E-M1 for Sports?

Started Dec 9, 2013 | Discussions
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mack13 New Member • Posts: 22
E-M1 for Sports?

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball.  My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports.  So.... there's a 2nd system in my future.  Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do).  Thx!

Fujifilm X-E2 Olympus E-M1
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rcjim Regular Member • Posts: 318
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

I don't know about the E-M1, but I discovered this past weekend that the Panasonic GX7 did a good job of photographing an 8th grade basketball game. See the link to the set below.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30161756@N00/sets/72157638451234325/

I used the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens...not the farthest reach, but decent if you are close to the court. I shot in Shutter Priority Mode with SS at 1/500 sec. and ISO set to Auto. Most of these photos were shot in burst mode, as well...which is a testament to the lightning fast AF of the GX7.  Also, out of the 300+ photos shot, not a single shot was out of focus...another testament to the very high performing AF system of the GX7.  I think when paired with the proper lenses, the GX7 can make a recent sports photography camera.

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Torsten Hoff Veteran Member • Posts: 3,301
Re: E-M1 for Sports?
2

Provided you turn off the image review in the EVF (to keep from getting confused between your last image and the live scene) and don't try to shoot faster than 6.5fps (AF doesn't work at higher continuous shooting rates) you will be fine.

C-AF + TR has given me mixed results, with uniforms it is difficult for the camera to track actual players. It's best to rely on simple C-AF, which works very well on the E-M1.

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Skeeterbytes Veteran Member • Posts: 9,476
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

mack13 wrote:

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball.  My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports.  So.... there's a 2nd system in my future.  Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do).  Thx!

With the E-M5 I've done a little soccer and volleyball, even dabbled with surfing. With native system lenses it's able to acquire focus fairly well and does a pretty good job. What's missing from my kit are long, fast system lenses, so I get best results with close action (e.g., positioned by the soccer goal or on the near sideline). My longest µ4/3 is the 40-150, which focuses moderately fast but is very slow, certainly too slow for indoor action unless the lighting is blazing bright. Unfortunately, the E-M5 does less well with 4/3 lenses, which are my main sports lenses.

From what I see here, that last issue is better dealt with on the E-M1, if not necessarily as good as an E-5. I'd think the 40-150/2.8 would be just right for indoor hoops, but it's vaporware right now. The 35-100 might be long enough(?) but I'm not personally tempted by that option.

High-speed burst mode is a fantastic feature, by the way.

Cheers,

Rick

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DonTom Contributing Member • Posts: 535
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

mack13 wrote:

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball. My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports. So.... there's a 2nd system in my future. Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do). Thx!

Surely you should have a go with the camera you have, unless you don't have a suitable lens.

The X-E2 has a pdaf system which should make it suitable for sports. The X-E2 for Fuji and the E-M1 for Olympus are their first generation PDAF mirrorless cameras, so I doubt one will have a clear advantage over the other.

If you are intending to buy a second system regardless, I personally would look at a DSLR. Sports and action photography is one area where a DSLR has had a clear advantage over mirrorless. That advantage is shrinking, but there is still a considerable gap.

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horsth Regular Member • Posts: 380
Re: E-M1 for Sports?
1

I photographed an indoor handball-match over the weekend with the E-M1 and mostly the 45mm/f1.8. I used both C-AF and S-AF alternately with success. Forget about C-AF and "tracking". This works only with very slow subjects, especially with videos. You have to track fast subjects yourself with the finder.

Greetings

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Deleted010614 Regular Member • Posts: 248
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

rcjim wrote:

I don't know about the E-M1, but I discovered this past weekend that the Panasonic GX7 did a good job of photographing an 8th grade basketball game. See the link to the set below.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/30161756@N00/sets/72157638451234325/

I used the Panasonic 25mm f/1.4 lens...not the farthest reach, but decent if you are close to the court. I shot in Shutter Priority Mode with SS at 1/500 sec. and ISO set to Auto. Most of these photos were shot in burst mode, as well...which is a testament to the lightning fast AF of the GX7. Also, out of the 300+ photos shot, not a single shot was out of focus...another testament to the very high performing AF system of the GX7. I think when paired with the proper lenses, the GX7 can make a recent sports photography camera.

I dont mean to hyjack this thread but WOW you did a tremendous job with that basketball game and a 25mm reach!!! That could not have been easy to get that level of quality, bravo!

OK now for the original posters question. I was going to say I bet my EM1 would do fine at this but after seeing the post above I'm going to say the GX7 looks like a huge winner here also.

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GIGO

dennis tennis Veteran Member • Posts: 3,417
Re: E-M1 for Sports?
1

Simplify your life and get a DSLR.  The 7D or its replacement next year.  I assume the D400 will show up one day.  Sony A77 is good but the buffer is too small.

If you want to go cheap and classic.  Canon 1dmk2 or 1dmk3, get an old 70-200 f2.8, non IS.  Life is good and simple.  Get yourself a RapidStrap and mono pod that that's it.

I tried shooting college soccer with EM1 and my SHG and HG lenses.  painful.  Can it be done?  yeah.  Is it enjoyable?  No.  Feels like work.

Barry Stewart
Barry Stewart Veteran Member • Posts: 8,578
Even the E-PL5 is good enough (don't tell my wife!)...

… Even without an EVF, which can be a challenge, especially when the LCD is tilted.

I've gotten basketball and hockey photos with the E-PL5 and Sigma 60 for my weekly sports stories for the Hope Standard newspaper (western Canada.)

I know… sounds crazy, but I'd rather shoot with it than my E-5 in many situations. 8 FPS sure adds to the possibilities.

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Barry

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bimmerman Senior Member • Posts: 2,396
Yes the EM-1 is capable but I think a bug exists...

For outdoor action I have found the EM-1 to be almost as good as a Nikon D7100. While the C-AF can sometimes pause momentarily and continue tracking again, the overall experience is very positive and DSLR like.

But I think I may have found a fault with the EM-1 which may or may not be fixed by Firmware in future. The problem may not affect indoor sports because the ambient brightness should be quite good but for darker venues or practice sessions where ambient brightness drops below a certain level, the EM-1 EVF will judder badly when you're panning the camera up or down thus making it difficult to follow the action.

You can read about it here:

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52677489

bimmerman Senior Member • Posts: 2,396
But the weight!

dennis tennis wrote:

Simplify your life and get a DSLR. The 7D or its replacement next year. I assume the D400 will show up one day. Sony A77 is good but the buffer is too small.

If you want to go cheap and classic. Canon 1dmk2 or 1dmk3, get an old 70-200 f2.8, non IS. Life is good and simple. Get yourself a RapidStrap and mono pod that that's it.

I tried shooting college soccer with EM1 and my SHG and HG lenses. painful. Can it be done? yeah. Is it enjoyable? No. Feels like work.

Yes Dennis, a DSLR still works better for sports but a 1DMkII with 70-200IS F2.8 is hard labour for most of us. I had to hoist my much lighter 70-200VR and D7100 for a recent catwalk shoot 3 months ago for 45 minutes per session and the damage it did to my shoulder and back can be felt even right now. If I don't shoot sports for a living, I'd rather not go the DSLR route.

Yeah, I know, maybe I should hit the Gym. 

Deleted010614 Regular Member • Posts: 248
Re: But the weight!

bimmerman wrote:

dennis tennis wrote:

Simplify your life and get a DSLR. The 7D or its replacement next year. I assume the D400 will show up one day. Sony A77 is good but the buffer is too small.

If you want to go cheap and classic. Canon 1dmk2 or 1dmk3, get an old 70-200 f2.8, non IS. Life is good and simple. Get yourself a RapidStrap and mono pod that that's it.

I tried shooting college soccer with EM1 and my SHG and HG lenses. painful. Can it be done? yeah. Is it enjoyable? No. Feels like work.

Yes Dennis, a DSLR still works better for sports but a 1DMkII with 70-200IS F2.8 is hard labour for most of us. I had to hoist my much lighter 70-200VR and D7100 for a recent catwalk shoot 3 months ago for 45 minutes per session and the damage it did to my shoulder and back can be felt even right now. If I don't shoot sports for a living, I'd rather not go the DSLR route.

Yeah, I know, maybe I should hit the Gym.

Me too! I have all the big Canon DSLR gear and have shot with it for years but I'm really tired of all that weight and bulk. If I was shooting a basketball game I would probably drag it out but but to be honest my big, full frame gear is not getting much use these days. Going forward I don't see that changing "for me".

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GIGO

Lab D Senior Member • Posts: 6,938
DSLR? Yes and no. (EM-1 works very well for sports)

bimmerman wrote:

dennis tennis wrote:

Simplify your life and get a DSLR. The 7D or its replacement next year. I assume the D400 will show up one day. Sony A77 is good but the buffer is too small.

If you want to go cheap and classic. Canon 1dmk2 or 1dmk3, get an old 70-200 f2.8, non IS. Life is good and simple. Get yourself a RapidStrap and mono pod that that's it.

I tried shooting college soccer with EM1 and my SHG and HG lenses. painful. Can it be done? yeah. Is it enjoyable? No. Feels like work.

Yes Dennis, a DSLR still works better for sports but a 1DMkII with 70-200IS F2.8 is hard labour for most of us.

And when people say DSLR, they mean something like a 7D or up and a 70-200mm F/2.8 lens or one made for shooting action. They don't mean a rebel with an 18-250mm zoom or other kit type lens.

The E-M1 with the right lens also is great for sports action. I have not had any issues with shooting people (or dogs) running at me full speed.

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Logan3-1639 Regular Member • Posts: 141
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

A DSLR may be better for sports, but the E-M1 is certainly capable of shooting a basketball game, and it's noticeably lighter, more comfortable, and more fun to shoot than a DSLR, IMO. Here are several shots captured with the E-M1 (shutter priority @1/400s and C-AF) and Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens from a recent game where a family member was participating...

~Ed

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Martin.au
Martin.au Forum Pro • Posts: 10,273
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

With the right lens, then I found sports to be a piece of cake, with either of the OM-Ds.

Check these threads.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3576794

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3559598

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3472108

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Paulmorgan Veteran Member • Posts: 4,983
Re: E-M1 for Sports?
1

mack13 wrote:

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball. My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports. So.... there's a 2nd system in my future. Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do). Thx!

Most sports are pretty slow and there hardly what could be called action.

Makes you wonder how people managed with film or plate camera`s.

Your XE-2 should be fine with a little practice.

Its not the camera or the lens.

http://w2.sydsvenskan.se/bildspel/ldasmfriidrott/

http://www.digitalphotopro.com/profiles/axel-heimken-the-art-of-selective-focus.html

mack13 OP New Member • Posts: 22
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

Paulmorgan wrote:

mack13 wrote:

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball. My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports. So.... there's a 2nd system in my future. Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do). Thx!

Most sports are pretty slow and there hardly what could be called action.

Makes you wonder how people managed with film or plate camera`s.

Your XE-2 should be fine with a little practice.

Its not the camera or the lens.

http://w2.sydsvenskan.se/bildspel/ldasmfriidrott/

http://www.digitalphotopro.com/profiles/axel-heimken-the-art-of-selective-focus.html

I agree with you.  I'm pretty sure I could zone focus with the X-E2 and get some positive results.  I think the alluring thing about the Olympus alternative is their 75mm lens.  This is a very fast lens and is highly regarded and coupled with the quick responding E-M1 makes a compelling alternative.  I've also considered the Pentax K-3 but that's about as large as I'd go.

Lab D Senior Member • Posts: 6,938
Re: E-M1 for Sports?

Paulmorgan wrote:

mack13 wrote:

I have decided to try to take some pictures of my daughter playing basketball. My only camera at the moment is the Fuji X-E2 and I just don't think it's going to be fast enough for sports. So.... there's a 2nd system in my future. Is the E-M1 going to work well for sports or am I better off going with a DSLR (which I prefer not to do). Thx!

Most sports are pretty slow and there hardly what could be called action.

Makes you wonder how people managed with film or plate camera`s.

Your XE-2 should be fine with a little practice.

Its not the camera or the lens.

http://w2.sydsvenskan.se/bildspel/ldasmfriidrott/

http://www.digitalphotopro.com/profiles/axel-heimken-the-art-of-selective-focus.html

It is easy to guess where the "action" will be too.  Goal, net, line, base, etc.

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