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AMA Superbike racing photos with EM-1

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by TomServo, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. TomServo

    TomServo Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Apr 22, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Brandon Jackson
    So this morning was my first chance to use my new EM-1 to shoot motorcycle racing. Over the years I have been shooting with a Nikon D-200 and an early 80-200 2.8 lens (cam driven focus). I was hoping that the EM-1 would be able to at least match the continuous focusing ability of this older previous set up. Well the for my first time out with it the shots were not too bad. I figured there would be a learning curve as I transitioned from optical to EVF and there was but I am getting used to it. As far as AF performance on this first round, out of the 289 shots I took about 160 were focused acceptably. Some issues were caused by me so I'm not calling Olympus out. I used the following settings for this morning's shots.

    AF - CAF with tracking
    9 point AF
    Continuous drive Low set to 4 fps
    Stabilization off
    Manual exposure mode
    ISO 200

    I found that the biggest issue with the af tracking was the that objects moving quickly away from the camera were most likely to be lost. Approaching objects seemed to do much better.

    This afternoon I'm thinking of turning off the AF tracking and just using CAF normal. I really try to keep the frame pretty full so I don't need to have the camera spend the extra processing time worrying about the object move across the frame.

    Below are a few samples.

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    • Like Like x 15
  2. Ccasey

    Ccasey Mu-43 Regular

    157
    Jul 29, 2011
    Austin, TX
    Chris
    These are nice, Brandon. I settled on C-AF w/o tracking for my kids' sports, and I think it works pretty well. Not nearly 100% accurate like a 5D3 w L lenses, but it's a treat shooting with the small kit. I'll be interested to hear what you think after changing your settings.
     
  3. TomServo

    TomServo Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Apr 22, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Brandon Jackson
    No tracking helped a lot. Much better hit rate. Turned ibis to auto and it actually worked very well too. Still gets a bit confused at times but a higher performance lens might help out too.
     
  4. TomServo

    TomServo Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Apr 22, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Brandon Jackson
    So after the weekend of shooting I can say that the OMD-EM1 is OK with the type of motorcycle racing shooting I do. Here's a rundown of the pro's and con's:

    Pro's

    Lightweight and compact - For the first time in four years of shooting this event my arms were not absolutely killing me at the end of the day.

    Very fast review speeds - compared to my D200 the speed at which I can review photos and zoom in is fantastic

    Control layout - Being able to easily change up ISO and WB on the fly as the sun went in and out of clouds was very helpful once I got used to the 2X2 system.

    EVF - The big and bright EVF makes it easier to tell when exposure or WB needs tweaking due to changing light conditions

    IBIS - on Auto this did not seem to slow things down much and I honestly think it improved the quality of some of my images due to my occasional unsteadiness while running up and down the hill where I was shooting from.

    Con's

    Autofocus - The AF is not bad and quite excellent for a M43 camera but it still lags behind my old D200 with an older 80-200 2.8 D lens. The af tracking is not useful for this type of shooting. Regular C/AF is better but as objects move away from the camera at over say 50 mph, AF gets lost.

    EVF - The EVF sometimes makes it hard to track a fast moving subject during a burst. As time went by I was able to add a bit more lead to my panning to offset this a bit but I still missed some shots I don't feel I would have with my old optical viewfinder.

    Summary

    The EM1 is adequate for what I'm asking of it in this case. This fall when i go to shoot some more racing I may rent one of the high performance lenses (35-100 2.8) and see if that improves CAF ability. I don't think I mentioned that I was using a Panasonic 45-150mm lens for this weekend's races so it could be just that the lens didn't have enough oomph to focus fast enough. Since I have no experience with any other long glass for the EM1 I don't know if I'm using a "dog" in terms of AF ability.

    The EVF issues I am learning to deal with and got better at tracking as the weekend rolled on. I only shoot at most 4fps when shooting these races and rarely more than one or two or three clicks at a time so my style can adjust to the EVF I think.

    On a side note, the EVF auto switching is very frustrating when you are trying to shoot quickly and review and wearing sunglasses (and it's hot, and you're tired) I found that turning off the autoswitching made me much happier. I think turning off the touch screen during this type of shooting is also helpful as my nose would touch the screen as I brought my camera to my eye and would "pan" around the reviewed image and slow down the switch to shooting mode from review mode.

    OK, that was long winded but I hope it helps out. Here are a few from Sunday's races. You can see more at the links below.

    http://nashvilleriders.com/index.ph...-supersport-race-2-round-6-results-and-photos

    http://nashvilleriders.com/index.ph...-daytona-sportbike-round-6-results-and-photos

    http://nashvilleriders.com/index.ph...-ama-pro-superbike-round-6-results-and-photos

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    • Like Like x 6
  5. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    I'm not sure Panasonic 45-150 would be that much of a problem, but I'd like to see it with the coming Olympus 40-150 2.8. Of course, your obvious skill is nice accessory. :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    No way to know without comparisons, but you're in a great position to buy two used lenses and find out!
    Used M.Zuiko 40-150 = dirt cheap
    Used Lumix 45-200 = cheap.
    both decent lenses, they may show different C-AF characteristics,
    I think it would be worth your while buying both (so you have three lenses) and selling on the pair you like the least ...

    Edit: forgot to say : :thumbup: Photos!
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. TomServo

    TomServo Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Apr 22, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Brandon Jackson
    I had considered those lenses as well, particularly the 45-200 as i would like the longer reach. I ended up basing my decision on the 45-150 on the results from the tests at Photozone.de. While it was not exactly a huge difference, the 45-150 seemed to eek out a bit more sharpness at 150 than the others did at their longest reach. I think the 40-150 might be in order for next year so we'll see.
    And thanks for the thumbs up :)
     
  8. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    First thing I did when I got this used 45-200 : went out with my old 40-150 testing them both at 150 and max.
    Very similar at 150, and at 200mm my copy of the 45-200 outresolves the M.Zuiko,
    So worth getting but it's significantly bigger & heavier. Trackside I'd definitely take the Lumix and its cheap second-hand!
    From other tests I seem to recall the Lumix 45-150 (that you have) may be the weakest of the three at 150mm, but of course example variation is a big factor.
     
  9. TomServo

    TomServo Mu-43 Regular

    77
    Apr 22, 2014
    Nashville, TN
    Brandon Jackson
    Yeah, I think either of the Panny's rated better than the similar OM lens but as you say, it varies from example to example. Depending on the size weight (and PRICE) I may hold out for the 40-150 2.8, but we'll see. The whole point was to move to a lighter smaller system. Even the 45-200 being "large" is still rather small by comparison to the 2.8 glass and I just don't need that fast aperture for what I'm shooting with it. I always used to shoot 5.6 with my 80-200 2.8 :)