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If there is anyone else out there using a 7D and 70-200 f2.8 this is what works for me.
- Push ISO up enough to shoot at 1/800s
- Back button focus so focus does not change during stunts
- Tweaking the custom WB in the camera to minimize the orange cast on darker skin
- Shoot in servo mode
- Many more in focus shots with AF point expansion
- Set the next to top center focus point when landscape
- Set the next to top center focus point when in portrait
- Turn off automatic preview of images
- Use manual setting for ISO, aperture, shutterspeed, WB
- Save all settings as custom user C3
While I normally shoot with 1D bodies (mostly Mark2n), I do have a 7D that I setup center stage to shoot wide angle team shots with a remote trigger.
Personally, I'm ok with slower shutter speeds. 1/400th is usally as low as I'd like to go. Of course I'll push it higher, but it's a trade off between capturing the action of a few high speed shots vs the bulk of more static, cleaner images. Of course when you get to level 4+ tumbling, the faster speeds are nice, but we've found not required most of the time.
I'm not a fan of back button focus. To use it, requires more gripping of the camera with fingers and palm - and for 14+ hour days of shooting, it's much easier for me to use trigger fire for focus, and rear button for the rare times that I want (have time) to recompose but maintain static focus. But we also shoot very tight usually, so recomposition is not common for our purposes.
Tweaking WB - I commonly need this for 7D and older bodies, but newer bodies and most Nikon sensors seem to get the yellow/red (orange) cast much more accuratly balanced out.
AF Expansion - agreed, unless I'm shooting with a tighter lens: 200/1.8 with or without 1.4x. With that lens, I'm constantly drilling through the crowd to pick out the back row, or want to isolate certain bases. The shallow DOF at f/1.8 needs the point I select, rather than the algorithm guessing other points around.
AF points - yes! The only exception is when we get a dance team in unicolor outfits. Then I'll have to move higher or lower to find a contrast point on them. Sometimes, I'll even go full ring and have better luck when subjects just don't have a great point to pick.
Manual settings - yes! WIth a bright stage and dark sides, AV will drive you nuts on tumbling shots. For us, I usually get to work with the lighting crew to focus the stage evenly, but there are times I have had to roll my shutter 2-3 FULL stops going from front to back of the stage! Usually, it's just 1/3-2/3 for some hot spots or fall off on the edge.
Again, great stuff, keep it up!