03-23-2013 01:13 PM
I always take my camera to Spring Training (MLB) games because 1) They're out doors, well lit (my regular season games are indoors), and 2) I can usually get seats much closer. I usually get seats about half way between home plate and 1st/3rd base depending on what side I'm sitting on. I'm figure I'm sitting at about an 80-85 degree angle from the path of the pitch so it is pretty much a worse case scenario trying capture detail of the ball.
I shift my AF point to the outside edge and focus on the batter (AF expansion, AI servo). I read the batter's expression and start firing away (8 FPS) as he reacts to the pitch. The pitch speeds are usually 90 MPH and up (pitch speeds not posted at Spring Training parks). I can see the red lacing but no detail on the ball, sometimes some fuzzy writing. I continue to experiment with settings but have not perfected any ideal settings. My goal is not to capture crisp balls but to capture great action shots of the players. I pay attention to the balls only as a gauge and benchmark between camera settings.
Gear: 7D, 70-200 f/2.8 mk II, some with and without Extender 1.4x mk II
Settings: TV: 4000-8000 (usually around 4000)
AV: 2.8-4 (extender adds a stop)
I'll try to post some TV images of 100% cropped balls later if anyone is interested. I should have some comparisons between 14000 to 1/8000.
Tips, comments welcomed as always
03-23-2013 11:56 PM
Short shutters are actually good for IQ. You only have to worry about super-long shutters, as they impart signal noise to the image, even at low ISO.
03-28-2013 12:53 AM
Here are some sample shots with high shutter speed showing ball detail or lack of detail how ever you want to look at it. No processing, nothing fancy, just hand-held shots from the bleachers. All shots were taken with a 7D, 70-200 2.8 II, 1.4x II. Shots are quite noisy, large RAW, then converted to JPG via LR for posting purposes. The ball crops are 100%. As you can see none of the balls are crisp and sharp even at high shutter speeds. Of course there are lots of factors: 1.4x Extender, high ISO, hand held, 90 MPH fast balls, about 80 degree angle to the ball. I was also using AI servo with the focus points shifted over the batter. I tried to keep my AV around 5, 5.6 hoping the ball would fall into the DOF zone as it approached the batter. For me this is just a lot of trial an error. I would love to be down on the ground with the big boys and their big whites.
Sample 1 & 2
(images resized to 5000K to meet forum maximum, double click on image to view full size)
03-28-2013 02:04 AM
03-28-2013 02:25 AM
03-28-2013 10:33 AM
thanks for posting these! do you like the 1.4x and does distort at all do you find compared to without?
I have a 17-40L i bought a couple months back quite frankly i can't find a use for it with it's slow f4 lens. I was thinking of selling that, selling my 70-200l and buying the 70-200l version 2. I love this lens and if it the 2nd version is even 5% crisper I want it!
Do I like the 1.4x Extender? Yes and no. It's a cheap way to extend your focal length. I don't like using it unless I really want the extra reach. The drop in IQ is noticeable, and I lose a stop on 1.4x. I have no plans of getting rid of it however.
I have the 16-35 II and often I wish I would have gone the 17-40 route due to the size of the filter (82mm) on the 16-35. Neither lens is great wide open, particularly the 17-40 I understand, but in my case the 16-35 is my landscape lens so I'm shooting stopped down anyway. Are you shooting crop or FF? The 17-40 can be awkward on crop and if you are not shooting landscape on FF then you are probably right and ought to sell it.
Never owned the the original 70-200 2.8 but everyone says the mk II is worth the upgrade. I use to own the 70-200 f/4 IS and that was dang sharp. Wish I could have justified keeping that more compact lens along with my current 2.8 II.
03-28-2013 10:47 AM
As mentioned herein, if anything sharpness increases with high shutter speed unless you use a tripod...Personally I think 1/4000 is too fast...I don't shoot sports, only birds in flight and I rarely goes faster than 1/1600. It's personal preference but I think a little motion blur conveys action much better than everything frozen...in my hummingbird shots, I sometimes go as slow as 1/250 to make the wings look like a blurred circle...
Completely agree diverhank, I too like some motion blur to illustrate action. Actually my last shot was an attempt at just that but still way too fast. I'm still trying to keep the batter sharp while streaking the ball and bat. The first images 8 were intentional high speed shutters which I pulled and posted for this specific topic.
When I go to games, my goal is never to capture crisp ball although I do take some of those, but to capture great shots of the players in actions. Usually I can hone in on the batter and pitcher but it's always a challenge to capture slides, catches and so on because I'm poking my lens between the heads in front of me.