Micro Tip #4: Weather Protection

I’m based in the UK, motorsport photography is primarily an outdoor activity…that means I can guarantee one thing: rain. To my knowledge no Micro Four Thirds equipment is weather sealed, so whilst you can probably get away with a short shower without doing any lasting damage, you may find that it’s a good idea to protect your equipment from the elements. Motorsport photography is usually the domain of big cameras and even bigger lens, so I had some trouble tracking down a suitable rain cover for my kit that still kept all the settings easily available. Thankfully a company called Op/Tech make a rain sleeve that fits Micro Four Thirds cameras with built in viewfinders (Panasonic GH2, G3 etc) and a telephoto attached, it’s designed for bigger set-ups but as it has a drawstring end and customizable viewfinder hole it can be made to work better than anything else I’ve found so far. You can find them on eBay for around £6/$10 for two.

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Images: Renaultsport Clio

  • Panasonic G3 + Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6 / Focal Length: 100mm
  • Shutter Priority (S) at 1/80th second / ISO: 160 / OIS: Off
  • Focus Mode: AFS / 1 Area Focusing / Focus Priority: Off
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Micro Tip #3: Focus/Release Priority

The first thing to really confuse me when shooting motorsport was the fact that the camera refused to take a photo. After a quick bit of investigation I discovered the modes that stop you taking a photo if the camera believes the subject is not in focus. Unfortunately it cannot keep up with a car travelling at speed, so even if your subject is in focus it will still throw its toys out of the pram and refuse to work. Thankfully all M43 cameras are infinitely customizable so it can be switched off…

Panasonic: Panasonic call this setting ‘Focus Priority’

Olympus:  Olympus call this setting ‘Release Priority’ (‘RLS Priority’ in the menu), it can be set independently for S-AF and C-AF, so ensure you have changed the correct one to ‘Off’.

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Shooting Guide Added

I’ve added a fairly basic Shooting Guide to this site which covers many of the basics. The guide covers Micro Four Thirds specific settings as well as general motorsport photography tips and techniques. Further content will be added over time and many of the Micro Tips will be incorporated into the guide to ensure all the useful shooting information is in one easy to find place. As always, the content is intended as a suggestion only based on what works for me, feel free to develop your own techniques and let me know!

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Images: Capri

  • Panasonic G3 + Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6 / Focal Length: 136mm
  • Shutter Priority (S) at 1/60th second / ISO: 160 / OIS: Off
  • Focus Mode: AFS / 1 Area Focusing / Focus Priority: Off
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Flickr Group Created

Want to share your Micro Four Thirds motorsport efforts? Head on over to the Micro Four Thirds Motorsport group on Flickr, join the group and start adding your photos. It would be useful if you could share details of your camera, lens and basic settings against each photo to help others.

http://www.flickr.com/groups/micromotorsport/

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Micro Tip #2: Image Stabilization

Image Stabilization is all well and good, but frequently when shooting motorsport you actually want the camera to move when taking a photo. Thankfully, both the in-body system from Olympus and the lens-equipped system from Panasonic both allow you to switch IS off. An alternative is to use one of the modes specifically designed for panning, these only try to remove any vertical movement, leaving your horizontal panning movement alone.

Panasonic: If using a lens equipped with MEGA O.I.S, ensure you switch the Stabilizer mode to Panning (a hand with an up and down arrow)

Olympus: Select the IS.2 setting in the camera menus

Whether you switch it off or use the Panning mode is up to you, I prefer to switch it off as the slight movements noticeable in the viewfinder introduced by IS can be off-putting when trying to pan smoothly.

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