Croft, 28 December

Posted on 31 December 2014, 12:33

A great way to blow away the post-Christmas cobwebs, we figured – the Croft “Christmas Stages” rally event.

It wasn’t a rally. Nothing like. It was circuit racing, pure and simple.


Not to worry – it turned out to be a beautiful day, light-wise, and really I was there to give my new Canon 7D Mark II a shake-down on moving subjects.

Well, I screwed up – a real Schoolboy Error.

Out of about 1100 frames I shot, well over 800 were with the camera in “One-shot” AF mode – the worst thing possible for shooting stuff moving at up to 100 mph. So that was about about 80% of my day’s efforts straight into the Recycle Bin!

Bright side – far fewer files to review and cull..!

So, how did the 7D Mk II do? Hard to say, to be honest.

I was, for the most part, panning with low ISOs and low shutter speeds, and – having not practiced the technique for quite a while – it took some time to get my eye in. I also have a lingering suspicion that the lens in use (my Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 OS) isn’t as consistent as my Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS at low shutter speed work – although it’s still a great lens, and much easier to wave around than the Big Sig.

In any event, panning is not necessarily a technique which best demonstrates a camera’s AF capabilities – the camera might well focus perfectly well and still record a soft, blurred image, simply because of motion blur.

Even so, I ended up with a ton (out of the few files I had left after culling all the One-shot screw-ups, that is!) of images that I was very happy with – in technical, if not in aesthetic, terms (lots of “saminess” because of the limited photographer-friendly viewing opportunities at Croft), some of which follow:

Nissan Almera, Croft

Subaru Impreza, Croft

Mitsubishi Evo, Croft

Ford Focus, Croft

Vauxhall Corsa, Croft

Vauxhall Nova, Croft

Peugeot 205, Croft

Vauxhall Astra, Croft

Vauxhall Nova, Croft

A fairly representative (not very) mixed bag, but overall I’m pretty happy with results: I have (as usual) processed these examples pretty robustly – they’re not meant to look “own eyes” – so I’ve opened up the shadows quite a lot to give this look.

My impression of the 7D Mk II so far has been extremely positive, though: it’s as if Canon looked straight into my head, had a rootle about and then said “let’s make this guy his perfect camera…“!

Among these “Especially For Keith“ features:

AF at f/8;
Proper fully-configurable Auto ISO in Manual mode, including EC compensation;
Dual memory card slots (which I’m appreciating more than I thought I would);
An almost bottomless Raw buffer;
Increased options for re-assigning button functions;
The best AF in any APS-C camera available today, including the optional ability to lock onto a colour and maintain focus on it;
10 fps and the ability to separately configure high and low speed continuous shooting speeds;
Excellent image quality (don’t let the crap on the internet persuade you otherwise – the sensor in the 7D Mk II is really good, from 100 right up to five-figure ISOs).

I have found a problem using a 2x converter with my Sigma lenses – with either my Sigma 2x or a borrowed Canon 2x Mk II – the camera over-exposes by up to two stops (1.4x TCs are fine) – but this is easy enough to work around pending a firmware fix.

What do you think?

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