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Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?

  
 
BlueBomberTurbo
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


So I've got setups in both Sony E-mount FF and APS-C, and Olympus m4/3. Not sure which to expand based on my funds (+/- $1500). As far as my background, I've shot a bunch of youth soccer games, and recently baseball, which tested my gear a lot harder. Not even in anything like subject tracking. I missed some shots because the lens I was using (Canon 55-250 STM) couldn't rack focus fast enough from close to far. I've been somewhat reluctant to pick up more sports shooting jobs beyond soccer due to the slower AF issue, and that last baseball game spelled it out clearly that I need better gear.

Recently, I've been using a Sony A6300 + an adapted Canon 55-250 STM and Sigma 150-600 C (now sold). I also have an A7 III, along with an A7R II that I could potentially sell with the A6300 for additional funds. For Sony, my plan would be to get a used A9. Both for its AF performance, and usable silent shutter that would expand the shutter life indefinitely. The caveat is the price of lenses. Is a 70-300 adequate at that point, or should I pony up for something like the Sigma 100-400 (reach) or Tamron 70-180/2.8 (speed)? Theoretically, I can even adapt older EF lenses, as the A9 is still amazing with them vs regular sensor Sonys that have limitations. Either way, AF will be a giant leap over my current setup, and offer none of the performance problems I'm dealing with now.

The other side of the coin is m4/3, where I have an Olympus E-M1 II, 35-100/2.8, and 75-300 II. Here, I'd probably look at an OM-1 for the same reasons as the A9, and keep the E-M1 II as backup. However, m4/3 lenses are a bit more limited in scope and speed, and that's the caveat on this side. Low light and subject isolation are m4/3's Achilles heels. Already feeling this at wide and medium focal lengths, where the 12-40/2.8 Pro I also have barely blurs anything out wide open in full body shots. Even APS-C is OK with standard 2.8 zooms.

So, I'm kind of stuck. Any pros here shooting m4/3 for nighttime/indoor sports? Or using an A9/A1 without supertele primes or fast zooms? Not looking to shoot NFL or anything, just digging deeper into what I've already done, but with a higher level of confidence due to competent gear.



Sep 01, 2023 at 06:24 PM
schlotz
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


Soccer is one of the most demanding sports to shoot due to the nature of how the game is played. Adapted lens to the A9 are at best marginal IMO and certainly do not provide the necessary AF speed and also reduce the available fps of the A9. The 70-300 (4.5-5.6) is not really fast acquisition glass, the reach is quasi ok but not really enough to cover a number of scenarios that require longer reach. In a pinch it might be acceptable but only in good lighting and covering play well within half of the field. If the field lighting is good (certainly not HS or some colleges) the Sony 100-400 4.5-5.6 GM can work but there again any significant cropping on higher ISO shots will yield marginal IQ results. BTW: using that will force very high ISO in order to keep the shutter at 1/1000 or 1250. I do use this as my second rig for USL Championship level soccer on a field that is so so for lighting but definitely better than HS. Haven't used the Sigma version so unable to comment on it's viability.

This sport (and others) is the realm of fast glass i.e. 2.8 with reach. The sport demands fast AF acquisition, with a shutter above 1/1000. I usually only go as low as 1250.



Sep 02, 2023 at 12:21 PM
jlafferty
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


Id say rent before taking the plunge - do away completely with speculation and zero in on exactly what you need.


Sep 03, 2023 at 04:05 AM
dugaut
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


I echo what schlotz says. Except for wildlife, sports photography needs longer and wider lenses which means more money. And shooting at night means f/2.8. I even shoot with a 600 f/4 for down field and if it's a night game I pretty much don't use it b/c of the f/4. I shot a lax game in pouring rain and used only one lens, a 400, which was good for near and mid-field. I'm guessing if you move up in age the field might be regulation which means bigger.

I own an om-1 but only use it for hiking since it's lighter. It's definitely a step up from the other Olympus cameras. I think tracking and af accuracy might be fine, but even though its iso has improved, it might not handle night games. The high-res mode makes a significant difference in iso, but of course you won't use that for anything moving.

A used A9 is a good start. But the real challenge is going to be the lens. The long zooms would work during the day, albeit with less bokeh, but night games will cost you. If you went the canon route, a used first gen 400 might be affordable, but it is a heavy beast, even on a monopod. That lens was my first super tele a decade plus ago, that I bought *new* for 7K. Much cheaper used now. Sony started with mirrorless super teles so the used market there is much higher.



Sep 03, 2023 at 07:20 AM
 


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schlotz
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


As I mentioned earlier, adapting glass to the A9 will work but the AF speed and fps are not where they need to be in order to cover fast action sports.


Sep 03, 2023 at 10:05 AM
BlueBomberTurbo
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


Thanks for the suggestions, everyone! I decided to go with an A9 for now. More to bump up the performance for my primary shooting jobs: events. Replacing my A7R II, mainly for AF and silent shutter performance. I'll keep the E-M1 II and zoom lenses for sports for now, and probably add a 2nd E-M1 II sooner than later, since that's the mount I currently have reach with. I'll revisit upgrading for sports next year.


Sep 09, 2023 at 05:26 AM
gunmetal
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


I know I'm late to the party, but I have to think the 200-600 G would have been a great combo with the A7iii.

I tried using adapted glass on the A9. Worked brilliantly for Golf. Not so much for Soccer. Hope things work out for you.



Sep 22, 2023 at 09:46 PM
rscheffler
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Looking to Expand Into Sports: More FF or m4/3?


I see a fair number of Sony 200-600s on NFL sidelines, so there's something to be said there. The question for the OP will be what ratio of games are you covering during the day vs. night where this zoom will be on the slow side?

Given OP is in NJ and if covering field sports in the winter, everything will be indoor facilities with potentially poor lighting where you unfortunately really do need as fast a lens as you can afford. Hate to say, but this is where Canon might have been a better choice for adapting old EF super-teles that are selling in the $1500-2500 range. Heck, I went from 1DX series DSLRs to the R6II and it was an AF improvement for the most part (I'm shooting with the 200-400). The caveat with the Canon cameras below the R3 though is that you'll probably need to shoot in EFCS or mechanical shutter modes and the old EF lenses will drop the max fps rate in a camera like the R6II from 12 fps to maybe 7-8. You can get 20 fps e-shutter with the old lenses, but with Canon's cameras other than the R3 and soccer, you'll get rolling shutter distortion in the ball and possibly banding due to how rolling shutter in those sensors interacts with lower-end stadium lighting. Of course the a9 addresses all this, but you have few affordable long native lens options for indoor sports work. Maybe try adapting EF but like the others have said, I'm also not a fan of this route. And with the old EF glass you probably will run into similar fps limitations. The market's probably very niche but wonder if Sigma might re-do their 120-300 for mirrorless? Though 300 on 24MP FF might still often be on the short side for soccer...



Sep 28, 2023 at 04:01 PM







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