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What are the 'portrait' primes like for sports?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by snerkler, Apr 24, 2019.

  1. snerkler

    snerkler Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    Anyone have any experience what m4/3 primes are like in terms of AF speed and accuracy for sports, particularly runners and cyclists coming towards you that you might only spot in the crowd at the last second so need instant AF acquisition? I have the 40-150mm f2.8 which is the obvious choice, and has very fast AF, but I do like my subject isolation and so was wondering what lenses like the 75mm f1.8 and Panny Leica 42.5mm f1.2 are for such things?
  2. ac12

    ac12 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 24, 2018
    I understand that the AF on the 75/1.8 is NOT fast.

    One thing to realize is as the DoF get shallower, so does the margin for focus error.

    When I shoot gym sports with my D7200 + 35/1.8, when I quickly shift subjects/player, usually the 1st shot of a burst is OOF (lens is still focusing) and the 2nd shot (1/6 sec later) is in focus.

    Have you tested your 40-150/2.8 to see if it will do it ?

    Even simply tracking the runner may be an issue.
    I was shooting hurdlers coming right towards me, with my 12-100 + EM1-mk1, and found that AF-C was not consistent. Half the shots were OOF, and I "thought" I held the AF point on the hurdler. I have to do more testing of this.
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  3. 2donggalbi

    2donggalbi Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Dec 20, 2018
    Didn't have the 42.5mm, but used to have the 75mm. The 75 is okay for runners coming towards the camera, but if you have only short instant to capture af, then no.

    40-150 2.8 should work. Its af is really fast. Still, 40-150 is not perfect. I use 40-150 on the e-m1.1 and sometimes it would completely give up acquiring focus, so I would quickly repress the focus button and it does get frustrating.

    If you know where the players are going to show up, maybe pre focus could work? The f1.8 does help to acheive cleaner image with faster shutter speed.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. snerkler

    snerkler Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    Thanks for the reply and for the info regarding the f1.8. Coming from FF I’ve never really considered f1.8 that shallow on m4/3 tbh, works out at just under f4 on FF. The Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 obviously gives shallower DOF and the AF is pretty much instant :) 

    The 40-150mm will be getting a workout at the London Marathon this weekend, but I’ll be taking the D850 and 70-200mm f2.8 VRII too just in case.

    Thanks, I’m getting the impression the 75mm is not a good option for sports ;) 

    I’ll be using the 40-150mm f2.8 on the EM1-II so hopefully it will be OK, the AF is so much better than the Mark I :thumbup:
  5. Mike Wingate

    Mike Wingate Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 21, 2017
    Mike Wingate
    The PL 15 is great for shots of close passing cyclists.
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  6. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Get close, zone focus.

    Trip 35 & Fuji Pro 160

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    Pen FT + Ilford 125

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    E-P1 & 14-42 kit ( possibly one of the slowest m43 combos ever :rofl: )

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    None of these are super sharp but I like a bit of motion blur in my action shots,,, particularly cyclists.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    I have shot the 56 mm 1.4 sigma on some surfers that were on the shore break close to the beach. I was surprised how good the autofocus was with my G9, it nailed it at 1.4 most of the time. I could see it being useful shooting other sports.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. snerkler

    snerkler Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    Thanks but for what I will be doing pre-focus won't really be an option, unless I want massive DOF which I don't. I'll be shooting the Versus Arthritis (formerly Arthritis Research UK) runners at the London Marathon again and you never know when/where they're going to 'pop up' in the crowd of runners, therefore as soon as you spot one you need to get focus and shoot immediately. In previous years I've been using the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII which has been just the ticket, however due to health issues I've been gradually decreasing the size of my camera gear and the 70-200mm is the last of my heavy-ish lenses. I'm hopeful that the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 will be quick enough (when paired with the EM1-II) but it's just the DOF 'thing' ;) 
  9. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Aha - no worries - thanks for clarifying. I latched onto the cycling bit rather than considering runners/

    How much time will you get for the shot (eg will you be positioned on a long straight) ?
    • Like Like x 1
  10. snerkler

    snerkler Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    I will be on Birdcage Walk, which is just past mile 25 and is a straight. Whilst the pack has thinned out by this stage you do sometimes only have a split second after you've spotted them to get the shot. Occasionally you do spot them 100 yards or so away so you have time to 'track' them as they come towards you, but not often. Unfortunately as I am not a press photographer I am not track side of the barriers.

    Here's some from last year, as you can see the pro runners are a doddle as they're on their own, but the charity runners tend to be more in the crowd. These are some from the less crowded times

    London Marathon 2018
  11. ToxicTabasco

    ToxicTabasco Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 2, 2018
    South West USA
    Possibly the 15mm f/1.7 and 42.5 f/1.7. They cover a good range and are diverse enough to cover a lot of stuff within 100mm equivalent.
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  12. Macroramphosis

    Macroramphosis Mu-43 Veteran

    The Sigma 60 DN is a prime that might work for you. It's only a 2.8 but I find it plenty quick enough for tennis at the moment, and it's as sharp as a tack. AF acquisition should be quick enough for runners I would think. The real reason I mention it, is that it won't break the bank. Mine was only £139 recently from Amazon. It is tremendous value for what it produces.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. snerkler

    snerkler Mu-43 Regular Subscribing Member

    Apr 27, 2014
    Thanks, but I already have the 40-150mm f2.8 and ideally wanted a faster aperture lens. I'll see what the images are like from the 40-150mm this weekend and then decide after that. Part of me is now regretting selling the 56mm f1.4 a while ago :dash2:
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Bagrphotography

    Bagrphotography Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2018
    I basically only have primes for my motorsport..
    Oly 25mm f1.8, Panny 42.5mm f1.7, Samyang 7.5mm, Soligor 135mm f2.8, 'budget' 200mm f3.5 with a kit lens 12-60mm from Panasonic.

    I find those work well when up close (or within 25m for motorsport).. (extra close in the case of the fisheye ;) 

    Check the latest motorsports thread here for images.

    Me? I am saving up for the 40-150mm f2.8 (the Panasonic 35-100mm if I *had* to) and I would love to get the two Sigmas of 16mm and 56mm. (and the Panasonic 200mm f2.8 ;)  )
    • Like Like x 1
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