40D First "real event" shooting thoughts

Started Sep 8, 2007 | Discussions thread
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WillShootPhotoscom Regular Member • Posts: 193
40D First "real event" shooting thoughts

Okay - I just got back from about 3 1/2 hours of shooting out at the local velodrome. Started off shooting warm ups (late sun, some shadows). Through twilight and finishing under the lights.

The track is 250 meters and presents "fun" for AF systems as the racers will hit 40mph in sprints, and 30+ mph in other races, w/ non linear (as you follow riders around the track) speeds towards or away from the camera... fun w/ panning.

As the 1350 or so images copy to my hard drive, I figured I'd chat about my thoughts on the 40D in this environment.

I've been shooting out that the track w/ a 400D and then a 30D over the past four months or so. Roughly 1400 shots per day out there, roughly 10-12 events (off the top of my head) so I've shot around 15,000 photos out there. I'm very used to dealing w/ the limitations of the two other bodies. It was a nice jump to the fps of the 30D and the low light performance was excellent as well (over the 400D).

So this was the first chance w/ my now (in my hands that is) 7 days or so old 40D. I've done some quick tests, and played quite a bit w/ the menus so I'd know where to find the settings I've become used to. The learning curve was pretty short. In fact, as I started switching between the cameras (I used the 30 and 40 tonight) I started looking for the "always there" ISO in the display on the top of the cam...

Initally, the added fps was a big help, w/ leg position during the pedal stroke really helping the aesthetic of the shot - more choices is always better.

The speed of the camera to get AF lock was amazing. I started playing "quick draw" type games - how quickly could I bring the 40D up to my eye and get AF to lock. With riders coming towards me at around 20 or so mph, the cam locked easily even as close as 15 or so feet (the white paper claims 30 mph at 28 feet or so). The accuracy was also excellent. I mainly shot w/ my 70-200 f2.8 L IS (invaluable for sports IMHO), but also used my 17-55 f2.8 and my 24-105 f4 L IS.

I've only peeked at a few in DPP so far, but the accuracy seems better and more consistent than the 30D as well. W/ the subtle textures of cycling jerseys, there are good cues as to how far/close the focus point was.

The BG-E2N is not - repeat NOT worth the extra $20 bucks IMHO. The only diff between it and my BG-E2 is a very small foam liner around 90% of the battery access door. This "seal" disappears where the sliding cable guide is in case you use the AC adapter w/ the BG. So the rest is "sealed" but if you don't seal the whole door, how do you call the door sealed?

Near the end of the night, w/ most of the action settled, I tried some series of shots looking down the finishing straight w/ ISO 3200 and Program mode on both cameras (30D and 40D) w/ the 70-200. I'll let you know what I think of the sets for noise and accuracy of AF after I can look at the shots, but the speed for focus seemed pretty similar to earlier in the day, the 40D locking a touch faster.

Another "potential" negative... Boy does the 40D (when shooting in RAW - I shoot everything RAW) burn through CF cards...

I had an 8GB, 2 4GB Microdrives, and a 2 GB CF card with me. I deleted some shots as I worked, (including some speed tests to show friends the 6.5 fps diff), but ended up w/ 886 RAW files for 11.3 GB just from the 40D... As a contrast, the 30D had 284 for 2.1 GB...

Yes - I know that the MP diff is one factor, the color depth (14bit vs 12bit) is another, and it was also interesting to see how much bigger the files were at 3200 iso than a 100 or 200 iso from earlier. The 30D files were 7.3 - 8.6 meg each... the 40D files ranged from 11.4 -> 15.4 mb each (iso 100/200 vs. iso 3200). So I did find myself having to watch the card capacity a bit closer than I did when shooting the 30D and 400D as my two bodies.

As for battery life, the 970 image shot (yeah - deleted an 85+ shot sequence when I tested buffer fill at 6.5 fps and .jpg - it got to 85 before the buffer slowed shooting down)... and batt still shows full... most if not all of my shots were w/ IS turned on as well, and I chimp pretty frequently to ensure I've adjusted to the changing light conditions.

I'll leave the same set of batteries in the BG for tomorrow's shooting...

Tis 12:45 here, the cards just finished transferring, and the 9:00 AM session at the track will be here all too soon.

Example pics will be posted Sun or Mon, after I've had a chance to look over all the shots and mull over the results... I'll also give some feedback from using the EX-580II flash w/ the 40D...

Overall - I'm initially very happy w/ the improvements on all sorts of fronts (yes - I've peeked at a few shots already - crisp, great color, etc) w/ the 40D.

Good night!

  • Will


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