View Full Version : Is mirrorless AF & tracking up to speed for sports?? Equal to Pro DSLR yet?

12-06-2019, 1:20pm
A bit of background - I used to have a 1DMkII and 100-400mm L, but got sick of the small viewfinder and viewfinder blacking out so I sold it and got a Leica M8 for general type walkabout photos, effectively giving up on sports photography.

Fast forward 7-8 years and I’m keen to get back into it!!

It seems like mirrorless has come a long, long way and I really like the idea of no blackout EVF and all the other EVF features like auto-adjusting brightness etc. But I wonder how it compares against the old 1DMkII AF & tracking performance? Does anyone know? Anyone here use mirrorless for sports, and what do you think about it? Any regrets?

Cheer for any info!

12-06-2019, 8:49pm
I have given local AFL a go with my Olly EM1ii. I found the EVF dificult to use while panning, the refresh rate is a big concern when taking shots. The subject appears jittery & at times I lose the subject out of the AF point. In burst I notice one or two shots hit the mark but have three misses. I was told that Olympus was trying to get into the AFL as a pro camera with the big boys but havn't seen any evidence of that. For these reasons I will stick to the 7Dii 100-400L combo.


12-06-2019, 9:42pm
Sadly, it's not even close.

For action work, the $3300 EOS R - said to be amongst the best of all mirrorless cameras so far as AF performance goes - is somewhere around about the same standard as the cheap little 400D I owned briefly more than ten years ago, which is to say around about on a par with the poorest DSLR focus systems I've ever used. (400D, 5D II.)

The R has lovely fast, smooth AF ... when it works. But quite often it doesn't. And your ability to put the focus point exactly where you want it, theoretically unlimited and very precise, is in practice so slow and cumbersome as to rule it out for anything time-critical (such as sport or wildlife.

Also, the viewfinder lag makes action work into guesswork.

Save the mirrorless for landscapes, where the AF system works, in the main, quickly and accurately. For anything involving action, SLRs are vastly superior.

I like my EOS R a lot - but for birds and action, I would use my 1D IV, 7D II, or 5D IV first. Not sure about 5D II or EOS R, they are about equally badly suited to the task. If you are looking to replace a 1D II, and don't want to shell out on a new pro model, look at the superb 5D IV (frame rate the only drawback) or a 7D II.

13-06-2019, 6:58am
Cheers for the replies. I knew it sounded too good to be true - all those YouTube reviews I’ve seen make it seem like mirrorless is the greatest. I’m sure it will get there.

Does full frame AF not make any difference? Is the A7III or A9 not even come close to fulfilling the requirements?

Anyway I need to get my hands on some gear to see for myself, hopefully checking out Camera House tonight and will be able to demo some gear.

No problem if mirrorless isn’t up to it, honestly I would be happy enough with another 1DMkII, maybe even MkIII or MkIV as they’re relatively “cheap” now.