Shooting sports I now use a Canon EF300mm F2.8L USM mounted to a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and sometimes use a Canon EF 2x II Extender.
I have read many reports on the Internet about how they work but my experiences of using one are not very good to say the least.
This weekend I attempted to shoot part of a cricket match using a Canon EF 2x II Extender, normally when I shoot sport, I set all my exposures manually and am constantly adjusting them as the light changes through the game.
My set up was as follows;
- Camera – Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
- Lens – Canon EF300mm F2.8L USM
- Canon EF 2x II Extender
At first, I tried to set the exposure on the camera manually but the results I was getting back were not very good at all. I was shooting with an aperture of F5.6 with ISO 1000 and shutter speeds of 1/2000.
This was the first time I had used the Extender with the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV so was kind of hoping all my previous issues would go away.
No such luck, the images I got back were horrible, the exposure looked wrong and more importantly they looked quite soft. However, this was about practising, clearly there is nothing wrong with Canon EF 2x II Extender, and it has to be down to me and my technique.
A few more frames I was beginning to feel pretty angry with myself as despite using a great camera and lens, I was not getting anything back.
It was time to try something different; it was time to do something I never do and that was to switch the camera to P mode. The ‘P’ mode sets up the perfect parameters needed to get a correctly exposed image.
A friend of mine borrowed a Canon EOS 40D from me many moons ago and used this setting despite me trying to get him to go down the manual route. However, because of the issues, I have been getting using a x2 Extender, I decided to give it whirl.
All of a sudden, the camera is wanting to shoot at F8 1/500 shutter speed with an ISO 2000. Clearly, for me shooting sport the speeds were far too slow but guess what, I got an image that was actually usable.
I then took those settings, moved over to manual mode and replicated the what the camera had automatically said and took a few shots, the images were rubbish to say the least.
By now I am thinking the only way I will ever get anything out of a Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Canon EF300mm F2.8L USM with a Canon EF 2x II Extender was to shoot in P – something I was not keen on doing.
Anyone who shoots sport on a regular basis will tell the key to a good image is to have the lens wide open and shoot as fast as you can. Personally, I try to work at around the 1/2000 or 1/2500 for the most of the time then speed things up to 1/4000 or higher to experiment, something that is really easy to achieve with ISO range of the Canon EOS 1D Mark IV.
Taken Using Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Canon EF300mm F2.8L USM & Canon x2 Teleconverter
It seems I am not the only person to struggle when they mount a Canon EF 2x II Extender to their gear. A chap who shoots with me for the web site and magazine HU17.net also said he found it difficult to get good-quality images.
We were both shooting in identical conditions, at the same venue; however, he used a different method to expose his images.
Camera setting’s AV Mode, Evaluative metering, though most images were a little dark on that mode, so he is going to try partial metering next time. The ISO 800/1600 and apertures ranging from F5.6 to F7.1, the camera he was using was Canon EOS 1D Mark III and Canon EF300mm F2.8L USM.
The thing is I like having the Extender on the camera. With cricket I feel you need the extra reach, or you end up having to spend hour’s post processing and cropping images. I cannot, however, figure out to use properly. I did shoot a Rugby League match and got good results, but when I replicated that technique, it never worked again!
At the moment, I am toying with the idea of purchasing a 1.4 extender and seeing if the results are any better but for now, all I can do is practice and try to figure out how to use it with my gear, as I say, it is certainly not the Extender’s fault!