My 2020 review of Motorsports with m4/3

Kae1

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
228
Real Name
Ken
Background
Back in 2019 I made my first ever post on the forum Motorsports with m4/3 – am I expecting too much (within my budget)? – Post 1 | Mu-43 (mu-43.com) with regards to my expectations from m4/3 within my budget. I suppose in summary my main points were:-
  • Were there any recommendations on technique when using m4/3 equipment?
  • Was I expecting too much from my equipment within my budget?
  • Was I getting the best out of my equipment?
Whilst there were several very helpful responses which pointed me in several directions, 18 months on I’d like to reply to myself and give an update on what I’ve discovered since my original posting. For me lockdown has been an opportunity to review the equipment, the techniques and (most importantly) the images I took in 2019 in greater detail than I would have done normally. By culling many of my 2019 motorsport images and then subsequently editing what was left and reviewing the equipment used, I made the discovery that :-
  • SOOC wasn’t going to give me the sort of images I sought
  • More expensive lenses do give better images
  • More expensive cameras can provide better autofocus
However, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that I was able to improve the majority of my images through post processing. Editing plus the lack of motorsport in early 2020 gave me an opportunity, and confidence, to also post some of my edited 2019 images.

Motorsports in 2020
Motorsports started again in July and I was incredibly lucky to attend events in the UK and have been posting some of the results on the forum as the latter half of the year has progressed.
However since the end of October, with the worsening Covid situation I’ve been unable to attend any more meetings this year. What that means is that I’m now working my way through all my 2020 pictures which I’ve regarded as “keepers” i.e. an interesting vehicle and at least reasonably sharp as well as a reminder of the day.
This weekend I thought for a change I’d produce some statistics from my 2020 outings, initially just to see which focal lengths I used for what type of event i.e.cars or bikes, at which circuit, and at what shutter speed. However, I then got carried away and did a more detailed analysis on the equipment and techniques used and then draw some conclusions from my review. I know, as do our government, that statistics can prove anything and fully accept that this is my personal view of what I think I’ve discovered.

Key facts
  • Cameras used – Panasonic G9, G90 and Olympus OMD EM1 II
  • Lenses used – Panasonic Leica 100-400, Olympus 75-300 ii, Canon 70-200 F4L (& Viltrox EF M2)
  • Software – Photoshop Elements, XnViewMP, ExposurePlot
  • Circuits visited – Cadwell Park, Donington Park, Oulton Park
  • Events visited – 5 bike and 6 car* (*Stage rally excluded)
  • Weather – Variable – Sunny to overcast – Shorts to Thermos & gloves
Methodology
  • Take two cameras with lenses to each meeting. Usually a heavier (better quality) outfit and a lighter outfit to use when I’m getting cold / tired
  • Monopod used for less than 0.5% of images
  • Use mainly continuous autofocus with system lenses and manual focus with adapted lens.
  • Shoot in burst mode and take way too many photographs at each event
  • Do a cull using XnViewMP when I return home and produce “keepers”
  • Quickly identify twenty pictures from a meeting which I would be happy to post, edit them and then select about five to post
  • At leisure edit of the remainder from each meeting.
Assumptions
  • Only equipment listed above used
  • Same photographer i.e. me for each event
  • No improvement in technique over the period
  • Manual focus* only used with adapted Canon lens (*although also used with system lenses but unable to identify focus type without each image’s EXIF being reviewed)
  • Weather variation equalised over number of events attended
  • Same monitor used for review of each image
  • Future cull of images will take place on detailed editing but would only affect keeper percentage
  • This is obviously not a scientific study but more an insight into how sad a life I’m currently leading under lockdown.
Key Statistics
Table A Number of images taken, keepers and percentage per event type
Type of event
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Bikes
34676​
3983​
11.5%​
Cars
37827​
4651​
12.3%​

Table B Percentage “keepers” taken with Manual and Continuous Autofocus
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Manual Focus
9357​
1346​
14.4%​
Continuous Autofocus
63146​
7288​
11.5%​

Table C Comparison of keepers by focus type and camera
Total
Manual Focus
Continuous Auto Focus
Camera
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
EM1 II
19698​
2393​
12.1%​
19698​
2393​
12.1%​
G9
29808​
3554​
11.9%​
858​
136​
15.9%​
28950​
3418​
11.8%​
G90
22997​
2687​
11.7%​
8499​
1210​
14.2%​
14498​
1477​
10.2%​

Table D Keepers by lens and camera
Olympus 75-300mm
Panasonic 100-400mm
Camera
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
EM1 II
16487​
1910​
11.6%​
3211​
483​
15.0%​
G9
10440​
1105​
10.6%​
18510​
2313​
12.5%​
G90
6734​
626​
9.3%​
5014​
591​
11.8%​
Total
33661
3641
10.8%
26735
3387
12.7%

Conclusions
It makes sense to me, at least, to answer each of my original questions with what I’ve discovered since July supplemented by the details from my key statistics above.

Were there any recommendations on technique when using m4/3 equipment?
  1. SOOC can only do so much – a bit of editing works wonders
  2. When editing using 4:3 format for bikes and at least 3:2 format for cars gives more scope for more interesting crops
  3. Try manual focus to see whether it is your technique or your equipment which needs improvement. In my case I struggle to keep the focus points on the specific point of the vehicle possibly due to the m4/3 EVF compared to DSLR optical viewfinders. Reviewing my manual focus pictures illustrated that and allowed me to conclude that there was no way that the camera could cope with some of my focus spot placements. Manual focus compensates for that. Table C illustrates that my keeper rates improved with manual focus for both my G9 and G90
  4. Take loads of pictures and keep trying different shutter speeds, aperture settings, spot readings etc. and then review at home and choose what works best for you. Don’t expect SOOC to be perfect
  5. Try and ignore the 600mm full frame photographers when they sneer at the size of your equipment. ;)
Was I expecting too much from my equipment within my budget?
  1. Yes on autofocus and burst rate – it’s clear to me that improvements can be expected through an investment in a better camera and/or lens.
  2. Table D illustrates that I was able to get a higher level of keepers with the EM1 II over the G9 and G90 when using the Olympus 75-300.
  3. Similarly I was getting nearly 20% more keepers with the Panasonic 100-400 than I was with my Olympus 75-300.
  4. However there is more than a 20% cost increase over the cheapest camera and lens I own and the more expensive ones and for me vfm is important.
  5. If you are able to afford it then go for the best.
  6. Do bear in mind that the cheaper outfit is still giving you keepers. In my case 7,000 keepers from a season isn’t that bad.
  7. Yes on IQ – it’s clear to me that better lenses do give better images – improved contrast, resolution, colour etc. but I was amazed at how a bit of post processing can improve the image of the cheaper kit. I’ve only taken JPEGs but even then relatively minor tweaks to lighting, contrast, sharpness, noise etc. plus a bit of cropping can make a massive difference to your images.
  8. It also depends what you do with your image. I only use them for my pleasure and apart from making a calendar once a year I only review on my monitor.
Was I getting the best out of my equipment?
  1. Simple answer is no.
  2. Am I getting the best out of it now? Again no.
So in summary, and 18 months on from making the original post, I would now say to myself that motorsports with m4/3 even on a limited budget is more than achievable. There is such a wide variety of bodies and lenses, both new and used, that there is something for everyone at most prices too. Just bear in mind that a bit of editing works wonders!:thumbsup:
If anyone has got to here, I applaud your stamina.:clapping: If I’ve offended anyone I apologise.:blush: If you have alternative views or criticisms then let me hear them – I’m still not too old to try and improve and learn new things.
 
Last edited:

Generationfourth

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Sep 11, 2015
Messages
360
I like all the data you kept, and it seems like you got a pretty high keeper rate for shooting action. I don't know mine but it's definitely lower than 5% and I'm happy with that.
 

doxa750

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Jul 7, 2020
Messages
278
Location
KC USA and BKK Thailand
Real Name
Narin
Background
Back in 2019 I made my first ever post on the forum Motorsports with m4/3 – am I expecting too much (within my budget)? – Post 1 | Mu-43 (mu-43.com) with regards to my expectations from m4/3 within my budget. I suppose in summary my main points were:-
  • Were there any recommendations on technique when using m4/3 equipment?
  • Was I expecting too much from my equipment within my budget?
  • Was I getting the best out of my equipment?
Whilst there were several very helpful responses which pointed me in several directions, 18 months on I’d like to reply to myself and give an update on what I’ve discovered since my original posting. For me lockdown has been an opportunity to review the equipment, the techniques and (most importantly) the images I took in 2019 in greater detail than I would have done normally. By culling many of my 2019 motorsport images and then subsequently editing what was left and reviewing the equipment used, I made the discovery that :-
  • SOOC wasn’t going to give me the sort of images I sought
  • More expensive lenses do give better images
  • More expensive cameras can provide better autofocus
However, I was very pleasantly surprised to learn that I was able to improve the majority of my images through post processing. Editing plus the lack of motorsport in early 2020 gave me an opportunity, and confidence, to also post some of my edited 2019 images.

Motorsports in 2020
Motorsports started again in July and I was incredibly lucky to attend events in the UK and have been posting some of the results on the forum as the latter half of the year has progressed.
However since the end of October, with the worsening Covid situation I’ve been unable to attend any more meetings this year. What that means is that I’m now working my way through all my 2020 pictures which I’ve regarded as “keepers” i.e. an interesting vehicle and at least reasonably sharp as well as a reminder of the day.
This weekend I thought for a change I’d produce some statistics from my 2020 outings, initially just to see which focal lengths I used for what type of event i.e.cars or bikes, at which circuit, and at what shutter speed. However, I then got carried away and did a more detailed analysis on the equipment and techniques used and then draw some conclusions from my review. I know, as do our government, that statistics can prove anything and fully accept that this is my personal view of what I think I’ve discovered.

Key facts
  • Cameras used – Panasonic G9, G90 and Olympus OMD EM1 II
  • Lenses used – Panasonic Leica 100-400, Olympus 75-300 ii, Canon 70-200 F4L (& Viltrox EF M2)
  • Software – Photoshop Elements, XnViewMP, ExposurePlot
  • Circuits visited – Cadwell Park, Donington Park, Oulton Park
  • Events visited – 5 bike and 6 car* (*Stage rally excluded)
  • Weather – Variable – Sunny to overcast – Shorts to Thermos & gloves
Methodology
  • Take two cameras with lenses to each meeting. Usually a heavier (better quality) outfit and a lighter outfit to use when I’m getting cold / tired
  • Monopod used for less than 0.5% of images
  • Use mainly continuous autofocus with system lenses and manual focus with adapted lens.
  • Shoot in burst mode and take way too many photographs at each event
  • Do a cull using XnViewMP when I return home and produce “keepers”
  • Quickly identify twenty pictures from a meeting which I would be happy to post, edit them and then select about five to post
  • At leisure edit of the remainder from each meeting.
Assumptions
  • Only equipment listed above used
  • Same photographer i.e. me for each event
  • No improvement in technique over the period
  • Manual focus* only used with adapted Canon lens (*although also used with system lenses but unable to identify focus type without each image’s EXIF being reviewed)
  • Weather variation equalised over number of events attended
  • Same monitor used for review of each image
  • Future cull of images will take place on detailed editing but would only affect keeper percentage
  • This is obviously not a scientific study but more an insight into how sad a life I’m currently leading under lockdown.
Key Statistics
Table A Number of images taken, keepers and percentage per event type
Type of event
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Bikes
34676​
3983​
11.5%​
Cars
37827​
4651​
12.3%​

Table B Percentage “keepers” taken with Manual and Continuous Autofocus
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Manual Focus
9357​
1346​
14.4%​
Continuous Autofocus
63146​
7288​
11.5%​

Table C Comparison of keepers by focus type and camera
Total
Manual Focus
Continuous Auto Focus
Camera
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
EM1 II
19698​
2393​
12.1%​
19698​
2393​
12.1%​
G9
29808​
3554​
11.9%​
858​
136​
15.9%​
28950​
3418​
11.8%​
G90
22997​
2687​
11.7%​
8499​
1210​
14.2%​
14498​
1477​
10.2%​

Table D Keepers by lens and camera
Olympus 75-300mm
Panasonic 100-400mm
Camera
Taken
Kept
Keepers
Taken
Kept
Keepers
EM1 II
16487​
1910​
11.6%​
3211​
483​
15.0%​
G9
10440​
1105​
10.6%​
18510​
2313​
12.5%​
G90
6734​
626​
9.3%​
5014​
591​
11.8%​
Total
33661
3641
10.8%
26735
3387
12.7%

Conclusions
It makes sense to me, at least, to answer each of my original questions with what I’ve discovered since July supplemented by the details from my key statistics above.

Were there any recommendations on technique when using m4/3 equipment?
  1. SOOC can only do so much – a bit of editing works wonders
  2. When editing using 4:3 format for bikes and at least 3:2 format for cars gives more scope for more interesting crops
  3. Try manual focus to see whether it is your technique or your equipment which needs improvement. In my case I struggle to keep the focus points on the specific point of the vehicle possibly due to the m4/3 EVF compared to DSLR optical viewfinders. Reviewing my manual focus pictures illustrated that and allowed me to conclude that there was no way that the camera could cope with some of my focus spot placements. Manual focus compensates for that. Table C illustrates that my keeper rates improved with manual focus for both my G9 and G90
  4. Take loads of pictures and keep trying different shutter speeds, aperture settings, spot readings etc. and then review at home and choose what works best for you. Don’t expect SOOC to be perfect
  5. Try and ignore the 600mm full frame photographers when they sneer at the size of your equipment. ;)
Was I expecting too much from my equipment within my budget?
  1. Yes on autofocus and burst rate – it’s clear to me that improvements can be expected through an investment in a better camera and/or lens.
  2. Table D illustrates that I was able to get a higher level of keepers with the EM1 II over the G9 and G90 when using the Olympus 75-300.
  3. Similarly I was getting nearly 20% more keepers with the Panasonic 100-400 than I was with my Olympus 75-300.
  4. However there is more than a 20% cost increase over the cheapest camera and lens I own and the more expensive ones and for me vfm is important.
  5. If you are able to afford it then go for the best.
  6. Do bear in mind that the cheaper outfit is still giving you keepers. In my case 7,000 keepers from a season isn’t that bad.
  7. Yes on IQ – it’s clear to me that better lenses do give better images – improved contrast, resolution, colour etc. but I was amazed at how a bit of post processing can improve the image of the cheaper kit. I’ve only taken JPEGs but even then relatively minor tweaks to lighting, contrast, sharpness, noise etc. plus a bit of cropping can make a massive difference to your images.
  8. It also depends what you do with your image. I only use them for my pleasure and apart from making a calendar once a year I only review on my monitor.
Was I getting the best out of my equipment?
  1. Simple answer is no.
  2. Am I getting the best out of it now? Again no.
So in summary, and 18 months on from making the original post, I would now say to myself that motorsports with m4/3 even on a limited budget is more than achievable. There is such a wide variety of bodies and lenses, both new and used, that there is something for everyone at most prices too. Just bear in mind that a bit of editing works wonders!:thumbsup:
If anyone has got to here, I applaud your stamina.:clapping: If I’ve offended anyone I apologise.:blush: If you have alternative views or criticisms then let me hear them – I’m still not too old to try and improve and learn new things.
Awesome post mate.... Thanks to John King who shared the link :).
 

Bagrphotography

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Dec 28, 2018
Messages
170
I hope you have kept a lot of your 'non-keepers' or at least some of them.
Why? They (IMO) will assist with what you have done well or you may love certain aspects of them and use some of those same settings in a different time/place.

Revisit those same non-keepers in a couple of years and see if you still don't like 'em. You may find that you go 'ooooWow I love that image' occasionally.

Edit - I am sorry that I didn't see this post last year >_<
 
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