURE TIME0.0008s (1/1250)

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 12.26.43 PM.png

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VIP
Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Shooting in low light....

Just one thing stands out in your post, "Which one I use depends largely how bad my back hurts as the Sigma is HEAVY."

 

You don't want a 1DX Mk II. Personally the 1 series is the best camera for what you are doing.  However, if you can't use it because it is too heavy, it becomes useless.  If you watch any big time sporting or race event, the photographers all use a 1 series. 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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VIP
Posts: 9,201
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Shooting in low light....

Do a lot of shooting at the local drag strip, once the sun goes down and the lights come on that is when I really start enjoying it. I have a 5D Mark IV. Have a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 along with a Canon 70-200L f/2.8 IS II. Which one I use depends largely how bad my back hurts as the Sigma is HEAVY.

 

I have a really bad back, too.  I like bodies with battery grips, which only adds weight.  

 

So, I use a monopod with my heavy lenses.  In fact, I use a monopod whenever I can when shooting action photography.  My keeper rate is at least double compared to that with going handheld.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Doctor told me to get out and walk, so I bought a Canon."
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VIP
Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Shooting in low light....

"They are beyond anything I could have hoped for in quality, and I really love the 12fps for sports."

 

Once you go 1 series you never want to go back!  I will be carrying two 1 series cameras and several very heavy lenses for a bout six hours today.  I had my 1DX in my hands with my 70-200mm f2.8L on it for about fours hours last evening.  It is just what you get used to and I have done it for so long I don't even consider the weight.  But I know some folks are sensitive to the weight.

They reduce the weight of your wallet about the same as they weigh so it balances out!  Smiley Very Happy

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 89
Registered: ‎01-30-2018

Re: Shooting in low light....


@ebiggs1 wrote:

 

Once you go 1 series you never want to go back!  I will be carrying two 1 series cameras and several very heavy lenses for a bout six hours today.  I had my 1DX in my hands with my 70-200mm f2.8L on it for about fours hours last evening.  It is just what you get used to and I have done it for so long I don't even consider the weight.  But I know some folks are sensitive to the weight.

They reduce the weight of your wallet about the same as they weigh so it balances out!  Smiley Very Happy


Apropos of nothing in particular... Typically a night of football shooting is 4-5 hours from pre-game to wrap-up, and with the strap I use, the 1DX2 + 70-200 weight never really bothers me.  Disclaimer, I am 6'4 280 and a former football player myself, so I can understand those logistics may not work for everyone.  

 

That said, I had the oppty to use a Sony A9 with their 70-200 G-master (I think it's called) yesterday.  I have a Sony RX100IV so the general menu/nav system was familiar to me.  However, what I just couldn't warm up to was the ergonomics.  It is VERY front-heavy with that lens, and this was even with the battery/grip extender, and even with that, the slots on the bottom of the grip really bugged me after a while.  I don't get into the camera flame wars, but I was wrestling between the Sony and the 1DXII and this confirmed how happy I am with my decision.  

 

I'm not sure how many people fuss about the ergonomics like I do, but those smaller mirrorless frame bodies are more of an annoyance to me than anything when I'm doing a long sports shoot.  Maybe I'm unique.  Or maybe my preference is a tiny niche of the market.  But for me personally, I just love the FEEL of the 1DXII.  I could carry it all day with my body strap and never really feel fatigued.  

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Posts: 12,252
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: Shooting in low light....

I am 6'3 and 225 but who knows if that is a reason I don't mind carrying the 1 series.  I use a hand strap on the 1DX and a Op/Tech on the other. I had the big 120-300mm f2.8 Sigggy on one and either the ef 24-70 f2.8 or ef 70-200 f2.8 on the other. Shot from 1:30 to 7:00 today. I am tired but I will do it again on Tuesday.  Next job!

 

_OS16133-Edit.jpg

 

Isn't she a doll?  Blue eyes to the max!

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
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