Shooting Sports and Moving Subjects (E-System)

Great sports and action snapshots are rarely accidents, but that doesn’t mean they are difficult to shoot. While there are a few technical tricks, much of your success will come from being prepared when the moment arrives and taking enough photos to achieve the results you’re after.


Use long focal length lenses

Photojournalists repeatedly emphasize that great sports photography comes from getting as close as possible to the action. Long lenses will get you closer without getting in the way of the game. Compared to the 35mm film format, the Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds standards gets the photographer twice as close with the same focal length lenses. For example, the new M.Zuiko Digital 75-300mm II and Zuiko Digital 70-300mm lenses are effective 600mm lenses when compared to a 35mm film format lens. This means the photographer is getting more reach with less weight and potentially less cost.

High ISO can help make moving subjects come out clear.

Stop action with a high ISO

Using a higher ISO will freeze sports action by allowing higher shutter speeds to be used. It will also diminish camera shake when using long focal length lenses by using higher shutter speeds. Most Olympus digital SLRs and all PEN & OM-D cameras have Image Stabilization (IS) technology that mechanically shifts the imaging sensor to compensate for camera shake, meaning all lenses used with these models will have Image Stabilization. Olympus cameras that have Scene Modes may also have a DIS Mode and/or SPORTS mode that also increases the ISO automatically.


Continuous autofocus use case: horse racing.

Continuous Autofocus and Continuous Autofocus + Manual Focus

Use the Continuous Autofocus (C-AF) or Continuous Autofocus + Manual Focus (C-AF+MF) focus modes when shooting sports. The C-AF mode will continually track focus on a moving subject as long as the shutter button is depressed halfway. Using this focus option also automatically enables Predictive Autofocus, which anticipates the next focus point of a moving subject. C-AF+MF activates the manual focus ring on the lens so that the autofocus can focus the lens and then the photographer can manually fine-tune the focus. C-AF autofocus is not recommended for static subjects because the camera is expecting changes in the subject motion and velocity.


Three sample images from sequential drive.

Sequential Shooting

When the camera's drive mode is set sequential shooting, it will continue shooting pictures as long as you continue to hold the shutter button down. Depending on your camera model, you may have two sequential shoointing options, as well as the ability to customize the frame rate using your cameras' custom menu. You can activate sequential shoointing by pressing the [] button.

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