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Thread: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

  1. #1
    Senior Member ecsh's Avatar
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    You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Please, first define 'sports' ...
    We're talking (fast) moving non-stationary objects, right ?
    Bart ...

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Knorp View Post
    Please, first define 'sports' ...
    We're talking (fast) moving non-stationary objects, right ?
    There's an important distinction when it comes to speed: Actual speed of the subject isn't very interesting. If you're far away from the subject, the relative speed is very low. It's the speed of the subject relative to the distance between subject and photographer that matters. A great 100 meter sprinter, and some of the football players are very good sprinters, has an average speed of around 35 kph. Still, photographers don't get much closer to the action than those who take photos of racing cars moving at 100-300 kph. That make even the fastest football players seem like turtles compared to any motorised vehicle or vessel, and the demands on the camera smaller. Still, there are photographers claiming that it's problematic to shoot football or track and field using an EVF.

    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 02:03.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.
    David

    dmwfotos | davidmward.photography
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    With best regards, K-H.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by k-hawinkler View Post
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.
    Brad Husick

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by bab View Post
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    Hi Bab, thank you for this example !

    Now, is this a scene that could not have been shot with a particular type of camera ?
    Bart ...

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Jim, thanks. Stunning shots!
    With best regards, K-H.
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    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.
    Gene Lower shoots only mirrorless for sports.

    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?

    Nah.

    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.

    -Bill
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by ohnri View Post
    Gene Lower shoots only mirrorless for sports.

    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.


    -Bill
    In the link above, not a single advantage shooting sports with mirrorless is mentioned. The only pieces of advice he gives are "Stay persistent" and "Stay on top of technology" with little explanation about what that imply. Earlier in the article, it's mentioned that one of his reasons for success is that he uses digital cameras. That's unusual...

    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.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    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?
    Is it me you're asking? The A77 II is a fine camera for action, the only caveat being the viewfinder for some applications that I mention further up. I was tempted by an A77/A99 combo when they where first launched, but since I was shooting motor sports for one of the teams in Thailand at the time, and the viewfinder isn't suitable for challenging pan shots, I rejected the plan. Further testing, a lot of it, confirmed that it was a wise decision. That doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work for others though, and it's fantastic value for money, maybe the best value when it comes to sports cameras, since it's also good for video, which the Nikons and Canons aren't due to the lack of an EVF and functioning AF-C during video shooting.

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    Workshop Member Wayne Fox's Avatar
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post

    Oh, and that video... product placements all through it. Clearly paid by Sony. It's advertising plain and simple.
    Looked like a small feature done by a local TV station to me, if he shoots sony there’s going to be footage of him shooting Sony ...
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    Looked like a small feature done by a local TV station to me, if he shoots sony there’s going to be footage of him shooting Sony ...
    One can always say that this video screen capture shows Gene Lower shooting with a Sony A7, but the language is so classic "camera promotion" that it leaves little doubt about where the focus is:



    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.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    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
    Football shooters need to visit the gym more often...
    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 16:32.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    Is it me you're asking? The A77 II is a fine camera for action, the only caveat being the viewfinder for some applications that I mention further up. I was tempted by an A77/A99 combo when they where first launched, but since I was shooting motor sports for one of the teams in Thailand at the time, and the viewfinder isn't suitable for challenging pan shots, I rejected the plan. Further testing, a lot of it, confirmed that it was a wise decision. That doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work for others though, and it's fantastic value for money, maybe the best value when it comes to sports cameras, since it's also good for video, which the Nikons and Canons aren't due to the lack of an EVF and functioning AF-C during video shooting.
    No it was the OP I was asking but as far as the viewfinder issue and what Nikon users like to refer to as a slideshow effect with EVF I personally think that is non user negative hype. The early EVF ( like on the a33 and 55) had some issues but today what you see has little difference in my eyes as a mirrored OVF with the mirror moving back and forth. I shoot birds in flight all the time with very unpredictable and fast flight paths and at 8-10 fps and have no tracking issues other than those any photog using any gear has in following fast irratic movements of their subject.

    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.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    No it was the OP I was asking but as far as the viewfinder issue and what Nikon users like to refer to as a slideshow effect with EVF I personally think that is non user negative hype. The early EVF ( like on the a33 and 55) had some issues but today what you see has little difference in my eyes as a mirrored OVF with the mirror moving back and forth. I shoot birds in flight all the time with very unpredictable and fast flight paths and at 8-10 fps and have no tracking issues other than those any photog using any gear has in following fast irratic movements of their subject.

    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.
    The slide show issue has been proven again and again, most recently by dpr with the A7R II. I routinely check it out with more or less every new mirrorless camera coming on to the market, except the NX1, which isn't available here, and appears to be discontinued in most markets anyway.

    Or maybe I'm simply just not clever enough...

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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 17:26.

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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim DE View Post
    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) 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.
    When I mainly used mirrorless cameras, I didn't think about what I was looking through either, obviously except for the above mentioned examples (and a couple of others). These things obviously develop, and they will be refined to a point that for all practical purposes, there won't be any difference between an optical and an electronic viewfinder. Still, some will probably prefer one or the other for emotional or other reasons. What surprises me quite a bit is that cameras with EVFs haven't taken the low end market with storm. Almost any EVF is vastly better than the OVF of a camera like a Nikon D3300 or the corresponding Canons. Maybe it's because many low end mirrorless cameras lack a viewfinder altogether, with manufacturers believing users would migrate from camera phones to "real" cameras with a similar user interface as those phones?

    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

  26. #26
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony 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

  27. #27
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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

  28. #28
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    Re: You cannot shoot sports with Sony camera

    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.

    -Bill

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