I charged the batteries for the Olympus PEN E-PL1 and headed to Palo Alto, CA to photograph the evening match between Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva. At the time of the match, Elena was ranked #5 and Maria #17 in women's pro tennis.
To freeze the action, I knew that I would need shutter speeds of 1/250th or higher. I prefer 1/500th if I can get it under the lights of a night event. My E-PL1 is solid up to ISO 1600, so then it was a matter of lens choice. I opted for my Zeiss 135mm f/2.8 prime lens that I used for years on my Contax 35mm bodies. Since the micro 4/3 bodies double the focal length, I was shooting with an effective 270mm f/2.8 lens - plenty of reach for the intimate tennis center at Stanford University.
I always shoot wide open for these types of events. After a few minutes, I get a feel for where the players are most comfortable on the court, then prefocus in those areas. I always bring a magnifying loupe that I place on the back LCD to get as accurate a focus as possible. You can also use the electronic viewfinder for the E-PL1 if you have it.
It was a terrific match with Maria Sharapova defeating second-seeded Elena Dementieva 6-4, 2-6, 6-3. Maria also won her Saturday semi final event and is in the Bank of the West final today.
I've posted a Sharapova photo gallery captured with this rig. It's amazing what you can do with these compact micro 4/3 cameras.