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Top option for fast action shots

Discussion in 'Other Genres' started by RickVaughn, Aug 18, 2012.

  1. RickVaughn

    RickVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Aug 8, 2012
    What are your thoughts on a camera/lens option for fast moving sports and action shots, using the m43 system? I enjoy car and motorcycle races as well as air shows and am looking for something that can "keep up" with the action.

    I jumped into m43 with an EPL1 and currently have the O45 and O40-150 - planning on a more up to date camera and a wider lens or two soon.
     
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I am gonna say the not quite released Panasonic 35-100 f/2.8.
     
  3. RickVaughn

    RickVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Aug 8, 2012
    Wait and see?

    Best to wait and see what the specs are on the new Olympus models next month or would something like the Panasonic G5 work?
     
  4. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Getting action with µ4/3 is extremely difficult. Worse than the fact that there are not any fast long native lenses for µ4/3, is that the contrast focusing system used by Panasonic and Olympus, does not track a relative fast moving object. I'm using an OM-D's and it is twice as hard to shoot youth soccer as opposed to when I'm using my FF dSLR's.

    I have yet to try the OM-D on action subjects that move in at a constant speed along a predictable line like motorsport or airshows ... but I strongly suspect the tracking would work better.

    If I was shooting action subjects with an E-PL1, I'd practice my pre-focus and zone focus techniques.

    Gary

    PS- In summary, Panasonic and Oly both have lenses capable of filling the frame for your average motosport and airshow (Pany 100-300, 45-200, Oly 75-300, et al) ... it is the camera that will be your biggest handicap.
    G
     
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    The OM-D has the fastest S-AF in µ4/3 ... you can easily capture your first shot with S-AF, but any continuous follow-up images will be questionable. Also, the OM-D is only 4.5 FPS, so timing is critical ... gotta wait for the peak of action. At 6FPS+ you can follow focus and be pretty much assured of capturing the peak of action.

    The G5 will definitely be better for action than the E-PL1, hopefully as good or better than the OM-D. As of now, the best µ4/3 can deliver for action photography falls short of dSLR's.

    Gary
     
  6. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    None of the current m43 cameras can match the better DSLRs for focus tracking or predictive AF. There are rumors that the GH3, which might be announced at Photokina, will be significantly better, but at this point it's just a rumor.

    But I shot sports decades before AF, and it can be done with any of the current generation cameras if you adjust your shooting style to the capabilities of the camera. Don't try to AF on fast moving subjects coming toward or away from you. It just won't work reliably.

    Instead, pan with subjects moving parallel to you. Even CDAF can keep up with the slow distance changes between you and the subject. You can shoot at relatively slow shutter speeds to blur the background, or high speeds to freeze the action.

    To get shots of subjects moving toward you, pre-focus (MF) at a particular spot, and shoot as the subjects hits that spot. Here's a situation where the 9fps of the OM-D can be helpful: start shooting before the subject gets to that spot, and keep the release pressed until it's passed that point. 9 fps will increase the odds of getting one shot at just the right spot, but I used to do this with a manual film advance, so you don't really need super fast frame rates to make it work.

    But when I shoot motorsports, I use my EOS 50D and 70-200 2.8, sometimes with 1.4x or 2x TCs.
     
  7. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    EPL1 is the slowest focusing body out there (with the EP1). Typically, Oly lenses (until recently) focused more slowly than their Panny counterparts. In other words, you have just about the worst possible situation (the only thing worse would be to original kit lens released before the EPL1).

    Changing to a Panny body (even a first generation one) will provide a definitely noticeable improvement in AF speed (and responsiveness in general) - its why I chose the GF1 over the EPL1.

    Changing to a different lens (my recommendation is the 45-200) will help, but not as much as the body will
     
  8. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Agreed 100%.
    I sold off my DSLR kit fully knowing that with my µ4/3 & NEX kits, I would take a hit in performance in the exact situation that you're describing above. :eek:

    My kids' fall soccer season starts on Monday - I'll have to see which fares better for me - my E-PL2 or my NEX-F3....
     
  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I agree with that, and will add the m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 as a second, already-released option. Unfortunately though, this is a more appropriate option for things like indoor sports than for races and air shows. But I'll still throw it out there, at least until the Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8 is fully released.

    Also agreed with this. I never have a problem shooting sports with m4/3. Generally I do it with manual lenses because of the current selection of native lenses, lacking long and fast telephotos (not including Four-Thirds - great selection there but they work better with MF than AF - so again we're back in the same techniques as legacy lenses). I don't really think it's fair to blame the camera's "lack of capabilities" for the user's dependency on specific "features". Features and capabilities are completely different things, and I have never known a professional photographer who was so reliant on a camera's features to get a job done that he couldn't do his job on any other camera because it doesn't have the same features as his favorite. All we're really talking about when we compare Non-Reflex with DSLRs is a difference in "levels of comfort" for various tasks, not a difference in capabilities. Of course that means a certain DSLR may be an overall better tool for a certain task due to handling the task "more comfortably", but that doesn't mean that we should all run out and grab a DSLR because we want to shoot our kid's soccer game.

    When I go camping, I have never once gone camping with a big long-handled, heavy-headed splitting axe.... even though it does a noticeably better job at most tasks out in the woods than a hatchet. Even splitting fine kindling is better done with a heavy axe choked up in the handle, rather than a lightweight hatchet built with an appropriately short handle. Yet... when I go camping I take only a hatchet (axe wise). It does the job I need it to do.

    "The very best tool for the job" is an overused concept which isn't often thought through enough by photographers, looking at the big picture. There are many reasons we choose Non-Reflex cameras, and I don't think I need to re-iterate them all.

    [rant]
    What I wish is that when somebody poses the question, "What are your thoughts on a camera/lens option for fast moving sports and action shots, using the m43 system?", that everybody would respond with their best m43 body and lens choices, rather than suggesting they go buy a DSLR. :p

    It's no wonder we have to deal with internet stigma about m4/3 not being "professional enough", when we have to deal with this lack of helpfulness from members of our own community. It's not the small size that makes people look down on the cameras, it's internet garble. To any other professional m4/3 shooters out there... have you ever had anyone outside of an internet forum look at your gear and suggest that you should buy a DSLR? I haven't.
    [/rant]
     
  10. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    For me,
    Manual lenses are much easier to use with the old film viewfinders (pentaprism, etc) so IMHO, those are "better" than MFT and manual glass...

    Only my opinion....
     
  11. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    If that is directed at RT and me then I am taking that insult personally ... being honest about the capabilities of any camera is a better course than a fan-boy and blind to the limitations of µ4/3.

    Shooting sports with a non-native MF lens is going backwards (period). And being that blind to the limitations of the present state of CAF with µ4/3 has to seriously question the accuracy, usefulness and complete honesty of your advice.

    Finally, I always like to check the website of those offering advice. The better the images the more credence I attach to the advice. As there is always a subjective element to "good", "ho-hum" and "crappy" ... I'd still be happy to post ten of my sports shots against ten of your shots and let's just compare ... dSLR, µ4/3 and manual focus I'll be happy to post in any or all categories.

    Gary
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Adubo

    Adubo SithLord

    Nov 4, 2010
    Globetrotter
    Andrew
    ^ this guy's walking the talk

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 App
     
  13. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    *SNAP!*

    - Eliot@Austin, TX
     
  14. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    If someone were to ask me about IQ of a Sigma SD1 and it's low-light performance, I would suggest that they look at another brand rather than "talk" about fast Sigma lenses when I know that the Foveon sensor worst performance point is low-light performance.
     
  15. RT_Panther

    RT_Panther Mu-43 Legend

    May 4, 2011
    Texas
    Which is also why IMHO (keyword) tha even though the NEX system is great for adapting MF lenses, it won't have any long-term sustainability until more types of native eMount NEX lenses get released.

    The plethora of native µ4/3 native lenses is (IMHO), one of the major reasons for it's (µ4/3) wild popularity outside of size & weight....:smile: (and also why I'm staving off any body purchases because I'm saving up for the M. Zuiko 75mm) :biggrin:
     
  16. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Hmmm... I thought the fact that I clearly identified that paragraph as a "rant" should tell you that it was not directed at you personally, Gary. It was directed at the inevitable turn that all questions about "shooting action" take when asked on a Micro Four-Thirds forum, despite the fact that this system is well over the capabilities of most of its users. Questioning my honesty and the accuracy and usefulness of my advice on the other hand, could very well be taken personally. Especially when you start making personal challenges telling me that you'll pit your photos up against mine. What exactly are you trying to prove? I however don't have time for personal grudges or debates, and will let that slide.

    The whole idea that you're missing here is that each camera system has its strengths and weaknesses, and the fact that a person invests in a particular camera system means that this system overall has more strengths for his needs than weaknesses. That does not mean that one system cannot be used for another purpose which is not its primary strength. A person does not need to have the very best camera for each and every individual purpose in order to have a working system. Do you take only a Medium Format when you want to do a product shot, take only a DSLR when you want to shoot a game, take only an ENG or cinema movie camera when you want to shoot a video, and take only an OM-D E-M5 when you want to go backpacking? Because the OM-D E-M5 obviously can't be "capable" enough to shoot sports or take landscape photos, according to your logic... so you must buy a whole extra system to avoid "going backwards".

    So the OP has now identified that he is using the Micro Four-Thirds system. He obviously knows how to use the internet and how to use internet forums, and I'm sure he did his research before buying a Micro Four-Thirds system. No doubt he wanted a Micro Four-Thirds system because it suits his overall needs and wants. Now... he wants to use that same system which he has already invested in... to shoot sports.

    ...and what is wrong with that? :confused: It works for me, and hundreds of other professional photographers who do not have a separate dedicated system just to shoot one genre of photography. Most of us shoot a variety of photographs and types of photographs with each system we own... which for many is no more than one or two systems to shoot many genres of photographs.

    Now... I'm not saying that it always hurts to mention another system that maybe the OP "had not thought of". I'm sure he's considered buying a DSLR beforehand, though. That kind of advice does no good if you cannot help him and answer the question he asked - what body and lens combination would work best for this genre of photography using his system? If you can answer that question and add to it then fine... otherwise, you're just "going backwards (period)", or at least making the OP do just that. If you notice, my first response was to suggest lenses which would help the OP. I appreciate users like Promit who initiated that kind of advice.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. RickVaughn

    RickVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Aug 8, 2012
    All opinions welcome and appreciated!

    Thanks to everyone for their input on the subject. I didn't think it would lead to such a heated exchange, but in a way I guess it's good. I'm fairly new to photography and everyone's input on gear and shooting styles really helps!

    Now back to where we started-

    I DO plan on continuing to use my current gear and DO plan on purchasing a lens or two on the wider end - perhaps the 14 & 20 or 14 & 25. I also plan on purchasing a more up to date body after the new announcements are made next month.

    That being said I have to take into account my need for a body/lens combo that will be suitable for quick moving subjects - Shame on me big time for not mentioning my daughter's dance recitals!!! No, her dance group does not move as quick as race cars or air planes, but they do move!

    Maybe someone here can suggest a shooting technique/style that I can start with? Settings?

    Thanks again everyone :smile:
     
  18. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Yeah. Know what photo you're trying to take before you try to take it.

    A lot of people, no matter the camera system, go out and expect the camera to magically create the perfect photo with instantaneous auto-focus. No camera in the world can do that, not even a Canon 1Dx. Even DSLR tracking AF means you have to know where your subject is going to be and how they're going to get there. So the key isn't really in the shooting technique so much as it is knowing what photo you're taking ahead of time. Anticipate the moment rather than reacting to it.

    Once you have done that, it's simply a question of being ready when the pieces all move into their desired places.
     
  19. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    “Hmmm... I thought the fact that I clearly identified that paragraph as a "rant" should tell you that it was not directed at you personally, Gary. “

    I guess I don’t know the rules of the internet, so if I state “rant” I can single out anyone I wish by inference and say whatever I want without any repercussions. Sorry I didn’t realize that, mia copa.

    “Questioning my honesty and the accuracy and usefulness of my advice on the other hand, could very well be taken personally.”

    Yeah. Good read on that one Ned. I always wonder and question censure in any form. Your “rant” directed at RT and me is clearly a desire to censure our comments. I decided to address your censure through a put-up or shut-up scenario, albeit a bit childish in retrospect, but this is the internet and one’s options are limited.

    “Especially when you start making personal challenges telling me that you'll pit your photos up against mine. What exactly are you trying to prove?”

    I am attempting to prove that when one tosses out opinions, facts, statements on the internet, it would be nice to be able to back those statements up with expertise. Showing one’s photography, (since this is a photographic forum), is a very good way to display a resume of expertise. For me, the better that resume display … the more faith I can put in that person’s opinions, facts, statements and expertise. (But didn’t I say that in a previous post.)

    “I however don't have time for personal grudges or debates, and will let that slide.”

    Take it as you may, I see this as a matter of displaying one’s expertise.

    “The whole idea that you're missing here is that each camera system has its strengths and weaknesses, … “

    I guess I am missing that because nowhere in the discussion did anybody in this thread venture into that specific topic.

    “… and the fact that a person invests in a particular camera system means that this system overall has more strengths for his needs than weaknesses.”

    No, it does not mean that. The OP does not state that nor infer that.

    “That does not mean that one system cannot be used for another purpose which is not its primary strength.”

    Neither RT nor I ever stated a µ4/3 camera cannot be used for sports or “another purpose which is not its primary strength”. I did state sports with µ4/3 is more difficult than with a dSLR, and RT second my statement. An accurate and factual statement which you prefer not to see (see ‘Rant’ a few posts above).

    “A person does not need to have the very best camera for each and every individual purpose in order to have a working system.”

    I agree. In fact a person could have the very best camera for each and every individual purpose and that system may not work for them. Neither I nor RT stated that the OP did not have a working system.

    ‘Do you take only a Medium Format when you want to do a product shot, take only a DSLR when you want to shoot a game, take only an ENG or cinema movie camera when you want to shoot a video, and take only an OM-D E-M5 when you want to go backpacking? Because the OM-D E-M5 obviously can't be "capable" enough to shoot sports or take landscape photos, according to your logic... so you must buy a whole extra system to avoid "going backwards".’

    What the hell are you talking about? I will address the “going backwards” as you are using it in a context it was not given.

    My “going backwards” statement was meant as a reference for all popular format, digital photography. I feel that autofocus is a significant advantage that autofocusing cameras have over non-autofocusing cameras. Modern autofocusing is fast and accurate and is extremely useful for sports and action photography. AF cameras that are capable of tracking a moving object has been the norm for dSLR’s for many, many years. Phase Autofocusing with high FPS makes sports photography easier and significantly increases one’s keeper-to-trash ratio, thereby allowing the photographer a higher consistency rate for capturing the exceptional image. Using manual lenses because the Contrast Autofocusing cannot track a moving object is, in my opinion, a move backwards … decades backwards. I hope that Olympus and Panasonic and plug this huge gap between µ4/3 and dSLR.


    “So the OP has now identified that he is using the Micro Four-Thirds system. He obviously knows how to use the internet and how to use internet forums, and I'm sure he did his research before buying a Micro Four-Thirds system. No doubt he wanted a Micro Four-Thirds system because it suits his overall needs and wants. Now... he wants to use that same system which he has already invested in... to shoot sports.”

    Firstly, you are inferring everything except your first statement that the OP has a Micro Four-Thirds System. I nor RT told him to purchase another system. In fact, I suggest three native, autofocusing lenses that would work quite well with motosport and air shows.
    “...and what is wrong with that? It works for me, and hundreds of other professional photographers who do not have a separate dedicated system just to shoot one genre of photography.”

    I never questioned or suggested the OP purchase a different system for sports. What I did and still do question is the censorship spelled out in your rant of RT and I.

    Now... I'm not saying that it always hurts to mention another system that maybe the OP "had not thought of". I'm sure he's considered buying a DSLR beforehand, though. That kind of advice does no good if you cannot help him and answer the question he asked - what body and lens combination would work best for this genre of photography using his system? If you can answer that question and add to it then fine... otherwise, you're just "going backwards (period)", or at least making the OP do just that. If you notice, my first response was to suggest lenses which would help the OP. I appreciate users like Promit who initiated that kind of advice.

    Again, what the hell are you talking about??? Read my posts.

    I told him that presently the OM-D is the best µ4/3 for sport and I hoped the G5 would even be better. I recommended three existing native lenses that would fulfill his needs (not a lens which cannot be purchased). I never suggest the OP buy a dSLR, a camera which would increase the OP chances of capturing the exceptional image and increasing the odds of not missing the decisive moment in sports. Instead I suggested two techniques to overcome the shortfalls of µ4/3 CAF.

    I will poney-up a few sports images, just a visual resume that I have the expertise in shooting sports to reenforce my statement.

    #1
    28695189_ud4Ht-L-2.
    manual focus

    #2
    28695174_sqckD-XL-2.
    manual focus

    #3
    P7100189-L.
    OM-D

    #4
    59740875_Yhjh4-L-4.
    20D

    #5
    201728502_VqSDA-L-2.
    5D

    #6
    107336553_mD3d2-L-2.
    20D

    #7
    [​IMG]
    20D

    #8
    1239569046_e2fjb-O.

    #9
    1064317006_fSxGi-L.

    #10
    63273734_aqwBG-O-2.

    Gary
     
  20. RickVaughn

    RickVaughn Mu-43 Regular

    57
    Aug 8, 2012
    Understood. It really would be sweet to have a magical, perfect photo-taking camera! But... since I don't have one, and it seems I will have no luck in finding one, perhaps you have some actual knowledge to share so that I can learn HOW to be ready. Pre-focusing? Panning? Which do you prefer?