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Author Topic: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?  (Read 19490 times)

irkregent

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Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« on: November 07, 2015, 05:47:32 pm »

I'm looking at moving to a mirrorless system, though I haven't decided on which one yet.

I wanted to ask about using mirrorless cameras for my two favorite shooting scenarios:  motorsports (primarily road racing) and birds in flight.  Would I be setting myself up for disappointment, or are the current systems good enough to do well in these situations?  What about low light (shooting birds early mornings), or night racing?
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leuallen

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2015, 09:10:50 pm »

I use an EM-1 either the 40-150 or 50-200 for quarter mile outlaw dirt racing. I have no trouble with focus: use single point and mash the shutter when the car is where I want. Probably not a good example because those old cars don't move that fast on the short track and I tend to get them in the corners where they slow down.

Larry
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D Fuller

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2015, 12:01:49 am »

I'm looking at moving to a mirrorless system, though I haven't decided on which one yet.

I wanted to ask about using mirrorless cameras for my two favorite shooting scenarios:  motorsports (primarily road racing) and birds in flight.  Would I be setting myself up for disappointment, or are the current systems good enough to do well in these situations?  What about low light (shooting birds early mornings), or night racing?

Wouldn't be the best choice at this time.

Look at the lenses you want and let the decision follow them.
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Guillermo Luijk

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2015, 03:32:11 am »


Your preferred kind of photography is the weak point of today's mirrorless cameras. Without more information about the reasons for a change it's impossible to judge, but I think you are not picking the best option.

Regards

Petrus

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2015, 04:04:41 am »

Samsung NX1 might be the best candidate for mirrorless action photography at the moment: 15 28 Mpix frames per second, and over 200 focus points covering the whole frame. Longer, faster lenses are likely to be the real problem, companies will not make them until there is enough customer base, and customers like you will not buy into the system until there are enough lenses…
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peterottaway

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2015, 05:06:46 am »

Samsung may not be the ideal choice for a new camera system at present. Either they are being ditched by a number of camera stores or they are abandoning cameras to curtail ongoing losses. Just haven't admitted it until they clear their warehouses ?
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2015, 06:22:29 am »

I'm looking at moving to a mirrorless system, though I haven't decided on which one yet.

Hi,

Given your favorite subjects, the question becomes: Why mirrorless?

Cheers,
Bart
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razrblck

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2015, 06:50:29 am »

Look at the lenses you want and let the decision follow them.

I second this.

If people managed to make pictures of birds and racing cars back when film cameras didn't have autofocus at all, I'm sure you can manage to get good pictures with the latest gen mirrorless systems.
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Petrus

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2015, 08:03:44 am »

I second this.

If people managed to make pictures of birds and racing cars back when film cameras didn't have autofocus at all, I'm sure you can manage to get good pictures with the latest gen mirrorless systems.

The problem is the if the autofocus does not work well enough, manual focus is likely to fail badly also. Old SLRs had focusing screens designed for precise manual focus, while modern DSLRs and mirrorless equivalents are very bad in that regard. They are made with AF only in mind.
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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2015, 08:29:12 am »

The problem is the if the autofocus does not work well enough, manual focus is likely to fail badly also. Old SLRs had focusing screens designed for precise manual focus, while modern DSLRs and mirrorless equivalents are very bad in that regard. They are made with AF only in mind.

I agree, and things like shutter lag (!), fill flash, tethering, remote controls, etc, etc, can all impact the usability for a specific shooting scenario. But the question remains, what is the goal? Is it switching to mirrorless, or is it to improve the chance of a successful capture?

Cheers,
Bart
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irkregent

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2015, 05:44:14 pm »

I agree, and things like shutter lag (!), fill flash, tethering, remote controls, etc, etc, can all impact the usability for a specific shooting scenario. But the question remains, what is the goal? Is it switching to mirrorless, or is it to improve the chance of a successful capture?

Cheers,
Bart

The reason I am looking at mirrorless is two-fold:
(1) To cut down on the bulk of the gear I carry.
(2) To improve the camera.  I'm currently using an Olympus E-30, a system old enough that the newer systems should easily outperform it.
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Mousecop

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2015, 09:27:58 pm »

I agree, and things like shutter lag (!), fill flash, tethering, remote controls, etc, etc, can all impact the usability for a specific shooting scenario.
High-end mirrorless are all fine with fill flash, tethering, remote control. C-AF in most models is not quite on par with the top end DSLRs, but certain cameras (E-M1, E-M5 II, Sony A7R II) include PDAF. Nikon 1 V3 is supposedly an utter beast with C-AF, allegedly beating pro DSLRs, though it may not have enough resolution for some users.

Mirrorless cameras also include several MF aids not available with DSLRs, such as DoF preview without loss of brightness, focus peaking, zebra striping, exposure preview etc.

We should also note that part of the issue with fast sports is not with the equipment, but with the photographer's skill set. If you've developed a strong skill set for fast-moving subjects with a DSLR, it's going to take time to adjust to how an EVF handles moving subjects. Or, if you rely heavily on cropping, smaller formats will not be ideal.

At any rate, many photographers successfully use mirrorless cameras for BIFs and motor sports; you can find plenty of examples around. However, I do think the OP will be best off with either a body with PDAF, or a Nikon 1, and taking time to adapt.

https://photographylife.com/birds-in-flight-with-nikon-1-v3
http://www.michaelrammell.com/blog/olympus-shoots-motor-sports
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/photographing-birds-in-flight-with-the-om-d-22345
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D Fuller

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2015, 11:09:38 pm »

If I were shooting the subjects the OP mentions, one of the first theings I's want in my kit would be a lens in the 300mm range. Are there any for mirrorless?

« Last Edit: November 08, 2015, 11:16:43 pm by D Fuller »
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peterottaway

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 12:44:03 am »

Personally I use my 70-200 zoom in 18mp APS mode or some of my longer A mount lenses.
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 07:02:35 am »

If I were shooting the subjects the OP mentions, one of the first theings I's want in my kit would be a lens in the 300mm range. Are there any for mirrorless?

Olympus 40-150/2.8 is 300mm-equivalent at the long end. The Fuji 50-140 with the upcoming 1/4x converter will be as well, but there is a reason no one has sugegsted Fuji anywhere in this thread :). I mean, I love my Fuji system, but thankfully I don't often need to shoot anything that moves and when I do I dig out the Canon 1D Mark IV bodies.
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Tony Ventouris Photography

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2015, 10:14:49 am »

40-150 gives a 300mm F/2.8 setup in a lightweight package that you can actually handhold all day.  I found with that, depending on the speed of motion, how bright the subject is, etc... the E-M1 tracking mode even does pretty well.  A lot of people prefer the continuous AF mode over tracking.  I also usually switch to a 3x3 grid depending on the subject.  Sometimes that helps.  Especially if the subject is moving quick and its hard for me to keep a single point lined up.

SZRitter

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2015, 10:50:37 am »

With motorsports, there is a lot of variables. What type of motorsports? What is your access to the track/stage? What type of image do you hope to achieve? I usually do panning shots or corner shots in daylight with rally cars, and haven't had much issue with an E-M5. Pretty sure the E-M1 or GH4 would do better than the E-M5. That said, I can't say they are great in low light, but then, in Rally, you don't have a stadium full of lights.

That said, if I was trying to get a shot like D Fuller's, I'm not sure. If you could zone focus the spot, you might be able to get it, but using AF, it might not quite be fast enough.

Olympus has a 300mm planned (so 600mm) that looks to be pretty good, but not sure on release date (don't think it has been announced).
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D Fuller

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2015, 01:19:47 pm »

These Olympus offerings look very good. I wasn't aware of them at all, as I never really consider anything smaller than APS-C. Maybe I'll have to reconsider that.

But I think my original thinking still stands: decide what lenses you need and let the system decision follow that.
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irkregent

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2015, 01:59:06 pm »

With motorsports, there is a lot of variables. What type of motorsports? What is your access to the track/stage? What type of image do you hope to achieve? I usually do panning shots or corner shots in daylight with rally cars, and haven't had much issue with an E-M5. Pretty sure the E-M1 or GH4 would do better than the E-M5. That said, I can't say they are great in low light, but then, in Rally, you don't have a stadium full of lights.
[snip]

Most of my racing shots are of road racing.  I don't have press access, so I'm usually stuck shooting well back from the action.  (Part of the fun is finding those spots where you can get an unobstructed view, as close as possible.)  Like you, I'm usually shooting a mix of panning or corner shots for the on-track action.  I'll admit to being frustrated with my panning results a lot of the time, but it just takes practice to find the best method and settings.
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irkregent

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2015, 02:00:52 pm »

These Olympus offerings look very good. I wasn't aware of them at all, as I never really consider anything smaller than APS-C. Maybe I'll have to reconsider that.

But I think my original thinking still stands: decide what lenses you need and let the system decision follow that.

I like your thinking.  I should be starting from that side of the equation.
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