Editor’s Note: We welcome Bob Panick to Photofocus. Bob is an enthusiastic amateur photographer based in the Detroit area. Bob shoots a variety of subjects including sports, landscape, nature and automotive. Bob has little to no interest in being a professional photographer and shoots for his own enjoyment. Bob learned photography back in the 70s, got away from it and came back about 10 years ago. You can check out his sports-related work at https://photos.panick.com/.
Pro Capture is a mode in the E-M1 Mark II that when the shutter is half-pressed, the camera starts capturing images to the buffer but it doesn’t write them to the SD card. Only the last X number of images are kept in the buffer — the older ones are discarded.
When the action you’ve been waiting for finally happens, press the shutter all the way down and the images in the buffer are written to the SD card and the camera continues to write to the card as long as buffer space remains. X, in this case, can be adjusted in the menu, you can have up to 35 images captured here with the latest firmware. This can be set in menu item C1 > L Settings > Pro Cap > Pre-shutter frames. I keep mine set to 15, which seems to be a good compromise.
In my setup, I use Back Button Focus (BBF) for controlling focus, and you’ll find many sports and wildlife photographers use BBF. With Pro Capture you really, really want to use BBF. Pro Capture is triggered by half-pressing the shutter button, and if you’re using the shutter button to trigger autofocus, you’ll also be triggering Pro Capture which is going to wear your battery down faster and doesn’t accomplish much. If you are set up for BBF, the AEL/AFL button is used for focus and the shutter half press does nothing with focus — instead, it triggers Pro Capture.
You notice the quarterback is looking downfield for an obvious pass. So you swing downfield and find the most likely receiver. Since you probably aren’t going to have time to track the throw to the receiver, you lock focus on the receiver using BBF. Then you half-press the shutter to start Pro Capture and wait. Since you’re looking through the viewfinder you can’t see the ball coming in, you can see the receiver look back but that action takes just a fraction of a second. By using Pro Capture I take some of my reaction time out of the equation because I’ve already got a bunch of frames in the buffer. As soon as I see the ball hit his hands or he goes up for it, I press the shutter all the way down and commit it to the buffer. If I’m a half second late, it’s not a problem it’s in the buffer and I have it.
Now if Olympus could only add some technology for me to get the right wide receiver!
I know quite a few people use Photo Mechanic, but I just use Lightroom. More specifically, I use the LR import previews. The first thing I do when I start the import is to hit the Select None button, then I expand the first image to show it larger. Then I press P to pick, and then the right arrow to move to the next image. I’m spending only a second or two at most on the image. If I’m not sure I include it and I’ll deal with it in LR. The point is to get through the thousand or more images as quick as I can.
After the import is done, I’ll go through and flag (P) key again the images that I want to work on. This time I’ll look at the set for a play that I brought in and decide which is best. I don’t spend any time editing, I just want to get through this pass.
Finally, I’ll filter to show only flagged images and start processing them. I use a sports plugin that was developed by Matt Kloskowski called Sports Game Day (Light). I tweaked the settings a bit for my needs since Matt intended them to be used during the day, not after dark.
I hope you found this useful and that it improves your own sports pictures. I will tell you that this is the easy part. The hard part is being in the right place, with the lens on the right players, and getting focus lock all in a few seconds. It’s challenging, but a lot of fun too.