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alex g

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Some more tennis shots, this time from the opening night session of the 2017 US Open, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, NYC.

Matches in the early rounds are frequently pretty much forgone conclusions, with hopeful qualifiers being soundly thrashed by seeded players, and aren't particularly thrilling as a result, but last Monday was different. The USTA granted Maria Sharapova a wild card at the US Open to allow her to come back from her 15 month suspension and, whether due to fate or a fix, the draw resulted in her first round match being against Simone Halep, the second seed. Could the legendary former world champion stage a comeback against the current world No. 2, etc, etc? In any case, Sharapova is rarely anything but entertaining to watch, and Alexander Zverev (featured in some of @AussiePhil 's shots earlier in this thread) was playing Darian King in the second match so at the last minute we decided to go.

Arthur Ashe stadium is vast, and a pair of court side tickets bought at the last minute cost at least as much as an E-M1 mk II, so instead I found seats in the front row of the middle tier, which were just about within practical photography range and didn't make we wince too much at the price. I'm not in any way a sports photographer, but I figured that a night match might be a fun test of the Olympus ZD 300mm f/2.8. Not only would the extra stop of aperture be useful, the addition of the EC-20 teleconverter would give the option of 1200mm equivalent, albeit at f/5.7, which would help bring me closer to the action. The choice of front row seats was a deliberate one, since they would allow me to rest the heavy lens on the balcony railing in front of me, provide an unobstructed view and prevent me from inadvertently clouting people on the back of the head.

Since last year, an opening roof has been added to Arthur Ashe Stadium, which changes the feel of the place somewhat. For reference, I was shooting from a position immediately above and opposite to the electronic scoreboard in the centre of this pic, so considerably further from the court than the press pit!

E-M1 mk II + PL 15/1.7
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2017 US Open First Round Arthur Ashe Evening Session by Alex G, on Flickr

Mainly I used C-AF with tracking and sequential silent low release mode, manual shooting mode with aperture between f/2.8 and f/3.5, shutter speeds between 1/500th and 1/1600th, auto ISO and IBIS turned on. Although the camera managed to track the players' heads very well, there was some variation in focus accuracy whenever I raised the fps – the 300/2.8 is not as fast focusing as a modern µ43 lens. On the whole, though, I was fairly impressed, and I think that with more practice it would be possible to get a perfectly acceptable keeper rate. Stability-wise, the inertia of 3.5kg of lens is quite good at damping out such shake that the IBIS is unable to cope with. I plan to do some more controlled experiments to see if I can identify the most significant factors contributing to image softness.

Overall, however, I like the look of these images, although colours are a challenge when subjects are standing on bright blue or green surfaces under artificial light. :)

These are at 300mm:

E-M1 mk II + MMF-3 + 300/2.8
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Maria Sharapova 5 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Simone Halep 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Maria Sharapova 6 by Alex G, on Flickr

Now some at 600m:
E-M1 mk II + MMF-3 + 300/2.8 + EC-20:
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Maria Sharapova 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Maria Sharapova 3 by Alex G, on Flickr

You can see the commentary box in the first pic, on the left hand side under the sloping roof. Here it is at 600mm:

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The Brothers Mac. by Alex G, on Flickr

Back to 300mm for the rest:

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Maria Sharapova 8 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Maria Sharapova 9 by Alex G, on Flickr

Finally, a few from the Zverev/King match, also at 300mm:

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Coin Toss, Darian King vs Alexander Zverev by Alex G, on Flickr

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Alexander Zverev 1 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Alexander Zverev 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

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Darian King by Alex G, on Flickr

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Alexander Zverev 3 by Alex G, on Flickr

I plan to go again on Friday, just with grounds passes this time, and take the 300/4 instead so as to be able to make some sort of comparison between the 4/3 and µ43 300mm lenses. The 300/4 is definitely a more attractive prospect when walking around all day. :)
 

AussiePhil

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Some more tennis shots, this time from the opening night session of the 2017 US Open, at Arthur Ashe Stadium, NYC.

Matches in the early rounds are frequently pretty much forgone conclusions, with hopeful qualifiers being soundly thrashed by seeded players, and aren't particularly thrilling as a result, but last Monday was different. The USTA granted Maria Sharapova a wild card at the US Open to allow her to come back from her 15 month suspension and, whether due to fate or a fix, the draw resulted in her first round match being against Simone Halep, the second seed. Could the legendary former world champion stage a comeback against the current world No. 2, etc, etc? In any case, Sharapova is rarely anything but entertaining to watch, and Alexander Zverev (featured in some of @AussiePhil 's shots earlier in this thread) was playing Darian King in the second match so at the last minute we decided to go.

Arthur Ashe stadium is vast, and a pair of court side tickets bought at the last minute cost at least as much as an E-M1 mk II, so instead I found seats in the front row of the middle tier, which were just about within practical photography range and didn't make we wince too much at the price. I'm not in any way a sports photographer, but I figured that a night match might be a fun test of the Olympus ZD 300mm f/2.8. Not only would the extra stop of aperture be useful, the addition of the EC-20 teleconverter would give the option of 1200mm equivalent, albeit at f/5.7, which would help bring me closer to the action. The choice of front row seats was a deliberate one, since they would allow me to rest the heavy lens on the balcony railing in front of me, provide an unobstructed view and prevent me from inadvertently clouting people on the back of the head.

Since last year, an opening roof has been added to Arthur Ashe Stadium, which changes the feel of the place somewhat. For reference, I was shooting from a position immediately above and opposite to the electronic scoreboard in the centre of this pic, so considerably further from the court than the press pit!

E-M1 mk II + PL 15/1.7
View attachment 5680392017 US Open First Round Arthur Ashe Evening Session by Alex G, on Flickr

Mainly I used C-AF with tracking and sequential silent low release mode, manual shooting mode with aperture between f/2.8 and f/3.5, shutter speeds between 1/500th and 1/1600th, auto ISO and IBIS turned on. Although the camera managed to track the players' heads very well, there was some variation in focus accuracy whenever I raised the fps – the 300/2.8 is not as fast focusing as a modern µ43 lens. On the whole, though, I was fairly impressed, and I think that with more practice it would be possible to get a perfectly acceptable keeper rate. Stability-wise, the inertia of 3.5kg of lens is quite good at damping out such shake that the IBIS is unable to cope with. I plan to do some more controlled experiments to see if I can identify the most significant factors contributing to image softness.

Overall, however, I like the look of these images, although colours are a challenge when subjects are standing on bright blue or green surfaces under artificial light. :)

These are at 300mm:

E-M1 mk II + MMF-3 + 300/2.8
View attachment 568040Maria Sharapova 5 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568041Simone Halep 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568042Maria Sharapova 6 by Alex G, on Flickr

Now some at 600m:
E-M1 mk II + MMF-3 + 300/2.8 + EC-20:
View attachment 568043Maria Sharapova 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568044Maria Sharapova 3 by Alex G, on Flickr

You can see the commentary box in the first pic, on the left hand side under the sloping roof. Here it is at 600mm:

View attachment 568045The Brothers Mac. by Alex G, on Flickr

Back to 300mm for the rest:

View attachment 568046Maria Sharapova 8 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568047Maria Sharapova 9 by Alex G, on Flickr

Finally, a few from the Zverev/King match, also at 300mm:

View attachment 568048Coin Toss, Darian King vs Alexander Zverev by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568049Alexander Zverev 1 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568050Alexander Zverev 2 by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568051Darian King by Alex G, on Flickr

View attachment 568052Alexander Zverev 3 by Alex G, on Flickr

I plan to go again on Friday, just with grounds passes this time, and take the 300/4 instead so as to be able to make some sort of comparison between the 4/3 and µ43 300mm lenses. The 300/4 is definitely a more attractive prospect when walking around all day. :)
Awesome captures there, and I’m jealous you got to get such a great lens into the stadium. Security bag checks over here for 200mm max FL

Personally I’m not a Maria fan but I watched the match on espn and it truly was an epic match and we commented that anyone there got there money’s worth :)
 

alex g

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Joined
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Awesome captures there, and I’m jealous you got to get such a great lens into the stadium. Security bag checks over here for 200mm max FL

Personally I’m not a Maria fan but I watched the match on espn and it truly was an epic match and we commented that anyone there got there money’s worth :)
Thanks, Phil. Interestingly, the USTA doesn't seem to have any objections to long lenses, at least not at Flushing Meadows. The only thing it takes exception to is any kind of dedicated video recording/streaming gear. It specificially prohibits the use of camcorders and laptops, but is okay with DSLRs and cellphones with video capabilities. I figure that its most precious commodity is its TV rights, so it doesn't want folk putting up live feeds from a laptop in the bleachers. But they checked my bulging camera bag without raising an eyebrow. Oh — they also prohibit selfie-sticks and "any other kind of telescopic equipment", but I presume that that's more from the perspective of minimizing cases of eye injuries. :)

I'm in two minds about Maria myself — she has a fairly scrappy game and isn't above being a bully at times, but I have to admire her tenacity and total commitment when she plays. Watching her turn a match around by whatever means necessary is like watching Superman saving an ocean liner from the rocks in a storm, it's a Herculean effort, and she will not quit. And to be fair, I thought she was playing a more intelligent and measured game on Monday than we've come to expect from her. Maybe the ban has given her time to figure a few things out, who knows? :)

I just found this memento from the 2008 US Open, back in the days when Olympus could afford to sponsor major sporting events... I guess they couldn't really enforce camera restrictions if one of the official sponsors produced them — perhaps the present relaxed policy is a legacy from that time?

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whumber

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It's supposed to be cooling down for autumn but September seems to be running in reverse this year, =/. Despite that, I'm already mentally preparing for the transition to ski season and looking forward to the World Cup at Killington in November. Here are some shots from last year taken with the E-M1.1 and 300 Pro. It was far more crowded than I had expected so that I didn't get a particularly good vantage point so I hope to get a better spot this year. The keeper rate with the E-M1.1 and 300 Pro wasn't particularly high but I was able to get some decent shots just by playing the numbers game. Definitely looking forward to see how well the E-M1.2 does in comparison.

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AussiePhil

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Bristolero

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World Championship Sled Dog Race
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Shot w/EPL3 and Oly 75-300 v.1
 

AussiePhil

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ITF Womens futures event, Clay court.
EM1mk2
Across multiple days we captured quite a few shots with the ball on the strings.
Even low ranked players swing fast on the service motion making getting contact at the top of the swing a rare event
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ACT Clay Court International #2 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Love the eyes on the ball in this one
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ACT Clay Court International #2 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Once the ball starts to leave the strings even 1/2000 can't freeze it
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020772-_3251972 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
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020714-_3251799 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

Takes a second or two to realise were the ball actually is :)
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Ball buried in strings by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
 

Bill Smith

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Junior varsity football using Panasonic G85 and 100-300mm version ii.
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whumber

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Some shots from the FOX US Open of Mountain Biking at Killington this weekend. It had rained extremely heavy the night before so much of the course was extremely muddy and slick as snot. Probably the best part of the day though wasn't actually watching the mountain bikers but rather watching the drunk spectators try to navigator the equally steep and slippery spectators path, =). I ended up using the 25 PRO almost the day as it was pretty much ideal for the layout of the track, plus it just so happens to be my favorite m43 lens. I was really impressed with the keeper rate with the E-M1ii and 25 PRO, these guys are often coming through these courses in mixed lighting conditions, at up to 40MPH in some areas, often suddenly popping into the frame, and constantly accelerating but I was getting very high keeper rates (I'd say at least 75%) with the lens wide open. I tried shooting with the G9 as well but I find it just takes too long to acquire the initial focus to be useful for this, there were a few areas where I was able to use the PL 200 with the G9 on a longer straight section and it did very well there but those shots weren't really that interesting so the G9 stayed in the bag most of the day.
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kingduct

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Baseball in Ecuador
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Aushiker

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Davidof_CR

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Fencing in a local club ... kind of a chalenge ;-)
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AussiePhil

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Back to the 2019 International Tennis Futures tournament held here in Canberra and some more balls caught on the racket strings
Since v2 of firmware for the em1mk2 CAF tracking seems to be working better, had significantly better tracking performance.... the banners at the back of the court provide a really nice target :)
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023767-_3227800 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
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023780-_3227898 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
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023609-_3226865 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr

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023783-_3227922 by Phil Gartner, on Flickr
 
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