Action shots

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by JDK504, May 2, 2015.

  1. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2013
    Hi all,

    I have an em5 ii and am looking at the best possible way to keep my subject in focus during actions shots. I normally shoot in a or p priority modes. Should I use s? My 2 lenses are panny 25 1.4 and 42.5 1.2.

    Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Focus modes, onscreen focus pointer, etc.

    I'm all ears!
  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Real Name:
    If you are wanting continuous focus, then you are not in the best camera right now. The best cameras right now for that are the Oly EM1 and Panasonic GH4.

    Beyond that, if you have good light, you can do shot to shot single AF with decent results.
  3. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2013
    Thanks for the reply. Maybe I'll use this until mark ii em1 comes out. Although em5 ii has been beyond remarkable
  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    There are a lot of different ways and tricks to use AF for sports: pre-focus, C-AF, S-AF, use a small aperture when possible, etc. There are many good tutorials and videos online on general sport shooting and the concepts work for any camera.
    Which one is better depends on the situation, if the subjects is moving sideways (easy case) or if it's moving toward or away from us, if we can predict the movement, on the available light, on the lens, etc.

    S mode can be useful to force a minimum shutter speed but if there is enough light and a reasonable aperture A mode will give you a similar shutter speed. Even P mode can work but it will try to keep the ISO as low as possible so the shutter speed could be lower then the one that you can get choosing to use higher ISO. There is not a huge difference in what you can get from different modes, some just requires less work to get what you want. S mode with Auto-ISO (with an high limit) is one easy way to go.
    For sport 1/500s shutter speed could be a reference speed for sport, to freeze movements.

    Which kind of action do you have in mind?
  5. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    S won't make any difference to focusing speed it's just concerned with shutter speed.

    I generally shoot motorsport from the inside of a bend to reduce the amount of refocusing needed (& keep catch fencing out of the way!) AF on my cameras can normally cope with that. From the outside I tend to use MF, pre-focusing on the area I'm expecting action to go through. I've not personally had much luck trying C-AF, though I believe this is something that varies considerable between camera models.

    I found using both A & S works well for a mixture of panning (with shutter speed set to a value appropriate for your skill, focal length & subject) for blurred backgrounds & stopping motion with aperture fully open for the fastest speed that gives a good exposure. Its quick to switch between fastest shutter & a known longer shutter. For most other situations I usually stick to A mode
  6. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Real Name:
    My experience is with shooting my son's soccer games with an EM5 and EM1. I found that the EM5 didn't perform well with CAF, so I shot mostly with SAF. I shot single shot on AP most of the time, and an ISO high enough to ensure that I didn't get too much motion blur if I wanted to freeze the action. Usually, ISO 400-800, depending on weather conditions, was enough. I used either the Oly 40-150 f4-5.6 R or the Pana 45-200. I could use the Oly wide open at 150mm and get acceptable results and the Pana at f8. I shot at f8 most of the time anyway because I wanted a little DOF to make sure the kids were in focus. Prefocused if possible. Sometimes, I missed, but still got a lot of keepers.

    I find that the EM1 performs much better on CAF, especially with the 3.0 firmware update, and so am switching over to using that mode even on single shot. Works on sequential L too. Maybe the improved CAF will allow me to shoot wide open. I recently acquired a Zuiko 50-200 SWD lens and MMF-3 adaptor for shooting these games. We'll see how that works out in the upcoming season.
  7. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2013
    Thanks for all the tips! It sounds like what I had presumed - a lot of practice and setting up for the shot. My needs aren't great just my 2 little girls doing silly stuff but I wanted to be prepared as possible. Haven't had enough time with camera to practice as most shots aren't filled with a ton of action. I'm just trying to get all the benefits of the camera.
  8. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    You need to do whatever you can to keep the shutter speed up. At least 1/500, 1/1000 is better when possible. If that means ISO of 800 or even higher, so be it. I often shoot action at ISO 1600. If the exposure is right on, that little bit of noise is not objectionable. If I feel the need to reduce it, a quick pass through NIK Define 2 takes care of it. The tiny bit of softening the noise reduction may cause is not really a problem for family play shots that will probably only be shared on Facebook anyway.
  9. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2013
    Good to know will try. What is NIK? I use PS thought about trying LR or aperture. Suggestions?
  10. Jfrader

    Jfrader Guest

    The NIK collection of Photoshop plug-ins automates several of the more common adjustment processes. Anything that you can do with one of the NIK plug-ins, you can do manually in PS. The manual process may be very complicated, using layer masks and targeted adjustments and so on, whereas the plug-ins do those things simply by automating the complex steps while still allowing the user a lot of personal control when desired. I use NIK Define 2 for noise reduction, NIK Color Efex Pro 4 for color and lighting adjustments and special effects and NIK Sharpener Pro for sharpening, quite frequently. Although I use it less often, their B&W conversion tool, Silver Efex Pro, is the best I have ever seen. Quite simply, the set of tools lets me do far more with my photos than I would ever learn to do in PS and lets me do them far faster. If a manual PS session would take me a half hour or more, I won't do it. If I can do the same things in a minute or two with a plug-in, I will.

    Google bought NIK out a couple of years ago and now offers the collection at a significant discount over what it used to cost, as a download - Google NIK Collection.
  11. JDK504

    JDK504 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 28, 2013
    Thank you for the great info! I will def check it out.