GH4 for sports? I am not getting any quality pictures

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by eBrain, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. eBrain

    eBrain New to Mu-43

    Feb 19, 2014
    Title pretty much says it all. I am covering soccer matches these days and having some challenges even when light is perfect for higher shutter speeds. I must mention that the type of pictures I am taking are for individual players so I have to be super close to a fast moving object or continue to shoot while player is running, say, towards me (sort of - because I am standing close to the post)

    - Biggest challenge is focus blur. I am doing it hand held mostly at 300mm (using Panasonic 100-300mm lens) at 1/600 or above in continuous focus mode. I have focus area about 1/2 square inch on a player when I shoot (with high burst setting), and continue to keep desired player in focus area but looking at pictures 90% are out of focus :-(

    - Have tried using my other lens (35-100mm F2.8) with much higher shutter speed but results did not change.

    An additional question that came to mind while writing above is if I use ETC on either of these lenses is it going to get DOF any better assuming I am shooting at max focal lengths?

    Wish I could record video at 4K pull frames out for stills but 4K focus in super slow. I even tried couple manual lenses (with short focus throw) moving focus ring continuously back and forth to see if some frames come out well but shutter speed is playing a role I think because players are not coming in focus on any of such frames
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016
  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California

    ETC is not going to solve anything.

    Which focus modes / settings are you using?

    The 100-300mm has some limitations with continuous shooting.
  3. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    My two cents is that I never have had great luck with continuous AF or with burst shooting for sports with my Olympus. I do set the "drive" mode on my camera for burst shooting but typically for slow sequences and will only use it for a few frames at most. Otherwise I tend to end up with mostly a bunch of out of focus shots to throw away later.

    My method which usually gets the job done well enough for my needs are to constantly "feathering" the shutter button myself half way to continue to change focus and then when I see the shot I full press. I do tend to get a lot more keepers than the times I give C-AF another chance only to re-learn why I don't use it.

    One thing to keep in mind that at 300mm your depth of field is probably right around a foot give or take depending on distance and aperture. If you are standing near the goal trying to photograph players moving quickly right at you, then they would easily move that one foot in a fraction of a second and literally run out of your focal plane. If the camera's C-AF is kind of slow, each time it gets a focus the player jumps out of focus immediately. You might want to try some sideline shooting or shooting near the corners where the players would still be moving towards you but not as quickly towards your camera if they are angling towards the goal. It would be interesting to see if your keeper rate improves if you switch front head on shots to side shots.
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