Inside the London 2012 Olympics Stadium
Canon 50D, Canon 17-40mm F4L, 1/200sec exposure, F7.1 @ 32mm, ISO 160
I was fortunate enough to visit the London 2012 Olympics during the athletics, so thought it would be an ideal opportunity to try out the Canon 50D (thanks James). I’ve previously tested out both the Canon 40D, and Canon 60D, so putting the 50D through its paces seemed like a good idea!
I took with me my trusty Sigma 70-300mm telephoto lens, as well as the Canon 17-40mm F4L for any wide-angle shots.
Canon 50D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm, Canon 17-40mm F4L, Sigma 70-300mm APO, Lowepro photography bag
When visiting sporting events, you’re going to be at an advantage if you take a cropped sensor camera, such as the Canon 50D which has a 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS sensor. It means that the effective focal range of your lens will be increased, so for example my Sigma 70-300mm was actually using a range of 105-450mm, a huge bonus!
Triple Jump About to Land
Canon 50D, Sigma 70-300mm, 1/800sec exposure, F10 @ 300mm, ISO 160
The slight drawback was that it made my wide-angle Canon 17-40mm F4L less effective, but normally at an event such as this you’d want the ability to get as close as possible.
In an ideal world you’d probably take a full frame AND a cropped sensor camera to cover both eventualities. Saying that however, on a cropped sensor Canon slr, you could make excellent use of the Canon EF-S 10-22mm for those wide-angle shots.
Canon 50D, Sigma 70-300mm, 1/640 exposure, F9 @ 70mm, ISO 400
Canon 50D build quality
I’ve been using a Canon 5D recently, so trying out the 50D, I immediately felt that this camera was a) a lot lighter, b) more plasticky. Saying that, It is a solid camera, the layout of the buttons is excellent making it easy to change settings whilst looking through the view finder. It takes compact flash, the same as all its predecessors. If you want to use SD cards, you’d have to use a 60D.
End of a Dream
Canon 50D, Sigma 70-300mm, 1/500sec exposure, F8 @ 300mm, ISO 400
Continuous shooting mode A+
Where the Canon 50D stands out for sports photography is the high speed continuous shooting mode. You can get a staggering 6.3 frames per second for up-to 16 frames. This makes those ‘capturing the moment’ shots a lot easier. However, I previously reviewed the Canon 40D and that goes even faster at 6.7 FPS, albeit with a slightly smaller buffer.
Mens 400m Hurdles
Canon 50D, Sigma 70-300mm, 1/640sec exposure, F7.1 @ 133, ISO 400
Let’s talk about lenses
The Sigma 70-300mm APO did an excellent job of capturing shots at the event, although when getting them onto the laptop a bit of post processing was definitely required to sharpen them up a bit. Focusing wasn’t a problem, as once I had achieved the right focus, I switched the lens to manual mode and didn’t alter it. I tried to keep the Fstop between the F7-F11 as I find that generally gets the sweet spot in sharpness. The Canon 17-40mm F4L, as expected, was sharp as a tack with very little post processing required, apart from a small amount of colour brightening.
Jessica Ennis about to break the 100m Hurdles World Record
Canon 50D, Sigma 70-300mm, 1/500sec exposure, F9 @ 70mm, ISO 160
To sum up
In conclusion, the Canon 50D is a brilliant camera, well built, great layout and superb capabilities including the high speed continuous shooting mode. It has an extra 5 megapixels over the Canon 40D, so if you’re happy to pay that little bit more I’d thoroughly recommend purchasing a Canon EOS 50D.