Recommendations for tennis from the sidelines?

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
I shot a bit of tennis for the high school yearbook, and here are a few ideas:
  • Before/during practice, get in front of her and between her and the net. This gives you a close position for the 30 and you don't have the net in front of you, which messes up a lot of front shots. And you get a clear shot of her face. The big caution is that she has to be careful to not hit the ball low, and hit you. IOW it can be a dangerous staged shot if not done carefully.
    • I went in front of the net post and had the player on that side of the court, so I was almost in front of her, without actually being on the court.
  • Serve from the side and front quarter.
    • VERY hard but try to get the racket as it hits the ball. It is a neat pic to see the ball compressed into the racket.
  • I found some of my best shots are in the second before hitting the ball (like your #2 shot). On some of those shots, you see the power in the stroke releasing.
Thanks for those tips - I often shoot from behind the net, and I have from bitter experience learnt how hard she can hit. The 30mm used above was just an experiment, as you can see. I have a variety of scenes I like to go through, and you obviously have been there and done it! :) I have a few of the racket compressed with the ball - the mechanical shutter speed is not high enough to get me many perfects in that scenario, but I get a few. Thanks for the comment!
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,640
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Thanks for those tips - I often shoot from behind the net, and I have from bitter experience learnt how hard she can hit. The 30mm used above was just an experiment, as you can see. I have a variety of scenes I like to go through, and you obviously have been there and done it! :) I have a few of the racket compressed with the ball - the mechanical shutter speed is not high enough to get me many perfects in that scenario, but I get a few. Thanks for the comment!
OUCH !!! :(

I think I can count on one hand the number of racket+compressed ball shots that I got. And only ONE good one.
I found 6 frames per second is way too slow for tennis, especially the serve. I actually did better in single shot mode and timing the serve shot.

I do my low angle and closeup shots during warm-up, as only players and coaches are allowed on the court during a game. The kids kinda got used to ignoring me as I walk around the courts, and luckily I have not been hit, yet. I have to shoot the game from the elevated football bleachers next to the tennis courts. I don't know why they did not design the court to put some bleachers inside the court fence, but high school tennis around here is not setup for spectators.
Boys tennis starts up in a week or so, and I get to do it again.
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
A cheap option is the sigma 60mm. Just as sharp as the oly, more compact, minus the macro.
@Christop82
I bought the Sigma, and I'm very impressed with it so far - tennis next week will be the real test but it is soooo good for everything else, too. Thank you for the recommendation.

Works for table tennis, anyway!

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
Okay, so I went ahead and bought the Sigma as a cheap first option, and I'm finding this lens excellent for a variety of subjects, not just for its intended use - as you may have seen elsewhere on the site. I've only had one chance to see what it can do on court, and that was during a serving practice session yesterday. Seems plenty sharp and on target to me! I look forward to shooting with it some more...

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

JG Hall

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Dec 21, 2018
Messages
61
Having re-read the OP, and considered the various options, how about keeping the 14-140 and look for a second hand GX80?

I noticed the stating of not stretching the budget to a new camera, but anyhow a GX80 should be cheaper than the 75mm, a little more expensive than the 60mm and would have 5 axis stabilisation, works with ISOs to 1600/3200 and gives quite a bit more leeway in the raw files than the GF6 if I understand a variety of tests.
I second this. I started off with a G6 and moved up to a GX80. High ISO performance is great, noticeably better than my G6 which I still casually use as a second body for outdoor shots.
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
Okay, here's some pics with the Sigma from today, which is the first real occasion I've had a chance to take some pics with some sun on court. I'm pretty happy with my acquisition, and although these are not Sports Illustrated quality I'm happy enough for a €130 lens and an old G6. I would welcome any advice on how I can do better (but don't worry about composition - as that will come with time). Most of these have been cropped - either a little, or a lot. I find it difficult to frame a shot at the speed everything happens on court - would this be normal? Anyway, all advice welcome.

These are all JPEGs by the way, the buffer in RAW is way to slow for burst shooting, and these are all mechanical shutter. I have not batch processed them, they've all been done individually, and basically just for contrast, colour and cropping.

The really good news is I didn't get hit this time :D, and a huge thanks to @Christop82 for the intro to the Sigma, kudos sēnor!

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Last edited:

number17

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jan 19, 2011
Messages
175
I also have the sigma 60mm f2.8 ... It's a surprisingly good lens for its price.
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,640
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
GOOD shots. :2thumbs:

Congrats on getting the flattened ball shots. Those are soooo hard to get.

One of my favorite shots, is what I call the release shot. The racquet not at the ball but maybe 30-45 degrees before the point that it hits the ball. It is like seeing a spring that is released and starting to unwind. Until I saw it in a 6fps burst sequence, I had never thought about that shot.

Some of the high school girls do a jump serve, where they are in the air, when the racquet hits the ball. That can be a neat shot, especially if the body action is dramatic as it is with some of the boys.

One of my favorite shots, was a backhand racquet hitting the ball, where I got the girl in mid stride moving to her left, both feet off the ground. It was shot from the side, so she was headed towards me. I doubt that I will ever be able to duplicate that shot. But it is gems like that shot, that keep me going.
 

AussiePhil

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
2,926
Location
Canberra, ACT, Aust
Real Name
Phil
I second AC12, congrats on the flattened ball... getting the ball on or in the strings is my favourite shot. The hardest is on the serve with fast servers, it's amazing just how far a racket moves at the top of the serve.
Two other shoots i've come to like are at the back of the swing waiting for the ball and just getting the ball coming into view and the other end of the swing were the racket has swung out or around the body.
btw the 60mm sigma is a great little lens. I use the 40-150Pro and find that i'm at the bottom of the zoom range when i'm close to the court.
Another option in the future might be to adapt a 4/3 50-200, i've use this quite a lot in the past, used ones are not the expensive and are quite sharp ...
Hope your daughter does well and maybe we will see her out here in Aust at some point
Cheers
BTW i have a flickr album dedicated to racket on the ball images Racket on Ball if you want to have a look
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
"....the back of the swing waiting for the ball and just getting the ball coming into view...."

Like this? :)

Thanks to both you and @ac12 for your comments - much appreciated. I shall keep trying, as with most things i suspect by the end of the year I'll be doing a little better :D

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
Jun 30, 2013
Messages
345
Location
Kansas
Real Name
Mel
I have the Sigma 60mm 2.8. Although I rarely use it since I also have the 40-150mm 2.8 Pro, it is exceptionally sharp and I love the results. It is a very nice lens at an astonishingly low price.
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
I have the Sigma 60mm 2.8. Although I rarely use it since I also have the 40-150mm 2.8 Pro, it is exceptionally sharp and I love the results. It is a very nice lens at an astonishingly low price.
It certainly is. It constantly brings a smile to my face when I use it. I can't imagine how good it would be on a camera with IBIS! It is so good for so many scenarios, too - my tennis coverage, landscapes, portraits, close macro, real macro (with a Raynox or two) and so on. It's a brilliant piece of kit, indeed.
 

AussiePhil

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
2,926
Location
Canberra, ACT, Aust
Real Name
Phil
"....the back of the swing waiting for the ball and just getting the ball coming into view...."

Like this? :)

G6 + Sigma 60mm DNView attachment 731262
That's the part of the swing i was talking about, it can show the pending power about to be unleashed, it's easy to see in a high speed burst, too early and it looks like a practice shot. I try to get the face and the eyes looking at the ball and if you have the freedom to move around then this should be fairly easy.

Cheers
Phil
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,640
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
"....the back of the swing waiting for the ball and just getting the ball coming into view...."

Like this? :)

Thanks to both you and @ac12 for your comments - much appreciated. I shall keep trying, as with most things i suspect by the end of the year I'll be doing a little better :D
Try shooting from the other side of the court.
Then as Phil said, you can get her face and a clear pix of that backhand.

Tip1: MOVE ALL AROUND the court, and open your eyes. Sometimes you will discover an angle and shot that you had not thought of before.
Tip2: Shoot a LOT. Sometimes I don't discover a good shot until I am reviewing the pics in the computer.
 

AussiePhil

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
2,926
Location
Canberra, ACT, Aust
Real Name
Phil

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
Moving around the court is a good idea, but that damn sun is always the other side! Plus there are some unpleasant backgrounds too. But I'll try from a couple of other directions for sure. I have a little project I am working on that may produce some interesting angles too. Thanks for the advice - EVERYONE!
 

ac12

Mu-43 All-Pro
Joined
Apr 24, 2018
Messages
1,640
Location
SF Bay Area, California, USA
Moving around the court is a good idea, but that damn sun is always the other side! Plus there are some unpleasant backgrounds too. But I'll try from a couple of other directions for sure. I have a little project I am working on that may produce some interesting angles too. Thanks for the advice - EVERYONE!
I have that problem at school. The courts are aligned E/W, the afternoon sun is in the West sky, so I shoot towards the East.
Tell her to play on the other side of the court. Or is she practicing against a wall?
 

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
The Sigma seems to do pretty well indoors on a wet and windy day too. I had to ramp the ISO up way past the G6's comfort zone but the results are good enough for social media, I think. It's difficult to do much else in the dark unless anyone has any suggestions? I couldn't much past 800 IS0 for light issues..... sigh.

I liked the look of this one in B&W - apologies if you are a colour fan :)

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

AussiePhil

Mu-43 Hall of Famer
Joined
Jun 1, 2014
Messages
2,926
Location
Canberra, ACT, Aust
Real Name
Phil
The Sigma seems to do pretty well indoors on a wet and windy day too. I had to ramp the ISO up way past the G6's comfort zone but the results are good enough for social media, I think. It's difficult to do much else in the dark unless anyone has any suggestions? I couldn't much past 800 IS0 for light issues..... sigh.

I liked the look of this one in B&W - apologies if you are a colour fan :)

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
View attachment 739125
The only critique and it’s minor but relevant with regards to intended use is the eyes... they don’t look right
If this is practice/coaching time you could do what basketball pro togs do and throw a couple of remote flashes out firing in from the sides... I know, easy to say hard to do...
Umm if I can get 10k/6400 out of the mk2 and make it usable you should get at least 1600
Edit... I like the overall shoot, looking at the EXIF you could get down to 1/800 and still freeze the player if you are really worried. Try shooting in manual and let the iso float if you can and compare the images
 
Last edited:

Macroramphosis

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
483
Location
Charente Maritime, western France
Real Name
Roddy
Hi Phil.

The eyes argh, the eyes!! I know what you mean, I happened to like the rest of the shot enough that I dismissed that part of it :)

Remote flashes - they might work, but I don't have tripods for any, and I don't have any remotes either - and nor is there a budget for them. Balls and racquets are more important. I think you know where I am going with that, lol. But I like the idea and it would otherwise be doable if she - and the coach - would let me. Not a lot distracts her, anyway.

I would love to think 1600 is workable, but the truth is that after about 400 things start to fall apart with the G6. As you can see with these photos. Ideally I would love to shoot at 160 and about 3200 shutter. I shoot in manual all the time, stick the aperture as low as it will go (here obviously 2.8 was a necessity), pick the shutter speed as high as I can go without exceeding 400 ISO. It's all a balancing act and I may be doing it wrong, of course. If I let the ISO float in A or S (can't do that in M with the G6) it will go through the roof straightaway.

Rolling shutter is a demon with the G6, so AF and associated settings revolve around using the mechanical.

Here's a few more photos I like, but you may not :D As the sun went through overhead and the light changed through the skylights I was able to change settings occasionally. There's a dash of temperature change in the top photo....

G6 + Sigma 60mm DN
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 

Latest posts

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom