Review M1 Mk III for Ice Hockey or Indoor Sports

NACEOD

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Apr 8, 2018
Messages
75
Location
Mesa Az
Real Name
Rob
I've been using the M1 Mk III for about a month at high school ice hockey games. It's a big step up from the original E-M1 I had been using prior. The Mk III and adding DXO Photo Lab 4 Deep Prime noise reduction has greatly improved the ability to catch the right moments during play on the ice. I use the Sigma 2.8 and Olympus 50-200 SWD, the Sigma at f2.8 and the Olympus at f3.5 using manual mode. ISO is usually set to 10,000 with shutter speed between 1/800 up to 1/1250 depending on lighting and Plexiglas shading. I set the white balance before each game and each time I move around the rink to new positions. Between different bulb temperatures, Plexiglas shading and windows letting in sunlight in, the balance changes depending on where you are shooting from and the angle through the glass. Each game I'm bringing home around 5-800 photos on the card. Using Adobe Bridge I'll narrow it down to 30-50 to process with DXO.

For camera settings I used Mark D Young's well thought out and explained settings from his photography blog here: http://flightlevel42.co.za/photoblog.html#Olympus_OM-D_E-M1_Mark_III_menu_settings_booklet

Autofocus for the most part stays on C-AF. Sometimes I'll switch to S-AF for goalie shots if there's lots of cross traffic between me and the goalie. C-AF Sensitivity is set to (-2) and 90% of the time it will stay locked on where I want, even if referees and players transitioning across the frame. If anyone pauses for more than half a second or so it may lose focus on the target but as soon as the sight line clears it will refocus almost instantly with a half press of the shutter button.

Using the original M1 I might have been able to catch the puck being released during a shot with a bent stick once every 2 or 3 games. With the Mk III and mechanical high shutter it's possible to catch 3 or 4 per game if I'm concentrating on skaters in the attacking zone. Same thing for goalie shots. With the M1 in each mechanical high shutter burst of 4-10 frames the puck would be in 1 or maybe 2 useable photos. The Mk III using high will catch 3 or 4 useable photos in each short burst.

I've settled on using the mechanical shutter in high for photos of skaters.

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Pro Capture works really well for goalie shots. It's taken a while to get used to it though. Any panning will result in bent goal posts and Plexiglas frames giving a fun house look to the pictures.
Here's a screen shot of a series and individual frames from a couple shot sequence for examples.
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These are JPEGs with a little bit of noise reduction and sharpening. I forgot to switch back to RAW. Still useable for our social media page. I'll add some processed RAWs after our game this weekend.
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These are High School Division 2 and 3 games. To get the puck completely frozen in air for the harder shots is tough with the rink lighting. I kind of like to look of a little puck distortion or streakiness. It gives a sense of action. With the same settings it's possible to get completely frozen puck in air at 8U up to 12U age groups. 14U is where it becomes hard to get the puck frozen in the air.

Please feel free to add your photos with any suggestions on settings or techniques.

Rob
 

stevedo

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2012
Messages
717
Location
UK
Real Name
Steve
Sorry, I cannot make any suggestions regarding settings etc. because I have no experience in this field (rink). However, that does not stop me from enjoying your photos and write-up. Thanks for posting.
 

kbouk

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
120
Location
Greece
Electronic shutter will give you more noise on high ISO and maybe add banding (depends on gym lighting).

Use legacy 50-200 SWD wide open with Release priority = ON on CAF. If you close the aperture you will lose fps . If you set Release priority= off sometimes camera can’t confirm focus on time and you will lose shots.

Of course with RP=ON you will bring home and more unfocus shots.
 
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