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Old May 4, 2006, 11:07 AM   #1
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Hi folks,

After a long time away from photography and recently started playing around with a fuji S9500.

I am looking at getting a dSLR. Formally a Nikon person from my years as a press photographer. I am interested in Canon's range of cameras and lenses.I have seen alot of AF on cameras that have alot of lag and can not keep up with the action.

How does Canon's AF system work in high speed action photos? (ie motor sports, when the subject is coming at you fast!) And how do each of the modes of AF perform? The one thing I like (if I am reading things correctly) some of the Canon lens will let you manual focus even when set on AF (without the need to turn AF off). Please let me know if I am wrong or which lens this is possible with.

I realised that thse may be a dumb questions, but my location does not allow me todo any intensive product testing. Just to see Canon equipment will require a 5 - 6 hour drive!

At this stage in the Canon range, I am considering the 1D Mk II N and a 100-400L IS USM lens.

Cheers!
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Old May 4, 2006, 11:29 AM   #2
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You'll undoubtedly want to go with USM and nothing else. I unfortunately don't have experience with USM but am just as interested as you in the response/speed of AF on USM lenses.
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Old May 4, 2006, 12:22 PM   #3
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shadowlies wrote:
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... The one thing I like (if I am reading things correctly) some of the Canon lens will let you manual focus even when set on AF (without the need to turn AF off). Please let me know if I am wrong or which lens this is possible with.
This feature is not unique to Canon...

It has to do with ultrasonic drives (ring type USM), Nikon has it too in their AF-s ultrasonic lenses, and so does Sigma (in both Canon and Nikon mounts) HSM lenses. Actually with a Minolta dSLR body you can have full-time manual overide of the AF as well without having to pick-up any ultrasonic (HSS for Minolta) AF lenses. :blah:

The utrasonic lenses are usually faster because there are no gear train in them which also makes them quieter if not silent in operation - without the reduction gear the focus ring is free to turn, and not bind against the internal motor!

With all that said however, in my experience the 100-400L IS USM is not one of the faster lens in AF, especially in following moving subject. The limit switches might help, but even then this lens is pretty dated in design!
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Old May 5, 2006, 7:21 AM   #4
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NHL wrote:
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With all that said however, in my experience the 100-400L IS USM is not one of the faster lens in AF, especially in following moving subject. The limit switches might help, but even then this lens is pretty dated in design!


Thanks for your input NFL. Could you explain the "limit switches" that you are referring to?

Could you also give me a couple of alternatives that enable me to have the same functions as on a Canon lens?

I have looked at some more canon lenses, so the lens list is this:

EF 20mm f2.8 USM

EF 24 - 70mm f2.8 L USM

EF 100 - 400mm f4.5 - 5.6 L USM

I am also looking to include a 580EX flash (or more, undecided if I will get multiple flashes or look at purchasing studio lights)

I would appreciate anyones comments on these lenses or better alternatives that would go with the Canon EOS 1D MkII N. Bear in mind that my intended work will revolve around sports &photojournalism with occasional events like weddings, graduations (and if I have time landscapes and a more artistic approach to photography to sell large sized prints at exhibitions). In a small country town I need to cater to a large workvariety to pay the bills.

Cheers!

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Old May 5, 2006, 8:54 AM   #5
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Great questions...

I own the Mark II N and a 20D. What hasen't been mentioned yet is the speed of the Mark II N's AF. I don't think you can find a better camera for sports/action.

This camera has two 32 bit RISC CPU-s for the AF system. 1 dedicated to just detecting movement and the other controls the lens drive. There's just no comparison between the AF on my Mark II N compared to my 20D.

I don't think you'll be dissapointed with this choice.

Best of luck,
Joe
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Old May 5, 2006, 9:10 AM   #6
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Thanks Joe,

Just sent you a PM.

I would like to know a bit more about your setup when using the Mark II N.

Cheers
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Old May 5, 2006, 9:24 AM   #7
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Shadowlies,

I'm not a big fan of the 100-400 for sports. A 5.6 lens isn't a really good sports lens because it

a. Requires more light to focus by

b. Requires more light to get a good exposure

c. Doesn't give the best background blur

The 100-400 can do decent sports work but it is more of a wildlife lens than a sports lens. For sports, you should look at a 2.8 lens. Especially if you're going to lay down the money on a 1 series body.

Examples of sports lenses from Canon:

24-70 2.8 (on your list)

70-200 2.8

300mm 2.8 for outdoor sports

400mm 2.8 for outdoor sports

50mm 1.8, 85mm 1.8, 135mm 2.0, 200mm 1.8 for low light sports

Other sports lens alternatives:

Sigma 70-200 2.8

Sigma 120-300 2.8

Sigma 100-300 4.0



Also, in addition to the 580ex - if you're going to do event work, you'll want to invest in a flash bracket. Custom Brackets makes some very nice and reasonably priced brackets.


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Old May 5, 2006, 3:15 PM   #8
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shadowlies wrote:
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Could you explain the "limit switches" that you are referring to?
This switch on the lens limit the focus range so that the camera does not have to 'hunt' back and forth the entire focusing range which might takes a longer time - On the 100-400L you can limit this search distance from 6.5m to infinity (instead of 1.5m to infinity) halving the search time...
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Old May 9, 2006, 6:21 PM   #9
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I shoot mostly the 20D and 100-400L IS. I'm a nature photographer by trade but do a lot of sports for newspapers. The 100-400 is OK for outdoor sports, but as mentioned won't open wide enough to really isolate subjects on a busy sporting field. It is an excellent wildlife lens, however, especially when coupled with a monopod.I've also shot the 1D MarkIIN, and that body is lightning quick with its focusing, a good bit faster than the 20D I mostly use. The MarkIIN is the go-to body for sports professionals, and for good reason, with its 8.5fps max and fast focusing. The 20D and 100-400L has allowed me, on Al Servo mode (constant focus evaluation) to get tack sharp images of skiers coming downhill straight toward me at a rapid clip. A 1D MarkIIN and 70-200 f2.8 would make a great auto racing combo, and the TCs add to your reach. The 1.4 especially doesn't degrade image quality too much. I've got thousands of frames with the 1D MarkIIN, the monster 400mm IS f2.8 and 1.4 TC in combo, and they are sharp and sweet.
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