Can micro 4/3 do "pro" photography?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Dramaturg, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    I am not a pro photographer and I chose micro 4/3 only because of the compact size and some good glass. However, even on this forum, I read that there are people who actually do a pro photography using micro 4/3 gear (some use OM-D as a second body for something like 5dmkIII, others report to do pro job with OM-D alone). Also Olympus will be trying to sell the E-M1 as a pro camera. However, I have hard time imagining it as all of my friends who do pro photography for living use FF gear (at least here in Ukraine) due to the number of reasons. First, FF gear produces images with shallow depth of field and micro 4/3 is simply not capable of reproducing it due to the sensor physical size (and it seems that many people who hire a photographer for a wedding or a child photo session really want those shallow dof portraits - at least in Ukraine). Second, FF has lots of fast glass (1,2-1,8) which is often cheaper than micro 4/3 equivalents therefore it is easier (and cheaper) to build the FF pro kit. Third, it seems that only OM-D is something like "splash" proofed, while Canikon bodies have good weather protection. Fourth, low light and high iso performance of the FF sensors is simply amazing, much superior to all micro 4/3 sensors. Fifth (the least important but still), most of the micro 4/3 simply look like point and shoot cameras, while most clients want to see pro looking bodies.

    Therefore, I can conclude that micro 4/3 was not developed as a "pro" prhotography gear due the physical limitations of the 4/3 sensors (and cameras in general) and poor collection of affordable pro glass (is there actually pro glass within micro 4/3 system?). Micro 4/3 cameras produce good images and I like my OM-D a lot, but they cannot compete with the results done by FF. So, the question is, is there such thing as "pro" photography with micro 4/3? How would you imagine it? Or perhaps all those who want to do pro photography should really consider FF? Is there any sense in making investments in very expensive micro 4/3 glass which cannot even compete with cheaper and superior FF equivalents if one actually considers a possibility of start doing pro photography? Of course I realize that FF will not make you a good photographer and I am not talking about it here. I am just interested in how (if at all) pro photography with micro 4/3 could look like.
  2. entropicremnants

    entropicremnants Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 16, 2012
    John Griggs
    Dang, man, I don't need to be a troll but have you searched this board? This has been argued about so many times.

    What is "pro"? Getting paid to do photography for a living. There is no IQ standard for "pro" despite what the non-pro's like to pose about.

    Go visit these sites: -- this is the site of an older pro (like my age) who shoots mirrorless. He has a large company with staff and shoots for everyone from Skippy Peanut Butter to the Federal Government. TONS of content about using m43 for pro work. Go do research. The guys name is Will Crockett -- google him.

    Next is Giulio Scolio who runs Small Camera BIG Picture - Resources, NEWS and Information for Hybrid Photographers -- he's another full time pro shooting mirrorless and has others writing content for the site.

    So, before a HUGE discussion starts: the answer is YES -- if the camera can do what you want it to. Going to shoot pro football with an E-M5? Not a good idea and you probably need a DSLR. Going to do studio or onsite work where you have some control? m43 is absolutely fine.

    I use it for urbex and print up to 24x36" from the E-M5, G5, and GH2. I'm hanging another small exhibition in a local concert venue where my work will be the only artwork decorating the joint. I have a hard time convincing people that the photos ARE from a mirrorless camera, but whatever, lol.

    Pro glass? Check my signature. Those three lenses cover everything. Fast primes aren't necessarily "pro glass". The 12-35mm and the 35-100mm give me results like I had from my 16-35mm Nikon f/4. VR and my 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II.

    Sometimes I think that SOME (certainly not all) photographers whose chops aren't what they should be rely on the "margin" built into full frame sensors to bail them out of bad exposures, lol.
  3. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Thank you for the links, will research it. Also thank you for you opinion.

    Most of the pro photographers do three things in Ukraine: weddings, people (love stories, portraits, kids, etc) and various things (from food to cars). Not that much of sport at all. There are other who do nature, sports, etc, but they are minority and very few of them do it for living. The standards of the photography in those areas are so high at the moment that I simply think micro 4/3 cannot compete (I already brough some examples - micro 4/3 simply cannot deliver that shallow dof, especially when you do full body portraits - it's going to be fine for some, but definetely for all). Look at the picture attached - there is no way to reproduce this dof with any 1.8 on micro 4/3 (perhaps nokton glass could do it but I don't consider them due to the very high price tag and mf).

    What would you consider a pro glass for micro 4/3 worthy investing in?

    Attached Files:

  4. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Pro doesn't equal quality. Pro equals good business practices, Many great photographers are not pro's. Many adequate or less than adequate photographers are pro's and are very successful, simply by the nature they can balance their business.

    Say to a successful Pro, "succinctly define for me, the inverse square law, and why it's important" ...I'd be curious to see how large the population of pro's would give you a thousand yard stare to a simple question they should all know.
  5. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    This is a blunt way to put it but :2thumbs: anyway! :biggrin:

    I wouldn't bother with giving examples of people using :43: professionally. It really doesn't matter.

    There is no convincing argument against using :43: for professional shooting today. None whatsoever. By "today" I mean after the introduction of the OMD and the GH3, which cemented the viability of the system as a pro option. In that regard, the E-M1 is just "more pro" (in the sense that the 1Ds is "more pro" than the 5DMk3, which, interestingly enough, is not considered a "pro" body in the Canon lineup).

    Arguments thrown around against :43: as a system, are almost always biased. Let me give you a couple of examples. just for laughs:

    ":43: are not great at high ISO (say, over 1600) ergo, :43: is not suited to pros. "Gee! Let everyone throw away their Phase Ones and Hasselblads then. Because they totally SUCK at anything above ISO 800.

    ":43: is not good for tracking moving subjects, so it obviously cannot be used by pros". While the absolutely awesome Canon 6D, with the lonesome center cross-type AF point can track flawlesly, right? At least it can focus in low light, contrary to the original "pro" 5D which couldn't AF on the surface of the sun.

    Truth is, :43: has its benefits, and its limitations, just like about any other system. There are probably some types of photography where a high-end :43: body could conceivably be the best system available, period. I could think of Travel, Macro and of course Street and Documentary photography. With newer bodies, such as the E-M1, as well as the latest and forthcoming lenses, it might become the greatest choice for Photojournalism also: low weight/size, very good IQ, high FPS.

    Controlled lighting and need for maximum resolution and color depth and/or huge prints? No; this is why MF is still alive. Very low light circumstances or need for extraordinary shallow DOF? Nope; FF will never be beaten there. Huge prints of landscapes? Again a MF or FF would probably be a better choice here.

    There is exactly ONE condition needed for :43: to be considered a "pro" system by even the most concervative DSLR user, and it has nothing to do with the cameras and lenses. It needs :43: companies to stand behind their products as pro gear, invest in professional support centers and work with real pros to advance things both technologically and on the level of customer interaction.
  6. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    Sure M43 can do pro photography. It just can't focus track like a DSLR camera and it lacks the high end lenses mainly in the telephoto end. Also M43 doesn't have the pro support network when it comes to repairs and equipment loaners. Most cameras from 2008 have been capable of decent work. Everything nowadays is just icing on the cake!
  7. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

  8. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    ..... Good grief .....
  9. Bhupinder2002

    Bhupinder2002 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Lets do a studio shoot together . Same model same lighting .. U chose ur FF gear and I will chose my MFT gear and people judge from final prints .FF is the most over estimated format and MFT is the most underestimated:rolleyes:
  10. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I've always judged the term "pro" as a hardware requirement, to simply mean it has a dedicated pro servicing dept with the manufacturer, and that it it lasts for a guaranteed number of shutter actuations.

    Outside of that- it's just the "what you need" list, if needed weather sealing + rigidness etc, after that it's just bells and whistles.
  11. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Do you realize you kind of sound like a troll? I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt for one response, but...

    Seriously, we don't need to beat this one to death again. There are only two one thing that μ43 doesn't do very well these days: C-AF and wide angle narrow DOF. The former would be useful to many. The latter would be useful to few.

    That's not true. The 75mm can do it and has done it. Go look through its image thread.

    You can also use legacy glass to do it. I do it with a Canon FD 85mm f/1.2. The just released Voigtlander 42.5mm f/.95 can do it. The forthcoming PL 42.5mm f/1.2 will be able to do it. Any fast telephoto legacy lens with a speedbooster attached can do it.

    20mm f/1.7 at f/1.7

    58mm f/1.4 (AT f/2)

    85mm f/1.2 at f/1.2 (this is my wife getting fed up with me taking pictures of her)
  12. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Thank you for good points. Indeed, micro 4/3 might be ideal for documentary or street photography, but if you need that shallow DOF in your photography then you should go with a FF.
  13. Mix

    Mix Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2013
    With regards to your weather protection comment...OMD EM5 is not only splash proof...It really is weather sealed. I'm not sure if you've seen this already but you might want to check out this OMD EM5 weather and field test video by this guy (Scott Rinckenberger- he worked with Chase Jarvis for 10 years)- and now a pro landscape and adventure photographer. He shoots OMD EM5 using actual locations...shooting athletes alpine climbing, skiing, mountain biking, etc...If this still isn't weather sealed, I'm not sure what is...

    [ame=]In the bush with: The Olympus OM-D E-M5 - YouTube[/ame]
  14. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    The photo posted by the original poster is lovely, don't know what it was shot with (assuming full frame) but I would think an OM-D with the 75 1.8 would come very close to having the background drop off like that.

    If that is all he's concerned about, images like the one posted, then I think m43 would work fine, with the right lenses.

    So much of the "pro" debate with m43 is strictly appearance. That camera is too small, it can't possibly be good. Naysayers will pick it apart before even looking at an image. But pros and non-pros alike are often surprised by the quality that can come from these cameras.

    I'm not old enough to have lived through the transition in newspapers from 4x5 Speed Graphic to 35mm in the 60s, but I worked with people who were. This is the same argument. In the early 80s when I started professionally, most wedding and portrait photographers wouldn't have been caught dead with 35mm.

    Times change, technology becomes better. The results from the OM-D are vastly superior, in many cases, to what I ever could have done on film.

    Shoot, enjoy and if your client is happy, then you did something right, regardless of what format.
  15. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Why would you consider me trolling mu-43 if the only gear I use at the moment is mu-43? What's the point? Nevertheless, thank you for your points. Another thing - the very fact that you use very expensive glass from another system already points that mu-43 is not that mature yet.
  16. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I think the durability of the m4/3 cameras are suspect.

    How many cracked bezels and dials falling off of OM-Ds?

    The GH3 may be a bit more robust, but I haven't personally used it.

    The hallmark of Pro Gear is durability.. Not just splash proof.
  17. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    Trolling has nothing to do with what system you use. Trolling is about posting solely intentionally eliciting a response. Like I said, though, your initial post only sounded like trolling. I didn't say you were and explicitly said I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. And now I'm fairly confident you're not.

    Very expensive? Kind of, but not really. It cost me less than the 75mm f/1.8--only slightly more than the price of the 25mm f/1.4. I paid $575 for the FD 85mm f/1.2. They go for over $800 on Ebay, but those are well over priced. $500 to $700 is the more normal range if you're patient and know where to look. The Voigtlander 58mm can be had for $300 used. That's the same price as a used 45mm f/1.8. And both lenses have more blur than the image you posted.

    You also ignored the fact that I explicitly stated that 75mm f/1.8 can give full body portraits with a nice blur. I also mentioned other native lenses that can do the same.
  18. rnagoda

    rnagoda Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 12, 2012
    Tucson, AZ
    You know what sucks, people come here with a legit question and they get jumped on by rude people like you. Do you realize what you kind of sound like?

    This is a perfectly valid question and the m4/3 community would be better off if they addressed it more openly rather than become defensive and calling anybody who asks "a troll".

    Not understanding why people have trouble wrapping their heads around m4/3 as a pro tool is extremely short-sighted. m4/3 at the moment has ONE pro-focused body (two, soon, with the new Oly) and TWO total pro-focused lenses (about to grow to a total of .... three)! Is there any serious contention that m4/3 is really going after the pro user?

    Answer the question without derision and maybe you can help someone make a real decision, or at least spread a little knowledge. Call everyone who questions the system a troll and you'll get nowhere fast.
  19. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    I've had far better luck with all my Olympus equipment than I've had with either Nikon or Canon over many years of professional use.

    I've had Nikon F4's, barely used, having stuff falling off. A department of 20 staff photographers, each with two bodies, and brand new Canon 1d MkII and MkIIn's having about a 90 percent shutter failure rate within 20K to 30K shutter actuations (on a shutter designed for a minimum of 150K). And both Nikon and Canon have trouble with their ultrasonic motors from my experience.

    My experience with Olympus, using various OM-1, 2, 3 and 4's (and their iterations), E1, and now 2 OM-D's : I have had one (non-impact) repair. That was bricking the first OM-D with the bad firmware update (believe it was 1.2). This is probably 15 or so cameras professionally (newspaper) used. In that environment, cameras are not coddled, put in padded cases and kept dirt and dust free. They are used in all weather elements with little respect given to their protection.

    Every manufacturer has a few bad pieces come out of the factory. My experience with Olympus though has been far better than the other brands I have heavily used. So, I think the Olympus gear has proven its reliability to me.

  20. Dramaturg

    Dramaturg Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2013
    Trolling has to do with a person starting a controversial discussion thread for the sake of discussion and holy war only, without any interest in the topic but getting attention. However, the fact that I use mu-43 gear should have been a sign that I am interested in subject (the situation would be otherwise if I had nex system for example). I have invested some money in mu-43 this year. And now I face the question whether I want to invest more in expensive native mu-43 glass (and perhaps try some paid job) or I should simply use my system as a family camera (in this case investing $900 in one lense would be nonsense) and start investing into FF in the same time. Thus this discussion thread.

    The 75mm 1.8 image thread is one of my favorites. Unfortunatelly, I have not seen renderings similar to this one. Actually after I tried shooting full body portrait with Nikon D800 and 50mm 1.8 I got a bit upset with how my 45mm 1.8 rendered the same scene (of course I had to step back much further with Zuiko lense and hence encrease the dof). The same will be true about 75mm 1.8.