Can E-M1 handle fast sports, truly replace DSLR?

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by campbellcj, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. campbellcj

    campbellcj Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2012
    Hi all,

    Obviously I see there are a lot of other OM-D E-M1 threads going but did not see another discussion exactly on this topic.

    With the E-M5 I have almost totally switched-over to the u4/3 system EXCEPT for my "main" hobby/passion which is motorsports (auto racing in particular). For that I have kept some of my high-end Nikon gear. D3, five pro-grade Nikkor lenses (already sold some), teleconverters, filters, tripods & monopods, etc. - a LOT of $$$ tied-up here. For all other shooting, the E-M5 goes with me constantly.

    Now with the E-M1 coming, I am seriously thinking about selling all the DSLR stuff and possibly my film rangefinder stuff (Voigtlander/Zeiss) too. Question is will the E-M1 C-AF tracking be fast and accurate enough to supplant the D3 and fast AFS glass? Is anyone else here an action-shooter planning to make the leap away from DSLR or has already done so with your E-M5 or other body?

    Suitable u4/3 glass for racing is another question I am still researching...
  2. dougjgreen

    dougjgreen Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 5, 2013
    San Diego
    Doug Green
    I don't think that there is any, but I certainly think that the 50-200mm SWD lens for 4/3 is suitable, perhaps even optimal glass to shoot racing.
  3. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    If the phase detect on chip is really good, wow having a 400mm eq. field of view as sharp as the 50-200mm @ 200mm would make a great combo even inside with f3.5.
  4. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Yes, basically DSLRs are on the way out now. Just like 5-Axis IBIS has made tripods redundant.
    Sell them now before the price plummets.
  5. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    DSLRs aren't going anywhere, and there is no way the E-M1 is going to replace something like a D4 or 1DX body. Those are pure sports and fast action cameras with the best AF of any camera. Saying that, the E-M1 at it's price point is very attractive and I think will make for a competent kit for general photography at a much smaller size.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Sep 5, 2011
    • Like Like x 1
  7. campbellcj

    campbellcj Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2012
    Thanks! I will look into that lens and try to rent one to test. On the Nikon FF side the 70-200mm f/2.8 and 200-400mm f/4 are my "go to" glass for racing. Contrary to what some folks might think, a fast constant aperture is a plus for autofocus but for shooting I almost always have to stop-down and use a polarizer and/or ND to get the shutter speed slow enough. For panning shots I need to get down to 1/60th-1/125th or so which is not easy in bright sunlight! I rarely need more than 400mm (FF) reach but use a 1.4X teleconverter once in a while.
  8. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Try tracking a 3 year old running around a playground with a CDAF only AF system and I guarantee you a competent DSLR will come out on top. :wink: Saying that, I don't bring my DSLR to photograph my kid as I find it way to bulky for that type of shooting!
  9. campbellcj

    campbellcj Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 30, 2012
    I agree, although in the next couple years the capability gap will keep narrowing. My current thinking is for a serious amateur like me -- not a pro making a living at this -- if I can get 80-90+% of the quality/results with a kit that is around half the size, weight and cost, that is too compelling to ignore!
  10. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    That's what I'm saying, at it's price point I think the E-M1 will be very capable for most photographers. I had a V1 and the hybrid focusing was pretty good. If the E-M1 is anything like that, but with all the Olympus bells & whistles, I think it will be a very solid camera. Now only if they can get the price a little cheaper... :biggrin:
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I definitely suggest looking at the Zuiko 50-200mm SWD. There are better lenses in Zuiko's top-pro (Super High-Grade) lineup including the brighter 35-100mm/2 or the longer 90 -250mm/2.8 which have amazing resoiution and fast apertures, but these higher-end lenses will actually not keep up as well to the mid-grade lenses like the 50-200mm SWD for autofocus speed. Like everything else photographic, every lens has its compromises. The 50-200mm SWD is also a lot lighter and easier to swing around while following the action, particularly on long jobs.
  12. gotak

    gotak Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    The answer to your question of can it handle sport is no one knows aside from Olympus AF engineers. All we have are short reviews from people who used it for light sport action.

    If they do pull a rabbit out of the hat it would be great I can sell my heavy canon stuff and move entirely to m43. But I suspect while the PDAF will be good it's not sport DSLR good yet. The on sensor PDAF is new and doing something with a limited number of pixels that used to be done with a dedicated phase detection chip. I also don't think the on sensor PDAF is equivalent to the cross type sensors that higher end DLSRs have, at least no one has mention it to be.
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  13. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    The word appears to be that the E-M1 is equivalent or slightly better to the E-5 in focusing speed. If the E-5 was good enough (and this isn't clear to me as I've never used the camera) then the E-M1 will be as well. Don't expect it to compete with a 7D when it comes to fast action, but if it can keep up with a typical consumer DSLR (70D/D7100) then that'll be very nice indeed. Unfortunately none of the reviews seem to really test the AF performance in serious sporting situations.
  14. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    rob collins
    I doubt you will know if the PDAF is good enough for you until you try it.

    One other feature that shoujld be neat for photographing motorsports is that the 'improved ibis' automatically detects when you are 'panning' the camera and provides best ibis based on that panning.

    This is from the press release....

    When it is employed while panning during still image shooting or movie recording, IS-AUTO mode automatically detects the camera’s movements and provides optimal correction regardless of direction or camera orientation – even when panning in a diagonal direction.

    It sounds a pretty cool and neat feature if it happens to work.
  15. napilopez

    napilopez Contributing Editor

    Feb 21, 2012
    NYC Area
    Napier Lopez
    I've wondered about that myself. I've heard at least one source say none of them are cross type, but I also wonder if this is as necessary given the PDAF pixels can source information from the surrounding pixels(or at least for m4/3 lenses).

    Unfortunately no one has done a truly satisfactory test of C-AF, going through the various settings and lenses. It seems absolute best performance is achieved with M4/3 lenses. Right now all impressions are leaning towards "it's good" and "it works", with a few of the initially negative/ambiguous ones now revised (ex. cameralabs and dpreview). Whether it can come close to a 7D though remains to be seen. I'd still say it's a pretty good first effort by Olympus, though, as it seems to at least be on par with typical consumer DSLRs.
  16. gotak

    gotak Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 28, 2012
    70D has the same AF system as the 7D...

    D7100 has I think 15 cross type points making it quite a bit better then consumer level DLSRs. And it isn't a consumer level DSLR in price or construction.

    Just wanted to point that out...
  17. rich9cinti

    rich9cinti Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 23, 2013
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    We love our :43: system, we really do. I love the advancement that our gear has made over the past few years and I'm happy to see it BUT the old question of replacing the DSLR is well, getting old. I really don't mean it to sound negative but I'm happy it's not a DSLR.

    With more enthusiasts having multiple systems and pro/semi-pro looking to reach out to other great systems is a good thing... I don't think one really should replace the other.

    Again, I love my :43: bodies and lenses but I sell over 13,000 images a year and can't imagine doing so with my beloved OM-D. Why you say? Simply track record. When a client is paying you to cover an event with an extremely high keeper rate, then I shoot with my pro equipment.

    If the EM1 can shoot sports well, awesome! I for one welcome it! Replacing the DSLR for sports, not anytime soon.
  18. Lindsay D

    Lindsay D Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 2, 2013
    West Sussex, England
    All we can do at this stage is speculate. We need a breadth of real-world user experience, which will follow over the next few months.

    I think we know it won't compete with the top DSLRs, but then again it might be perfectly competent for general sports, family photography etc. I'll be testing it on some fast moving animals in about a month. I live near Goodwood Motor Circuit so I can try it out there too, there are plenty of track and test days.
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  19. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    You're right, I forgot Canon brought that over. I meant the 60D's AF system. I'm curious how my A77 compares to all of these cameras as well. I don't know if there's a good comparison out there... I'm not really clear on what makes PDAF systems better or worse in the first place. Everyone seems to like cross-type sensors, but I have no idea if it makes any difference (or how much) in practice. I almost always use center-zone too.
  20. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Don't know about the 70D, but the D7100 has a 51-pt AF that in my admittedly brief testing was as good as the D300 and D700. If the E-M1 could match that, I'd be very impressed.

    Ming Thein compared it to the D200, which was for its time competent, but considering the changed expectations caused by the newer generation AF systems, I don't think most serious action shooters would be particularly happy.