Cannot get sharp focus when tracking playing dogs on Canon 7D

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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Elise Reid
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Cannot get sharp focus when tracking playing dogs on Canon 7D
11 months ago

A couple of months ago I invested in a Canon 7D.  After using a borrowed SLR Canon over the years, I thought it was time to treat myself  However, the Canon 7D is so technical and there are so many functions to learn about, I have been having trouble with the steep learning curve.  I was hoping I could post a few pictures here (after lurking the forum for quite a while) and get your critical advice on how I could improve.

My main subject at the moment that I am having troubles with is my dog and my friend's new puppy.  They run so fast I cannot seem to keep up!  Out of 90 or so pictures from the morning (including terrible experiments) I only seem to get a couple that are really clear.  When I boost my shutter speed to the max (on TV mode) the pictures are always under-exposed.  Or if I use auto-ISO the picture has way too much noise for my liking. Also when I use my flash, it doesn't like the high-speed continuous setting and will only fire on the first shot.

I have three lenses,

Canon EF 17-40mm f4 L USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6.

A Flash: speedlite 430ex II

Also I have been using AI Servo, with automatic 19-pt selection.

These were all taken with my 55-250, because I find it easier to track them with a zoom lense.  When I use my 50mm they are so unpredictable I can't get the close-up shot unless i run around too lol.

Is there perhaps a different lense I should consider investing in that would work better for this purpose?

not as crystal clear as I would like, but one of the half-decent ones

When it is on my computer it is slightly unclear.

I appreciate any feedback  I am assuming the problem is to do with my still-beginner skills as a photographer and understanding of my camera better.

 Elise Reid's gear list:Elise Reid's gear list
Canon EOS 7D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 17-40mm f/4.0L USM Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
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