Take an Em5, Add the 45mm. Oh, and mix in some Grand Slam Tennis!?

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by saladin, Jan 27, 2016.

  1. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 29, 2015
    My wife and I made a last minute decision to get some centre court night session tickets at the current Australian Open tennis. Being a special occasion (Wedding Anniversary) , we figured we'd lash out on "best available" seats. Just how good those were to be, we hadn't quite comprehended.


    According to the conditions of entry, camera's with a lens greater than 200mm are prohibited. As are monopods, trips etc. So that ruled out the Pentax and 150-500 sigma! Besides, I'm not a big fan of shooting from grand stands etc. Especially adding in the night time lighting levels. So I'd decided it would be a camera-free expedition.


    But my wife encouraged me to "take one of the little ones", so at the last minute I reached for the Em5 (being smaller than the Em1) and dropped the Oly 45mm in a pocket, figuring there might be an opportunity for some night shots of the stadium etc.

    P1260088_2_3.jpg [/URL]

    Arriving at Rod Laver Arena - to see Novak Djokevich take on Kei Nishikori - we were shocked to find that our seats were front row, looking down at the baseline. I certainly hadn't realised just how close to the action we would be.


    Now, we all know that mirrorless camera's aren't ideal for live action sport. Certainly the Em5 isn't renowned for focus tracking, and it's high ISO isn't great. Not terrible, but not great in comparison to other sensor formats. Additionally, even with an effective FOV of 90mm and great seats, the 45 was a bit short of ideal focal length. But, and here's the rub, if you're gonna have a go (and i sure as hell was going to at least try) then you find ways to use what you have. How well- or otherwise- I did, I'll let others decide based on the pics scattered in this thread.


    A few thoughts and discoveries may be of interest. The first one I'll put out there is that if you want to shoot sports with the Omd's, i strongly urge you to split AF away from the shutter. I assigned it to FN1, using the tried and true "back button focus" principle. I also opted for single AF, not continuous. My thinking here was that even if the CAF worked well, i'd have hassles keeping the Af point on the players as they jinked and swapped direction. So i would prefocus, recompose if necessary and turn my attention to the timing.


    The biggest failing i had was an old one - lack of practice. Many times i would forget to hit the FN, or just plain get my muscle memory confused, shooting pics with the focus point somewhere else on the court or even not getting off a shot at all whilst i pondered how to focus! Oh well, thats the price you pay for being very very part-time, lol.


    The other issue is the lag in the VF and/or shutter. Its small, barely noticeable. Until, that is, you are trying to shoot a tennis match at 200km/hr. Then it's not so small!


    I found that shooting with both eyes open (an old rifle shooting technique), tracking the "live" action with peripheral vision from one and keeping the camera aligned with the other allowed for some prediction of the play and an "early" shutter press.


    One big advantage we do have is our lenses. Light gathering of f/1.8 , but depth of field of f3.6, works in our favour when fighting against ISO noise and less than ideal CAF Once the night lights took over from twilight, i was able to shift to "M", set a constant shutter speed, constant ISO and shoot more or less wide open without having to worry about metering changes. I eked out a little extra DOF by shooting at f2.0, tried SS between 1/800 and 1/1200 to 'stop' the action and ISO ran from 1000 to 2000 across the evening. Thats actually a pretty good compromise.


    Things that I'd change? Well its difficult as a patron, you get your seat and thats it. Perhaps seated to the side is preferable, you don't get much in the way of facial shots at the ends of the court. Certainly not with a shortish lens. As for that, what would be ideal? Obviously the 40-150 2.8 jumps out, but i pondered on this on the night and figured that the 2.8 would have seen ISO jump by a stop or more and I'm not sure thats quite what we want at this stage of M4/3's, despite big improvements in that area. By nights end I had decided that given the choice, I'd have selected the Oly 75mm. Still a quick aperture and less cropping needed should give better IQ than you see here. Having said all that, I'm quite pleased with what i managed. I feel i'd do much better with some more practice, and in any event I had a chuckle viewing the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of photog equipment on display, whilst i snapped away from a slightly awkward angle with a 500 dollar kit.


    To mimic the somewhat cringeworthy australian sporting chant: Oly Oly Oly. Oi Oi Oi.

    Thanks for looking
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2016
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  2. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Great stroke of luck having the 45mm when you got those awesome seats!
    Too much thinking though ...
    Wide-open, Centre focus, recompose, S-AF, burst. I guess that's all I would have done because it's all I ever do.
  3. carlosfm

    carlosfm Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 3, 2015
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Great read interleaved with some very nice images.
  4. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    Good work! How was the match?
  5. saladin

    saladin Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 29, 2015
    Not bad, but slightly disappointing that Nishikori didnt bring his best game. I was hoping for at least 4 sets even though Novak is clearly the better player consistently.