Last Wednesday I found myself sitting on the court at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. with two different camera bodies and three different lenses. So, what’s the problem? The 7D and the 1D Mark IIn see colors differently. Add to the equation that the glass in a lens affects the color rendered in the final photograph. For newspaper photography, usually captured in JPEG instead of RAW, this is just something you would normally “live with.”
Maybe you’d just take two identical bodies and figure no one will notice the difference once its printed on Charmin, any ways. But online, the differences can be stark. Take, for instance, this Columbia Missourian slideshow where I was using my 7D and a 1D Mark III on loan from CPS, but my colleague Chris Dunn was using an older D2Xs body at the football game between MU and Kansas State. This is an extreme example, but it is amusing to watch Kansas State’s jerseys suddenly jump from purple to blue depending on which camera was used. Hint: Nikon didn’t figure out what purple “looked” like until the D3 and D300 came out.
On Thursday I went over to the Mizzou Arena with Stephanie Hinkle to photograph the University of Missouri’s women’s basketball team demolish Texas – Pan American 83-34. I haven’t photographed basketball much, but have found that I can at least find the occasional feature photo even if my action images haven’t yet developed to the point where I’d like to have them.
I haven’t photographed much basketball before, so I didn’t exactly know what I was doing when I went to photograph Hickman High School’s women’s basketball team play Helias High School. I have no doubt that I am at the bottom rung of the totem pole, but even so, I had fun. Especially when Hickman’s junior guard Aqua Corpening dove down to the floor after shooting for a two-pointer with only a minute left to the game. Just as she’s about to hit the hardwood floor, the ball starts to go through the net.
I also thought that the way that the Helias team was swarming around the same player, Aqua Corpening, was fun in this image:
Usually I’m told to find a good sports feature in addition to the usual sports action. Most of the time I can find interesting people in the crowd, but I had forgotten that a better opportunity would come at half time, when people can go out onto the court and shoot baskets themselves:
I began to write this from up in the press box at the Bill Snyder Family Stadium. The game had ended a couple of hours before–Missouri won 38 to 12, with most of the points racked up in the second half.
I used two camera bodies (initially I planned to use three, but I loaned my 1D IIn to my colleague whose camera was down to half battery before the game even started): my new 7D, and a 1D Mark III on loan Canon Professional Services. While I don’t like many parts of the Mark III, especially the way in which one chooses the focusing point, and I am wary of its ability to autofocus given its less-than-stellar history in this regard, I love the way that files look from the Mark III. And, besides, it’s about to be replaced with Mark IV bodies, so I figured I’d give it a chance as the used market is about to be flooded with them. And wow, was I surprised.
I have not yet formed a clear idea in mind of what I think of the performance of the new Canon EOS 7D dSLR. I purchased it specifically for action photography–sports and wildlife–to accompany my aging 1D Mark IIn, and I photographed the college football game between Missouri and Baylor with these two bodies this past Saturday. I made about 800 frames on the 7D (about 700 too many), and was happy with the focus on several, but certainly not all of the frames. I will be photographing another football game this weekend, Missouri Vs. Kansas State, to be held in the “Little Apple.” I will go into further detail about what settings I am using in a future posting, but I will make a few remarks about the camera here.
Without question, I think that this camera feels better in-hand than any other, with the exception of the 1D series. The grip is, for once, contoured for a person’s hand. It is very well constructed, and the buttons are easy to find and also “stick out” a bit more so that a gloved hand can actually manipulate them. As a native of the Midwest, this is particularly important, as our winters seem to last about six months! Strangely, while virtually every button is improved over the xxD series, the depth-of-field preview button has taken a turn for the worse. It is almost flush with the camera body, and does not push in very far. Disappointing.
The viewfinder is a joy to look through with this camera. Not quite as nice as the 5D II (which, frankly, is not as nice as Sony’s Alpha 900 viewfinder), but worlds beyond the 40D or 50D.
So far I am unimpressed with the RAW/JPEG button, which enables whichever format you are not using by default, but only for one frame. Nevertheless, it is better than the “direct print” button than it was in the original 5D, and I suppose I should be thankful because it could well have returned to that state of stupidity when Canon moved the “Live View” button from that position, where it is on the 5D II, to a spot above the joystick controller.
What I will also state, to a great deal of dismay, is that this camera feels worlds better in-hand than does my 5D Mark II, which carries a $1,000 premium over the 7D.
Tonight I photographed a blowout softball game: Rock Bridge High School: 4; Hickman High School: 0. And while I was reasonably pleased with the results of my first attempt at softball in over three years (read: they were OK) one of the outtakes sticks in my mind, so I thought I would post it here. It’s more of a graphic / dynamic image than a story-telling one:
Yesterday I was sent out to St. Louis by the Columbia Missourian to photograph professional cyclist Floyd Landis’ participation in Tour of Missouri, as well as the first stage of the race. Landis, who was stripped of his victory in the Tour de France in 2006, his pedaling with an artificial hip, and he apparently consulted with a doctor in Columbia, Mo. before having the surgery in the UK. I will link to that story when it goes up tomorrow. For now, you can browse through some of my other photos from yesterday on the Missourian‘s Tour of Missouri photo gallery.
One thing I will say is that I was very, very happy with my choice of taking my 300 f/4. Sure, 300 f/2.8 lenses are great in low-light situations, like indoor volleyball, but at an outdoor event like this, f/4 is plenty, the lens is extremely sharp, and unlike some of the other photographers at the media room at the Ballpark Hilton that night, I wasn’t complaining about my shoulder hurting!
I did get a weird comment from someone else about my new and favorite laptop, my MSI Wind netbook, as I used it to edit my take in Breeze Browser and then e-mail some of the better images back to the office before driving back two hours on I-70. But, again: I’m trying to save my shoulders, back, and knees. If you want to schlep around a 9-pound behemoth of a laptop, be my guest. But that ain’t for me!