Over two years ago, I hung up my modest sports photography duties. I moved from the action oriented Canon 7D to a slower but higher quality Canon 6D. I was never a serious sports shooter. Just a dad capturing his sons playing on the weekend soccer league.
Since then, my boys have grown up and moved from soccer to tennis. I’ve also moved on. I don’t find tennis very interesting, photographically and it doesn’t take a sports camera to shoot it. Well, out of the blue, this has changed. My older son has fallen in love with lacrosse.
Not sure how serious he’s going to be, but I went to his first game today. For all the cameras I have, and I have a lot, I don’t have a really good sports setup. I could use my Canon 6D but its focusing system is not ideal. Plus my nice 70-200 F4 L zoom only reaches 200mm on a full frame camera — not very long for field sports.
My fastest camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. It’s faster focusing than my Canon and shoots up to 10 frames per second. But I’m really lacking in the telephoto department. For most of my photography, I like to shoot at 50mm or wider. I have a choice between two unassuming kit lenses — the Olympus 40-150mm f4-5.6 or the Panasonic 45-200mm f4-5.6. I took the Panasonic.
What’s clear is a 400mm equivalent is really perfect for covering the entire field. The Panasonic 45-200mm worked well, size wise, on the E-M5 but optically, the results are underwhelming. The focus is soft and the bokeh is really harsh. I have dreams of Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro and a 1.4x teleconverter. Except, I wasn’t ready to drop $1750 on this combo.
I’m going to play more with the Panasonic and compare it against the Olympus zoom. It’s also going to be fun testing the E-M5 Mark II as an action camera. After shooting today, I already found the good and not so good. I love my mirrorless cameras for travel and street photography, but how about sports? I’m going to find out and let you know.