A Day at the Races

Discussion in 'Nature' started by DonParrot, Jun 20, 2012.

  1. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    I've registered in this forum last year after having purchased my E-PL3 but to date, I had no pictures I believed to be really worth to be published in this forum.
    But now, with the E-M5, things have changed dramatically.
    Finally there is an µFT camera featuring a C-AF allowing me to shoot fast action.
    Hope you like the series.

    Attacke 1 - 1600 von don_parrot auf Flickr

    Attacke 2 - 1600 von don_parrot auf Flickr

    Attacke 3 - 1600 von don_parrot auf Flickr

    Attacke 4 - 1600 von don_parrot auf Flickr

    Attacke 5 - 1600 von don_parrot auf Flickr
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  2. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

  3. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Hi Snapper,
    thanks for your kind words.

    Yep, I'm using vivid (saturation and sharpness default, contrast +1), noisefilter off.

    Furthermore, the EVF rate should be set to 'high'.

    In addition, we have to forget quite a lot of what we have learned when it comes to shooting action with a DSLR:

    The pics were shot with IS1 and EVF IS enabled while you shouldn't use IS when shooting action with a DSLR. But both IS and EVF IS also seem to contribute to a more reliable C-AF performance.

    And you also shouldn't allow the camera half a second for calculating the direction and speed of the moving subject before starting to shoot - as I had to do with my E-30 and my E-5. Just aim at your subject, wait for the AF confirmation beep - and start shooting immediately.

    I only whished the AF field wouldn't disappear in the burst mode as this makes keeping the AF field on your chosen subject extremely difficult. I've practiced quite a lot and and get along, but a visible AF field certainly would increase my keeper rate significantly.
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  4. nueces snapper

    nueces snapper Mu-43 All-Pro

    Wow. I just can't get over these pics. I keep going back and back again to look at them. I bet the gray don't get beat very often. :biggrin:
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Uwharrie

    Uwharrie Mu-43 Veteran

    May 10, 2012
    North Carolina
    Real Name:
    Lynne Ezzell
    Wow, great shots. I have done my share of shooting racing and coursing. I am impressed with what you have done with a m43. What lens were you using?
    • Like Like x 1
  6. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Thank you very much. And I have to admit that I also love them - and even more so as I never would have believed that series like this would be possible with the E-M5 - or any other MILC at this point in time. The little gem really has taken me by surprise.

    And yes, the grey one look extremely determined, doesn't it? :smile:
  7. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Hi Uwharrie,
    thank you very much!
    The pics were shot with the M.Zuiko 75-300.
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  8. bitmatt

    bitmatt Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 7, 2012
    Real Name:
    Are you finding greater C-AF success at long focal lengths? I have had little to no luck with C-AF using the wider primes, but these shots show that it is at least usable.
  9. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Hi bitmatt - just explained in the other thread why the C-AF always works better with longer lenses.
  10. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Thanks for these pics Don, it has me convinced that unless something else comes along, the 75-300 is the lens to get. Had planned to get the 100-300, for price, but am learning the Oly lenses focus much faster than the Panasonic on the OM-D.
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  11. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Those are absolutely stunning captures! :bravo-009:
  12. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    looking to replace my mmf3+70-300, glad to read this before making a purchase!


    im also impressed with the shots, at first speed glance, i thought your post was going to say something about not having any m43 shots to show, so heres some from my dlsr...
  13. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Real Name:
    Great shots, I enjoyed those very much. Thanks for sharing!
  14. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Thanks everybody for your kind words.
    Here are some hints for those who also are interested in shooting action with the E-M5:

    First of all: use the minimised AF field. If your subject is further away and the AF also is filled by other stuff, it can happen that the camera focuses on something that features more and clearer contrast lines.

    Next: Due to what I've explained above, forget C-AF tracking as the AF field can't be minimised in this mode. It possibly can be helpful for shooting big moving objects like cars (haven't tested it but it could be) but it's useless for smaller subjects. In C-AF without tracking, it's up to you to keep the SF field on your chosen subject (something that's quite a challenge as the visible AF field disappears in the burst mode as soon as you have pressed the shutter button, so quite a lot of practicing is needed). But it pays off, as you can see. If you succeed in keeping the AF field on the moving subject, the C-AF works rather well.

    Next: Use picture mode vivid. It increases the reliability of the C-AF significantly. When I used the camera with the adjustments I was accustomed to from my E-5 and my E-PL3 (natural, sharpness -2, contrast -1, saturation default, noise filter off), the C-AF more often than not didn't even start to 'bite' (don't know the appropriate English word) and so, a series weren't sharp from pic one. In vivid however, ( with the settings saturation and sharpness default, contrast +1), the C-AF proves to work just as reliably as the one of my E-5 (please note: as reliably doesn't mean as fast as. I still doubt if the E-M5's C-AF could cope with the shallow DOF of lenses such as the ZD 50-200 SWD 2.8-3.5, even if it would C-AF at full speed, on the E-M5. But that's another story.).

    Next: Enable IS1 and the EVF IS. I know - we all have learned that you mustn't use the IS when shooting action - but that's a lesson of the DSLR days that arguably doesn't apply to the E-M5. Don't ask me why - I could only guess - but the IS and the EVF IS also increase the C-AF performance.

    Next: You should switch the EVF picture rate to high. Makes following you subject easier.

    You are aware of the fact that the C-AF only works in burst mode L (up to four pics), aren't you?

    Next: Use shutter priority with the 75-300. With the 40-150 or 14-150, however, shutter priority off also seems to work fine without reducing the FPS rate significantly.

    And finally: forget the DSLR lesson that told you to allow your camera half a second for pre-calculating the speed and direction of the movement of your chosen subject. Well, that proves to be counter productive when it comes to the E-M5. Just aim at your subject, wait for the confirmation beep and shoot immediately.

    Good luck!

    By the way: the practicing could turn out to be rather frustrating at the beginning as the lack of orientation due to the invisible AF field really tends to make the task of keeping the AF field on your subject really difficult. But don't give up to early. You will be rewarded with great pics.

    But for the moments of frustration I'd like to mention that the S-AF of the E-M5 - and the latest PENs too - also is fast enough for action shots. Just aim at your subject and press the shutter button in one go without waiting for the AF confirmation. You will be amazed about the results. You can't shoot series this way (although you will be able to shoot three FPS - but keeping the camera steady is really difficult if you are pressing the shutter button again and again) but at least you will have something to be happy about on your memory card.

    Once again: good luck!

    And - I nearly forgot: It seems as if the Panny zooms are much better suited for video C-AF - I was told that in this area (I don't shoot videos), they focus more smoothly, with the M.Zuikos tending to pump. But for action stills, the M.Zuikos apparently are better suited. I have tested the E-M5's C-AF with the following tele zooms: M.Zuiko 14-150, 40-150 and 75-300 on the one hand and Lumix 45-200 and 40-175 on the other - and another user in a German forum made a direct comparison with the M.Zuiko 75-300 and the Lumix 100-300. The result: All the M.Zuikos are cooperating clearly better with the C-AF of the E-M5. Even the Lumix 40-175 - that seems to be the µFT AF-speed king in S-AF, to me - is not up to the task of C-AF-ing on the E-M5.
    It's rather annoying as it seems to mean that those who do video and action-stills and tend to use the C-AF while shooting video will either have to decide for a priority or have to purchase the respective lenses twice - but that's how it seems to be at this point in time. A video optimised lens isn't ideal for shooting action stills and vice versa.
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  15. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Real Name:
    Napier Lopez
    Sorry for the necromancy here, but I just wanted to comment on this thread to say thanks to DonParrot. His advice really works. This post should really be up there for people to see. I'm thinking the OM-D's C-AF might be comparable with at least some entry level DSLRs with these settings. It's a shame you need to use them, but it's nice to know you can get more out of the camera.

    Also, given that the GH3 is getting a surprising amount of praise in C-AF mode, I wonder if olympus could introduce similar improvements through firmware.
  16. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Thanks for the kind words, Napilopez. And could you please post a link to the GH3 C-AF praise - if possible with pics. I wondered all the time if Panny have made another step forward, in this area.
  17. Photodan1

    Photodan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 26, 2012
    Nashville, Tennessee, USA
    Real Name:
    Don those are very nice. I love the intense expression on some of their faces.
  18. DonParrot

    DonParrot Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 7, 2011
    Thanks a lot, Dan. Yes, runninng dogs make fantastic faces, at times. Take a look at this one - it was shot with the E-30 and the ZD 50-200 SWD. Although it's heavily croppred and technically far from perfect, it's one of my all-time favourite shots. I call it Doggosaurus Rex:

    JHR 23 von don_parrot auf Flickr
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  19. daanh

    daanh Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 25, 2010
    Hi, can anyone explain what tracking does with c - af on an em5?
  20. RamblinR

    RamblinR Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 16, 2012
    Sunshine Coast, Qld Australia
    Real Name:
    Fabulous pictures