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Tips for E-M10 and Action Shots

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by SVQuant, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    My kids' Taekwondo studio is doing their annual show next weekend. The show is held in the basketball gym of a local community college and is well lit. In past years, I have had a decent keeper rate with older Nikons (D40/D90) and regular zooms. The action was usually too far for my 35mm and 50mm primes. Most of my keepers are between 100-150mm on the APS-C, so between 75-100mm for mFT.

    I no longer have the D90 and figured that my 5-month old E-M10 should do much better than the D40 (and give me room to crop if I shoot with a faster prime). The kids have gotten better and faster, so I should have the opportunity to get some great action shots. My questions:
    1. What settings would you recommend for focus and burst mode?
    2. Should I use my 40-150R to fill the frame or would I do better with the 45/1.8? I also have the 75-300 II which would give me more reach if I desire but seems to be a little slower to focus than the 40-150 R.The 40-150 Pro or the 75/1.8 would of course be ideal, but are not going to happen in the next few days :)
    Any tips would be appreciated. I will be able to go to one of their regular classes this week and test the camera settings, but it will be in the regular studio, so anything longer than 25mm will be too long.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    564
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Personally I never go out to any such event with Primes. The problem is that no matter what focal length you have on the camera at the time as photographic opportunities present themselves you will want to either get closer or wider. It always happens so why be hampered in your creativity by one focal length. Carrying primes and switching lenses means you have to carry luggage and when distracted by your family member it’s more to worry about loosing.

    The other settings will depend on whether you want stop action which necessitates a fast shutter speeds with the lens as wide open as it will allow. Show some movement which requires a medium shutter speed or a lot of motion which requires a shutter speed similar to what you might use for a portrait shot. Also consider your white balance as many of those indoor facilities have peculiar lighting systems that some digital cameras do not interpret correctly. If possible go to the facility a day or two ahead of the event to see how your setup will react under the available lighting.
     
  3. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    Hi, don't be afraid to raise the ISO to get the shutter speeds you need (try different shutter speeds at the practice event).

    I normally use S-AF on my E-M1 for everything, and just pump the shutter to re-focus, but if you want to use C-AF you'd better practice.

    Barry
     
  4. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Indoors, speed helps. I've had better luck with the 45,1.8 capturing karate and dance than the slower lenses.

    The 45,1.8 and 75,1.8 are sharper than the 40-150R for instance and you'd likely be better off cropping than using a slow zoom.

    I've tried using the 40-150R at a basketball game and it was a struggle. Much depends on how your event is lit, but whatever you decide, bring that 45,1.8 with you.
     
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  5. TonyVentourisPhotography

    TonyVentourisPhotography Mu-43 Regular

    68
    Nov 1, 2015
    Depends what you want. if you want "action blur" keep the shutter between 1/60 and 1/200 depending how fast they really are. If you want decently sharp you will need 1/250 - 1/500 probably. Aperture needs to be wide open and then let the ISO fall where ever it can to give you a nice exposure. I would take both lenses. If you happen to be in a good range for the 45 1.8 (assuming you can be close to the mat) it will help a lot. Especially if you need 1/250 or 1/500 shutter.

    The only catch is if the lighting is REALLY bad and you are pushing at high ISO and still need a low shutter speed. Then you just take what you can get and not worry about it too much. Or use a flash if its allowed.
     
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  6. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    Thanks all. That really helps.

    I should be able to get close to the mat, but there is still a lot of movement. I am leaning towards the zoom for the flexibility if the lighting will allow. Lighting hopefully will not been too much of a challenge as I was able to get decent movement shots in the past at ISO 800 at 1/100 and f4. My success with freeze action shots was much poorer. Flash was not allowed in the past and I am guessing it will not be this year either. Also, the kids have gotten better and faster (and I have become older and slower!). I would like to able to get some good frozen frame shots

    I am not confident enough with C-AF, so I was planning on using S-AF with burst mode. Should I be aiming for single shots instead? Also, I worry about pumping up ISO to more than 800 (probably needlessly), but will give it a try. Any thoughts about using auto-ISO with M mode? Or should I set the ISO reasonably high and shoot away?

    I will not be able to go to the location prior to the event, but the good thing is that my kids are probably later in the show, so I will be able to test the lenses before they come on and make a choice. Once they come on, there will be no time to change lenses.

    I will go to their studio with the O25 and O14-42 and shoot at various settings to get a feel for the ISO and shutter speed and maybe help with the zoom vs prime decision.
     
  7. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    M or S mode with auto ISO are both fine... set the auto ISO limit to 6400 or 3200.

    Barry
     
  8. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    ISO 800 is probably going to be your minimum as indoor gym lighting is often terrible. I would not worry about having the ISO float up to 1600 or 3200. Unless you want to show motion, you are going to need to be shooting at no less than 1/250th, and 1/500th is probably better if you want to freeze action. Remember, you can make efforts to reduce noise in PP. You cannot reduce blur.

    When I used to shoot BIF with my D300, I always wanted to keep the ISO as low as I could. My shots may not have been noisy, but the birds showed more motion and blur, thus ruining the shots. Let the ISO float so you can get the shutter and aperture settings you need to get good shots.

    --Ken
     
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  9. TonyVentourisPhotography

    TonyVentourisPhotography Mu-43 Regular

    68
    Nov 1, 2015
    ISO 3200 would give you two more stops at F/4 based on what you just said. That would take you from 1/100 to 1/400. Might not be enough...but it will be fine if that is enough for a good exposure.

    Remember, focus only needs to change if action is moving towards or away from you. If action is staying roughly in the same plane and only going side to side, you don't actually need to refocus each shot. So sometimes with things like this, dance, and other events you can get away decently with single focus.

    Sometimes you do what you need to do to get the shot you are after. Noise isn't that big a problem on these cameras. I shoot at ISO 5000 all the time and have no problem dealing with it. Just make sure the exposure is solid. You don't want to have to push your raw exposure if your ISO is over 3200 if you don't have to.
     
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  10. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    Check out this thread too:

    https://www.mu-43.com/threads/80969/

    I never did any direct comparison but I painfully used the 75-300 for BiF so the AF is quite fast. I'd bring both and see what focal length works best or use both for different shots (portraits, full body shots, different locations). It's really hard to evaluate lighting with the eyes: bring the 45/1.8. Choose a location giving you a good background if possible.

    For the burst if the subject distance does not change during a burst there is no need to refocus. With slow burst you risk that the AF will hunt on each shot or lock somewhere else loosing the action. If you think that 9fps are too many you can slow it down somewhere in the settings. Use a fast card.

    Aim for the correct exposure: you do not want to underexpose and recover shadows in post but you do not want to loose shutter speed/ISO for an overexposed shot too.
    Manual or AEL are your best bet if lamps or dark background easily trick the exposure metering. You can set the camera to fixed aperture and ISO and do a sweep on the room looking how much the shutter speed changes to see if this can be a issue or not. With Manual and Auto-ISO you loose control of the exposure and totally trust the metering choice. Light is not going to change during the even (I suppose) and if it is even you should be able set the exposure once and forget about it.

    I'd use shutter priority with the correct amount of compensation, AEL and auto-iso (highlight&shadows mode). It's the only way I found where I can still choose the shutter speed for different kind of shots (actions vs still portraits, getting back ISO when it matters most) without loosing the exposure (and you can still fix it with compensation).
     
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  11. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Sameer
    @Replytoken@Replytoken, @TonyVentourisPhotography@TonyVentourisPhotography
    I know it is irrational, but the ISO thing is probably some mis-remembered injunction from my film days. I started using Auto ISO a few days and I have set the max to 3200. Getting more comfortable with it as I use it more and see the results.

    @Klorenzo@Klorenzo,
    I have not done any direct comparison between the 40-150 and the 75-300. It seemed to me that the 75-300 hunted a little more for focus, but that could have been because I mostly used for wildlife shots in Yellowstone earlier this year and I only acquired the 40-150 a couple of weeks ago. I will probably take the 75-300 along as well. Especially if I cannot get closer to the action. And the 45 in case lighting is a challenge. My thought on using M mode was basically to set the aperture wide open and then vary shutter speed. I guess using Shutter priority would probably do that when needed and is the right thing to do.

    Thanks for pointing out that thread. Really impressive to see what that 40-150 can do in skilled hands. I hope that my pictures can come out half as good.
     
  12. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Barry
    @SVQuant@SVQuant , the advantage of S mode over M is you get Exposure Compensation control in S, which is impossible in M if auto ISO is on.
    However, if the light is unchanging, either would work fine if you set ISO manually.

    Another comment: if using continuous shooting at 9 or 10fps, it's easier for the card to keep up if you shoot RAW only or JPEG only, not both.

    Barry