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Author Topic: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?  (Read 19491 times)

Greg D

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #20 on: November 12, 2015, 01:44:53 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?

I mostly shoot landscape, but also some dogs & birds.  About a year ago I got a Sony A6000 to cut weight, hoping it would also have good enough AF to shoot moving things.  However my lowly Canon 60d still beat the pants off of it in that department.  The biggest drawback to me is the EVF's lag - you simply can't follow anything moving unpredictably.  Then there is the lack of lenses - not much long that's also fast (or even fastish, say f/4).  Not saying you can't do it, but my keeper rate is about 20% compared to about 80% with SLR.  If shooting action were my main interest, I certainly wouldn't go mirrorless just yet.
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tino tedaldi

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2015, 12:08:57 pm »

...As regards OMD 5ii I shoot like I used to with Hasselblad  Which was...Use screen to compose. Look at non moving subject to shoot (LIVE view!) bit old fashuioned but works. Optcal viewfinder for fast model work for sure; even if models aren't 'moving' just feels more intuitive. It's  interesting: How do we deliver what we deliver
I wonder sometimes if it just isn't a question of 'retraining' for mirrorless. I suspicion though is that 'fast' working is a few years off

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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2015, 02:41:12 pm »

The fast lens choice isn't there yet, and may never be, but the AF performance of the Nikon V2 (1 series in general) is beyond belief. The thing nearly knows what to focus on before you do. It is probably just a matter of time before this kind of performance is available in other mirrorless systems. There's a new version of the E-M1 expected soon (E-M2?), be interesting to see what it can do in this regard.

The Nikon 1 series is an outlier, perhaps not up to traditional pro standards for resolution or noise, but may be just fine for lots of uses. It may be interesting for you to buy a 2nd hand version just to experiment with, then resell if you don't like it. You won't lose much money doing this. The bodies and lenses are not expensive. And it's like having next to nothing around your neck.
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Hans Kruse

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2015, 05:32:26 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?

Why are considering this? If you are serious then you really should rent a camera for some days and try it out. I assume you are shooting these scenes already using a DSLR so you have the skills to try it out?

eronald

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2015, 06:01:09 pm »

J,

 What would be interesting would be to see how good single frames out of one of the better Sony camcorders and the Canon C300II are, if the shutter speed is cranked up. I think that 4K images are probably good enough for a lot of commercial applications. 

Edmund
 

There is no mirrorless that will autofocus like a Nikon D3/D4, or 1dx or even a used Nikon D700 which is essentially a D3 without some features and can be bought used from $600 to $800 refurbished.

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-12-1MP-FX-Format-Digital-3-0-Inch/dp/B001BTCSI6

For mirrorless it follows like this for stills:

Panasonic Gh3 ok about 40% keeper rate Gh4 depending on subject 70%.

Olympus Em1 on continuous tracking about 35% the Em5 less.

Though with both the olympus the single focus is so fast that even on a very fast moving subject you can compose then press/shoot/release, press/shoot/release and have excellent results though you will only get 5 frames vs a dslrs 15.

The em-1 is a better camera (panasonic sensor), the em-5 has a better sensor (sony).  Actually the em-5 has a great look to the sensor, but is a small fiddly little camera.

Sony's newest A7SII won't continuous focus well, the A7RII kind of good depending on subject, in stills, but in motion imagery the RII loses one of it's focusing systems.

Samsungs Nx-1 will do great track focus, though drops to 10 bits when you shoot continuous though the camera is being discontinued and has a proprietary mount so whatever you buy, buy a lot because it won't be available soon.

All this talk of mirrorless, but with action and fast production, no mirrorless camera will work like a traditional dslr.  Most are highly menu driven and confusing, (except the Panasonics) most are small and a longer lens just overwhelms them and the lenses with reach just aren't that small.

Honestly weight per weight, dollar per dollar for action the D700 is the best deal going.   If you buy F4 long lenses or zooms, the weight is comparable to any mirrorless and even though it's 12mp, 12mp sharp is better than 50mp out of focus.

Color is a little funky with most Nikons/sony sensors but you can work around that.

I would consider mirrorless to be in the experimental stages right now for anything that moves beyond a fast walk.

Nikon D700


IMO

BC
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rodgerd

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2015, 02:32:17 am »

Since I've only just this last week picked up an Olympus OM-D I'm in no real position to make too many comments, but I've been pleased with the limited tests of tracking in the form of children running all over the show.  Much more reliable than my low-end Canon DSLRs, for example.  This bloke does discuss shooting motobike racing with an EM-5.
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cchann

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #26 on: December 02, 2015, 10:03:37 am »

Not exactly motorsport, but a telling example of why I don't think mirrorless is there yet for fast moving sports photography.

I shot at a tennis tournament with a Olympus OMD-EM1 with the 40-150mm PRO lens. What I found is that when you press the shutter button, the EVF blacks out for enough time that it is difficult to follow moving subjects. It was fine when the player was rallying at the back of the court, but a net rush was a lottery.

As I also enjoy motorsports photography, cars do not always follow the expected line and in those circumstances, you may be disappointed. If you can, I'd suggest trying to get a sample to try out, maybe by renting it.
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DaveCurtis

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2015, 02:32:39 am »

Ive just bought a A7R2 - my first mirrorless.

I went down to the local estuary the night before last  to test the Sony on BIF. I was using a Canon 400mm f4 DO v1 and a metabones with the latest firmware.

Well my hopes weren't high but I came away rather impressed.  One image was out of focus out of about 50. This was a duck flying towards me and was too close when I took the shot. The focus wasnt as fast on low contrast subjects as my 5D3. However the Sony has a larger AF area and great for tracking subject once locked on. When the 400mm was in the general focus area of the subject the focus was very snappy. However if the lens was pre-focused at minimum distance then it was slow to respond.

I had more issues with the silly menu system >:( than with the AF system

The camera may not be my first choice for BIF however it works rather well.

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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2015, 02:41:18 pm »

You can virtually eliminate black out to be as fast or faster than most dslrs.  You just have to configure the camera correctly.  In fact, once set right, shooting and tracking offers virtually no blackout on the e-m1.  Its actually quite easy to track.  All in the deep settings though...and their combinations.

Not exactly motorsport, but a telling example of why I don't think mirrorless is there yet for fast moving sports photography.

I shot at a tennis tournament with a Olympus OMD-EM1 with the 40-150mm PRO lens. What I found is that when you press the shutter button, the EVF blacks out for enough time that it is difficult to follow moving subjects. It was fine when the player was rallying at the back of the court, but a net rush was a lottery.

As I also enjoy motorsports photography, cars do not always follow the expected line and in those circumstances, you may be disappointed. If you can, I'd suggest trying to get a sample to try out, maybe by renting it.
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tino tedaldi

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #29 on: December 24, 2015, 11:01:56 am »

..You can shoot action fine with the omd5 mkll  but you need to use a bit more  'anticipation' technique, and engineer the situation more. Not a camera for 'Hoseing" down

I don't think this image (hope its uploaded) would have been any better (and it's earned a few pounds)for being shot on Canon/Nikon.
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peterv

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2016, 07:09:37 pm »

Another vote for the Nikon 1 system. If you're going for smaller magazines and/or web images, resolution and noise-control will be just fine. There's a really great 70-300mm, which gives 180-800mm in FF-terms.

Sort of a Nikon promo by Formula 1 photographers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5n95f-cc0g
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D Fuller

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OldRoy

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #32 on: January 12, 2016, 05:11:38 am »

I have an EM5 and (amongst others) the Panasonic 100-300. I like to photograph birds occasionally. This combination is ideal in terms of reach (could of course be longer) and portability. The AF is abominable, aggravated by the dreadful focus point selection controls. Maybe the later models work a bit better. The idea of  using this combination for anything that actually moves is almost laughable.
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #33 on: January 13, 2016, 09:22:31 am »

I have an EM5 and (amongst others) the Panasonic 100-300. I like to photograph birds occasionally. This combination is ideal in terms of reach (could of course be longer) and portability. The AF is abominable, aggravated by the dreadful focus point selection controls. Maybe the later models work a bit better. The idea of  using this combination for anything that actually moves is almost laughable.

Are you using the rear control pad as a direct focus point selection?  Is this not the same method as a Canon 1D or 5D with joystick?  Between that and using the Focal Point home Custom button, I find I can jump back and fourth between two points instantly and make faster adjustments than my DSRLs ever could. 

I don't know how the 100-300 focuses...but I used the Panasonic 20mm and felt I stepped back in time.  The Olympus Pro lenses would give you a much different experience.  Unfortunately that comes with a price. 
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Zorki5

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #34 on: January 13, 2016, 11:25:00 am »

For first-hand experience/comparison, look no further than this "The Great Mirrorless Camera Autofocus Shootout! (GH4, X-T1, A6000, E-M1)"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up8K_xd_iwU

Quote
We decided to cut through all the hype and pit the fastest mirrorless cameras against each other, and we threw in a Nikon D4S, just to make it interesting. To really put these cameras through a stress test we went to Wildrose Motocross Park with a Fuji X-T1, Sony A6000, Olympus OMD E-M1 and Panasonic GH4

As noted by others, though, lenses play big role... So, if it's not just motorsport, but also BIF that you're interested in, a6000 (that came second in the above shootout) is pretty much ruled out. MFT, on the other hand, just became even stronger with Panasonic 100-400 and other new telephotos.
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OldRoy

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2016, 05:06:58 pm »

Are you using the rear control pad as a direct focus point selection?  Is this not the same method as a Canon 1D or 5D with joystick?  Between that and using the Focal Point home Custom button, I find I can jump back and fourth between two points instantly and make faster adjustments than my DSRLs ever could. 

I don't know how the 100-300 focuses...but I used the Panasonic 20mm and felt I stepped back in time.  The Olympus Pro lenses would give you a much different experience.  Unfortunately that comes with a price.
Well a Porsche Carrera and a Trabant both have wheels which are roughly circular (excluding the flat bit at the bottom) but the performance is wildly divergent.

The controls on the EM5 are numb and imprecise, the x/y control set appallingly so. The whole design of the camera is fundamentally dreadful, the firmware spectacularly so. As for the 100-300, it's not that bad at all - the focusing deficiencies are a consequence of the camera's inherently poor CAF and the abysmal af point selection controls. Even getting a focus on a bird sitting still isn't guaranteed; I've become accustomed to losing opportunities much of the time. Obviously the half dozen shorter lenses I have are better, mainly because the subjects shot with them are usually easier to hit.

In comparison with the couple of DSLRs I've owned (I still shoot the antique D700 occasionally) using the EM5 for small moving subjects is an exercise in frustration. Luckily this isn't that important to me. What it has taught me is to ignore the hysteria which accompanies the latest "must have" camera/system that appears on the market. It seems to me that this stuff is usually released as poorly tested and with deficiencies intentionally incorporated in order to maintain the constant churn required by the industry - ably assisted by websites and we participants in forums.
A recent example is the Fuji XPro 2. I almost bought its predecessor, having been sold its  miraculous attributes by several websites (not this one though). The geniuses at Fuji couldn't even incorporate diopter adjustment on this expensive product! I tried one (I wear glasses) and it was unusable. Apparently it was possible to exchange the eyepiece for some Leica unit and....but... I didn't buy one, thank goodness. Now the XPro 2 has -  diopter adjustment! Miraculous. Actually these guys are playing the punters for dimwits. I guess if you can afford to buy anything and everything that comes on the market (as some participants here seem to do regularly) it really doesn't matter; these are just consumer slightly-durables, like socks.

I've withdrawn from participation in this stupid game although I'm still an amused observer.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 05:20:16 pm by OldRoy »
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SecondFocus

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2016, 11:04:34 pm »

I went with the Fuji X-T1 for other reasons and was optimistic about also using it for aircraft. Not as fast as my Canons have been, with some learning curve and practice I have been getting the job done. I am guessing that there will be more firmware upgrades further improving focus tracking etc. And now they have added a 100-400 lens that I think I will find very useful.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2016, 11:43:48 pm by SecondFocus »
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Dan Wells

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2016, 08:25:04 pm »

Is the next generation of Fuji worth a look? The announced (but not yet available) X-Pro2 has supposedly made huge improvements in AF, even over the already acceptable (as good as a lower-end DSLR, although not a pro body) X-T1. If this is the majority of what you shoot, you probably want to wait and take a look at any X-T2 that might come out. It'll have the Pro-2 autofocus (and the amazing sensor), but it'll have a supersize EVF like the X-T1, and maybe a higher frame rate, although the 8 FPS X-Pro 2 is no slouch. Sony conceivably might do something interesting with the A6000 replacement, although there is unlikely to be an interesting long lens (Fuji just put out a new 100-400).
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b_rubenstein

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2016, 05:15:09 pm »

Based on very positive experience with the AF of the LX100, I bought a GX8. The focus is significantly better for BIF than the E-M1 (rel 4.1 FW).

This is a moderately cropped cropped shot with the GX8 and the P35-100/2.8:
Pelican BW by Bruce Rubenstein, on Flickr

Even with the Olympus 75-300II, which I've had little success with in the past, came up with this heavily cropped shot:
P1000198 by Bruce Rubenstein, on Flickr
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DaveCurtis

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Re: Mirrorless for motorsports and birds in flight?
« Reply #39 on: February 15, 2016, 04:23:01 am »

My A7R2 + Metabones and Canon 400mm f4 DO work quite well. Tracking is good in good light once locked on. It helps if you manually pre focus in the general area first. Benefits of course are the larger tracking area and good DR.

However pro DSLRs are in a different league. The new 1DX2, Im sure would be amazing.
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