View Full Version : Grab shot portraits taken with Oly 70-300mm

30th November 2009, 01:44 PM
Examples of grab shot portraits taken with the Oly 70-300mm lens to show stevednp3 its capabilities and advantages for this type of use.
All shots taken at BTCC event at Croft, Co. Durham, at a crowded pitlane signing opportunity. Most of these are taken at a distance of about 4-5m, rather than trying to struggle through crowd to get closer up. It was bright sunlight with shading for the 'stars', so difficult lighting conditions and plenty of people to get in the way!

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL141904_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19564)
1/320s, f5.6, ISO 200, 179mm.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL141911_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19566)
1/320s, f5.6, ISO 200, 300mm.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL141926_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19568)
This shot is a crop of about half the original image with the RAW image showing lots of detail
1/320s, f8, ISO 200, 202mm.
http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/Paul_O_Neill_-_BTCC_Sunshine_1_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19137)
1/320s, f5.6, ISO 200, 226mm.

30th November 2009, 02:11 PM
Thanks for the further samples, it certainly can be achieved then, ok I must get out the lens again and do some more practice, I had kinda give up with it to be honest.

Looks to me the key is plenty of light to get the higher shutter speeds

Have you ever done any indoor portraits or infact any types of photos indoors with this lens ?

30th November 2009, 02:13 PM
The 70-300mm is a fantastic great value lens! A brilliant set of pictures :)

30th November 2009, 05:16 PM
Looks to me the key is plenty of light to get the higher shutter speeds

Have you ever done any indoor portraits or infact any types of photos indoors with this lens ?

Definitely plenty of light is the key to getting the best out of this lens, but it is still pretty capable at lower light photo opportunities, as shown below.
Re indoor photos - I haven't taken many mainly due to lack of space! At this type of magnification even 70mm needs a bit of distance indoors so it's rare that I'm needing such close ups. However, combined with flash, it really shouldn't have any problem being used for 'candid' type snapshots or close ups indoors.

I have now annotated the initial photos to show their settings and I will show some lower light outdoor photos below: (all were taken at Vamos festival 2008, Sage Gateshead, with the lens on a Oly E-520)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204223_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19570)
ISO 400, 1/250s, f5, 70mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204229_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19571)
ISO 400, 1/250s, f6.3, 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204370_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19572)
ISO 400, 1/320s, f5.6, 70mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204396_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19573)
ISO 400, 1/250s, f5, 169mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204412_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19574)
ISO 400, 1/200s, f5.6, 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204568_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19577)
ISO 800, 1/250s, f6.3, 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204510_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19575)
ISO 800, 1/125s, f5.6, 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204591_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19578)
ISO 800, 1/200s, f5.6, 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/OL204523_resize.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19576)
ISO 800, 1/200s, f5.6, 300mm

Considering the difficult lighting conditions (it was getting very low light towards the end) and despite having to use a high ISO towards the latter end of the event, some of the shots I'd be very pleased to enlarge, exhibit or have critiqued on 'Looking for Perfection'!
These are all hand held shots in a less than ideal situation for this lens, with some above being full zoom at a low shutter speed, yet it has performed fantastically - what more can one want?
So no excuses for not using the lens now!

30th November 2009, 05:33 PM
Thanks very much, your settings have answered my problem I think :o I have been trying to use low ISO - 100 and 200 when doing portraits, and of course I couldnt get fast enough shutter speeds so I'll have another go with raising the ISO. It dosent seam to have affected your shots at all, I was expecting high ISO to mess up skin tones etc so didnt even go above 200

So ok soon as I have found someone to pose for me I'll post back my findings

But a big thanks for helping me out, someone orginally posted their photos for feedback and you ended up answering my questions *chr

30th November 2009, 05:53 PM
Certainly, as an Olympus owner used to all the press "Olympus = NOISE" articles, there is always a slight hesitancy to go too far up the ISO scale - I try to stick to a maximum of 400 but as the latter photos show ISO 800 has coped very well.
I've used only a moderate setting in ACDSee Pro 3 for the Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction when processing the original RAW files, and the images shown are a little softer than the RAW images.
But I'm happy with how camera, lens and software coped in this test. As you can see from the images, thanks to the lens I was able to get really in close without having to stand on the stage to get my shot, and without the bank manager chasing after me. Now, if only Jessops had supplied the E-30 that I had ordered!!

30th November 2009, 10:01 PM
Well no one would pose for me tonight, so it was down to the trusty cat again

I tried a few shots in the living room, the worst lighting ever mind so I thought it would be a challenge anyway, no great results, but I can see by not being scared of raising the ISO I can get fast shutter speeds, just not impressed with how I cant get them sharp enough

This was on ISO 1600 @ 300mm

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/cat1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/19596)

I think I'll leave the lens on the camera and force myself to master it

I'll wait to get out side and do some proper portraits in daylight and see how I get on, will post back soon *chr

30th November 2009, 10:14 PM
Well that's looking pretty good for the less than ideal conditions and the high ISO has minimal impact on the resulting image. So the outdoors or better lighting conditions should make for some excellent photos in due course!

BTW what sort of speed & aperture settings did this need?

30th November 2009, 11:45 PM
It looks sharp to me, where it needs to (around the eyes and whiskers) - but what aperture were you using? And how far away were you?

You will not have very much depth of field at 300mm focal length.

1st December 2009, 08:34 AM
300mm, f5.6 and 1/40 second (hand held?) with a live subject?? That's pretty sharp considering :-)


1st December 2009, 09:48 AM
Pete's correct with the speed and aperture, Yes its sharp enough around the eyes, just not enough aperture to get better DOF. But I will now be adventurous with the ISO from now on. So I'll have to wait till I get a chance to practice out side with better light, thanks everyone.

19th December 2009, 09:51 AM
Certainly, as an Olympus owner used to all the press "Olympus = NOISE" articles, there is always a slight hesitancy to go too far up the ISO scale - I try to stick to a maximum of 400 but as the latter photos show ISO 800 has coped very well.

Indeed, this was my problem, but I'm learning more about light and limitations etc. I think Oly get a bad press here. I've seen similar cameras in budget to my E-400 and they all have problems wit noise in low light to varying degrees. It's only when you spend big money on newer Nikons that you get appreciably better results, it would seem.

The 70-300 is next on my list ;)


20th December 2009, 02:39 AM
I'm by no means up to any of your standards. I have just bought this lens and its stunning, most of what I take is landscape and nature but here is one inside of Amy............who is notorious to actually gt a shot of due to being black. Roberta

David Gethin
4th January 2010, 07:41 PM
Thi is really pushing the lens' capabilities but I can't afford a 50-200 or better still a 35-100 f2.

Sometimes it is necessary to focus wide and then to zoom in as the lens can struggle with the autofocus in poor light. More importantly for taking shots during dress rehearsals, it is reasonably quiet though I do curse under my breath when the lens loses its lock and I have to get back to it during a moment of theatrical tension.

This particular show was lit reasonably well. You really are at the mercy of the lighting designer and the lighting rig of the theatre you're in. It may be me, but I'm sure West End shows are a LOT brighter.

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/889/Castle_Rackrent-1.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20324)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/889/Castle_Rackrent-2.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20325)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/889/Castle_Rackrent-3.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20326)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/889/Castle_Rackrent-4.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20327)

Thanks for looking

24th January 2010, 07:32 PM
Hi Everyone

I finally forced myself to put the 70-300mm on and try and master it at the 300mm end, I tried out some portraits and im getting much better results now, thanks for the advice everyone.

(one annoying thing though, my girlfriend whos not intrested in cameras took a quick grab shot of me and got it tack sharp first time, grrrrr :mad:)

Heres some shots I took today

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/SD247831.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20792)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/SD247835.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20793)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/SD247857.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20795)

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/SD247837.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/20794)

24th January 2010, 08:14 PM
Two and three for me! And although not a critique I'll give my reasons!
One - probably because of her expression it looks as though this was taken at the end of a long photo session and she's thinking 'oh for god's sake, will you hurry up and let me show you how to take it'!!
Two - I really like this one because it just seems a lovely relaxed shot of someone, and it seems to be all the more interesting for the hair across the face! I also feel that her gaze out of shot looks better in the landscape format.
Three - I like this one because he's got a face that needs to be read! Wrinkles aren't all bad, despite how many are made to feel, and the lines in his face make for a much more interesting portrait / grab shot. Again, the landscape format suits the gaze out of shot.
Four - nearly, but - if this was tightened in to remove the forehead/cap and the threads, to then concentrate on the eyes, nose and mouth it would make a good shot!

Quick grab the camera back off her - no, perhaps encourage her to take more. It's a fab lens for shots like this and good to see it's inspiring you (and your girlfriend) to new areas of photography. Good work!


24th January 2010, 08:58 PM
Thanks for the comments Chris, Im glad you can see that 'Oh my god hurry up' look as that was the first shot :( and hence how I dont get to practice much on portraits :D, but I was just pleased that im starting to get sharper results with the 70-300mm, but I have learnt one thing to get my girlfirend more intrested, is to let her take shots of me so I can practise more with her :o

Anyway I will be putting more effort in with this lens from now ;) *chr

24th January 2010, 08:59 PM
Arrived at a friend's daughter's wedding, which was to be outside in a very large garden, last year, only to be asked to do the 'non-formal' pictures of the event, guests, etc. The 70-300 on my E-300 (with me by chance, for nearby wildlife) proved ideal, though I wished had a bit of notice, so I could have taken a separate flash with me for the evening shots. The versatility of the lens and quality of the results surprised me and the final CD of 200+ shots went down very well.