Back on the gear Merry-Go-Round again. I may have an opportunity to do some sport in the near future. Indoor, high end, genuine pressure stuff. Fun!
My kit is too big, but it still lacks a decent fast/long option with premium. pro focus, so the 40-150 if back in the mix.
A perfect day off allowed me an opportunity to borrow the floor demo one (we do not have “demo” gear as such, as we are a small store), for an hour or so.
Off to the park!
All of the images below were taken hand held with the EM1 mk2 and most are LSF jpegs.
First up, the usual mandatory check to make sure I have a “good” one. I have never had a dud lens from Olympus, but there is always a first time and this is a little too expensive to risk.
My last one was the lens, that combined with the brand new Pen F, produced some of the best quality images I have ever created.
Looking good first up. There is clear sharpness in all four corners and fine detail.
The set below are a comparison of the realistic application of the lens against the 75-300 “budget” kit lens (top) and the “naked” (no teleconverter) pro lens (bottom).
As usual the cheaper lens puts out a great image, but again I am seeing it handle micro contrast completely differently (as with the 12-100 comparison). The 75-300 is hard to criticise on a purely artistic level, but by comparison, you do see more fine detail resolution from the pro glass.
The third set are from the 75-300 again for a not very scientific comparison. Is it just me, or do the set from the budget lens look more exciting?
Ok, it looks like a good one, but I am again impressed by the beautiful images created by the little travel tele.
Now for what I am looking for, AF.
At first I had the usual frustrations with C-AF (don’t even get me started on AF-Tr). I have found the continuous focus is plenty for a car moving at normal speed, a fast horse moving across the frame or a bird flying steadily, but not great (with the 75-300 anyway) with erratic subjects. Don’t get me wrong, the EM1 is a good performer in this area, but I personally do not like to leave all of the driving to the car so to speak.
Being an old school sports shooter (old school as in manual focus, no winder and with film), I do know, although I tend to forget, that timing, anticipation and skill are more important than AF speed. Never under estimate the skill of sports shooters in the past who were often limited to ISO 400 films, forced to use wide apertures with manual focussing and relying on pure, practiced reflex to get the shot, and that was without any ability to review their images until processed. I was not that good, but I knew people who were.
After a few minutes of tracking fast moving monkeys, with patchy success, I tried single shot and rediscovered the lightning fast acquisition the OMD series are known for. Even before they could track focus, the early OMD’s could still shoot sport. You just have to learn to break your old habits of DSLR tracking. The trick is, just shoot. Do not hesitate and do not try to follow the action with the cameras focus, just follow it with your eye*. The early OMD’s did not have tracking and I am not fully trusting of the newer models, so this style, once accepted, was ideal for me.
With the 40-150 and an old OMD, I have managed to capture medium grade basketball with a better than average success rate and indoor swimming was almost too easy (just focus on the water a foot in front of the swimmer and fire at the right time).
With the EM-1 I am not really interested in the tracking, but more in the first grab focus speed, which is better than the older models. I can basically see and shoot, with near instant acquisition and capture. This combined with wide angle zone focus under the hoop, manual trap focus for oncoming subjects, tight portraits with S-AF and a little tracking should give me options aplenty.
The ball swing (a heavy crop) was rocking violently after a monkey had jumped off it. I let the camera do the grab, without trying to track at all. The runners were really moving (and were smaller, faster, more erratic, closer and lower contrast than a sporting human). These are a few of many similar images. Unlike the tracking sets, these are not the one or two of the sharper grabs from a cluster, but single, timed, pin sharp files with maybe one or two more on either side as they presented. It is fair to say, the misses were not from the camera and lens, but me.
It is weatherproof, which my longer tele is not (but that may be pointless due to it’s limited coverage and weight when out in the field with the 12-100).
It provides another strong Bokeh option (but nowhere near as powerful as the 45/75mm primes).
The substantial difference between the Bokeh of the 12-100 (f4 at 90mm) and the 40-150 (f2.8 at 90mm). The 40-150, like the 12-40 seems to produce a lighter and brighter file than the very hard 12-100.
So the questions are;
Can I justify the substantial cost of a lens that adds a small window of speed/reach** that is otherwise a very pleasant lens to use?
Do I need the teleconverter?
*One eye on the viewfinder and the other (left) eye looking around outside of the frame. It is tricky at first, but once mastered, you are not limited to the lenses view only and can respond to what is coming.
** In telephoto’s I have at my disposal;
up to 100mm (200mm FF equivalent) f4 pro grade, 75mm (150e) f1.8 absolutely top tier optics, but older and possibly less speedy to focus, and up to 300mm (600e) with better than average glass, but “kit” grade focus and a slow maximum aperture.
The new lens would only add;
150mm (300e) at f2.8 with pro grade glass and focus, and 210mm (420e) f4 near enough pro grade with the extender.