Thoughts on shooting sports with the OMD+40-150/100-300mm

Started Aug 7, 2012 | Discussions thread
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papillon_65 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,030
Thoughts on shooting sports with the OMD+40-150/100-300mm

I don't normally shoot any sports but recently I've had loads of opportunities due to the Olympics. I have loads of stuff to process and have managed to get some decent shots in testing conditions. I'll post some when I've processed but I thought it might be worth posting my thoughts on this in advance. Firstly it would be fair to say that if you are a sports shooter then a mid to high range DSLR is going to make this easier. However, there are a number of techniques which you can employ using the OMD which will help to get decent shots.

Firstly I shot only in S-AF mode as I didn't want to miss shots and I prefer this for m4/3's as tracking isn't really the best option IMHO. I also avoided using 9fps due to the evf black out. I switched to 4fps and shot in short bursts which seemed to work better for me. I also prefocused whenever I could, half pressing the shutter on the predicted point of action. This worked really well for the Pole vault and shot putt which are easy to predict. Running is harder but this can depend on the lens used. I found the 40-150mm could nail a snap shot like you can with a DSLR but the Panasonic 100-300mm could miss focus often doing this.

I also found it best to set the ISO higher to give me an average shutter speed which would be enough to freeze action and I shot wide open all the time as the dof would often help to keep subjects sharp. I found shooting up to ISO 3200 gave me decent quality with a nice film like grain which I like. I also found the 40-150mm to be the best lens for distance and accuracy of focus whilst the 100-300mm worked well for prefocusing and extreme range. I tried the OIS and IBIS of the camera at different times and both seemed to be about equal. At 300mm you have to accept you get mostly softer shots although it is possible to get some pretty sharp if you shoot a short burst of 3-4 shots. I used centre point focusing with the smallest possible focus box.

I found that frequently switching the camera off between action helped massively with battery life. I'm in the habit of doing this anyway but I managed about 530 shots before the battery indicator dropped at all. I also keep shot review switched off and check shots as and when I needed to. I only had the one battery and that's all I needed. I'm sure I could have managed around 700+ shots working this way. I don't have the grip for the camera but I found it easy to hold and use the camera, even with the 100-300mm. I have medium sized hands and it wasn't a problem for me. I also found it possible to feather the shutter and get just one or two shot bursts when shooting at 4fps, the OMD shutter is really good for this, very sensitive.

Overall a pretty positive experience, as I said, you wouldn't buy the OMD for specifically shooting sports but it can do a decent job, certainly enough for an occasional action shooter like myself. I'll post the results when I've waded through the mountain of shots I have. Oh, and I shot raw only, no problems with buffering on a 16gb 20 MB/s class 10 Integral ultima Pro card.
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