Q: I'd like to buy a mirrorless camera, but a big part of my photography will be my daughter's high school sports. It seems like everyone recommends an SLR for that, and that is what I see being used on the sidelines of professional sports games. Is that because of its bigger sensor size or because an SLR works better for action?
A: It isn't so much the sensor size. SLRs typically have been better at tracking and photographing fast-moving subjects. Technology marches on, though, and now that has changed.
The new Olympus EM-1 Mark II can shoot at 18 frames per second while holding focus on a fast-moving subject. It analyzes the previous frame to help predict focus for the next one, and it works so well that Olympus used a bird gliding toward the camera at close range to demonstrate its ability. (A subject coming toward the camera is the most difficult to track accurately.)
I tested the E-M1 Mark II (getolympus.com) a few months ago, and the camera creates technically perfect images almost effortlessly. Just about every time I pushed the button I was rewarded with a perfectly focused, perfectly exposed image of tremendous sharpness, no matter the subject or conditions. The camera's image stabilization, especially when used in conjunction with an Olympus lens with optical stabilization, is shockingly effective. Panning with it is as jitter-free as what you would get with a tripod.
This excellence comes at a price, however: $1,999, and that's for the camera body alone. For a pro photographer who is comparing it with other models that cost as much or even more but don't perform as well, it's an easy call. But the cost might be a bit steep for most high school sports shooters. Over time, I'm sure we'll see the technology trickle down to more affordable cameras. In the meantime, if you are comfortable with the price, you certainly will be happy with the camera.
Q: I know your column is mainly about entertainment and personal electronics, but last week you wrote about Panasonic's Countertop Induction Oven. What is your opinion of air fryers? My wife is leery of them, but I have seen excellent reviews for NuWave's 36001 Brio Air Fryer and would like your opinion.
A: You're right; my comments about the oven were a major variation from what I normally do. I wrote about it because it features a novel use of technology and I figured that a lot of people who use the products I typically write about would be interested in that aspect of it. I have no intention of covering appliances on a regular basis. There are a lot of online technology publications already focusing on them, especially as they become more integrated into smart homes. I checked several of these sources, and the air fryer you referenced does have many excellent reviews. But don't take my word for it. I suggest that you make a similar survey on your own.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.