Normally everything I shoot does not move (well, OK, the wind blows, and water moves, and these are challenges as well, as were the Oyster Catchers in the heading image!). However, I will be shooting some relatively slow action in a couple of months time, and I decided to do a few tests. Imagine my consternation when I found that my favourite camera – the Panasonic GH2 – is (or seems to me) a complete disaster in this situation. I decided to try using ‘burst/continuous shooting’ mode, continuous auto-focus, speed priority and ISO 800 on a few cameras, not really anticipating any serious problems. Well, the old D200, E3, A900, A55 and E-P3 did not have any problems with my relatively simple requirements of 2-3 fps, and 3-5 shots, a brief pause, then the same again, several times. The Panasonic GH2, GH1 and G1 all filled their buffers, and then took several seconds to unpredictably empty the buffer and became usable for even a single shot. I should of course add that I am shooting RAW. If I set a modest JPEG option, the Panas will work, but for the project I really do not want to shoot JPEG! I’ve tried almost every setting on all the Panas that I can think of, various SD cards (including Class 10), and they still will not perform in a way which will make them acceptable for this project. Worryingly, while looking at the specs of other cameras I might buy and and use for the project, the very comprehensive review that David Kilpatrick has done on the Sony A77 seems to suggest that this very new camera may have similar problems.
So, what to use for the project? – I think that as almost no reviews of cameras actually report on this aspect of performance (yes, burst rate at max speed, but not slower speeds, and recovery times) I will have to rely on tests I carry out myself – but of course that can only include cameras I already own. This will be a difficult project in terms of the fact that the subject will cover 100m coming towards me, past me, and away from me, so I need a wide zoom range too, as there won’t be time to change lenses (and even changing cameras takes time), and there are other potential problems too! I need to do a lot more tests to decide what to use – the combination of the Sony A55 and A900 seems capable of doing the job, but it means 2 bodies and 2 lenses, changing cameras, and the A900 is BIG and HEAVY, as is the 70-300 lens, and it will be quite an effort to carry it and other equipment for 8 hours. Would/will the Olympus OM-D solve the problem? – maybe, but of course if it will not, I should cancel the order and buy something that will be suitable for this project (but what would it be?). Suggestions in an email, please!