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Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Hi all!

 

I have been shooting my daughters indoor volleyball games for a while now and have found that over the years I get a lot of blury shots.  I recently purchased the 5D MK IV (and love it!) as an upgrade from my T4i (I had to save a lot of pennys). I did this for the boost in speed, low light and to go more "pro". Smiley LOL

 

During our last tournament the image stabilization on my 70-200 got switched off when it was hanging against my leg... and I started to notice a big difference in the quality of the pictures went up!  There were a lot more keepers then before?!?!?!  That was the only setting that was switched on the lens or the camera. 

 

Have I been shooting wrong all these years?  Should this realy be the case or is it a coincidence that this has happened? 

 

I typically shoot manual with the iso set to auto (capped at 6400), shutter speed at 1/400 - 1/500, AWB(w) love that new feature by the way.... spot metering and AF Servo.  The focus points are AF point expansion (Manual selection, surrounding points) and Large Jpeg.

 

Any comments or thoughts would be awesome.

 

Thanks!

 

Mike.

 

Shooting with:

Canon 5D Mk 4 (with grip)

Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II USM

Canon 24-105 f4L

Canon 50 f1.8

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 1,119
Registered: ‎02-06-2013

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

You shouldn't notice that much difference with the IS On or Off for Canon lenses while shooting sports.  I think the keeper rate improvement is mostly attributed to the 5D4 autofocusing ability over your previous camera.

 

Having said that,  The IS excels at cancelling your handhold shakes which usually don't matter for high enough shutter speeds (typically above one over the focal length - for your lens 1/200).  With IS on, theoretically, you can shoot 3 or 4 stops better, meaning that instead of hand holding using 1/200, you can hand hold at 1/25 with IS on.

 

At the shutter speeds you're using, however,  IS is of no help at all, imho.  There is a cost associated with IS on, albeit small - IS takes time to work and it sucks power.  Also, for moving objects, due to time lag, lesser lenses, like my Tamron 150-600mm, IS actually makes the pictures much worse if your subjects are moving.  Canon IS is better and usually you can't tell, especially with Mode 2 (for panning - laterally moving objects like athletes).  Recently Canon adds Mode 3 for combatting erratically moving objects like birds in flight (BIF).  So, if your shutter speed is high enough, you are better off turning off IS.  When I shoot BIF, IS is always off.

 

By the way, for sports, 1/500 is a bit too slow...for razor sharp images, I'd double the speed at the minimum unless you're really good at panning.

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Diverhank's photos on Flickr
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Awesome information!  Thanks!

 

I'm going to keep the IS off for the remaining tournaments. 

 

I would love to bump the shutter speed up more, but I'm finding the high school gyms that we are playing in are so dark... especially the older gyms with the horrible florescent lighting.  I would hate to go over 6400 iso... right now the pictures are totally usable (much more than the old T4i).  

 

I'm still learning the 5D Mk 4, and every tournament I'm getting better.   This past tournament had a much higher keeper rate than before.  

 

Thanks again!

 

Mike

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,854
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

If you're using the AI Servo mode then the camera needs time to focus ... in this mode the camera uses "release priority" rather than "focus priority" which means it WILL take the shot when you press the shutter release rather than waiting for focus confirmation (which is how it would work in "One Shot" mode.)

 

It turns out the focus sensors have an easier time locking focus (and are faster) if the image stabilization is switched "on". 


While we normally think of image stabilization as helping when the shutter speed is a bit low for a hand-held shot, it actually does have the benefit it helping the camera focus faster even when the shutter speed would be fast enough for a hand-held shot without image stabilization.  

 

I suspect this is what led to your increased keeper-rate.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Hi TCampbell!

 

I was wondering if you had any suggestions for my autofocus settings that I should try? I thought that the AI servo would be best for the indoor volleyball but I do find that the focus will not lock as quick as I had hoped or consistently (I use back button focusing when is shoot BTW). 

 

Would you recomend servo? Or something else? I have my continuous shooting at the high Fran rate and the anti flicker off. I have also turned off all the camera lens calibration settings as I found that they slowed things down. 

 

Thanks in advance. 

 

Mike


@TCampbell wrote:

If you're using the AI Servo mode then the camera needs time to focus ... in this mode the camera uses "release priority" rather than "focus priority" which means it WILL take the shot when you press the shutter release rather than waiting for focus confirmation (which is how it would work in "One Shot" mode.)

 

It turns out the focus sensors have an easier time locking focus (and are faster) if the image stabilization is switched "on". 


While we normally think of image stabilization as helping when the shutter speed is a bit low for a hand-held shot, it actually does have the benefit it helping the camera focus faster even when the shutter speed would be fast enough for a hand-held shot without image stabilization.  

 

I suspect this is what led to your increased keeper-rate.

 

 


 

Forum Elite
Posts: 14,423
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Mike,

Next game, just for grins, set the Mk IV to Tv.  Set SS to 1/500 or even 1/1000. Fix the ISO at 6400 (don't use Auto ISO).

Use One Shot instead of AI-Servo and use just the center focus point.  Turn the others off.  You can leave IS off, too, if you like.  You need to be shooting RAW with a 5D Mk IV so WB doesn't matter but you can leave it at AWB.

 

If you don't have a post editor, the supplied DPP4 will do a nice job.  Post is where great photos are made. Shooting RAW will give you light years more editing ability.

 

Right now it sounds like you are using the 'spray & pray' approach to get good shots.  Try to be more deliberate to get good shoots. Knowledge of the sport or game is critical to get good photos.  You should have that ability by now!

 

My last point and it is the most important one, is where you shoot from.  Location, location, location.  It is the key to great sports photos.  Shooting from the bleachers is not a good location but it is what most parents have to deal with. If this is your case, I definitely would not use AI-Servo.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Occasional Contributor
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-13-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Hi ebiggs,

 

Thanks for the info! I have wondered about using Tv. A friend of mine who shoots football and indy car shoots Tv only and dosent go into manual at all for his "action" photography.

 

I have really tried to avoid the "spray and pray" method of shooting since I got the 5D MK IV....  But what I have been trying to figure out was, with the girls running away and towards me in various directions, sometimes I found it better to just hold the shutter down and let it go to capture that split second that the ball is touching their hands.

 

Question... With the One Shot, will I continuously have to keep pressing the back button for the lens to focus or can I hold it down and it will continue to keep focusing?

 

As for the location,  Ya its tough in the gyms.  They try to squeeze 2 to 3 courts in one gym which leave no room for the parents to stand.... so getting a good vantage point is sometimes impossible.  Hence why Im typically shooting with the 70-200 and not my 24-105.

 

I will try your suggestion next tournament.

 

Thanks!

 

Mike 

Forum Elite
Posts: 14,423
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

Mike,

"With the One Shot, will I continuously have to keep pressing the back button for the lens ..."

 

Yes.  One Shot means exactly that.  The Mk IV will still fire quickly.  The point is to make sure you are getting the shots first.  It really doesn't help if you get the 'hand on the ball' if it is OOF.  Make sure you are getting the shots first then move on to other modes.

 

Another tip to try, shoot RAW.  Set the Mk IV up in manual set the lens to MF and pre-focus.  Expose for an average EV of the gym. Use high speed continuous and let the DOF handle the focus. Keep it on the player you are interested in shooting.  RAW will let you adjust exposure later in post if needed. More than jpg will.  Fix the ISO, not auto ISO.  This will have limits if the player is moving towards or away from you quickly.  It will work better if the player is moving side ways form you.  Don't use this method for all shots, just give it a go. Sometimes you will be rewarded!

 

About post editing, think of this.  When you shoot a picture, it takes a split second.  Time is critical..  When you post edit a picture, you have all the time you want.  Time is not critical

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
Forum Elite
Posts: 14,423
Registered: ‎12-07-2012

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?

"... with the girls running away and towards me in various directions, ..."

 

Make sure it is NOT set for the camera selecting which of the AF points are targeted for focusing. When the camera chooses where to focus it can often pick the wrong thing. If you have a subject that is behind something in the foreground the camera will usually pick the closest object, which is not your intention, and you’ll end up with the wrong thing in focus.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!
VIP
Posts: 11,985
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: 70-200 2.8 II - Image stabilization during sports photography... ON or OFF?



"With the One Shot, will I continuously have to keep pressing the back button for the lens ..."

 

 

Another tip to try, shoot RAW.  Set the Mk IV up in manual set the lens to MF and pre-focus.  Expose for an average EV of the gym.

 

 

 

If you are using BBF, then you do not have to set the lens to MF.  Just tap BBF and focus the lens.  A good opportunity to use this pre-focus technique would be during free throws, where you have the potential for a rebound.  Focus on front of the rim, which will put your plane of focus at the right distance.

 

Be aware of the depth of field that you can get at various focal lengths.  You can pre-focus on a zone of the floor, such as midcourt line, after a score.  You can focus on the foul line and capture much of on half of the court in focus.  If possible, don't wait for a game to capture shots.  Attend a practice session and get some practice, too.

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