Sports with EM5.3

pixturethis

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I’m a long time Nikon guy that is now loving my EM5.3, but I’m having trouble keeping focus with sports or taking photos of my dog.
id like to see what setting I might need to use. I have C-AF on and face detect off and use the center larger focus point selected.
any help would be great. Lenses are either 50-200 SWD f2.8-3.5 or 40-150 R f3.5-5.6.
thanks
 

ac12

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Sounds like you got it.
C-AF, FD = off, center point AF (I've also use 3x3 area AF), exposure mode PSAM.
Also: shutter to continuous LOW (in HIGH it will only AF on the first shot).

Some ideas:

I think the EM5-mk3 has PDAF. So that gives you a foot up for moving subjects vs. CDAF.

Next is how are YOU at holding the AF point on the moving subject. This is NOT easy.
The tighter I zoom, the harder I find it is to hold the AF point on the subject. So I back the zoom out a bit.
Tracking a moving subject requires practice, a LOT of practice. When I shoot a sport, for the first game or two of the season, I am getting back into the grove, from not shooting that game since last year. It is not until the 2nd and sometimes the 3rd game, that I am comfortable with tracking fast moving subjects.
Then you get subject that change directions or stop fast, and it is easy to overshoot the subject.
The closer the subject, the faster the apparent speed of movement, and the harder to track.
This may be the problem with your dog. It is close to you and moving fast.​
Switching between subjects (from A to B) fast, and it is very easy to overshoot the 2nd subject.
Miss the subject, and you are focusing on the background. Been there, done that, a LOT.

The 3x3 area AF uses a 3x3 focus point box to AF in. This gives you a little bit of wiggle room, in the accuracy of your subject tracking.
There is no free lunch. The bigger the AF box, the more the AF can be affected by stuff other than your subject.

I rarely use tracking on my EM1-mk2. I found that it can often be fooled, in the sports that I shoot.
If you want to try tracking, you need to read then test HOW it works on YOUR camera for the sport YOU shoot.

Next is the lens. Some lenses do not focus FAST. So a fast moving subject, could be moving toward you faster than the lens can focus on it.
If the zoom ring is stiff, as you turn the zoom ring, you could push the AF point off the subject.

Next the subject.
If the subject is mono-toned (single color dog, single color jersey, etc.), the AF has nothing to lock focus on. The AF needs contrast to focus on.

Next is light.
Specifically the lack of it, at night and indoor games. The AF on many cameras have trouble in low light. As the light level drops, the contrast between bright and dark gets smaller. Slow lenses make the problem worse, because less light is getting to the AF system.

Next is weight.
Interestingly, I found that if the camera+lens is too light, it is harder for me to hold onto and track a fast moving subject.
Weight seems to dampen my natural body wobble, making tracking easier.
But then when my arms get tired, from holding the heavy gear, the wobble increases. So there is a balance.

Next is stance.
The correct stance makes it easier to track a moving subject.
You want to keep your feet planted and rotate your hip and upper body, like a shotgun shooter will track a skeet target.
You do NOT want to move your feet, as that upsets everything. You only move your feet when you hit the limit of your rotation.
So, you have to plan where to put your feet, so that you can rotate your body without having to move your feet.

That is all that I can think of now.
 

RAH

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Lenses are either 50-200 SWD f2.8-3.5 or 40-150 R f3.5-5.6.
The 50-200 SWD is an old Oly 4/3 lens, right (using an adapter)? If so, wouldn't that mean it probably focuses more slowly than a m43 lens, even though the E-M5.3 has PDAF?

Also, just my own opinion, I never use C-AF or multi-point or enlarged AF area, even for moving subjects. I find it easier to just use single-point AF. (I'm talking about stills, not video, which I don't do).
 

pixturethis

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Thanks for the help AC12, I’ll work more at it. I do all the right things and do admit that the oly is much smaller and lighter to hold, not as steady I believe. I might try the 3x3 focus points to see what it does.
yes RAH it is the older lens.
thanks for all the help, I’ll keep working at it.
 

mfturner

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@ac12 Had great advice.

I use my dog fetching balls to practice af with a fast subject too, I learned that trick back in my Canon days. Zoomed in tight as she gets closer it's always difficult to follow her vertical bounding, and I've been experimenting with some success with caf +tr with my m5.3. I've found that it will follow my subject movement, at least briefly. Because I use bbf it isn't difficult for me to re-acquire if the tracking gets confused. I have not adjusted the caf settings in my m5.3, they are default, for better or worse. I don't have your lenses, but a couple of examples from Saturday, where the snow is deep enough that she may look still but is really moving full speed with the o14-150 ii lens which isn't any speed demon are here.

OI000684.JPG
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AF loves her ears, chest and tail, the Canon had the same affinity, that is my biggest problem photographing her moving like this. Especially when it locks onto that tail, waving like a flag, lol.
 

ac12

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On your 2nd pic, I would "try" to hold the AF on the dog's head.
I say try, because I would likely have trouble doing that myself. I've seen dogs running around, and they are FAST.

In the case of this pic, if the dog is moving FAST, and I miss the dog, I would probably end up focusing on the fence in the background.
That is what happens when I shoot volleyball and basketball. When I miss the subject, I end up focusing on the wall in the background.

When you have the AF zone covering the entire dog, I don't know how the AF logic determines what to focus on.

Tracking will sometimes get confused by the background.
I once shot tennis with my Nikon D7200, and the tracking would sometimes lock onto the lines on the court :confused:
That was when I learned that for tracking to work, it needs to be matched to the subject and the environment. For any sport, I have to test it to see if tracking will or will not work.​
Tracking worked great on my EM1-mk2, shooting cross court, with a plain background, so nothing to distract the tracking algorithm.
I did not even try tracking with sports where the players mix it up (football, basketball, etc.), as Nikon's tracking used color to track the subject. Well that won't work when the entire team is wearing the same color uniform.
 
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mfturner

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I think the big thing is: lots of practice. I enjoy playing with the dog, and she enjoys it too, so win-win. Her long nose and textured fur make it easy to tell where it focused.
 
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The 50-200 SWD is an old Oly 4/3 lens, right (using an adapter)? If so, wouldn't that mean it probably focuses more slowly than a m43 lens, even though the E-M5.3 has PDAF?

Also, just my own opinion, I never use C-AF or multi-point or enlarged AF area, even for moving subjects. I find it easier to just use single-point AF. (I'm talking about stills, not video, which I don't do).

I used to use the 50-200 SWD on an EM1 using C-AF to shoot kids soccer games and got reasonably good hit rates. But, I'd been shooting the games for a couple of years by then, and had been using other lenses with my EM1, but it was all good practice. I can't remember exactly what AF points I was using at the time, but @ac12's advice sounds good. I think the EM5 III's C-AF should be at least as good as the EM1 or EM1 II.
 

ac12

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I used to use the 50-200 SWD on an EM1 using C-AF to shoot kids soccer games and got reasonably good hit rates. But, I'd been shooting the games for a couple of years by then, and had been using other lenses with my EM1, but it was all good practice. I can't remember exactly what AF points I was using at the time, but @ac12's advice sounds good. I think the EM5 III's C-AF should be at least as good as the EM1 or EM1 II.

I think the EM5-mk3 may have better C-AF than the EM1-mk1.
 

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