m4/3 Shoots Sports for Newspaper

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by BarefootPilgrim, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    Real Name:
    Thought y'all might be interested in this item from the Orlando (Florida) Sentinel published a few days ago. Wish there had been more photos with the piece, but it's interesting none the less.

    Who says m4/3 can't shoot professionally? Seems to me it'd be the ideal photojournalism format: light, small, unobtrusive, capable.

    Would you shoot with it today, Gary (Ayala)? Would the Times accept images from m4/3 in the format's current state?

    When I was shooting for the U.S. Army (mid 1960s) I'd have given up a year's-worth of weekend leaves to have a tool like m4/3 is today! (Well... maybe not a whole year.) :biggrin:
  2. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    I think the issue is that it's fine if doing a piece like this which is documentary in nature. But there are times when you need the super fast AF and FPS. If this was an actual Bike race for exampleS

    David Hobby over at strobist used a Canon G9 for many assignments for the Baltimore Sun. So it isn't surprising that m43 can find a spot in a journalists hands.
  3. alans

    alans Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 28, 2010

    Bike Week is certainly photo worthy but calling it a sport? The Daytona race is sport. Bikinis on bikes are eye candy.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, CA
    I use my EPM1 for work. It also doubles as my video camera. I've shot 5 stories with the little camera!
  5. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    You can shoot sports without blindingly fast C-AF. You just have to shoot it differently. Today's better m43 cameras are quite capable of shooting fast action if you shoot parallel to that movement (e.g., panning) rather than trying to shoot it coming straight towards you. For many activities, such as racing, that approach will often give you more interesting shots, anyway.

    I'm still likely to choose a DSLR for shooting sports, but that doesn't mean m43 can't be used.
  6. c5karl

    c5karl Mu-43 Regular

    May 31, 2011
    Fairfax, Va., USA
    When I worked at a big city newspaper about five years ago, all the staff photographers had at least one compact camera in addition to their Canikon gear. I'm sure m43 is part of the mix now.

    Most of these folks are all about the right tool for the job. Having lots of fast, high end glass on hand means they'll err on the side of overkill to make sure they don't miss the shot. But they know better than anyone what a pain it is to lug all that gear around. And none of them wants to be caught somewhere without a camera on hand, even when off duty.
  7. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Dude, this was a bet made between fellow news photogs, lol. When I was working news we had bets all the time.

    The Army photogs I ran into had Nikon's, while a much larger and heavier camera, back in the '60's we were young Turks and laughed at the extra pounds hanging from our necks.

    µ4/3, for certain stories yeah, but not for sports. For a newspaper high resolution is not a real de-qualifier. News print is like three dots per inch and on-line is 72 dpi. Sensor size doesn't matter for newspapers, I imagine many use sensor size to keep from being bombarded by camera phones and P&S-ers.

    I didn't see any sports images. µ4/3 is certainly capable for most news stories. I haven't used a G3, but I think only the OM-D can sorta deliver the performance required to professionally shoot sports, (even then it is on the low end of performance when compared to professional Canon or Nikon cameras).

    In the past µ4/3 has suffered from lack of fast lenses, poor elevated ISO IQ and poor FPS and continuous focus. All these factors kept µ4/3 out of the hands of news photogs.

    µ4/3 seems to have bridged the high ISO gap, but lack of fast lenses is a killer. When I was working for a daily newspaper, 30% to 40% of what I shot was sports, so while the photog could cover a daytime parade with a µ4/3, I doubt he would take it to a sporting event, (unless it was for a bet).

    The OM-D delivers 4.2 FPS in Continuous AF. Canon's 1D-X shoots 12-14 FPS in Auto Servo. Granted, that's over-kill, I'm very comfortable around 6 FPS, the 4.2 FPS is similar to my 1Ds, and I will miss some shots at 4.2 and gotta work harder than with a higher FPS camera. (My Nikon F2 shot 6 FPS.) I do know that the G3, lenses and the like would not stand up to the daily pounding of news work. Oly gave all the major market news organizations pallets of OM-1's and lenses. We all used them, the small size was great ... but within a few months they were all broken.

    The only shot I saw which would not have been better, if shot with a FF dSLR and appropriate lenses, was his last photo of the people and cameras leering upwards at the person's behind.


    Here's the last parade I shot w/ a dSLR:





  8. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    You can shoot with a 4x5 also, but you'll miss a lot of shots. News is very competitive, if you restrict yourself only to parallel movements while the competition is shooting with twice the FPS, 61 auto focus points and grabbing images of people running straight at you ... you'll quickly end up at The Cario News & Camel Report.


  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Don't forget also that the sensor format allows you to shoot at faster lens speeds while retaining enough DOF to keep everything in focus, plus it keeps sharpness and brightness across the entire frame.

    Even in sports, Four-Thirds has its own unique strengths over other formats. I would still use an E-5 over a PEN for most sports, though. On the other hand, shooting my last sports game with a couple of light manual focus primes on a PEN was a real breeze. It felt so good to shoot all that action for so long and not even feel it (two games, back to back). I could actually enjoy the games! I know most sports photographers swear by AF, but I don't feel that much difference myself. Nor did I struggle any more to get my shots than my two peers at those games using Nikon DSLRs. Oh, but they couldn't last through both games, lol...

    Now, if the E-M5's 3D Imager-AF is able to track focus as quickly as accurately as it claims, including subjects coming directly towards and away from you, and once the joint collaboration of Olympus, Panasonic, and all other lens manufacturing partners is able to fill the gap for fast, long native lenses, then at that time Micro Four-Thirds will be able to directly replace DSLRs for sports shooting. We'll know in less than a month how far we've come on the first point, but I expect to wait a couple more years for the second to be fulfilled (to my liking, anyways).
  10. AdamThirtle

    AdamThirtle Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2011
    Newcastle, UK
    For those saying it couldn't shoot sports. The front cover of the newest Sidewalk Skateboard Magazine was shot on an Olympus Pen.

    Although, skateboarding is a bit different, for planned shots you know exactly what point in the frame you want the person when you press the shutter, so autofocus doesn't matter at all. As for continuous shooting I find the new Pens more than fast enough.
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The better sports photogs prefer the isolation of an ultra-thin DOF ... long lens and big aperture for maximum isolation.

    I do remember handhold a 500mm with a 1D body by the end of the soccer match I was beat ... my arms were hamburger.

    Even if AF and long fast lens were available, I think 12 FPS vs 4.2 FPS is a significant difference in favor of the big boys.

  12. gsciorio

    gsciorio Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 29, 2011
    Miami, FL
    I make my living shooting with my Pen and soon (if I can get one quick enough) EM5. I just finished a cover shoot with a pro baseball player that will hit the streets next week and have a few other cover shoots shooting celebrities in production.

    I have found that when shooting people that are used to having cameras and lights in their face they enjoy being photographed with something smaller. For me it allows me to spend more time with the subject and I love using the LCD since I can keep the conversation and direction going with whoever I'm shooting.

    My editorial clients are super happy too. When talking to one last week about how much resolution they need I was told anything over 8MP they cant tell the difference when printed. That was nice to hear since I was shooting with the 5DMKII system a few months ago.

    I think for how I shoot the Pen Mini does an excellent job and am looking forward to the next version.
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yeah, I'm not big on burst shooting but I know a lot of sports photographers are. I would imagine a lot of people will be pretty pleased with the new 9.5fps burst rate of the E-M5, if you want to shoot action with the Micro Four-Thirds system.
  14. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    That 9.5 FPS is not in Continuous Focus mode ... in CF the burst rate is 4.2 FPS. Which is good, but once again for me I'd like to see at least 6 FPS for sports, but 4.2 is doable.