How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

Started Jun 27, 2014 | Discussions
(unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 9,509
EVF

danieladougan wrote:

I'm a hobbyist just starting to learn a little more serious photography. I've built a kit over the past few months, mostly with used equipment that is fully functional. But I've noticed some real focus accuracy problems, especially (but not just) with action.

I know micro 4/3 is not ideal for action shooting, but I only do it occasionally and I value the compactness and affordability of the system for everything else.

So here's what I currently have:

  • Olympus Pen E-PL1 body
  • Panasonic 14-42mm f3.5-5.6
  • Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4
  • Olympus 45mm f1.8
  • Olympus 40-150mm f4.0-5.6

I also have a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V that I use as a spare "take it everywhere" camera. It's pretty decent for a point-and-shoot/bridge camera.

So anyway, I was wondering if upgrading to a more recent body (say the E-PL5) would make a real difference in the number of "keeper" shots I get. I'm not into pixel peeping, but I know when an image is ruined at ANY size by autofocus errors. I don't use the 14-42mm very often at all, but I use all of the other lenses frequently. The Oly 40-150 is the most prone to autofocus errors and the one I am most likely to use for shooting action due to the focal length.

I don't really feel like throwing down $1300 for the Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 lens or the upcoming Olympus 45-150mm f2.8. Spending about the same amount of coin for an OM-D E-M1 doesn't sound too appealing either. But I did find someone selling his E-PL5 used for $260, plus I could sell off my E-PL1 to pay for part of the cost of upgrading.

Is this a good idea? Is it that significant of an upgrade to go from E-PL1 to E-PL5?

EVF (or OVF) is the most important thing to me for shooting action.

You can use any lens and manual focus or AFS or AFC but having a viewfinder makes a LOT of difference.

I would rather use a long fast manual lens than a shorter AF one unless the action is always close in.

rockygag Senior Member • Posts: 1,272
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?
1

"When I picked up the Nikon D4S to shoot with it for awhile, I noticed something else that seemed very odd. I was seemingly better at predicting the action with the D4S -- I was catching more peak moments. My strong sense is that the electronic viewfinder of the A6000, with its slight delay, was causing me to react late when the ball was passed and the action shifted. The optical viewfinder of the D4S has no equivalent delay, but on the other hand, the camera does blackout the viewfinder briefly for every frame. Whatever the precise cause, there was no question that I was slightly, but noticeably, faster at following changing action with the D4S. It's of no real concern to me overall, but if shooting sports for money was in my game plan (it's not), this would drop the A6000 off my shopping list.

The OP is already struggling to pay for a used EPL-5, and yet we want to compare it to a D4S... not very sage advice to the OP.

Reminds me of some computer coding documentation out of Redmond.  Absolutely correct, but totally useless.

How does the D3300 with a tunnel viewfinder and a way different focusing module compare to a used OM-D?    I've never used that model Nikon, so I cannot comment, but my D300 was sold when I replaced it with the OM-D (5)

Much more on topic to comment on something in budget.

Dave

SmoothGlass Senior Member • Posts: 1,277
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

rockygag wrote:

"When I picked up the Nikon D4S to shoot with it for awhile, I noticed something else that seemed very odd. I was seemingly better at predicting the action with the D4S -- I was catching more peak moments. My strong sense is that the electronic viewfinder of the A6000, with its slight delay, was causing me to react late when the ball was passed and the action shifted. The optical viewfinder of the D4S has no equivalent delay, but on the other hand, the camera does blackout the viewfinder briefly for every frame. Whatever the precise cause, there was no question that I was slightly, but noticeably, faster at following changing action with the D4S. It's of no real concern to me overall, but if shooting sports for money was in my game plan (it's not), this would drop the A6000 off my shopping list.

The OP is already struggling to pay for a used EPL-5, and yet we want to compare it to a D4S... not very sage advice to the OP.

Reminds me of some computer coding documentation out of Redmond. Absolutely correct, but totally useless.

How does the D3300 with a tunnel viewfinder and a way different focusing module compare to a used OM-D? I've never used that model Nikon, so I cannot comment, but my D300 was sold when I replaced it with the OM-D (5)

Much more on topic to comment on something in budget.

Dave

I think you're missing the point. The point is not to compare vs D4S but to highlight that EVFs haven't caught up with OVFs in terms of lag, and to let OP know to take with a grain of salt the videos online talking up the EM1/GH4/A6000 autofocus like the Camera Store Youtube video I was responding to. Whether a D4s or the lowliest Canon Rebel, OVFs do not have EVF lag.

I am a HUGE fan of EVFs and will probably NEVER go back to DSLRs not because of size/weight, but because I love EVFs and the possibilities they unlock (slow live view on DSLRs doesn't cut it). And yet I can admit that EVFs haven't quite caught up with OVFs yet in terms of viewfinder lag.

To be clear, single-shot autofocus is already lightning fast on any of the recent Oly bodies, that isn't the issue. AF-C tracking moving objects erratically moving is the larger issue, that and EVF lag.

It's not just Imaging Resource saying this, either, look at pro photographers who have compared like Thom Hogan. I'm hoping the successor to the EM1 will have ~D7000 autofocus performance. At that point I hope to see the floodgates open with a much higher exodus rate away from DSLRs towards mirrorless.

OP: Yeah the E-PL5 should be faster at autofocusing than your aging camera, but the real step up is to the E-M1, which has good AF just a notch below a D7000 or so. As it stands, the poor man's alternative to the EM1 is to take a bunch of single-shot AF shots rather than use AF-C. Or to pre-focus if possible.

danieljcox
danieljcox Contributing Member • Posts: 876
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

The new Panasoinc Lumix GH4 has is a major leap forward in quality Predictive AF capabilities. Predictive AF has been the most problematic for mirrorless cameras but the GH4 is nearly the quality as traditional DSLR's. You can see more on this exact issue at http://www.naturalexposures.com/panasonic-lumix-gh4/ where I ran some extensive tests on the GH4's AF.

Daniel J. Cox
www.naturalexposures.com

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MFiftysomething Contributing Member • Posts: 833
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

Nikon V1 is worth a look (CAF & PDAF) -cheap and fast action but limited lens choice, out of M43 I have used I would say GX7 is fastest (I haven't used Gh4 but I sure that is also).  The more recent lenses are faster than the older ones generally.  Single focus I think is good enough these days for most things but CF still lacks PDAF systems even on GH4.  Sony A6000 also fast.

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DaveyB Contributing Member • Posts: 981
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

Nice to let people make up their own minds, though 

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David
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digifan Senior Member • Posts: 2,320
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

Polariser wrote:

Not much. Its perhaps the one remaining area where they lag behind.

However, other mirror less cameras with better PDAF enhanced sensors do a lot better job e.g. the Sony A6000

Simply not true, The GH4 and E-M1 might even be better dependnt of what subject (CAF I mean)

All three were concidered better than the X-T1

Have a look at the Canadian guy

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCoQtwIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Dup8K_xd_iwU&ei=ZSuxU8CLNMa6ygPa6YCwAg&usg=AFQjCNGk-D17MFA6Z4ONZZe0SxcVV2M56w&sig2=0wjklPDJs3ErFwtHqiJ4RA&bvm=bv.69837884,d.bGQ

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Digifan

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Jorginho Forum Pro • Posts: 14,266
I have EPl5: not good for action shooting

It canbe done and in burst it sometimes get some pics. When things move from left to right it does well actually. But compared to a DSLR it is really behind.

You need GH4 or EM1 for actions shooting currently. And the right lenses with GH4 too..

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Brian Wadie
Brian Wadie Veteran Member • Posts: 9,281
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

My EM-1 does everything I need from Falcons in flight, Windsurfing, kite surfing, Power baot racing, motorcycle racing, mad grandchildren leaping about - you name it, it will shoot it (and that's me as a one time member of the "Only Canon + L glass can do it" tribe )

Have a look on my website if you think I maybe talking BS

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alcelc
alcelc Veteran Member • Posts: 9,154
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

danieladougan wrote:

I'm a hobbyist just starting to learn a little more serious photography. I've built a kit over the past few months, mostly with used equipment that is fully functional. But I've noticed some real focus accuracy problems, especially (but not just) with action.

I know micro 4/3 is not ideal for action shooting, but I only do it occasionally and I value the compactness and affordability of the system for everything else.

So here's what I currently have:

  • Olympus Pen E-PL1 body
  • Panasonic 14-42mm f3.5-5.6
  • Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4
  • Olympus 45mm f1.8
  • Olympus 40-150mm f4.0-5.6

I also have a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V that I use as a spare "take it everywhere" camera. It's pretty decent for a point-and-shoot/bridge camera.

So anyway, I was wondering if upgrading to a more recent body (say the E-PL5) would make a real difference in the number of "keeper" shots I get. I'm not into pixel peeping, but I know when an image is ruined at ANY size by autofocus errors. I don't use the 14-42mm very often at all, but I use all of the other lenses frequently. The Oly 40-150 is the most prone to autofocus errors and the one I am most likely to use for shooting action due to the focal length.

I don't really feel like throwing down $1300 for the Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 lens or the upcoming Olympus 45-150mm f2.8. Spending about the same amount of coin for an OM-D E-M1 doesn't sound too appealing either. But I did find someone selling his E-PL5 used for $260, plus I could sell off my E-PL1 to pay for part of the cost of upgrading.

Is this a good idea? Is it that significant of an upgrade to go from E-PL1 to E-PL5?

Are you talking about OOF due to slow AF? What sort of action shooting that you always do? Why not post a few of your pictures which may represent your normal way of shooting that you are not satisfied.

From there, it may narrow down the root of the problem and let the good fellow forum members here to advise....

dmanthree Veteran Member • Posts: 7,102
Re: The problem with grabbing a frame from a video

lefkop wrote:

All that being said, If one has an intention going in of grabbing stills from video, no reason why not to fire away at a high shutter rate so the blur effect is elmininated. If we can grab a nice 4k frame from a high speed action sequence by using video we have another tool to help us achieve this goal. The gh4 is a great versatile tool that can help us achieve both our movie and stills vision.

Personally I am having a blast with this camera.

If the GH4 uses the electronic shutter during filming, aren't you limited to whatever that speed is? don't you need the mechanical shutter to get really high shutter speeds?

tomtom50 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,244
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

danieljcox wrote:

The new Panasoinc Lumix GH4 has is a major leap forward in quality Predictive AF capabilities. Predictive AF has been the most problematic for mirrorless cameras but the GH4 is nearly the quality as traditional DSLR's. You can see more on this exact issue at http://www.naturalexposures.com/panasonic-lumix-gh4/ where I ran some extensive tests on the GH4's AF.

Daniel J. Cox
www.naturalexposures.com

Yes, it seems very good, but it only works with Panasonic lenses.

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macropaul Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

https://plus.google.com/111570195627441580056/posts/TxETaFXMZwK

my gh3 could never do this ,still a capable camera the gh4 is just more so .

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Trevor Carpenter
Trevor Carpenter Forum Pro • Posts: 15,188
Re: The problem with grabbing a frame from a video

dmanthree wrote:

lefkop wrote:

All that being said, If one has an intention going in of grabbing stills from video, no reason why not to fire away at a high shutter rate so the blur effect is elmininated. If we can grab a nice 4k frame from a high speed action sequence by using video we have another tool to help us achieve this goal. The gh4 is a great versatile tool that can help us achieve both our movie and stills vision.

Personally I am having a blast with this camera.

If the GH4 uses the electronic shutter during filming, aren't you limited to whatever that speed is? don't you need the mechanical shutter to get really high shutter speeds?

No, you aren't limited by the electronic shutter (sweeping statement but generally true)

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Trevor Carpenter
Trevor Carpenter Forum Pro • Posts: 15,188
Re: I have EPl5: not good for action shooting
2

Jorginho wrote:

It canbe done and in burst it sometimes get some pics. When things move from left to right it does well actually. But compared to a DSLR it is really behind.

You need GH4 or EM1 for actions shooting currently. And the right lenses with GH4 too..

"sometimes" makes it sound like luck.  It's not luck, just practice

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Brian Wadie
Brian Wadie Veteran Member • Posts: 9,281
Re: I have EPl5: not good for action shooting
1

Trevor Carpenter wrote:

Jorginho wrote:

It canbe done and in burst it sometimes get some pics. When things move from left to right it does well actually. But compared to a DSLR it is really behind.

You need GH4 or EM1 for actions shooting currently. And the right lenses with GH4 too..

"sometimes" makes it sound like luck. It's not luck, just practice

Right on Brother (isn't it strange how the more we use our equipment the luckier it gets )

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wolfie
wolfie Veteran Member • Posts: 3,792
You never said what sort of action ...
1

There's a huge difference between shooting say birds-in flight versus volleyball or kid's soccer.

And there is no substitute for correct technique.

I used my E-P3 and now my E-Pl5 for teenage soccer and I agree C-AF is not great but the S-AF is frankly plenty fast enough and with 8 fps burst a lot of action can be caught once you get your technique sorted. Don;t believe that getting a DSLR makes is oh so easy - read some the C and N threads on arguments over how to get tracking AF to work properly, let alone design flaws even with the series 1 top pro gear.

So what are you planing to shoot?

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OP danieladougan Regular Member • Posts: 135
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

Update: I went ahead and bought the E-PL5...it became especially urgent when the card reader broke in my E-PL1 body. I also have a VF-3 viewfinder.

The situations when I had the most frustration shooting action with the E-PL1 were at indoor basketball games (sitting courtside behind the basket) and auto racing from a distance because I didn't have great access.

I remember how effortless it was to shoot sports action with a Nikon D1 way back in 2002 when I worked at a newspaper. (It was a small newspaper, so I was a reporter/photographer.)

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macropaul Regular Member • Posts: 383
Re: How much have micro 4/3 cameras improved for action shooting?

still not very easy to use a gh4 for action shots ,but much better than predecessor the gh3 ,on predictive movment almost flawless in good light ,tried my gh4 at a bird of prey center display yesterday and the keeper rate in af-c was low ,this could be my lack skill though ,

i used 35-100mm f2.8 single focus and tried some of the options in creating a focus area ,but nothing really worked well ,also in aperture priority mode ,could not make my mind up either to shoot video or pics ,as it turned out the video looks better ,glad i done this ,also used my gx7 with single shot and the olympus 75mm f1.8 this worked ok but in single shot you get more keepers but miss more action

The light was bad and wet i feel this has a major effect on keeper rate ,the birds got really close as well in flight there wings were quite often touching my head in flight .i will post up some of the images .

The flight of fast birds is hard to say the least peregrine falcon very hard to shoot .Even in video hard to see ,ive never used a dslr for shooting action so i cant compare but the evf does black out which makes following difficult at times and is worse in low light.

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Jorginho Forum Pro • Posts: 14,266
Re: I have EPl5: not good for action shooting

With some practice, manual focussing is good for sports too. Etc. Good AF-c is nonexistent on the EPL5 and it is with EM1 and Gh4. A huge difference.

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