M6ii with 85mm 1.8 Does Indoor Volleyball

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dpeete Contributing Member • Posts: 542
M6ii with 85mm 1.8 Does Indoor Volleyball

Let's open up with the old message forum adage "pictures, or it didn't happen." My apologies, but the subjects for my photoshoot are 15-17 year old women, so I won't post pictures.

I've been shooting M for awhile, having had an original M, and now own an M2 and an M6. It is my goto travel camera due to its size and it relatively low replacement cost. I was also shooting with a 70D, but a few years back I wanted more horsepower to capture the low-light, high shutter speeds needed for indoor sports. So I jumped onto the Sony bandwagon with a gripped A7riii and their big 70-200mm 2.8. It is a great setup, and I love the results, but I had a travel tournament over President's Weekend that challenged me to pack lighter.

My M6 hasn't been effective at capturing beach volleyball where you have all the light you need. Yeah, I know there are some examples of another poster doing it - it can be done, but the keeper rate is too low. The M6 AF tends to focus on background subjects as opposed to the players. So this seemed like a good opportunity to try out the M6ii and see how it performs. FWIW: I absolutely love Lensrentals... those guys have really perfected the art of online rentals. A few minutes on their website, and I had an M6ii on its way to me. Seriously, if you guys haven't tried Lensrentals, I can't recommend them enough.

With compact size as my goal, I decided my best bet was to use an adapted 85mm 1.8 USM as my lens. It focuses fast, and has good reach on APS-C. And the fast aperture allows me to keep the shutter speeds up where they need to be to remove motion blur. So my kit ended up being a Peak Design 5L Sling stuffed with the M6ii, the adapted 85mm, the 32mm, the 22mm, the 11-22mm, the DC1 viewfinder and the 270exii flash. The whole kit was smaller than my Sony body and lens combo and covered not only the on court needs, but all of the casual team and travel photos too.

After shooting 3 days of indoor volleyball, I was happy with the results. No miracles here: it is not a better setup than a pro-grade full frame setup. But the improvements in AF, FPS and ISO performance put the M6ii in the game, where my M6 has really struggled. Shooting volleyball can be relatively easy if you stick to shooting things like players serving, the heavier workout is shooting the random action throughout a rally where AF has to be instantaneous. And the M6ii did a good job with that. And the extra megapixels helped out with framing after the fact... it is pretty common to get some leveling issues with all of the movement, and 32.5MP left me with enough wiggle room to adjust the photos to level.

Anyway, apologies for a lack of examples. But I figured I would still submit this post anyway in case anybody needs to use their Canon in situations where you will need at least 1/500s shutter indoors. The M6ii with the 85mm 1.8 USM was able to get the job done.

 dpeete's gear list:dpeete's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EOS M6 Sony a7R III Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM +14 more
Canon EOS 70D Canon EOS M6
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