Lens recommendations for indoor sports

BDR-529

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I thought you said to make the best of PDAF then only an Olympus body will work, which is why I mentioned it. That's what I've always understood anyway, too.

I also know that the 35-100 is a 4/3 lens. Is the lens I linked to not that one?
Lens in the link is the correct one: " f2 Four Thirds 4/3 Zoom Lens". Also not a MFT lens but compatible with MMF-3 adapter.

Olympus lenses don't support DFD which is the improvement of CDAF invented by Panasonic but it's just improving AF speed somewhat. All lenses support CDAF though because it doesn't need any support from the lens to work. All MFT or Four Thirds lenses also work just fine with CDAF bodies (Panasonic) because even Olympus used only that in their first MFT bodies. Very latest Olympus Pro lenses might have some internal optimization for Olympus PDAF system but it doesn't mean they would be slow on panny bodies either.

I have not seen any official statement about DFD support on Sigma MFT lenses but my Sigma 56mm f/1.4 has a very fast and accurate AF on Panasonic body as long as there is reasonable amount of light available. IMHO it seems that CDAF is more critical to the amount of light it gets than any specific optimization in lens design and f/1.4 is practically as fast as they get.
 
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Holoholo55

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I doubt that any 4/3rd lens will AF fast enough in an indoor sports setting, even on an EM1 III. I have a few 4/3rds lenses and they're a little bit slower to focus than native M43 lenses, even in good light. Even more so on the CD-AF on the Panasonic. The 35-100 f2 and 150 f2 were superb top of the line SHG lenses in their day, and they're expensive even on eBay, and rightly so. The older 4/3rd lenses also had slower AF motors than the newer M43 lenses, which have fast and light AF mechanisms, which makes them more responsive. You should look at native M43 lenses for best AF performance.
 
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Is this here the lens you were talking about?
That's it. You can find them cheaper, if you take some time and set up some filters. I paid US $524 for mine. It (along with all the E-System "Super High Grade" lenses) is an incredible lens that does not sacrifice image quality for light-gathering. I call it my "bag of primes."

The 150/2 is another simply incredible SHG lens. They are a bit rare, and some people are asking crazy prices for them, but I got a nice one for US $828.
 
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You should look at native M43 lenses for best AF performance.
It depends on your priority.

Huge aperture. Lighting fast focus. Pick one!

I find that my SHG lenses focus faster on an E-M1.2 than they do on a 4/3rds E-3. But yea, they're barely perceptibly slower than a native µ4/3rds lens.

I've shot indoor events with both the 35-100/2 and the 150/2, and found the focus speed to be adequate. Most of the time, I turn it off and use manual zone focusing — which also results in greater battery life.

Also, PDAF is much better for sports than CDAF is. PDAF can accurately re-focus in smaller increments than CDAF can. If re-focusing within a tight range is what you need, you may be better off getting a decent PDAF body, then spending money on "hunting" CDAF.

In many ways, auto-focus is a crutch. Those who did a lot of shooting before AF was widespread have a bag of tricks that newer shooters lack!

For sports, I think the ability to capture 60 frames in a second (E-M1.*) is more important than lightening-fast AF.
 

JanW

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I want to add this to the 4/3 lens discussion:
Non-cdaf optimized 4/3 lenses work on all m4/3 camera's but focus is S L O W on bodies without pdaf (e-m1 and e-m5.3).
I use the 4/3 35mm macro on my Panasonic body but I would never use it shooting sports. Not even when prefocusing is possible.
The 4/3 lenses with the blue ring (like the 14-54II and 70-300) work fine on cdaf only bodies.
 

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Holoholo55

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I had GREAT difficulty with using a Vello (B&H) el-cheapo 4/3 to m43 adapter. I would not recommend using anything but Oly or Pany adapter, especially with ultra-wide lenses. The gruesome details were on this forum, here:
https://www.mu-43.com/threads/zuiko-9-18-vs-m-zuiko-9-18.84959/#post-899440
I bought a used Fotodiox Pro adapter. I should have tested it right away so I could have returned it to Amazon, but I waited until it was too late. While it more or less worked, there was some rotational play on the adapter, and the contacts would not make reliable contact. So, about half the time, there would be no image in the viewfinder. I'd have to jiggle it, or take it off and reinstall it to make connection. I finally gave up and gave it away with a lens I sold, but I did warn the buyer. Never had that problem with Olympus MMF adapters. YMMV.
 

BDR-529

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Non-cdaf optimized 4/3 lenses work on all m4/3 camera's but focus is S L O W on bodies without pdaf (e-m1 and e-m5.3).
I use the 4/3 35mm macro on my Panasonic body but I would never use it shooting sports. Not even when prefocusing is possible.
The 4/3 lenses with the blue ring (like the 14-54II and 70-300) work fine on cdaf only bodies.
If we are talking about 10+ year old lens design for a mount which is only compatible with MFT using an adapter, it's totally irrelevant what they were originally optimized for.

Even the best and latest native f/1.4-f/1.8 MFT lenses are on the verge of being usable when shooting indoor sports so there's no way these old Four Third lenses could come even close no matter how great they might be optically when shooting something more stationary. They have made so huge improvement in electromechanical and especially SW development during the last 10 years that AF speed is now on an entirely new level.

Some native MFT lenses have unfortunately been optimized for only one brand like the Olympus 40‑150mm F2.8 PRO which I wanted to buy but then found many reviews by panny body owners who complained that AF of course works but it's not as fast they expected and it also keeps hunting in low light conditions. Also a far cry of what this lens can do on Olympus body.

This has anything to do with the type of AF system (CDAF or PDAF) per se. Olympus has simply created a proprietary system where body and lens operate together in a way which is not part of MFT specification and therefore Panasonic bodies would not benefit from it even if they used PDAF too. It's a same story with Panasonic DFD, it requires that lens stores internally DFD data which body uses to improve AF speed but at least in FF world, Leica and Sigma lenses are DFD compliant.

Even dual-IS is also not compatible between brands which is absolutely stupid even though only panny really has build-in IS in almost all their lenses so this problem is not valid for Olympus or Sigma lens owners in any case (save for a couple of really long Oly lenses which have in-lens IS)

So, I ended up buying a Panasonic 45-200mm II lens at a real bargain price (280€). Because this lens supports both latest Panasonic dual IS and DFD, even 200mm (400mm equivalent) handheld shots have turned out way much better than I ever expected. I'm pretty convinced that they are even better than what I would have achieved with over three times more expensive Olympus 40‑150mm because that lens is designed not to give it's full potential on a Panasonic body which is simply insane development for the whole MFT ecosystem and also Olympus itself.
 
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PakkyT

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so there's no way these old Four Third lenses could come even close no matter how great they might be optically when shooting something more stationary.
Assuming you are referring to AF speed only, rather than image quality?.


Olympus has simply created a proprietary system where body and lens operate together in a way which is not part of MFT specification and therefore Panasonic bodies would not benefit from it even if they used PDAF too. It's a same story with Panasonic DFD, it requires that lens stores internally DFD data which body uses to improve AF speed but at least in FF world, Leica and Sigma lenses are DFD compliant.
The four-thirds specification is not that detailed or inclusive. It simple gives the basic details about the mount, communication and that sort of thing. After that manufacturers are free to use that mount and communication to add any sort of tricks and features they want. While the two systems share a mount, they are still competitors.


Even dual-IS is also not compatible between brands which is absolutely stupid
It is not in the specification so neither manufacturer is going to add their competitions feature to help their competition sell their lenses. Instead each is going to tout their system as the best and hope you buy their lenses for their bodies and not the competitions lenses. Or put another way, the competition doesn't give a crap about helping you sell your lenses.
 

JanW

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.....so there's no way these old Four Third lenses could come even close no matter how great they might be optically when shooting something more stationary. They have made so huge improvement in electromechanical and especially SW development during the last 10 years that AF speed is now on an entirely new level.

...

This has anything to do with the type of AF system (CDAF or PDAF) per se.
I don't know what point you are trying to make here.
Did anyone say that 4/3 lenses used on cdaf bodies could match the af speed of modern m4/3 glass?

Re your second remark that I quoted: have you ever used 4/3 lenses on a m4/3 cdaf body?
If you had you would have seen that on most m4/3 bodies there is a very marked difference in AF performance between the lenses that were made for pdaf only or the ones that were also optimized for cdaf.
This has everything to do with the AF system that was used in the (D)SLR camera's which was cdaf only until live view was introduced.

This is what I wanted to make clear because the start of this pdaf/cdaf discussion was the suggestion to use a 4/3 non-cdaf optimized lens on a Panasonic body. Which I wouldn't recommend for it's AF speed.
 
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the suggestion to use a 4/3 non-cdaf optimized lens on a Panasonic body. Which I wouldn't recommend for it's AF speed.
Uhm… I believe I'm the sinner that brought up the heretical concept that maybe, just maybe, past technology could still be useful, and indeed, could still better current technology in certain areas.

But I did mention the drawback of using most 4/3rds lenses on non-PDAF bodies. For best results, you want to use 4/3rds lenses on the E-M1* or E-M5.3, which I believe I said.

I shouldn't have even brought it up, since the original poster said they were using Panasonic. I just wanted to point out the wonderful, affordable gems that are out there if one is able to use PDAF.

Except for weight and size, I'm delighted with my E-System SHG lenses. But given optical constraints, you aren't going to get much smaller/lighter, even with today's technology. Just look at the recent Sigma ƒ/1.8 zooms, which achieve a small savings in size and weight through the liberal use of plastic.
 

BDR-529

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I don't know what point you are trying to make here.
Did anyone say that 4/3 lenses used on cdaf bodies could match the af speed of modern m4/3 glass?
Yes they did.

Topic of this thread is "Lens recommendations" for indoor sports" and if you had bothered to read previous messages before writing yours, you would have noticed that two Four Thirds lenses were indeed suggested.

Since those two are still extremely expensive even on the second hand market they must be optically very good but nevertheless they are certainly not on par with modern, native MFT lenses for this very use case were the whole MFT mount ecosystem is unfortunately the least suitable option around (in terms of absolute IQ if cost and weight can be ignored)

After all four thirds lenses f/2 is one full stop slower than f/1.4 (like Sigma 56mm) which is already on the very edge of being too slow in many indoor vernues which don't have all that bright lighting and there's no way 10+ year four thirds lenses could meet AF speed requirements in Panasonic GX8 body which is the one we are discussing here.
 

doady

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Yes they did.

Topic of this thread is "Lens recommendations" for indoor sports" and if you had bothered to read previous messages before writing yours, you would have noticed that two Four Thirds lenses were indeed suggested.
Did JanW question whether 4/3 lenses had been suggested or not? Seems to me you're the one who can't be bothered to read.
 

BDR-529

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If you had you would have seen that on most m4/3 bodies there is a very marked difference in AF performance between the lenses that were made for pdaf only or the ones that were also optimized for cdaf.
This has everything to do with the AF system that was used in the (D)SLR camera's which was cdaf only until live view was introduced.

This is what I wanted to make clear because the start of this pdaf/cdaf discussion was the suggestion to use a 4/3 non-cdaf optimized lens on a Panasonic body. Which I wouldn't recommend for it's AF speed.
Just in my previous message I did clearly state that unfortunately for the whole MFT ecosystem, both Panasonic and especially Olympus have created "compatible" lenses which do work when mounted on any MFT body but in some cases it almost looks like they did intentionally cripple the performance on competitors cameras (For example Olympus 40‑150mm F2.8 PRO which has two focus modules that move independently from each other and only Olympus bodies know how to exploit these)

And one comment about different AF systems. Four thirds cameras were were still traditional SLR:s and used separate AF modules as all SLR:s had done since 35mm film era. So if four thirds lenses were ever optimized for anything, it was for this separate AF module which required two mirrors to get light in the first place, not for the in-sensor hybrid AF cells which only came to MFT bodies in OM-D E1 in 2013.

I have also never seen a writer who could explain how it is even possible to create a lens which does not support CDAF because this AF system simply analyzes the very image that camera is reading from the sensor.

The only thing limiting CDAF speed and accuracy is the amount of processing power available for AF algorithms and of course those serial commands which are used to move focus elements inside the lens around but PDAF is equally limited by this too ... unless camera manufacturer happens to have a set of proprietary commands which only their bodies can use when it's communicating with their lenses...

This is where the difference in speed really comes from in latest MFT bodies: it's the way the focus system can drive those electromechanical elements inside a lens. Optically every lens is just as well optimized for CDAF as they are for PDAF. Actually both AF systems need the very same properties from the lens to work properly: good sharpness, contrast, very fast and accurate movement of focus group(s) and at least reasonable amount of light.
 
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Holoholo55

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While I am a proponent of using 4/3rd lenses on an M43 camera, there are times and places where they work well. I have a 50-200 SWD and Sigma 105 f2.8 macro, and had a 12-60 SWD, and tested them on an EM5 I and EM1 I and II. Using them on a CD-AF body like the EM5 I or the GX8 for a low-light action situation like indoor sports is not a good fit, IMO. The superb SHG 35-100 f2 and 150 f2 lenses are still expensive even on the used market at $1,000 - $1,500+, if you can find them. There are a lot of native M43 lenses that could fit the bill for far less. Don't get me wrong, those two lenses are superb, but they don't fit the OP's needs.

@Macroramphosis should look at the current crop of native M43 lenses. I think you'll find something that will work for you, but note that the GX8 is probably not the best camera for this type of work. You can probably get by finding the right lens though. A used 35-100 f2.8 II looks like it's going for about $700-800. Can probably find a 35-100 I for less.
 
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but note that the GX8 is probably not the best camera for this type of work.
Indeed. It's taken a while but I have come to the conclusion that even outdoors the wife's old G6 is actually faster than the GX8 when used with the Sigma 60mm, for example. I'm not quite sure why this is, but for focusing speed the G6 will return a lot more keepers for me than the GX8 - it also seems more accurate too.
 

Holoholo55

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Indeed. It's taken a while but I have come to the conclusion that even outdoors the wife's old G6 is actually faster than the GX8 when used with the Sigma 60mm, for example. I'm not quite sure why this is, but for focusing speed the G6 will return a lot more keepers for me than the GX8 - it also seems more accurate too.
I don't know much about Panasonic models, but the reviews make the GX8 sound good. Sounds like it should have good AF performance.
https://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/panasonic-gx8/panasonic-gx8A.HTM

Can't argue with real life experience though. I've been using Olympus hybrid AF (PD-AF and CD-AF) cameras for some time and they generally perform well in action photography like birds in flight. I have mostly Olympus lenses, and that may be a factor. Generally speaking, cameras perform better with their own brand lenses, even though the lenses will work on each other's cameras. Not surprised by that. BTW, have you tried cleaning the contact pins on your lenses and camera body? I clean them occasionally with DeOXIT very sparingly applied to a cotton swab (I spray a tiny bit on the swab, not on the gear). Seems to help keep them performing at top level.
 

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