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any professions shoot full time m43?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Linh, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    Curious if anyone has made that shift, and if they care to share their story, the good, the bad, and anything inbetween.

    I know Gordon (Flash) has mentioned he dumped his Canon gear in favor of a Leica/m43 combo. Any more of you out there?

    Yes, I'm considering it w/ the G3 (assuming this new sensor pans out). I'm by no means a Pro, but shoot events (weddings mostly) on the side sometimes w/ my canon kit. Aside from low light performance, lens selection is my other concern. If the oly 12/2 is good, I'm only short a ~40/1.8 (the 45/2.8 would have to do for now) and a "35-100/2.8".

    Why not just keep what I have? Well, I've been considering dropping my 5D to a 7D anyway, but mostly to simplify. I'm not set on it yet, but strongly considering it. I will have to obviously give it a run through to see if it will really work for me, but thought I'd inquire for curiosity sake =)
  2. Saelee

    Saelee Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 10, 2011
    The m43 is a fairly "new" system I doubt many pros are using it as there full time. I am not saying that the m43 is not capable of creating high quality work or anything. Just many pros have thousands of $$$ invested in there current system.

    I think Gordon is the first pro m43 user. Maybe Panasonic/Olympus should sponsor him.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    A 35-100mm f/2.0 is what we have for the Four-Thirds system. A stop faster than what you're looking for. ;) 

    Trust me, lens selection is not a concern. Between Four-Thirds, Micro Four-Thirds lenses with full autofocus, and adapted lenses without, we have the greatest lens selection in the world from any system I've ever seen.

    Certainly you would not want to stick with only native Micro Four-Thirds mount lenses for professional work. Micro Four-Thirds has a nice selection of primes, but absolutely no fast zooms yet. However, Four-Thirds lenses are fully adaptable to Micro Four-Thirds with regular AutoFocus, and that selection includes the fastest top-pro zoom lenses in the world (such as the 35-100mm f/2.0 mentioned already).

    I am another of the professionals who have essentially switched entirely to Micro Four-Thirds. I mean, I will repair or replace my DSLR body which is just sitting in a bag waiting for me to do something with it, but in the downtime I have no qualms at all with using a Micro Four-Thirds body in its stead. The E-PL2 provides the same excellent image quality as the Olympus E-5, and is the fastest, most responsive PEN camera yet. I am a commercial photographer with specialties in fashion, product, and portrait. I shoot both in studio and on-location, and usually use a pretty complete studio setup in either.

    I would say the three things I miss the most out of my DSLR system is 1) a completely weather-sealed system, 2) the large, bright pentaprism viewfinder was good for manual focus in low light, and 3) the finger/thumb dials of the E-3/E-5 system. The large grip when holding large lenses is missed sometimes as well, but with large lenses most of the weight is being supported under the lens itself anyways. I find keeping a tripod collar on the big lenses really helps in giving my hand a support to rest the lens on while focusing or zooming with the same hand.

    The advantages of the Micro Four-Thirds system include 1) live preview as the photo will actually be shot, including exposure, color balance, and DOF. There is much less guesswork and chimping involved. 2) The compact size allows me to have a small, high-quality camera kit with me all the time, and my big bags only need to carry lenses and lights to be added on regular shoots. I have lots more room to pack with now, and can bring along non-essentials if I please. This is an advantage that you keep with you every day and often don't even notice it... unlike other advantages to a DSLR system such as the weather sealing I miss, which only comes into play on certain occasions.

    Probably one of the biggest and overlooked advantages of using a Micro Four-Thirds body is... replacement costs! When you break or wear out a body (a very common occurrence for somebody who shoots as much as I do, especially in fast-paced working environments), it's actually affordable to buy a replacement, and now those replacements are offering the premium in available imaging technology, not a cheap backup that won't produce the results you need.

    Actually, if you're a pro you have at least tens of thousands invested in your system, not thousands. But if those tens of thousands are invested in a Four-Thirds system then what's the big deal? Changing to Micro Four-Thirds only requires one body and an adapter... which will save you about $1000 over an upgrade to a new pro body if it's time. That's all speaking from personal experience. ;) 
    • Like Like x 5
  4. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 2, 2010
    I've used m4/3 professionally ever since it came out. Stock photography, weddings, events and educational and industrial jobs both for stills and video.

    One of the important things about earning your living from photography is that you make the decision on what to use based on how well it will get the job done in any given situation.

    If m4/3 does the job for you then use it, if not use something else. If people pay you they expect results, and they expect those results to be consistently good, what they are looking for and worth the money they paid you to get them. If you know, and I mean really know, that m4/3 can do that then there's no problem.

    As flash has pointed out, going back a few years he was using cameras that are nowhere near as good in terms of IQ, speed and usability as current m4/3 cameras. Indeed I was shooting weddings and studio portraits with a Fuji S2 Pro in 2003/4 as were many of my colleagues. A GH2 is a vastly superior camera to that in almost every way.

    The most important thing isn't what gear you use but how well you know it and can get the best results from it. You also have to be sure that it can do the job, you can operate it so that it can do the job, its reliable enough to do the job and the results will justify your fee.

    If you think it might do the job then thats not good enough. When I use m4/3 for "pro" jobs I am sure it can handle the demands of those jobs because I've tested, I've used it before etc. If I have a job where I'm unsure if it will do it or not I use something else that I'm 100% sure of. Even then I'll make sure I have backups for everything.

    Being professional is more about what's in your head rather than what's in your bag.
    • Like Like x 4
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.

    Have you tried any of the fast 4/3 zooms on m4/3 bodies? I'd be interested in trying a 35-100 f2 on my GH2. I'm interested in how the AF works relative to the m4/3 kit zooms. I have a PL25mm and a 70-300 zuiko. The PL25 is actually pretty good at AF but the 70-300 is useless in my professional situation.

    Sorry for the thread hijack. I thought of a PM but others may find the info useful.

  6. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    me too....:biggrin::biggrin:
  7. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    I've now shot 4 unplanned commercial shoots with micro 4/3 (2 real estate, 1 portrait session and 1 engagement session). Only one of those involved the Leica. I had planned taking two months to get everything perfect but when the phone rings...... The clients have all loved the shots. So image quality is not an issue.

    So far so good. The GH2 is simply perfect for *my* needs in an AF camera. It seems to focus as well as my Canon 5D2 except it also focuses anywhere in the frame. The 5D2 was useless with anything but the centre focus point. The 1d4 and 50D may be marginally better, but the GH2 is quite brilliant. I'm having great success with focusing in dim light. The focus light seems to come in about the same point as the Canon did with a flash on board. I looooove the live view, but it's not as good as the Olympus version. The size and weight are the reason I moved systems and I'm not suffering with the small body at all. The GH2 is really well laid out. I'm pleasantly surprised with how useful the touch screen is. Setting the focus point by touch is brilliant, as is setting the focus point size.

    The 7-14, 20mm (not my favorite focal length. Too close to 35mm) and 45mm macro are great. The kit zooms are slow but good quality. Useful to have, especially the 14-140.

    My main frustration is battery life. The Canons do about a thousand shots on a battery charge. The Panasonics are a third of that. And there's no battery grip to run two batteries at a time. If you could get a battery that is.

    And I do want more top end glass. Primes and zooms. Canon and Nikon are dominant because they offer a full range of bodies and lenses from cheap to stupid expensive. Consumers like to think they've bought into a pro system. But galas is lacking. There's no reason for smaller versions of the fast zooms not to exist except for market separation.

    I have the PL25 but will definitely get the new m43 version to save size/weight. And I want a 50mm f1.4 and a couple of fast zooms, like the f2 4/3 ones. I don't want the 4/3 versions, really. They're as big and heavy as the Canon glass I'm trying to replace. Make me something as light as the Canon 70-200f4LIS, not the 2.8LIS.

    The last thing is the most important. I'm very aware of client perception. Honkin big cameras "look" professional. We book as many weddings based on how we look and act at a wedding reception as anything else and if the clients think your skimping on gear then that may work against you. Most people look at the 7K Leica M9 and think it's a toy. I will be covering all the Panasonic and Lumix logos before my next wedding in July though. However a really nice leather half case does seem to help. People have reacted very favourably so far, but I do get more questions about the gear I have with me. So I'll have to be careful about how I handle that. My shooting partner at weddings still carries a huge Canon kit so we should be OK.

    But overall the change has been remarkable in that nothing remarkable has happened except I've now got far less to carry.

    • Like Like x 2
  8. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
    I had forgotten that actually exists. Though, I pushed it out of my head probably when I looked up the pricing, heh. It kind of negates the second half there on cheap backups =) That's actually something I considered. If the G3 focusing is close to the GH2, I could almost buy two with what I'd get for my 5D =)

    definitely useful, I'd say.
  9. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 3, 2011
    I think the main thing about using m43 for Pro work like weddings is that it just doesn't look the part, not that it's not good enough - people want and expect you turn up with a big camera, as that's what's Pros use, isn't it? :biggrin:
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