Kids' sports and E-M1/GX8 vs DSLRs

barry13

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Hi,
Background: My friend has 2 kids, aged 8 & 3, and told me yesterday "I need to get a DSLR sometime soon for the kids' sports".
He also likes to shoot video of the kids, mostly outdoors I'm assuming.
He then called my E-M1 a 'brick', apparently not realizing a capable DSLR is probably going to be bigger/heavier.

He has used Canon bridge cameras in the past, but is currently using a Canon PowerShot S95, which to me seems to be an expensive P&S with a short lens (28-105mm eq) and a somewhat large sensor.
He says he's having trouble zooming fast/far enough, and catching focus.
--

So, I'm thinking of recommending one or more of the following:
GX8 (for DFD AF & good video)
E-M1 (for PDAF & cheap lenses such as the ZD 50-200mm SWD + EC-14)
Panasonic FZ1000 (cheaper, smaller)

But I'd also like to be able to tell him what might have better AF.

I found this in a 2+ year old thread and am wondering if the part in bold would still hold true today:
I'd say my GH3 is pretty much equal, in terms of AF, to my 50D for shooting sports. The 100-300 AF isn't quite as fast as my 70-200 2.8, but it's at least as good as the 70-300 zoom I had.

While I might agree with the idea of "the best tool for the job," Canon's xxD cameras really don't fit that description. A Canon 7D, or a 1D Mk IV, are certainly superior to the GH3, but mid-range consumer DSLRs not so much.

So, which APS-C DSLRs today have better AF (C-AF or C-AF+Track) than the E-M1 or GX8?

Also, do the same DSLRs have enough of a noise advantage that they can be used with much slower lenses and higher ISO at night or indoors?
e.g. could a DSLR with a 70-300mm f4-5.6 compete for sports with the E-M1 & 40-150mm Pro (& MC-14 if needed) or ZD 50-200mm?
How's the AF on those 70-300's?

Thanks!
Barry

---------------------------

Summary of recommendations so far:

DSLRs:
Canon 7D mkII +70-200 f4 L IS (1500+1150=$2650) 910+760=1670g
Canon 70D +70-200 f4 L IS (999+1150=$2150) 755+760=1510g

Nikon D500 + 70-200mm f/4G ED VR (2000+1400=$3400) 860+850=1710g
Nikon D7200 + 70-200mm f/4G ED VR (1100+1400=$2500) 860+675=1535g
Nikon D5500 + 2 lens kit $1100 Costco

Mirrorless:
mu-43 (below)

Sony A6000 (APS-C) + FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS (649+1498=$2150) 344+840=1184g
Comments: 200mm on APS-C may be too short for soccer?

Sony A6300 (APS-C) + FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS (???+1498=$?)

Nikon 1 (which one?) + 30-110mm OR 1 NIKKOR VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 ($1000, 550g) Best Reach
Comments: no fast zooms. Great Reach.

Nikon DL (24-500mm eq f/2.8-5.6, 1" sensor) ~$999

Panasonic FZ1000 (25-400mm (eq) f/2.8-4)

Sony DSC-RX10 (24-200mm (eq) f/2.8)

mu-43:
E-M1 + O40-150 Pro f2.8 (+MC-14?) (1000+1299 (+TC $350)=$2300-2650) 1380-1550g

E-M1 + MMF-3 + ZD 50-200 SWD f2.8-3.5 (+EC-14?) ($1000 + $150 + $500 (used) (+ TC $220 (used)) = $1650-1870) 1600-1800g. Great Reach w TCs. Could add EC-20 later if needed for larger soccer fields.

GX8 + P100-400mm f4.0-6.3 (OIS, DFD) (1000+1600=$2600) Best Reach

GX8 + P45-175 f4.0-5.6 (OIS, DFD) (1200+380=$1580)

G7 + P45-175 f4.0-5.6 (OIS, DFD) (600+380=$980)

E-M1 II...

GX8 + P100-300 f4.0-5.6 (OIS) Poorer DFD than other P lenses.
GX8 + P45-200 f4.0-5.6 (OIS)
GX8 + P45-175 f4.0-5.6 (more $ than 45-200, OIS (no switch), PZ, internal zoom)
GX8 + P45-150 4.0-5.6 (short?)(OIS, no switch)
E-M1 + P100-300mm f4.0-5.6 (1/2 stop faster than Oly 75-300)
E-M1 + O75-300 II f4.8-6.7 (slower aperture)
E-M1 + O40-150 R f4.0-5.6 (short?)
 
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siftu

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I would say the canon 7d2 would be the best for sports. IQ wise it's not going to be any better than m43 but it will track a lot better. I think the biggest thing is the lens. I had a d7100 and a slow telephoto. It really didn't track that well either but I think if I had some expensive glass behind it, it would be a different story. Nikon now has the d500 which would be an IQ improvement.

I get the feeling if you want to track well it will cost you.
 

pdk42

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Shooting sports is tough, and unless you spend a lot of money on high end gear there's no easy answer. I don't think any Olympus camera is good enough and whilst I hear that the GX8 is pretty good I've never tried one. The Sony A6000 is reputed to be very good, as is the Nikon 1. In DSLRs, I concur that the 7d is excellent, but as siftu said, lenses will get expensive to make the best of it.

On balance, I'd recommend a 7d or 7dii plus the 70-200 f4 L IS. It won't be cheap, but not uber expensive either. It'll be a brick of course, but that's just how it s!
 

barry13

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@siftu, @pdk42,
Thanks...

Which of the Nikon 1's have good AF?
I take it they all have EVF's except for the V3 where it has an (optional or included?) detachable one?
Is the EVF big enough to be useful?
How's the ISO noise?

Is it safe to say that the Nikon, Canon, and Sony APS-C bodies have about 1-stop better ISO/noise performance vs mu-43?

Is 70-200 on APS-C long enough for a soccer field?

I think I've read Sony is probably killing off of their APS-C lines; is that correct?

Thanks!
Barry
 
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shermanshen

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I use a gx7/em5ii and a 100-300mm for my kids' sports. I don't know what tracking AF is like since m43 stinks at it, but I can tell you that at f8 (or even f4-5.6), I get all the depth of field I need and shots are usually in focus. I find timing and technique allows me to get the shots I want and having the reach at 300mm is very valuable on a large soccer field. I don't know how the fz1000 zooms, but having a mechanical zoom is also important because the action can change so quickly. I think these reasons makes m43 a viable choice for kids' sports.
 

Speedliner

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I use my e-m1 and 50-200 for my girls sports, mostly Lacross. The combo does fine. The 40-150r does fine as well. Outdoor in good light there's no problem. A 7dm2 would track better for sure, as would a d7200 and others, but the em1 is fine. Indoors is another matter, but still possible. Lens selection becomes more important. The 75,1.8 is a great basketball lens for instance because you can get close to a kids' game. No better lens for shots from under the basket. 35-100,2.8 or 40-150, 2.8 would be good, 150f2....

Picking an individual player out of a crowd is always a challenge. The canon AF seems to be best at maintaining tracking on a specific subject even when other players cross in front. Em1 tends to lose it, but getting it back is fast if deliberate.

I've heard some say that even a d5500 does well for kids' sports, but I think I'd stick with em1.

Tough call. 7dmk2 clearly the best until the d500 comes out, but at more money obviously. A used em1 with 40-150r, or 50-200 might be the bargain option and could be sold for close to purchase price if rejected. What are his/her other interests ? Maybe that's a tie breaker.
 

barry13

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@Speedliner, thanks... Other (photographic) interests? I'm not sure he has any other than snapshots & videos of his wife & kids. I'm guessing he'd want to use it for school performances, etc. which I already know mu-43 can handle with the right lenses and ISO 1600-6400.

@shermanshen, thanks. What size soccer field are your kids playing on?
Do you foresee needing over 300mm (e.g. the new 100-400mm) when the kids move up to a larger field / older age group?

Thanks!
Barry
 

PakkyT

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Background:
My friend has 2 kids, ages 8 & 3, and told me yesterday "I need to get a DSLR sometime soon for the kids' sports".
[snip]

So, I'm thinking of recommending one or more of the following:

Panasonic FZ1000 (cheaper, smaller)
GX8 (for DFD AF & good video)
E-M1 (for PDAF & cheap lenses such as the ZD 50-200mm SWD + EC-14)

I won't speculate on the ones I know nothing about but have a fair number of years of youth sports shooting with my kids baseball, lacrosse, soccer, and ice hockey (which is hardest being indoors, crap lighting and often shooting through slightly tinted scratched up glass). In the past I shot with an Oly E-520, E-1, and E-3. I can state without hesitation that the E-M1 & the 50-200mm (mine is non-SWD) withOUT the EC-14 works very well. If outdoor during the day it is a slam dunk combo and it is mostly up to the skills of the photographer. But even indoors at Hockey games it does very well, certainly well enough to shoot one's own children and capture the memories.
 

b_rubenstein

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Are you really going to pitch $3,000 kits to someone using a 5 year old P&S camera? (I have a S95 and it's horrid for things that move.) If the kids are playing outdoor sports the FZ1000 will give him what he wants without a heart attack (from laughing at most of the above suggestions). Kirk Tuck has been using an FZ for all sorts of commercial jobs and has been very impressed with the focus, lens and video.
 

siftu

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Are you really going to pitch $3,000 kits to someone using a 5 year old P&S camera? (I have a S95 and it's horrid for things that move.) If the kids are playing outdoor sports the FZ1000 will give him what he wants without a heart attack (from laughing at most of the above suggestions). Kirk Tuck has been using an FZ for all sorts of commercial jobs and has been very impressed with the focus, lens and video.
When I read what the OP was asking about it sounded like he was after a APS-C DSLR suggestions. Maybe I missed the point.
 

tkbslc

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The G7 has the same DFD tech as the GX8 and is considerably cheaper. A G7 and a 45-175mm would go a long way for outdoor sports and well lit indoor sports. Swap it for a 60mm f2.8, 75mm f1.8 or 35-100 f2.8 for indoor sports.

FZ1000 would be almost as good.

I still think a Canon or Nikon DSLR with cross-type AF sensors will track AF better, but we are talking kids sports not diving falcons.

And of course the biggest factor will be if your friend wants to learn the camera and how to shoot, or just put it in Auto and click the shutter. If it is the latter, he's going to keep getting mediocre shots no matter the setup.
 

barry13

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Are you really going to pitch $3,000 kits to someone using a 5 year old P&S camera? (I have a S95 and it's horrid for things that move.) If the kids are playing outdoor sports the FZ1000 will give him what he wants without a heart attack (from laughing at most of the above suggestions). Kirk Tuck has been using an FZ for all sorts of commercial jobs and has been very impressed with the focus, lens and video.

Hi,
He can afford $3000 (I've asked him), but would prefer to start out less, and maybe add a longer/faster tele later.

But actually, I'm pitching him a $1700 kit: E-M1 + MMF-3 + 50-200(used).
Unless he's very serious about video, in which case it'll be a G7 or GX8 + a lens with DFD & OIS.

But I want to give him the options for DSLRs in case he wants better C-AF+Tracking and pretends he doesn't care about weight/size.

Re the FZ1000, I've seen at least one review criticizing the 'poor' AF for sports: Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 review
However, I'd prefer to hear from users here with how it compares to the E-M1 and/or GX8/G7 with one of the better lenses.

Thanks!
Barry
 
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barry13

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Kids' Soccer: U-8 field is 50 yards long, 25 yards wide (max).
I shot an NBA game from a fairly high seat and 150mm was a bit long to cover the player and the ball, so I'm starting to think 150mm on mu-43 would be plenty for now, until the kids progress to larger fields.

Anyone tried C-AF on any of the slow zooms?

He also says he'd like to record video up to 30 mins of kid's performances, etc.
I told him he'd need a tripod, he says 'fine'.

Barry
 

SVQuant

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Kids' Soccer: U-8 field is 50 yards long, 25 yards wide (max).
I shot an NBA game from a fairly high seat and 150mm was a bit long to cover the player and the ball, so I'm starting to think 150mm on mu-43 would be plenty for now, until the kids progress to larger fields.

Barry

150mm should be good for a U-8 soccer field. The equivalent APS-C lens was my go to lens for this purpose for a while. I have not had a chance to shoot any kid's sports since, so I do not have a good sense of what my E-M10+75-300 will do when my son's lacrosse season starts in a week. I shot a taekwondo show with the O40-150 and got a reasonable keeper rate with C-AF, but it was a little touch and go.

At the risk of heresy, I am going to throw in a suggestion for the Nikon D5500 + 2 lens kit. It is a relatively lightweight kit with decent image quality and far fewer options. Given where he is coming from, I think he will have an easier transition. Currently, $1,100 on costco.com.
 

mcumeda

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If his main thing is to shoot sports, I think a DSLR would be the best idea. He can get D7100 or 7d II. But if he is new to photography those can be tough to use because the autofocus settings can be overwhelming with all the options. Maybe a A6000 would be good too. I had an A6000, and it struggled to focus in dim settings, but if it is outside, it shouldn't be a problem.

I love m4/3 stuff, but its strength is not sport shooting. It can do fine, but the DSLR will be better.
 

barry13

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At the risk of heresy, I am going to throw in a suggestion for the Nikon D5500 + 2 lens kit. It is a relatively lightweight kit with decent image quality and far fewer options. Given where he is coming from, I think he will have an easier transition. Currently, $1,100 on costco.com.

Thanks... How's the CAF compare?

Barry
 

John M Flores

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What kinds of sports and whether indoors or out are key questions. If it was all outdoor sports like soccer and football then the diminutive Nikon 1 system would be great. But the lack of fast glass and a low ISO ceiling makes it bad for indoors.

Indoors, you not only need good AF but also a high ISO ceiling so you can use fast shutter speeds with the longer focal lengths. In these situations, something like the Panny 35-100 F2.8 is going to be pushing the ISO of whatever M43 body it is attached to.
 

barry13

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What kinds of sports and whether indoors or out are key questions. If it was all outdoor sports like soccer and football then the diminutive Nikon 1 system would be great. But the lack of fast glass and a low ISO ceiling makes it bad for indoors.

Indoors, you not only need good AF but also a high ISO ceiling so you can use fast shutter speeds with the longer focal lengths. In these situations, something like the Panny 35-100 F2.8 is going to be pushing the ISO of whatever M43 body it is attached to.

Thanks... That's what I was thinking re the N1.

Right now it's outdoor daytime soccer, but there's also indoor school performances, etc.

For indoor sports, I'd recommend the O75mm and/or one of the 42/45mm primes.

Barry
 
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