How does AF of 7d compare to 6d, 5d3, and 1Dx for sports? Midway? Almost 5d3? Locked

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How does AF of 7d compare to 6d, 5d3, and 1Dx for sports? Midway? Almost 5d3?
9 months ago

(sorry if this has been asked before)

I'm considering purchase of a 7d. My impression is that the AF ability of the 7d for sports is somewhere between the 6d and the 5d3. However, that is a pretty big range.

I'm something of a numbers guy: On a non-linear scale of 1 to 100 for sports, if the Canon 1dx is a 100 for a proficient sports shooter, and the 5d3 is a 90, and the 6d is a 30, then where is the 7d?

Or another way of looking at it:

  • if a proficient sports action shooter
  • was covering an indoor high school basketball game
  • with so-so lighting and
  • took 100 action pictures
  • of players driving for layups,
  • about how many would be expected to be good enough as far as focus and noise IQ
  • for letter size prints to sell to the athletes' parents?

With 6d? With 7d? With 5d3? With 1Dx?

What about an outdoor game with plenty of light?

Here's my speculations:

  • Indoors for the scenario described, the 6d and 7d would end up about the same. The 7d has a significantly better AF, but the 6d allows significantly higher shutter speeds with its significantly better high-ISO performance. ISO 6400 might be required for 1/500 and f2.8. That would be ok with the 6d, but too noisy by the 7d. Or not?
  • ...
  • Outdoors with plenty of light: the 7d would significantly outperform the 6d, as the issue of high iso is not really a factor. Both would have enough light to use ISO 800 and 1/1000 and f4 to f8.


I have little experience with indoor sports with my 6d and 70-200 f2.8L ii. I have been the volunteer photographer at several basketball camps for kiddos. I got almost no keepers of layups during scrimmages at indoor camps. Flash helped, but the 1/180 sync speed was too slow for layups, even with the factor of the effective shutter speed being a mix of 1/180 and 1/1000+. Also, flash wasn't appreciated by the players and coaches.

For outdoor bb camps, I was disappointed by the low keeper rate. Obviously, it was better than indoors, but mediocre. More than a bit of that is due to lack of experience on my part. Non-optimal settings may also have been a factor.

If I get the 7d, I would expect to put a lot more effort into action proficiency. However, I suspect if I put the same effort into getting the most out of my 6d, I'd find the 7d purchase wasn't justified. Or not?

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