Panasonic G9 set up for sports

Ziggy

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The only reference to body detection in the Advanced Manual is indeed in the context of the Face/Eye detection option. P 92.
 
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The only reference to body detection in the Advanced Manual is indeed in the context of the Face/Eye detection option. P 92.

I am trying to decide Olympus EM1MK11 or Panasonic G9, as you know i like to do BIF.

Just handled both at my LCS, he has a free loan/demo G9 which i have booked for a week from next weekend, now i can be thick and slow with modern cameras so with the G9 being a used demo model i thought i would do a factory reset (if you can), can you give me any basic settings that you feel would be important to have right with the focusing, not interested in tracking will mainly use center point unless i get chance of the Swallows in flight.
 

Ziggy

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As an alternative to single point you could use a custom set of points in a diamond sized for your subjects . Sometimes single point just fails to lock.

Then there's the 4 groups of custom AF adjustments. Consult the manual for the best for your expected context.
 

Robstar1963

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Just bought a G9 today for Motorsports - one thing that I like about the G9 compared to the EM1/2 is the customizeable focus points/patterns - the Olympus has too few options in this regard
Will be posting some results tonight (UK) assuming some level of success :crying::hmmm:
 

Ziggy

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The issue is that you can only have one focus distance (obviously) so if more than one is possible what's the rule for selection?
Outside face/eye/body detection it seems to me this: anything beyond mid-ground select the furthest. That's with the PL100-400.
In some contexts it seems repeated focus requests will bring it forward, but in action shooting you can't rely on having the time.
I don't know enough to generalise about those contexts but the lens/body combination is part of it.
 

masayoshi

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I am trying to decide Olympus EM1MK11 or Panasonic G9, as you know i like to do BIF.

Just handled both at my LCS, he has a free loan/demo G9 which i have booked for a week from next weekend, now i can be thick and slow with modern cameras so with the G9 being a used demo model i thought i would do a factory reset (if you can), can you give me any basic settings that you feel would be important to have right with the focusing, not interested in tracking will mainly use center point unless i get chance of the Swallows in flight.

I tested G9 for BIF, including many patterns of AF target area; such as 1-area (the one you can change the size) and custom-multi (you can change from five boxes with cross-shape, multiple boxes with diamond shape, up to >200 boxes). These days, I am using 1-area (slightly expanded from the smallest) more often than other patterns, but it is really dependent on the bird you are trying to shoot and more importantly the type of background. The reason I like 1-area (small) is, birds I chase are mostly large (eagles, hawks), so I can lock on the eyes with the small single area. But if I want to do small birds in flight (like robin, warbler, or swallow), 1-area is very difficult to keep the bird, and likely to miss the focus. So I probably choose custom-multi with cross pattern hoping one of the custom-multi boxes capture the contrast of the bird (haven't done that so often).

Since DFD of AF targets in G9 tries to lock on contrasty parts of the image, if the bird flies in front of the building, or some trees on snow, the AF locks on the background (the background is more contrasty than the bird). This happens particularly often when the custom-multi pattern is large (I think this is what Ziggy often refers to 'lock to background'). If the bird is contrasty (like adult bald eagle's head, or seagull's wing tip, or head), AND the background is simple (like blue sky or overcasty sky), DFD works pretty well. In fact, you may get sharper images than EM1.2 can do. If the bird is NOT contrasty (like sandhill crane's wings, or harrier), AND flying on the marsh or bushy mountain on the back, G9 (or even EM1.2) fails (or struggle) to focus lock. That's where D500 clearly wins.

As to the EM1.2 FW2.0, I found CAF works very well, as long as some bald eagle shots I had in the past few month. I used to miss a lot when the eagle flies away, and EM1.2 was in my hand (my wife blamed me, screaming "why you grabbed that camera!" Then I was like,:sorry:). But FW2.0 appears to raise hit rate, and I don't miss that much (so it helped our relationships as well:biggrin:). Maybe my techniques also improved a little bit. I don't know.:p
 

Ziggy

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Just bought a G9 today for Motorsports - one thing that I like about the G9 compared to the EM1/2 is the customizeable focus points/patterns - the Olympus has too few options in this regard
Will be posting some results tonight (UK) assuming some level of success :crying::hmmm:

Look forward to seeing how you go. I would expect that with a relatively large moving target the AF will have enough data to do some reliable movement prediction. In the case of following birds with burst shooting it's common enough to see the focus go soft and then recover.

In the case of CDAF, focus is determined by contrast between pixels. Focus is reached when maximum contrast is reached. You can imagine when following a moving object, particularly something small in flat light, that the pixel contrast between AF points is going to vary.

It seems one of the issues with all AF systems is the screen indication of point location and coverage may not be exact. We heard about this with the EM1.2 - @masayoshi and maybe the firmware update improved it. So doing a check at home may be worth the effort.
 

dazengie

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Hi all. Long time reader, first time poster. I rented a G9, a 35-100 f2.8 II, 100-300 f/4-5.6 II, and a PL 12-60 f/2.8-4 for a few days. Firmware is up to date (v1.1 as of this posting). My primary purpose is to test it out for sports photography. I currently shoot with a D3, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8 G2, but was looking at the newer mirrorless options we have these days.

I went out to my friend's over 30 soccer club and brought out both cameras. I'll tell you about my experience with the shoot so hopefully G9 owners can confirm/help me and I can let others who are on the fence know whether or not the camera is for them.

My camera settings:
Auto iso up to 6400
SS: mechanical - and mostly around 1000 so I can freeze action
Aperture: wide open
RAW only

The good:
I didn't really have AF issues at all with the Panasonic. I tried face/eye tracking, custom multi, tracking. I find that face/eye tracking was working pretty good but the camera can get confused when a bunch of people are in the frame. Hell, I would too since I wouldn't know who to track when 4 guys are on a ball. However, if it's just 1 or 2 guys running with the ball, it wasn't bad at all. Low light tracking was very good too. I thought it was going to lose focus acquisition but it did not. It hunted a little, but both the 100-300 and the 35-100 did pretty well.

The FPS and buffer are also good. No, it's not a Nikon D500, but with a UHSII SD card, you can shoot the action, move on to the next scene and the buffer will clear in a bit, and shoot again.

The controls are good. Everything you need to control the exposure is accessible with your right thumb or right index finger. Your left hand can just support the lens and do the zooming. Occassionally you can hit the play button with your left hand and use your right thumb to scroll through the pictures with the wheel. The grip is very good too (I didn't shoot with the vertical battery grip).

The battery. I started at 100%. I fired 600 shots between warm up and end of the game. Battery is only 1/4 drained.

The top LCD panel. Some say it's useless and a wasted space. I don't think it is, and I really like it. I like just glancing at the top of my cameras and knowing what my settings are. I think this is more important to sports and wildlife shooters since you don't get to "redo" the shot in most circumstances. Sometimes you accidentally turn a sub command dial and your shutter speed/aperture is wrong without you knowing. It happens when i put the camera down to grab my other one and my finger brushes against the dial when I lower it or pick it up. Sometimes it dangles on your neck or side, and it rubs against your shirt or pants. Good job to Panasonic for putting the top LCD panel on.

The bad:
Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Low light performance. This is pretty obvious, but shooting action in dim lighting is not m4/3 strong suit. Compared to the sensor of a 10+ year old D3, I would say the D3 outperformed it. There's a lot of grain at iso 6400. Some shots are usable if they're under a spotlight, but in the shadows, boy does it look bad. The pictures I posted look underexposed. This is probably because I set a max of iso 6400. I tried to go over 6400 but it doesn't look good at all. Can always raise the exposure and shadows a bit with lightroom, but it still doesn't look too good.

The EVF during continuous high is distracting sometimes. In traditional DSLRs, you see the mirror flapping. In the G9, it's like a very very quick black out per shot, like when you're blinking rapidly, but sometimes the EVF lags behind the action while the buffer is filling, so the refresh rate isn't as smooth. (I turned on 120FPS).

Conclusion:
Well it's only day 1. I like the camera, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to completely switch systems. I have a bunch of Nikon glass still, and the m43 lenses I'm interested in are generally equal or even higher in pricing as F-mount glass whether it is made by Nikon or Tamron or Sigma. Anyone have any tips or suggestions on how I can get better results than the pictures I've posted?
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ToxicTabasco

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Thanks for bringing up this question. It forced me to reevaluate my burst shooting techniques.

For sports/action, if it's photos you're shooting in AFC, 225 points would not be a good choice as the camera will pick and choose what it wants. And if you pan and burst, it will lock on to what it thinks is the subject and stays locked to that subject until the burst stops, even if it's at the edge of the screen.

Thus, 1 Area focus works best for moving subjects for bursting. It provides the most precision, and it allows you to lock on to what subject you choose. And as long as you keep the focus points over the subject it will stay locked on through the burst. Also, the 1 Area's Direct Focus area can be made larger or smaller by turning the thumb dial. Just move the joystick to move the AF point, and it activates the 1 Area's position. This works great for bursting, especially with predictable subjects and fast moving subjects.

The, Custom Multi is like the 1 Area but can be shaped and sized different using multiple AF points within the group. This works well with wide shots, and big depth of field, and uses the multiple AF points within the group to keep the subject in focus. But like the 1 Area it requires the shooter to keep the group of AF points over the subject. If the subject is small in the area of AF points, it tends to lock on to the farthest points. This could be caused by the subject moving away vs towards.

Another option is MF using back button focus. With the G9's hair trigger it's best to use back button focus to avoid premature ejaculation. Anyway, MF allows for several options for AF. Because it uses the focus peaking feature it's very accurate, and easy to set up AF zones. Works really well if using f/2.8 apertures and shallow depth with super telephoto range at big apertures. It's the fastest and most accurate way to lock on and snap a single shot or multiple shots. Another benefit with MF is you can lock on using AF by pressing the Back Button. And it locks on to the 1 area super fast with the new Power OIS II lenses, and telephotos like the Panasonic Leica 200, and 100-400. According to Panasonic, they improved the new lens' AF response using a 240p gizmo thingy. Nevertheless, you can move the AF area using the joystick, and bring it back to center by pressing the menu/set button instantly.

I've tried using the AFF but was not proficient with it.

Tracking feature: Using AFC for burst shooting sports can be a challenge using the Tracking feature with AF. And this goes for all cameras, regardless of the type of AF system contrast or phase. But, the good news is the G9 has a very responsive touch screen which is the easiest way quickly lock on the subject to track, and switch between subjects fast. Much like any camera, If the subjects are unpredictable in direction with variable speed changes from fast to slow the tracking may not be too effective as it could hesitate at times. And, if the little green box moves off the subject it could lose focus.

At any rate, you bring up a great question that has helped me reevaluate my shooting techniques and options. There are many options. The one I like is MF with Back Button Focus, and the 1 Area for panning burst shots in AFC for those sports action shots. Because the G9 gives us a myrid of AF options, it's impossible to say which combination will work best for a given situation with a specific lens, and the plethora of variables that come into play when setting up a shot. Thus, understanding the strengths and limitations of each AF option is the key to selecting the right one for the job.

Thus, AF with the G9 is and may always be a work in progress.
 

ToxicTabasco

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Hi all.

Conclusion:
Well it's only day 1. I like the camera, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to completely switch systems. I have a bunch of Nikon glass still, and the m43 lenses I'm interested in are generally equal or even higher in pricing as F-mount glass whether it is made by Nikon or Tamron or Sigma. Anyone have any tips or suggestions on how I can get better results than the pictures I've posted?

Great review of the G9. What you describe has been my exact experience shooting the G9. Since you asked... Perhaps I can help with getting better results. The images look about 1 to 2 stops under exposed. I don't know if this is your first experience with LUMIX G cameras. But most often RW2 files do come out underexposed. Here's why:

The EVF plays a big part because it's huge and bright. One way to combat that is set live view and EVF to constant preview. This will provide a truer view of the exposure. Works well in daylight, but may lag in very dark scenes when the shutter speed drops below 1/120. And for that, there is a feature called Live View Boost which reduces the visual lag on the live view and EVF with slow shutter. Another tool is the histogram.

Other features that causes underexposure in LUMIX G camera's RW2 files are the iDynamic, Highlights/Shadows, and adjustments made to Photo Style. These all affect the JPG preview. Depending on how much the shadows are boosted and highlights dropped, it can change the way we see the live view or EVF preview. In some cases as much as 2+ stops. Thus, to assure proper exposure, keeping iDynamic at standard, and no changes to highlights/shadows is the key. And most important, avoid dropping down the contrast and sharpness all the way in the Photo Style to get more dynamic range. Also, there have been different reports on different NR results with different RAW editing software. Some software works better than others for NR.

As for the degraded 6400 ISO photos. That often happens when the photo is under exposed, or shadow detail is pushed a lot. This all leads to more noise, artifacts, and color banding when adjustments are made. With micro 4:3 there isn't as much room for error like Full Frame NEF files. Thus any exposure or detail adjustments +/- 20% in post processing can easily degrade a RW2 photo once the ISO gets over 1600. This is where the MU43 can't do well in low light comes from. But wait there's more... G9 can shoot JPGs up to 3200 ISO with very good results. Seems Panasonic has tuned their in camera NR to tweak out JPGs of 3200 to 6400 ISO pretty good. It would take ninja like LR NR skills with a RW2 file to match what the Venus processor can do with a JPG.

The one way I learned the limitations of the RW2 files was shooting RAW+JPG. This helped me get better exposure while shooting RW2. And the JPGs provided a foundation for what I needed to do in LR to get similar photos clean at ISOs up to 3200. With RW2, the higher the ISO goes beyond 1600 the less detail and color there is to work with. And it takes more than just moving a NR slider to tune a RW2 file. It requires the full gamut of adjustment sliders in LR detail section to tune a RW2 3200 ISO shot to look as good as the JPG. Perhaps more work than most would want to deal with. But it's possible. Again, there are some editing software that work better with RW2 than others. Panasonic and others claim Silky Pix works NR best for RW2. And some say ACR does not work NR and detail as good.

Anyway, congratulations on testing out the LUMIX G9. I hope this info was helpful. Perhaps you can try to see if they work for you. If not, I understand, the G9 may be more work than it's worth. Going from Nikon to Lumix is a big difference, mainly due to the massive amount of features and customization that affect the look of what the EVF and live view shows. Add in the combination of how these features work together and it can be frustrating and time consuming. It took me over a month to understand the Panasonic system, that was with a simpler LX100 3 years ago. With the G9 I'm almost 2 months in, and still adapting to the camera's plethora of functions and combination of functions. Anyway, thank you for your post and question, and best wishes.
 
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