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Best mirrorless camera for sports photography

amirm

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#1
I don't do sports but the needs are very similar to wildlife which I do. As such, I very much liked this video from Tony on mirrorless cameras for sports photography. In there there is also a very good review of the two mirrorless cameras from Canon and Nikon. Both are surprisingly poor in this regard, making me wonder what value if any they bring to the table at all.

 

Sythrix

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#2
Concerning wildlife, my next lens that I want (and it's going to be a while) is the Panasonic Leica 100-400 F4-6.3. On the Micro 4/3 format, (Panasonic and Olympus cameras, mine is the Panasonic G9) Focal range multiplier for the format is twice that of the 35mm (Full Frame) standard, which means an effective range of 200-800mm. It looks incredibly useful for wildlife photography, because equivalent lenses on other systems are so big and bulky (and expensive) as to not be practical.

This one, at 6.75 inches (171.5 mm) long and weighing just over 2 lbs, means you can take it with you in most camera bags. Being made to Leica's standards, it's also has excellent image quality, considering the focal length. The only problem I've been reading about is a stiff zoom mechanism, but apparently that can vary from copy to copy.

As you can tell, I really want it :D. Especially after seeing Terry Lane's video on YouTube.
 
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#3
Concerning wildlife, my next lens that I want (and it's going to be a while) is the Panasonic Leica 100-400 F4-6.3. On the Micro 4/3 format, (Panasonic and Olympus cameras, mine is the Panasonic G9) Focal range multiplier for the format is twice that of the 35mm (Full Frame) standard, which means an effective range of 200-800mm. It looks incredibly useful for wildlife photography, because equivalent lenses on other systems are so big and bulky (and expensive) as to not be practical.

This one, at 6.75 inches (171.5 mm) long and weighing just over 2 lbs, means you can take it with you in most camera bags. Being made to Leica's standards, it's also has excellent image quality, considering the focal length. The only problem I've been reading about is a stiff zoom mechanism, but apparently that can vary from copy to copy.

As you can tell, I really want it :D. Especially after seeing Terry Lane's video on YouTube.
The birds are wonderful!!!
 

NTomokawa

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#4
Why mirrorless?

After having handled the Nikon Z6, the Canon R and several Sony Alpha-series bodies, my *personal opinion* is that their electronic viewfinders still have noticeable amounts of lag and ghosting, they have poor battery life, and the have very little size/weight advantage over reflex cameras.

Try the Nikon D500 or the Canon 7D Mark II.
 

Frank Dernie

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#6
I don’t use full frame for either sports or wildlife any more because of the size and weight of the long lenses.
The best camera is the one you have with you and the 600mm f4 I had was too big and heavy to use much any more.
I have found the micro 4/3 mirrorless cameras a good compromise. The original 4/3 suffered from a dim, small viewfinder, this problem goes away with mirrorless.
I have the 300mmf4 Olympus, which I use a lot. I also have the 100-400 Panny-Leica lens, which I use less but is super versatile.
IME the only thing you miss out on in real practical terms is low light noise. For a bloke who always used Kodachrome 64 even iso200 is fast, so I am easily able to deal with low light situations with 4/3 :)
We went on a cruise up the Amazon in November. Carrying heavy camera gear on the London-Barbados flight was unattractive so I just bought that lens and a macro plus a little Sony P&S. This covered everything I needed, and I even got some detail out of a shot I took from the ship of 3 Macaws which were just black dots in the distance. Most wildlife shots were at the equivalent of 800mm.
 

mi-fu

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#7
I also agree on going light. Carrying cameras on international travel is such a hassle now, especially with the strict rule on batteries.

With today's sensor technology, even small formats can deliver very decent results at high ISO.

Recently, I'm also interested in the Sony A6400 too. At this price point, its AF ability is beyond amazing to me.

 

maxxevv

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#8
I'll take video reviews with a huge spoonful of salt. If you can, would suggest trying it at your local store first.

The proof of a camera's AF pudding is often indoors, with limited artificial lighting on such stuff as dance competitions, badminton games, basketball and stuff of the sort. Outdoors in good light doesn't mean much as most interchangeable lens cameras in the last 10 years do pretty well in well lit outdoors conditions.
 

Frank Dernie

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#9
Some pictures from our Brazil trip using the 100-400 zoom, most at an equivalent fl of 800mm. The Macaws are also an extreme crop and extreme manipulation of the shadows in an apparently black original - surprised to see any colour there at all.
PB150098.jpg
PB220337.jpg
PB220349.jpg
 
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Frank Dernie

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#10
Why mirrorless?

After having handled the Nikon Z6, the Canon R and several Sony Alpha-series bodies, my *personal opinion* is that their electronic viewfinders still have noticeable amounts of lag and ghosting, they have poor battery life, and the have very little size/weight advantage over reflex cameras.

Try the Nikon D500 or the Canon 7D Mark II.
I don't bother with autofocus much and one of the attractions of mirrorless cameras is the ability to use adaptors and legacy lenses. :)
 

Frank Dernie

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#11
I also agree on going light. Carrying cameras on international travel is such a hassle now, especially with the strict rule on batteries.

With today's sensor technology, even small formats can deliver very decent results at high ISO.

Recently, I'm also interested in the Sony A6400 too. At this price point, its AF ability is beyond amazing to me.

With wildlife and sports photography (motor racing anyway) and wide aperture with fast lenses autofocus almost always chooses the wrong spot to focus on, I have any number of missed shots that way! All the Formula 1 pros I know use manual focus on the circuit, and quite a few use manual focus when using fast lenses in the pits too.
Autofocus is great using slower apertures with grandchildren dashing about though.
 

NTomokawa

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#12
I don't bother with autofocus much and one of the attractions of mirrorless cameras is the ability to use adaptors and legacy lenses.
I have a few manual-focus Nikkors for my D3x, as well as a Tokina 100mm macro which I almost exclusively use in manual-focus mode.

The thing is that we're taking about sports photography and one has to be darned good to be able to manually track an erratically-moving athlete. Track and field sports is one thing, but ball sports are out of the question...
 

Frank Dernie

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#13
I have a few manual-focus Nikkors for my D3x, as well as a Tokina 100mm macro which I almost exclusively use in manual-focus mode.

The thing is that we're taking about sports photography and one has to be darned good to be able to manually track an erratically-moving athlete. Track and field sports is one thing, but ball sports are out of the question...
I don't follow ball sports and I suppose autofocus, like all the automations that have been developed is a boon to sports photographers since whilst they still need good timing and composition the skilled technician side of photography is now done by algorithms!
When I started in motor sport even a built in exposure meter was revolutionary (and not all that good, reflective metering is nowhere near as accurate as incident) and only black and white film was reasonably fast - at 400iso.
I bet most football photographers use the pre-focus button for the goal so they don't miss a critical shot by the autofocus hunting or being wrong.
 

maxxevv

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#14
Sounds like its been way too long since you last used an SLR camera.

Let me guess, your last used one had perhaps 3~5 AF focus points to play with ?
 

Frank Dernie

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#15
Sounds like its been way too long since you last used an SLR camera.

Let me guess, your last used one had perhaps 3~5 AF focus points to play with ?
Oh I still use one sometimes I just don't prefer it.
Those with a quick way of moving a single focus point are best, far fewer in focus shots of branches with an oof bird behind them, but still every algorithm I know of favours focusing on the nearest thing in frame, which is fine 95% of the time but spectacularly annoying when it isn't.
I have been a keen amateur for nearly 60 years now and the technical side of photography isn't a great challenge for me, I didn't own a camera with built in exposure meter for my first 15 years of photography and it was at least anothe 10 years before autofocus SLRs - I started off with a Canon EOS 620.
I gave up on Canon because I didn't like the way their ergonomics went, but still have EOS 1Dsmk2. I have Nikon D3x now but sold my 600mm f4 as it was too heavy to carry - though it was a really good lens and worked really well with the 1.4x teleconvertor too, I don't miss it though.
My choices now are Olympus OM-D E1mk 1 and 2, a Fuji X-Pro 2 or one of the Leica digitals, I favour the M10, though the M (240) can shoot movies. The Leicas are not easy for wildlife so I sold my 560, 400 and 280 f2.8 recently and now my longest Leica lens is 180.
So, for wildlife it is the Olympus every time for me, very fast autofocus fwiw, and manual touch up easy and cleverly designed in Oly lenses.
Mostly prefer the Leica in general for ergonomics and menu logic but the Fuji is a superb compromise and the one I would probably choose if I could only have 1 camera since it has a normal viewfinder and electronic and ergonomic logical controls.
 

maxxevv

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#16
Your experience with your gear doesn't relate much with how I have experienced some of the gear you said you have used.
You clearly have your personal biases / preferences when it comes to camera usage.

Either that or you have not played to the idiosyncrasies of the varies AF systems your named. Both your "pro" cameras are 15 and 12years vintage. But even then, their AF is nowhere near as abysmal as you described in my experience.

Incredibly capable cameras, even by today's standards if one knows to how to expose the shots correctly. ( ISO shadow recovery being the biggest by-word of late ..)
 

Frank Dernie

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#17
Your experience with your gear doesn't relate much with how I have experienced some of the gear you said you have used.
You clearly have your personal biases / preferences when it comes to camera usage.

Either that or you have not played to the idiosyncrasies of the varies AF systems your named. Both your "pro" cameras are 15 and 12years vintage. But even then, their AF is nowhere near as abysmal as you described in my experience.

Incredibly capable cameras, even by today's standards if one knows to how to expose the shots correctly. ( ISO shadow recovery being the biggest by-word of late ..)
I have enjoyed photography and the darkroom for decades. I understand that algorithms in modern cameras make it technically easy for novices. Most experienced photographers I know, mainly sports professionals and Leica photographers have the same opinion I do. The sports guys mainly use Canon and Nikon but I gave up on them because of size and weight and ergonomics, are the new ones any better? A pro came to shoot me for a film last week. He had the latest Canon top model. Obviously better than the old one I used but still not impressed for what I do. I wouldn’t take it out if I had one. To big and if better certainly not by much. A good photographer will get good shots with any camera.
 

Johnb

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#18
I also agree on going light. Carrying cameras on international travel is such a hassle now, especially with the strict rule on batteries.

"Recently, I'm also interested in the Sony A6400 too. At this price point, its AF ability is beyond amazing to me."

I have the older A6000 (bought open box with kit lens for $430). A lot of pros have been using this camera for the reasons you mentioned. It is the first mirrorless camera whose autofocus could compete with DSLR's, and indeed bests entry-level DSLR's.

Still, for sports, the camera body is dwarfed by the lens, so not sure how much weight savings can be had. I guess every little bit helps.

For normal photography, the super tiny kit lens makes for a camera that is only slightly larger than a point and shoot. I love that. Internal software corrects for the obvious tradeoffs in lens quality. At he time I bought mine, you got a coupon for a top level RAW software suite - only limitation is only for Sony RAW, otherwise full software. That in itself was worth the price of the camera.

Years ago, I decided to never travel with a heavy camera around my neck.
 

M00ndancer

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#19
One of the best sports cameras out there is the Nikon D500. Not cheap, not light but the AF is impressive. But for extreme lightweight use and far reach but not as good AF the most recent Olympus is getting there. I use an old Nikon V1 with an adapter and my 70-300 Tamron. Single point AF and not that good. But the VR system is great. (300mm on the V1 equiv 810mm) Below, something really fast, a RC Heli at full tilt.
DSC_0010.jpg
 

bravomail

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#20
Depends on your budget. I'm Sony mirrorless guy, tried point-shoot and Pentax DSLR before Sony NEX-6 and A6000. If you look at the professionals - they still use Canon and Nikon heavy fast DSLRs. In 4/3 realm my suggestion will be to look at Panasonic, not Olympus, Panasonic has faster AF. In Sony - if u have money get A9, if u wanna save money - get A6000. Sony A6400 is a mixed bag and does not live up to the hype. Panasonic and Sony both have the integrated long zoom cameras on 1" sensor. Asking price for those integrated solutions keeps me going back to Sony A6000. Middle ground for Sony camera - A73 (A7III).
 

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