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I'm a huge Cardinal fan. Nice to see another Pro buck the BS over Sony can't do this or that. It really is tiring, this is about talent and if you have it than you can shoot anything.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
One can shoot sports with any camera. I can shoot sports with my GX680 if needed, and I will for sure be able to deliver shots that can be published. But for some sports, some cameras will make the job difficult. For most kinds of motor sports, the lack of continuous live view through the EVF means losing shots, particularly with panning at changing speeds. The inferior AF-C of, as far as I know, all mirrorless cameras, also complicates matters. For American football, I don't have a clue.
Gene Lower is a good photographer. He's also what Sony calls a "Sony Artisan", so as much a Sony team member as a Cardinal member. According to alphauniverse.com, a Sony website, his preferred camera is the A77 II. That's a DSLR camera with an EVF. If that camera wasn't suitable for sports photography, it would be very embarrassing for Sony. It's the only sports camera they make.
Oh, and that video... product placements all through it. Clearly paid by Sony. It's advertising plain and simple.
Please, first define 'sports' ...
We're talking (fast) moving non-stationary objects, right ?
For motor sports, everything is fine as long as vehicles follow a predictable line, which they do most of the time. But the great shots mostly come when a driver is doing something extraordinary, like a sudden acceleration to overtake, or leaving the track in a spectacular manner. Then, the current crop of electronic viewfinders become useless, since they don't show the actual action during bursts, but a slide show of the images that you've already taken. You can't predict the speed increase of an accelerating racing vehicle unless you sit behind the wheel.
The weight savings of a mirrorless body is also totally irrelevant. Sports photographers carry tons of gear. A few hundred grams saved on the bodies won't change that, particularly when the terrible battery life means carrying a stack of batteries at any time. No, there won't be time to get back to the car for more. What you carry on your body, the human one, has to last for 8-12 hours.
Dpr did a test of the A7R II for sports photography, and among their conclusions where "Disruption caused by playback blackout works against the photographer when trying to anticipate a moment when shooting in continuous burst.". That's the same conclusion I came to myself after trying out different Panasonic bodies for sports through 5 years. So instead of fighting nature and technology, most sports photographers use cameras with optical viewfinders.
Full article here:
Keeping up with the big boys? Shooting pro sports with the Sony a7R II: Digital Photography Review
Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 16th December 2015 at 01:03.
As a young photographer I shot motor sports with Nikon F cameras and manual focus lenses.
I also shot college football.
As Guy stated, its about the photographer rather than the equipment.
I've shot motor sports with my A7RII and A7II as well.
Its not my main subject or interest but, as a photographer, the objective is to find a way to get the shots I want with the equipment I have, rather than to complain that I can't get the shot because I have the wrong camera.
I do agree with the statement that weight shouldn't be the main factor when deciding on the best equipment for a given task.
The Sony artisan thing is the result of him shooting with Sony and Sony deciding that he is a good representative to have for promoting their products. Sony didn't go to him and convince him to change from product C or N to S. I'm confident he was using Sony before he became an SA.
Just like Canon Explorers of Light used the equipment before becoming Canon reps.
With best regards, K-H.
Having tried all of them, I must say the Nikon D4 and Canon 1DX with 70-200 lenses give me a higher percentage of better results shooting sports overall than any mirrorless camera I have tried (including Sony, Olympus, Fuji, Canon, Nikon and others).
It's just my opinion but I think many would agree.
Are you referring to all Sony digital cameras or just the a7x series........
If you are referring to all Sony digitals I must take exception as the a77II is plenty good enough for anything fast with its high frame rate and its exceptional Lock-on continuous AF system
If I can stop these with a handheld 150-600 tammy I think I can stop a baseball or a hockey puck with a 2.8 300mm and the a77II... whatdaythink?
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Jim, thanks. Stunning shots!
With best regards, K-H.1 Member(s) thanked for this post
Gene Lower’s Chess Match: Cardinals Photographer Talks Shooting, Technology and Tips | PhotoShelter Blog
I would call it informative and enlightening rather than just advertising. His images are great. He has reasons for using only mirrorless now which he discusses in the link.
The idea that one can shoot anything with any camera and get equal results does not hold water.
Here is a terrific sports photographer using Sony mirrorless and getting wonderful images. He has choices like we all do and feels he is getting excellent results with his gear.
No solid pro is going to jeopardize their career to make themselves a Sony Artisan.
I want a full blown sports mirrorless from Sony as much as anyone. One with fast fps and a deep buffer and even better AF. But, I wanted more of all that when I was shooting sports with my D4 also.
Maybe I should have waited another year for the big tank D5 which will be available sometime in 2016?
Gene Lower shows my Sony A7r2 works very well for sports and my Samsung NX1 already has lightening fast AF and shoots 15 fps and fantastic 4K video today.
Oh, the NX1 also has great weather sealing and a long battery life and a sweet touch screen and a ton of other handy, dandy features. Probably the best camera of the last 5 years to fail to gain traction in the market.
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Mirrorless or A7 aren't mentioned with a single word in the article, except that there's a perfect photo of him using an A7, perfectly angled with the Sony and Alpha logos bang in the middle, contrasty and sharp. A link in the "Stay on top of technology" part of the article however, called "Sony Mirrorless", links to another article about photos taken at an Aerosmith concert taken with an A77 II. The A77 II is still a DSLR with an EVF.
There's also a photo of him, taken from a distance, where he takes photos using a monopod. The sensationally lightweight A7 with a zillion stops of IBIS built in, and he needs a monopod to support it? A monopod is often useful, but it hampers movement when shooting fast moving subjects. It's the first thing I get rid of when shooting sports when weight and stability allows.
The A7 family of cameras are fine for many uses, and I'm sure Gene Lower is a great sports photographer, but promoting the A7 as a premium choice for sports photographers is pure marketing, and a long way towards being misleading. There are simply better alternatives around, and it seems clear that Gene Lower knows that. The only camera any of the articles mention that he uses is the A77 II. The rest seem to be promotion shots for the A7 family of cameras.
It's a local feature by one of local stations. I live here folks. There is no Sony marketing stuff going on at all . Not even close its about him. Btw every baseball,football and soccer shooter uses a monopod. I shot Pro basketball for a long time myself . We used stadium strobes. Phoenix Suns
Remember a monopod is not only used to shoot it also used to hold the truck of gear so you don't get fatigued. Wow a story about a good shooter turns to Sony hate. ****ing amazing
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
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Although Fox 10 seems to be sort of local, it's part of the Meredith Corporation, a media conglomerate with 3,900 employees and revenues of $1.47 billion. Giving the video a "local" image gives the project a more genuine look, but as the fact that we are now discussing this on an international forum shows; stuff spread easily on the Internet. Good work by Sony's PR or marketing department, no doubt.
For motor sports, it isn't really practical with a pod, except for very long lenses which are mostly used on the big, international circuits. There's too much moving around the circuits, and the monopod adds to the weight and bulk of already heavy gear.
It's not Sony hate, Guy, but I know the difference between promotion and editorial. If this is called editorial in your great, big country across the ocean, your dictionaries need an update
There's nothing wrong with promotion of cameras using successful photographers to do that. It's being done all the time, and marketing literature is full of this kind of methodology; how to make advertising look like editorials. It's described down to the usage and even weights of fonts, colours, camera angles etc. We are meant to fall for it, and we do. Me to. But this one is about something that I've tried extensively, and I know why it doesn't make sense. I'm sure Gene Lower does too. That's why he uses an A77 II
Edit: Actually, of his photos published in the Photoshelter article, there are 2 taken with the A7R II, so he does use an A7 too, 5 are taken with the A77 II and one is taken with an EOS 1D Mark II. The last one is probably an older shot, before he saw the light
Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 16th December 2015 at 15:32.
The so called slideshow argument just does not hold water when results are compared. I would much prefer focus lock continuos adj spot focusing than any viewfinder preference. For the record I will never go back to OVF as the EVF offer me far more instant feedback and info.
But that is me and my shooting.... I cut my teeth for 40 years with OVF's and can understand those who prefer to stay with what they are used to.
Here's a little story that illustrates what I'm trying to say:
When taking photos for a racing team, which I did for years, there are certain things that are important:
- Sponsor logos
- The driver's helmet
- The impression of speed
- Superiority versus the main competitors
If your driver wins or loses isn't important. In general, if he didn't win, you won't notice who did. You'll be preparing for the next race when that happens. But... when your driver overtakes his main rival, you have to be there. "Your" car should be sharp and in focus, the background blurred, and the competitor, if it was possible, even more so, to emphasis the difference in speed. The trick is to predict where and when this will happen. There's often some running involved when things are heating up.
So, it's a slow shutter speed pan shot, as slow as you dare, depending on the speed of the cars. And you need free sight to "your" car throughout the process to keep the main sponsor logo and the helmet of the driver at exactly the same place during the whole burst. In reality, that's only the case for 20-50% of the shots in a burst with shutter speed around 50% of the focal length, but you only need one sharp shot.
Before I understood how electronic viewfinders work, I tried to do this with a GH2 a few times. It was a mystery to me how I could get the wrong car sharp when while looking through the viewfinder, I seemed to follow "my" car perfectly, at least for as long as I was holding the shutter release. That was until I understood that what I saw was a slide show, not the actual action. Later, I tried the GH2 and GH3 at freestyle jetski competitions. Same thing, lots of spray and fragments of the boat at some corner of the image. Doesn't work. Doesn't work for Panasonic, doesn't work for Sony, doesn't work for Olympus, doesn't work for Fuji. Probably something about processing capacity.
At some sports events, there is only one money shot. It can be worth anything from a couple of dollars to several thousand. But whatever the value of that shot is, I'm not going to lose it because I don't have the most suitable equipment that my money can buy. And if I can't afford or can't carry the equipment needed, I should consider shooting daffodils instead.
Is this a problem? Not at all! Any old D2X or D300 can do this job, and they can be acquired for $3-400. Add the cost of a halfway decent 70-300mm lens ($200?), and you're in business. And this is what annoys me a bit with the video at the top of this thread. That, and the articles linked to later, give the impression that Sony mirrorless and SLT cameras have introduced great advantages for sports shooters. They haven't. Better AF and better low light abilities have to some degree, but that goes for all camera brands. Great sports images however, can been shot with a Nikon F or even a Leica. It's what you see through the viewfinder that makes the difference, and when you don't see it, you don't get the shot. With my bad, old Nikons, I see. That's why I keep them and use them.
Or maybe I'm simply just not clever enough...
There is one important reason why Sony gets a lot of pepper for this:
While other manufacturers of mirrorless cameras direct little or none of their marketing towards sports photography, Sony does. I have the A7 II brochure in front of me, and 4 full pages are dedicated towards car racing, featuring 2 large pan shots and several smaller ones. It's obviously possible to capture those images with an A7 II. People do, and I can do it too. But it's easier and safer to do it with any DSLR, much easier. I'm sure Sony knows that, but they are here to sell cameras, not to make my life easier. I prefer the easy life
Jorgen, I own a a7rII and personally I would never use mine for action shots. IMO it is not the best tool for the job due to its AF system not its viewfinder. I use the a77II for action.
What has been proven about slideshow vs mirror kick is some people's eyes are more sensitive to one than the other. That said I would never judge someone's reaction to one over another. I don't have their vision and in the same scenario they don't have mine. ( truth is I have been using EVF since the Minolta a1 and honestly I don't even register I am using a EVF... It's just a viewfinder to me. The only time I notice a viewfinder is when one of my student hands me their camera and it's not EVF) I have no problems panning on a purple Martin in flight which makes a race cars movement look like the comparison of the tortoise and the hare in terms of tracking. I could use a gimbal on a car no chance on a purple Martin.
If the EVF bothers someone when smoking frames on a fast target then it is not the camera for them but that does not mean the tool itself is not capable. Just not the best tool for everyone. ( but what tool is?) I would be willing to bet if we both fired on a race car we both would get the shots with the same degree of ease. Making the debate between EVF and OVF a moot point. It boils down to what is happening in the 12" behind the viewfinder no matter which kind.
Last edited by Jim DE; 16th December 2015 at 16:26.
Whatever it is, the market position of mirrorless cameras has developed much slower than what I thought would be the case 5 years ago. Challenging the SLR camera, the symbol of advanced photography equipment for more than 50 years, has apparently not been as easy as some thought it was. Personally, I like the reassuring click-clack sound of a "real" camera
Essentially, the cameras/phones with only a lcd screen is nothing more than a open view EVF. I doubt if I will be around to see this but my crystal ball shows all image capturing tools in the future will have EVF and OVF and mirrors will go the way of the 8 track players once all us old and resistant to change photographers are no longer sucking air. Photography chases advancements while their customer base retains a death grip on resistance to change. Look at how long some companies held onto film and resisted change because their customer base resisted change. Or how many times did we hear the new old guard say no one needs more than 6mp or then the even newer old guard stating 12mp or 16mp. The old guards resistance to change has slowed the advancement of this art form far more than it has ever helped it.
Heck I still occasionally shoot color positive film .... I'm a dinosaur
I've considered doing a race using the GX680 with Velvia and Tri-X. I'll have a look into that for one of the races next season. Then, I will need the monopod for sure
Got some pretty nice ice hockey photos of my son and his team a couple of days ago. I used the A7r2 with the 70-400 G2 and the laea4 adapter.
The biggest problems were picking up initial focus if the lens had to rack a long way to acquire and the slow speed (f5.6 at the long end) of the lens.
I will try it next time with the 70-200 f/4 and see if that makes a difference.
No doubt, I had more keepers with my D4 and 70-200/2.8 but this was my first time trying out the Sony.