I took a break from shooting food and went to a motocross race where I tested shooting fast moving motorcycles, both stills and video. I brought with me the Olympus OMD and my CBG-6 backpack full of lenses. I ended up only using two lenses for the two hours of race shooting, the Olympus 45mm and the Lumix 35-100mm. I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the still shots though I did have some challenges with keeping the focus while shooting video. I’ve heard many people say that mirrorless cameras can’t do sports but I don’t think that’s true.
I always like doing panning shots of fast moving objects so I got several of these shots throughout the race and did not have much trouble there. The OMD has the best image stabilization options. You can use the full 5 axis or you can do horizontal or vertical image stabilization. I recently discovered that the EP5 has an extra option that auto detects what IS mode it thinks you want. I’m not sure I would want the camera to control that. For panning horizontally, I used the vertical IS mode. I almost always use aperture priority but for panning I always switch over to shutter priority so I can slow down the shutter. I played around with different shutter speeds but found that 1/60 was a good speed for motocross.
I used spot metering as I usually tend to do and had some challenges with exposure because it was a bright sunny day and trying to shoot the riders during jumps frequently made the riders a silhouette. To overcome this challenge I used exposure compensation which I have the back dial set to control so a few turns of the dial when I know I’m going to shoot a jump shot usually allowed me to capture a jump shot that had the rider exposed well.
Area of Focus
I almost always use center focusing and used it for this event as well. The OMD makes it very easy to control the focusing point, almost too easy because I frequently accidentally change the focus point on the camera without realizing it. The arrow keys on the back of the camera control where the focus point is so simply touching one of the arrow keys moves the focus point in that direction. I used this a lot when shooting video in anticipation of the riders coming up over a jump so the focus would remain on the ground and not the trees in the background.
You definitely want to use auto focus when shooting moving objects which is not something I have spent a lot of time with since most of the objects I shoot don’t move. I used continuous autofocus mode on the riders and it actually did pretty well as the riders closed in on me and while they were in front of me but as they started getting further away the autofocus started getting confused. Luckily this only happened at the end of the clips so I was able to control that some while I was putting the hybrid video together in ProShowWeb. You hardly even notice when it goes out of focus since the creative transitions ProwShow uses manipulates a portion of the beginning and ending of the clips where that happens. I used a combination of 7 video clips and 9 still photos to make this hybrid video using ProShowWeb. It made video editing easy!