Saturday 7 March 2015

Olympus E-M1 for motor sport photography

This year I had the opportunity to head over to Adelaide for the Clipsal 500 V8 Supercars race, it was the first time I'd been to Adelaide for this race and a very long time. The last time I was there for a race was for the Australian Grand Prix in 94.

I wanted to take my new camera to see how it would perform but was concerned that the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO kit lens would not be enough to get the reach I'm used to with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8 IS lens. The answer I thought, was easy. Rent the new Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO and i'd be off and running, but checking the inter-webs for local stores who would rent that lens proved less then fruitful, unless I wanted to rent it for a minimum of 6 months which was a little longer then I needed it for.

So I decided I'd just take the old faithful Canon 5d and 70-200 plus a couple of other lenses. In a last minute change of mind while packing, very late the night before the very early flight. I decided to just try it, and packed the E-M1 with the 12-40 f2.8 and a Bower 7.5mm lens and see what I would come back with.

So getting to the track and while walking to the seats I grabbed a few photos at a Ferrari club display with some very cool cars.

Ferrari 458

Once in the seats the Porsche Cup series was on the track and this was the first time to try out the camera in action, the zoom as expected left a little to be desired but with the zoom set to the max 40mm (80mm factoring in the crop sensor) and after a little while of trying to get the settings dialed in for some panning action shots this is what I was able to get.

Porsche Cup entry #77 Nick McBride - Bob Jane T-Mart Porsche
This is a cropped shot of the Bob Jane Porsche with a little tweaking in Lightroom, not to bad even considering the crop to make it a decent size in the frame.

One thing different with this camera compared to the Canon is the number of frames it can shoot per second, it's damn fast. I decided not to update to the latest V3 firmware before this just in case something wasn't quite right and I didn't have time to sort it out before hand. But will be putting it on ASAP now to compare the differences and see how much better the new faster C-AF mode is going to be.

Another action photo from the track was of a 2010 Ferrari F1 car doing some demonstration laps, also quite good managing to track the front of the car, also cropped to increase the size of the car in the frame (40mm is just not enough).

2010 Ferrari F1
Somewhere where the I was expecting the E-M1 to be more at home was in some of the track side entertainment and attraction, nothing wrong here, although again more zoom would have been nice in a couple of cases.

Track side bikini fashion show.
 As expected this was no problem for the camera, although it did take me a while to get used to the button layout compared to what I'm used to with the Canon. I still find the Canon controls a little easier to use quickly, but I think it's more a matter of adapting to the new camera.

This is the last of the images for the blog a shot of the classic podium photo shoot where they get the winner with the crowd in the background.

It took me a little while to get comfortable with the camera but eventually I managed to get into a groove and managed to take some photos I'm happy with and I definitely thing this camera can do the job, and do it well (as I would need anyway) just need to get the right lenses and it's quite a capable camera.

Hopefully I can find someone renting the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 lens before the Grand Prix next weekend so I can give it a good go then.

More of my photos from the 2015 Clipsal 500 can be seen in my Google+ album (Clipsal 500 Album).

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