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Old Nov 1, 2011, 9:32 AM   #11
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I'd like to dispel the notion that a crop sensor gives you more "REACH". Especially with regard to sports, it doesn't. After a certain distance you start to run into focus failures with any lens. Having a smaller sensor does not magically allow a lens to focus farther. For example, if I use my canon 70-200 28 on aps-c or aps-h I have the same effective range of around 25 yards for the lens. beyond that range I start to run into more focus failures. What a smaller sensor can POSSIBLY do is put more pixels on the subject. If the subject is out of focus because it was too far away that doesn't matter. But, if the subject is close enough, those extra pixels allow you to crop more and retain detail. So, from a wildlife perspective where you're shooting small birds the concept holds a bit of truth. But not from a sports shooting perspective.

Look at Nikon. Find a pro sports shooter that shoots D3s and see if the switch to full-frame caused them a loss of "reach". You first think it might then you realize that when you crop you end up with about the same "reach" because the lens and it's ability to focus is the limiting factor.

In Canon land, the premier sports camera has been aps-h sensor 1d (1.3 crop). I know when I switched to aps-h for sports I didn't lose "reach" because I had a larger sensor.

So, bottom line is - the notion that smaller sensors are a benefit to sports shooters because of the mythical "reach" argument is just false. The reason the 5dII isn't as good a sports camera as 7d has zero to do with sensor size directly - it's because the focus system on the 5d II isn't as good and the frame rate is less (which is related to sensor size/volume of data that needs to be moved).
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Old Nov 1, 2011, 10:22 AM   #12
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Without question, a 'Full Frame' Body will focus more accurately than an APS-C Body. (Sensor size actually has nothing to do with it, since (most) dSLRs don't use their image sensors to focus.) But the greater depth of field provided by the smaller sensor means that minor differences in the focus between the two, would not be noticeable, in that the "error" would be within the DoF.

I'm certain that pro sports shooters use cameras with larger sensors primarily because they want the more shallow DoF that the larger sensors provide.

What I was taking about when I introduced the subject in this topic was that a large aperture lens has the same light gathering capability whatever body it's mounted on. BrownGraham wants to take sports/action photos of his children, indoors in low light. Larger apertures would increase focus accuracy (whatever the body) and the distances would not be great, so even if focus accuracy with an APS-C body wouldn't be as great as with a "Full Frame' body, the APS-C body's larger DoF would be more forgiving of "errors". Plus, when a lens is mounted on an APS-C body, it has the same light gathering capability but a smaller angle of view and more magnification, and thus, more "reach". A 200mm f/2.8 lens on an APS-C body has the same angle of view, and gathers just as much light as a 300mm f/2.8 lens on a 'Full Frame' body, but at a much greater savings.
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Old Nov 1, 2011, 10:28 AM   #13
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TCAV - let me put it another way. Let's say the OP has a 70-200mm 2.8 lens. If the OP is taking photos of his kids, he will NOT be able to produce photos of those kids from further away using an aps-c sensor vs. aps-h or full frame. I have hands-on experience using different size sensors and having been involved in discussions with other sports shooters their experience mirrors my own. So, I interpret "more reach" to mean you can take a photo, with same lens, from further away - and that's not true for these types of images. It just doesn't play out that way in reality.
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Old Nov 1, 2011, 11:42 AM   #14
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I too am looking to start my upgrades to my Canon Rebel XTi with a EF 70-300 4-5.6 and an EF 28-1353.5-5.6. I shoot primarily sports (Football (mostly night), wrestling and baseball), was looking to start by upgrading to the Canon 70-200L IS 2.8 or the new(?) Sigma 120-300 2.8. Is this a good choice or should I look at a new body also?
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Old Nov 1, 2011, 1:54 PM   #15
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I too am looking to start my upgrades to my Canon Rebel XTi with a EF 70-300 4-5.6 and an EF 28-1353.5-5.6. I shoot primarily sports (Football (mostly night), wrestling and baseball), was looking to start by upgrading to the Canon 70-200L IS 2.8 or the new(?) Sigma 120-300 2.8. Is this a good choice or should I look at a new body also?
Please start a new thread with your specific needs so we don't derail the OPs thread. I shoot the sports you want to shoot, so I (and others here that shoot those sports as well) can help you out but let's keep that as a separate thread..
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Old Nov 1, 2011, 6:51 PM   #16
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JohnG

Thanks for what you wrote about 'more reach' (APS-C vs FF vs APS-H). I find that very interesting.

I respect your work (and your posts) a lot and I acknowledge you're a pro-sports shooter (while I'm not). My areas of photography are more into landscape & wildlife (& some macro).

As I want to keep this topic current for the OP - I have a few (I believe relevant) points and questions:
1. I believe pixel density is what it's really all about. So an 'older' full frame (eg one of the older FF 1-Series that had less megapixels) would have a 'disadvantage' compared to say a 7D - whereas as modern 1-Series or even a 5D Mk II with more megapixels has less 'cropping' loss.
2. You wrote "After a certain distance you start to run into focus failures with any lens". What are the 'focus failures' you talk about? And why is this? Would that 'certain distance' be much more than the 25 yards you later mention? Isn't focus ability more determined by i) the available light, ii) the AF power of the camera, and iii) the particular lens? So if there is say ultimate frisbee (in good light) - then the difference between a APS-C and a FF are less critical than indoors (eg ringette / figure skating - where light is lower?)
3. My understanding is that to date the Canon camera with the best AF on the market is the 1D-Mark IV (APS-H). The newly announced (yet to be released 1D-X may supercede that). How would you rate that the focus ability of say these cameras: 7D, 1Ds Mark III? (ie do they differ greatly?)
4. I'm not at all a 7D 'fan boy' even though I own one. Would you recommend that the 7D is a suitable buy for those needs? (I'm conscious the OP initially asked about lenses).
5 a) My experience in using a 70-300mm L on an original 5D and my 350D and my 7D is that the 7D does obviously have the most clear pixel density, and thus in some circumstances (particularly for wildlife that I have more experience in, but even for 'casual sports') the 7D has an advantage over both the 350D and 5D mk 1. Would you agree with that? (and maybe that is what TCav is writing - I see that point also...at least that's what I understand from the last paragraph written by TCav, ie 200mm f2.8 on APS-C vs 300mm f2.8 on FF)
5 b) But would you say that comparing a later APS-C camera (eg 40D, 50D, 60D or 7D) with a 1 Series there is less distance due to stronger AF performance of the 1 Series?

Thanks in anticipation of any answers John - I'm keen to get a better understanding on things - and hopefully this will help the OP and any other readers too... particularly as I think it can relate to the original question about lens for sports (and considering full frame in that context).

Regards...

Paul
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Old Nov 2, 2011, 8:08 AM   #17
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JohnG


1. I believe pixel density is what it's really all about. So an 'older' full frame (eg one of the older FF 1-Series that had less megapixels) would have a 'disadvantage' compared to say a 7D - whereas as modern 1-Series or even a 5D Mk II with more megapixels has less 'cropping' loss.
no doubt this makes a difference when cropping. As I indicated though, the shot has to be in focus when you crop though.

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2. You wrote "After a certain distance you start to run into focus failures with any lens". What are the 'focus failures' you talk about? And why is this? Would that 'certain distance' be much more than the 25 yards you later mention? Isn't focus ability more determined by i) the available light, ii) the AF power of the camera, and iii) the particular lens? So if there is say ultimate frisbee (in good light) - then the difference between a APS-C and a FF are less critical than indoors (eg ringette / figure skating - where light is lower?)
A couple factors at play. First - for most sporting events you have a background that is relatively close - as opposed to shooting aircraft in the air for example. So the focus system has something else to potentially lock on to. In this regard it's important to note the focus indicator in the viewfinder isn't the exact focus point - just an approximation. I've also noted that as a given lens approaches the maximum focus distance on the focus ring you really start to get focus failures. If I take my 70-200 2.8 and set it to 70mm I get more accurate focus at 30 feet than I do with my 85mm 1.8 (which is even quicker to focus). I'm not an engineer so I can't say precisely why - but that has been my experience. Again, it doesn't matter if that 85mm is on an aps-c or aps-h camera - it seems the LENS is the limiting factor.
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3. My understanding is that to date the Canon camera with the best AF on the market is the 1D-Mark IV (APS-H). The newly announced (yet to be released 1D-X may supercede that). How would you rate that the focus ability of say these cameras: 7D, 1Ds Mark III? (ie do they differ greatly?)
I shoot a 1dIII. I've never shot the 1ds. I don't shoot a 7d. My comments here are just passing on what I've read from other sports photographers: The 7d focus system is very good and does well with subjects at a constant speed but for erratic movement the 1-series focus tracks better still. This mirrors what I've seen from Nikon shooters that shoot both d3 and d700 by the way. For what it's worth, some pros still swear the 1dIIN is still the best focusing camera Canon has produced - it's just the sensor performance isn't up to today's standards.

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4. I'm not at all a 7D 'fan boy' even though I own one. Would you recommend that the 7D is a suitable buy for those needs? (I'm conscious the OP initially asked about lenses).
The 7d is a great sports camera by all accounts. The high ISO performance needs some improvement to keep up with the latest sony sensors. But it still produces some great sports images. It's arguably the best non-pro sports camera on the market right now - depending on whether you classify the d700 from nikon. Within Canon though, it's absolutely the best option outside the 1-series.

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Originally Posted by pj1974 View Post
5 a) My experience in using a 70-300mm L on an original 5D and my 350D and my 7D is that the 7D does obviously have the most clear pixel density, and thus in some circumstances (particularly for wildlife that I have more experience in, but even for 'casual sports') the 7D has an advantage over both the 350D and 5D mk 1. Would you agree with that? (and maybe that is what TCav is writing - I see that point also...at least that's what I understand from the last paragraph written by TCav, ie 200mm f2.8 on APS-C vs 300mm f2.8 on FF)
5 b) But would you say that comparing a later APS-C camera (eg 40D, 50D, 60D or 7D) with a 1 Series there is less distance due to stronger AF performance of the 1 Series?
Again - more pixels allows you to crop more - no doubt about it. But I still believe when you get to those situations where the focus ring is getting at max you get more focus failures regardless of the sensor size. I wish I could give you the scientific reasons involved but I can't. I just have anecdotal evidence based upon my own and other sports shooters experience. The most telling being from those who shoot nikon (or switched from canon to nikon for the d3s). By their accounts the full frame did not reduce their 'reach' with say a 400mm 2.8. They were able to crop and (even with only 12mp) get the same photo they would have gotten with aps-c. But no doubt the focus system is the huge bonus. Unequivocally I can say a better focus system is more important than smaller sensor for shooting sports. The reverse is true too - a better focus system is more important than a LARGER sensor as well. It's why the 7d is a better sports camera than 5dII. But still not as good as the 1dIV (or even 1dIII). Focus system trumps sensor size.

Thanks in anticipation of any answers John - I'm keen to get a better understanding on things - and hopefully this will help the OP and any other readers too... particularly as I think it can relate to the original question about lens for sports (and considering full frame in that context).

Regards...

Paul[/QUOTE]
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Old Nov 2, 2011, 5:45 PM   #18
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John

Many many thanks for your time in answering my questions so thoroughly and clearly. It's very helpful for me to know.

And I'm sure that others reading it will also find what you've written both interesting and useful information to know when they are taking such photos (eg sports photography, and getting to the extremes of the focus ring).

That's what these forums are about - sharing, learning, constructive feedback and community.

Again, I appreciate it - and I trust it is also helpful for BrownGraham, the OP.

Regards.

Paul
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