Last week at the San Francisco 49ers vs San Diego Chargers night game I had the chance to test the high ISO  capabilities of  the new Canon 7D mark II against the Canon 5D mark III and the Canon 1D mark IV. The test wasn’t a perfect apples to apples comparison as every play of an National Football League game is different from the next.

Long story short, here is my conclusion. The 7D Mark II has about the same amount of noise at high ISO as does the Canon 1D mark IV straight out of the camera, but the 7D mark II files clean up better using Lightroom 5, while the 5D Mark III files were the best straight from the camera and cleaned up better in than both other camera Lightroom 5.

San Francisco 49er #94 Justin Smith is blocked by San Diego Charger left tackle #77 King Dunlap. Image made with Canon EOS 7D mark II and Canon 400mm f2.8 lens at 1/2000, f 3.5, ISO 2000, full RAW file processed in Lightroom 5.
May 18th, 2015 Update – This would the 2nd to last game Justin Smith would play in the NFL as he announced his retirement today after 14 seasons in the NFL. During a 14 year NFL career Justin Smith missed just 2 games and was named to the Pro Bowl 5 times.

Canon-7D-Mark-II-NFL-Game-2 - San Francisco 49er #94 Justin Smith

This is a full frame image cropped from the same file. ( The 7D mark II full RAW files yields an image that is 5472 x 3648 pixels )  The right half is the RAW file with no processing what so ever. It was just converted to a JPG in Lightroom 5. The left side image had the following adjustments made. Exposure +10, Shadows +27, Clarity +17, Vibrance +10, Saturation +4, Sharpening 49, Radius .8, Detail 25, Masking 35, Noise Reduction Luminance 46, Detail 50, Color25, Detail 50, Smoothness 40.

Canon-7D-Mark2-RAW1

San Diego Charger #26 Brandon Flowers blocks a pass intended for San Francisco 49er receiver #84 Brandon Lloyd. Image made with Canon 1D mark IV with Canon f2.8 400mm lens at 1/800, f 3.5, ISO 2000, full RAW file processed in Lightroom 5

Canon-1D-Mark4-NFL-Game shows San Diego Charger #26 Brandon Flowers knocking down a pass to San Francisco 49er Brandon Lloyd

This is a full frame image cropped from the same file. ( The 1D mark IV full RAW files yields an image that is 4896 x 3264 pixels )  The right half is the RAW file with no processing, just converted to a JPG in Lightroom 5. The left side of the file was processed in Lightroom 5 with the same settings as the first image.

Canon-1D-Mark4-RAW

San Francisco 49ers quarterback #7 Colin Kaepernick throws to the end zone in a rare Saturday night NFL game. Image made with Canon 5D mark III with a Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USM lens at 200mm, ISO 2000, F 3.5, 1/1000.

Canon-5D-Mark3-NFL-Game - San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick throws to the end zone against the San Diego Chargers in a rare Saturday night NFL game.

This is a full frame image cropped from the same file. ( The 5D mark III full RAW files yields an image that is 5760 x 3840 pixels )  The right half is the RAW file that has no processing, just converted to a JPG in Lightroom 5. The left side of the file was processed in Lightroom 5 with the same settings as the first image.

Canon-5D-Mark3-RAW

It sure doesn’t look like the start of what would be the 2nd longest run ever by a NFL quarterback as San Francisco 49er #7 Colin Kaepernick eludes a tackle by San Diego Charger defensive end #91 Kendall Reyes and scores some 90 yards down the field.  Photo made with a Canon EOS 7D mark II and Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS Version 2 at 1/1000, f 3.2, ISO 1000 at 200mm.

Canon-7D-Mark-II-NFL-Game - San Francisco 49er quarterback  Colin Kaepernick scores a 90 yard touchdown which is the 2nd longest in NFL history.

Once again here is the full frame image with no processing on the right side and the same processing done on as all the other images in Adobe Lightroom 5.

Canon -7D-Mark2-RAW2

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Keith, thanks so much for taking the time to write this up. It will be a huge help for me Friday night when I go shoot my first ever night football game. I like your Lightroom noise reduction settings, too. I shoot a lot of bands in dark bars and this will help with those, too.

    – Frank

  2. Thanks for the comparison of shots. I came across your post searching for results of someone using the 7DmkII and a 400mm f2.8 and actually got intrigued with the different noise levels you got on the various cameras. I already purchased the 7DmkII and I am actually looking at picking up an older 400mm 2.8 II non-IS, but your post gave some good information on the post processing as well as your use of the camera and lens.

    Even with a full frame, it looks like you get some noise either way at a night came. I normally shoot D-2 football games and got to do a few D1’s this past season. Makes me wish I had a FF or the 7DmkII a few months earlier. Looking forward to this next season. Thanks again

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