Panasonic Leica DG 200mm f/2.8 and Olympus OM-D E-M1II makes a formidable sports combo

Written by Gary on July 1st, 2018

The Panasonic Leica DG 200mm f/2.8 lens for Micro Four Thirds combined with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Micro Four Thirds camera makes an amazing compact sports kit providing 400mm field of view in full frame terms in one of the sharpest lenses ever made mated with excellent continuous AF at 18fps in silent electronic shutter burst mode.

When using a prime lens at a sports event, you have perhaps a quarter of the field where you could capture the action without being too close or too far away.

This lens allows a spectator near the fence to capture great action imagery from around 10m to 60m from the camera.

For these test images of the combination at a stadium event at night under lights, I used manual exposure of 1/800th sec, f/2.8 at ISO 1250 with optical IS on, although, I presume at this shutter speed the IS probably does not add much. The AF was set to central 9 AF regions and I applied the in-camera AF limiter to 5m – 65m to ensure the camera did not focus lock on the background spectators or advertising hoardings. This is an amazing technology unique to this camera and makes C-AF all that more accurate by avoiding accidental locking!

To avoid the ens being too intrusive for spectators behind me, I did not use the lens hood and a UV filter was on the lens as a protective filter.

These images have been cropped a little and have had some clarity applied to the in focus players to give them a more rugged appearance, although I did forget to apply noise reduction in LR.

Click on the images to see a sharper, larger view.

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I also tested C-AF on a player running towards the camera at 18fps and it kept focus lock admirably well.

I did not need the Pro-Capture mode in this scenario but this is another great feature of this camera for sports.

One complaint I do have is that there is a significant delay between turning camera on and having the lens ready to AF – one does need to anticipate the action if one turns the camera off between plays.

The other main complaint I have always had with this camera is that you cannot select more than 9 AF regions without having to select all focus regions – Olympus could you please add a middle range such as 15 AF regions so one has a little more flexibility with composition as the subject moves across the frame.

That said, the default AF settings did very well in ignoring a foreground player momentarily passing in front of the subject during C-AF burst shooting, and by using the focus limiter, it does not lock on the background when the subject moves out of the AF region.

What a brilliant compact, silent, minimally intrusive, weather-sealed kit thus is also great for classical music concerts or the tennis.

 

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