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Shootout Olympus EM1 Mark II Versus Nikon D500 - Shooting Ice Hockey

Discussion in 'Reviews, Tests, & Shootouts' started by gryphon1911, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1943.jpg
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    Hockey is arguably one of the hardest sports to photography because of the speed and unpredictability of the action.

    I've always wanted to be able to photograph the Columbus Blue Jackets. As luck would have it, Midwest Photo Exchange offered a photo workshop to shoot the Blue Jackets.

    Before we get into the gear stuff, let me just take a minute to throw out some kudos to the following:

    Midwest Photo crew Matt and Ken
    Great hosts and supported the learning, being there to help with gear and shooting questions whenever someone needed it. MPEX Website

    Tim Neumann of Soft Light Studios
    The main presenter and educator for this workshop. He made sure that everyone was brought along on the journey. We had some attendees that had very little photographic experience all the way through to professionals. Tim was able to cover the basics of making the shooting experience a success for all involved.

    Kyle Robertson, Columbus Dispatch Photographer
    Kyle shared his expertise and experience shooting assignments and games at Nationwide Arena as well as other sporting events. Kyle's Twitter Feed

    Joshua, Columbus Blue Jackets Liason
    Joshua was there for us throughout the event. A great host, he also took us on an arena tour.

    Gear For The Night
    Nikon D500 / Tamron 70-200/2.8 VC
    Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II / Olympus 40-150/2.8 PRO / MC-14 TC

    Now let's get down to it. You know you want to know all about it.

    I'll help you out so you don't need to read through a lot of "junk". I could pine on and on about all kinds of technical stuff.

    Bottom line - I preferred shooting with the Nikon D500 over the EM1 Mk II. The Nikon/Tamron combo just focused faster, stayed on target (I can't find an out of focus shot that was not my fault or was through the safety net). The higher ISO was cleaner on the D500.


    The Olympus may be suffering because I am still learning it's newer features and auto focus methods.
    Still more testing to determine that. Might also have been the lower light conditions gave the AF some issues.

    Pub Match Images With the EM1 Mark II

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040135.jpg
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    1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 1600 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040167.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.2, ISO 1600 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040253.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 1600 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040295.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.2, ISO 6400 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040328.jpg
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    1/500, f/2.8, ISO 2500 @ 150mm

    Pub Match with Nikon D500

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1814.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 2000 @ 200mm

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1816.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 1600 @ 200mm

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1909.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 1600 @ 175mm

    Battery Life

    Each camera took about 1000 images over the course of the day, shooting 2 full hockey games. A pub match early in the day as well as the Blue Jackets v Devils game at the end of the day.

    Nikon battery was at 57%
    Olympus battery was at 46%

    Not bad, considering older mirrorless cameras, I probably would have gone through 2 or 3 batteries. This includes any image review I did on the LCD.

    Weight

    I've never been one that was concerned about camera weight. To be honest, while I noticed that the Nikon/Tamron combo were larger and heavier, handling between the 2 never really was improved or hampered by the weight or lack there of in either.

    When in use, both cameras were supported by a Black Rapid strap.

    CBJ versus NJ Devils - Olympus EM1 Mark II
    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040432.jpg
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    1/640, f/4, ISO 1600 @ 155mm(MC-14)

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040693.jpg
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    1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 1600 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040741.jpg
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    1/800, f/2.8, ISO 1000 @ 150mm

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040854.jpg
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    1/800, f/4, ISO 2500 @ 210mm (MC-14)

    02-04-2017_EM1mk2_CBJ_P2040868.jpg
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    1/800, f/4, ISO 2500 @ 210mm (MC-14)


    Nikon D500
    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1928.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 1250 @ 200mm

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_1966.jpg
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    1/1250, f/3.5, ISO 1100 @ 165mm

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_2123.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.5, ISO 1000 @ 200mm


    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_2511.jpg
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    1/1000, f/2.8, ISO 900 @ 200mm

    02-04-2017_D500_CBJ_DSC_2531.jpg
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    1/1000, f/3.2, ISO 1250, @ 200mm

    IBIS vs VC
    Shutter speeds for the night were between 1/500 and 1/1000 when shooting action, so the IBIS/VC was never really used. There were some shots that were more portrait-like, so the shutter speeds went down some and we can see there that the Olympus EM1.2 IBIS works very well.

    End of the day, there were times when I was wanting some longer reach on the D500, so I tried using the 1.3x crop within the D500. It worked rather well, provided you remember to keep the subject within the box boundary within the viewfinder. Even without the in camera crop, the full DX files were great to use and could be cropped into a lot without losing IQ.

    The Olympus high fps modes seemed like they would be a great asset. I used the 15fps mechanical as well as the 60fps e-shutter. Had some decent success there. Tried AF in both single point and 3x3 box. Also decent results there. While initial AF acquisition is much improved over the EM1.1, it still was not close to the D500. There were some initial frames that were out of focus and at times some frames in the middle of the burst would be slightly out of focus.

    Again, as I said when we started off, shooting hockey is probably one of the most difficult action sports to shoot. It may just be that this was a little too much for the EM1.2.

    The confidence was just not as high with the Olympus kit as it was with the Nikon.

    Shooting Conditions
    We were able to pretty much shoot where ever we wanted to during the pub match. We had access to the camera deck next to the broadcast video cameras as well as down in the put to shoot through the special ports in the glass.

    During the NHL game, we were up in a special suite that was a little bit further back and more toward one corner. A little but further away than earlier in the day, but a great vantage point to shoot from.
     
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  2. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    755
    Apr 9, 2017
    For those about to rock *bang* Fire! We sa-lu-te you!!! Wah-oooOOOooo Oh oh ohhhhh
    (not relevant to photography, but being from Montreal I need to express my solidarity to hockey).

    Did you have to chance to ask the people there what kind of gear the official photographers use for when they are in the corners of the ice? You know those people that shoot through the hole of the window in the corner at ice level.

    I would think they have a traditional 70-200mm lens but when I read news articles I can see in the pictures that they used a longer focal length because it's more zoomed in than your pictures, maybe a 100-400?
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  3. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    This was during a workshop, so we did get a chance to talk with the official photographers and the Columbus Dispatch sports photographer that shoot their every game. They both shoot Canon 1DX Mark II, dual cameras with the 24-70 and 70-200 from the boards. They do shoot longer lenses from the same areas that the TV cameras shoot from, which is their secondary shooter. The shooters down on the boards are the ones that control the flash units in the ceiling.

    Thanks for the Jackets shout out. Most other fans HATE the cannon. lol
     
  4. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    755
    Apr 9, 2017
    When Montreal lost 0-10 (November 5 2016), at the 6th or the 7th goal, the french commentator of the tv sports channel said it he couldn't stand the cannon anymore lol.

    The shooters down on the boards are the ones that control the flash units in the ceiling.

    Wait, what flash units are you talking about? They can activate a flash for their photos? When does the flash occur though, I never noticed that. Not during gameplay I guess?
     
  5. I’d be interested to know why you were comparing using the TC1.4 especially with 40-150 providing 80-300 reach at 2.8 or 4 equivalent and the Tamron 70-200 providing, what, 90ish to 280ish at 2.8ish.

    My understanding and with a limited experience with the TC1.4 with any compatible lens is that performance will lag... just as it would have with a Nikon or canon TC.

    Just curious is all.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  6. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    No, they fire them off during play. You really can't see them in videos or on TV, but you can from the area stands. I can't remember the total number they have, but they are there. We got to shoot from the floor during the amateur game, but had to shoot from our suite only during the NHL match, so I got to see them fire off.
     
  7. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    755
    Apr 9, 2017
    Oh interesting, I had absolutely no idea flashes occurred (I've been to a couple of games at the Bell Centre here but didn't notice them).
     
  8. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    755
    Apr 9, 2017
    @gryphon1911@gryphon1911
    Well Montreal is playing against Columbus at the moment. And I totally notice the flash once in a while, it blinds the whole tv screen for a fraction of a second.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
  9. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Man, hope I didn't ruin it for you now!!
     
  10. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    182
    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    Mark
    @gryphon1911@gryphon1911 They're running this again in early February and I'm thinking about going. Would you consider the experience worth the cost?
     
  11. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Of all the ones I've done with Midwest Photo (Clippers/Crew/Blue Jackets), the CBJ one gives you the least access to the game. By that I mean that during the amateur games, you can shoot from the suite, or 2 of the media areas (by the TV cameras on the lower deck and through the portal holes on the boards). During the NHL match, you are only able to shoot from the suite.

    You'll still get some decent pictures, but the access limits the clear line of site you can get because the safety nets obscure one goal completely.
    The CBJ staff is awesome and the quick tour of the arena is nice (no locker room access though). I'd say it is only really worth it if you have shooting hockey on your bucket list.

    Otherwise, I'd say that the access and shooting experience is much better at Clippers/Crew matches. The Clippers pretty much let you go anywhere you want. They just ask that you respect the seating of people that bought tickets, so pretty much common sense stuff.

    THe Columbus Crew puts you down on the goal line for one full half of the match. The other half you can shoot from anywhere around the stadium or from the suite.

    Having done the CBJ once, I'm not hungering to go back there, but I would and might go back and shoot another Crew match.
     
    • Informative Informative x 2
  12. DynaSport

    DynaSport Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jan 5, 2013
    Dan
    Thanks for the write up.
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  13. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 24, 2018
    While both of my cameras are not up to your level, EM1-mk1 and D7200, my experience mirrors yours. The dSLR is MUCH easier to shoot FAST action sports.
    In my younger days, I could hand hold an 80-200/2.8 for a long game, but no longer. I shoot a 70-200/4, at half the weight of the f/2.8 lens.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. dirtdevil

    dirtdevil Mu-43 Top Veteran

    755
    Apr 9, 2017
    Haha no but apart from the canon, now there's another unique thing about games in Columbus. Never noticed those flashes elsewhere.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  15. DefectiveMonk

    DefectiveMonk Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    182
    Jan 19, 2018
    Columbus, Ohio, US
    Mark
    @gryphon1911@gryphon1911 Thanks for the guidance. I was kind of on the fence about it as I'm not quite where I want to be equipment-wise and, while they have Canon gear loaners for it, I'm not interested in borrowing equipment. Plus, I get enough practice shooting hockey when I attend my nephews' games.

    I REALLY wanted to do the Clippers last season but was out of town for it. Guess I'll try it this year. I didn't even KNOW they had a Crew session. I'll look out for that as well.

    Thanks again
     
  16. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    Yes, by far the Crew session is awesome. Right on the pitch.

    If you do a Crew match, I recommend going down the second half because you then get to see the players leaving the field. Got some great shots of fan interaction and kit swapping.
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  17. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Top Veteran

    690
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    Vancouver Canucks is very restrictive on lens length. LA Kings is probably worse. Photographing a band like U2 from close up is on my bucket list.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    CBJ are not restrictive on camera gear... Only bag size. The have their photo policy published on the website .
     
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. D7k1

    D7k1 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Nov 18, 2013
    +1 for why use the 1.4 TC?
     
  20. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Are you shooting freelance or are you shooting for CP or their internal press while you're covering the Vancouver Canucks?
     
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