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E-M1 Stigma for BIF

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Lcrunyon, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I just signed up for a BIF photography class being put on by a photographer I have great respect for in the genre. David Lychenheim spends much of his time photographing bald eagles at Conowingo Dam (north Maryland, about an hour from me). You can see his work on Facebook at Conowingo Bald Eagles.

    One of the prerequisites for his class was that students had to have a DSLR. I asked him before, and Mirrorless is not allowed. I'm not sure if it's just because he's not familiar with them and doesn't feel qualified to teach users of them, or if he doesn't think they're serious enough for BIF. I'd be disappointed if it were the latter, and while I suppose I could understand the former (can't blame someone for not knowing, or being comfortable teaching it), I'm not sure it's correct either.

    While I know there are differences in technique between using my DSLR (which is specialized for sports and wildlife) vs my E-M1 for BIF, I think I can learn a lot from him regardless of which camera I am using. Is it really so much different than, say, Canon vs Nikon? Or is there really such a negative stigma for mirrorless among wildlife photographers?
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
  2. knikki

    knikki Mu-43 Regular

    34
    Sep 28, 2015
    Up North, UK
    Techincally a Mirror Less camera is still a DSLR as you when you look through the view finder you see through the lens.

    At the end of the day all cameras do the same thing, al of them have the same auto functions and all can me set manually all have some form follow focus. Maybe he thinks that he mirrorless cameras do not have quick enough CAF to catch BIF but even so I think he is a bit a camera snob to exclude mirror less.
     
  3. eteless

    eteless Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 20, 2014
    Nope, there's no reflex mirror in use.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    I think it's generally true that mirrorless cameras lag some way behind the best-in-class DSLRs when it comes to AF on stuff that moves. I think this will likely be his reason. He'll want to concentrate on the subjects and the best-practices for BIF and not want to waste time trying to get sub-optimal tech working!
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    True, but he didn't ban low-end DSLRs, which at the very least I think the E-M1 can hold its own against. Maybe it's a matter of wanting to keep the class within a tight schedule. There will be a period at Conowingo where we will be shooting. It's an intermediate to advanced level class, so it's probably getting into the weeds of optimizing camera settings, and he probably just doesn't know how to get the most out of a mirrorless camera. But that's still kind of disappointing, because that lack of knowledge would still suggest something to me about the way mirrorless is viewed.

    I don't think he is intentionally a snob, but I don't know him well.

    I do plan on asking him about mirrorless after the class.
     
  6. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    First off, good professional photographers are not camera gear experts. Their interest is making images that make money. They are generally not very technical, or interested in the technical aspect of photography beyond what they do to get the results they want. I've worked with, spoken to and took workshops with some very good working pros.

    Second, virtually no mirrorless cameras are very good for shooting BIF and none of them are as good as the best DSLRs with pro grade lenses. I'm sure he either doesn't know, or care, about the one in a million (E-M1 with 40-150/2.8) mirrorless rig that isn't completely awful.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    Shame on him for discouraging someone with an interest in photography, the wildlife and even his work.

    No mirrorless camera is the C-AF equal of the best DSLRs, but are of mid and low tier DSLRs. He's a Nikon shooter and Nikon C-AF is inferior to Canon, so maybe he should reject himself

    I'd doubt there'd be much difference regardless. Snapping a chickadee whizzing around your back yard is very different from a big, bald eagle a hundred yards away. The e-m1 would do fine.

    Nevertheless, that's a shame. Lost all respect for the man for discouraging someone who wants to learn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 3
  8. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Get the EE-1 Dot Sight optical viewfinder. Combined with the E-M1, you'll look like a real DSLR shooter and the EE-1 will help increase your keeper rate with your E-M1.

    I understand his concerns. He wants to teach quality BIF and he needs to protect his time and his other students. He doesn't want students with mirrorless cameras to have some extended high expectation that their equipment could perform like a DSLR and then drag other students during the course because their cameras can't perform well and need help and babysitting.
    Same experience with me enrolling in continuing adult education where there are times the students clearly lacked certain skills/or lied about to gain admission and basically dragged our classes way too slow or took too long because the instructor had to spend more time with those students. Is it fair to me to wait for an incompetent and unqualified student because of his or her technical incompetency? Of course not. So he's just protecting his interests and his other students as well.

    However, if you have the EE-1 dotsight, then your success rate in BIF will increase. Part of the reason why I love my OVF on my E-5 and for which I'm seriously thinking of getting the EE-1 for my E-P5 because sometimes the lag on my VF-4 is seriously loosing some shots I could easily get with my E-5 or even E-1 because I could track and see while the shutter trips..

    Reviews of the EE-1 from BH Photo (most using it for sports and BIF)
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1116753-REG/olympus_ee_1_dot_sight_for.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2015
    • Funny Funny x 1
  9. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    To be clear, I am going to the class, but I'll be taking my Canon. I wonder if I'm the only one who's ever asked him if he would include mirrorless, though.
     
  10. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
  11. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    I would say bring your E-M1 with EE-1 along. It's your money. Just tell him that you won't drag his class and learn. Then show him later on your keepers. We really need someone like "YOU" to change the perception of these people. I can't do it alone you know. LOL :)
     
  12. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    Sounds like a plan.
     
  13. Speedliner

    Speedliner Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 2, 2015
    Southern NJ, USA
    Rob
    I'd be curious to hear what was done in the class that he thought was too challenging for a mirrorless camera.
     
  14. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    He probably hasn't given it any thought. It's a class for shooting BIF with a DSLR. He's spent lots of time and effort coming up with a kit that gets him what he wants, so that's what he wants students to use. I'll bet if someone showed up with an E-M1 & pro lens, he wouldn't even know that it was a mirrorless camera. Do you people also go into class and ask the professor if it would be okay to use a different textbook than the one specified, and then ask what's wrong with your textbook when they say no?
     
  15. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    No, but then that's not really a good analogy. My plan is to bring both cameras. I will focus on the Canon, but if I also can apply his teachings to the Olympus, I'll let him know in a respectful way, and perhaps we can discuss it afterward. If his teachings really don't relate to the E-M1, then I will see that your suggestion of what he was thinking was correct, and I probably won't bring the question up at all.
     
  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    While I hear what you are saying, it does make me wonder if he has set a minimum threshold for DSLR bodies and equipment? I just cannot imagine trying to teach a specialized curriculum with folks that have D810's and 400mm glass along side of folks with D40's and 55-200 kit lenses. The body controls are just not there on the D40, and I say that as a former D40 owner. And, if the curriculum is not specialized, then I would suspect that a reasonably able student with an E-M1 should be able to adapt the instruction to their equipment.

    Having said all of that, it does make me wonder what he is teaching that is so equipment specific (and yes I have shot BIF, so if he is requiring tripods and gimbles, then he should state so). I suspect that less than optimal students with expensive equipment are not necessarily able to produce better images than somebody with a good eye and reasonable equipment. (Thom Hogan, for example, posted some of his experiences using the E-M1 w/40-150 shooting wildlife on his blog a few months ago, and I think that the images speak well for Thom's skills at being able to maximize the gear at hand.)

    You can offer a class, but unless you interview every student prior to accepting them for a workshop, it is still a gamble as to who you end up with, regardless of their equipment. But, it is the instructor's class and their prerogative as to what equipment their students must bring. I guess that that old expression is still true: There is the right way, the wrong way, and there is (my) the Army way! So, to the OP, why not take his class his way and learn what he has to offer? I am sure you can translate that to your E-M1 as applicable.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
  17. Lcrunyon

    Lcrunyon Mu-43 Top Veteran

    758
    Jun 4, 2014
    Maryland
    Loren
    I will be, and using the Canon. But I'll have my E-M1 with me as well if the opportunity to apply it as well is there. I don't have any intention of being rude, nor to monopolize or derail his class in any way. I probably won't even bring the E-M1 out until class time is over. The class will be in the morning, but I anticipate being at Conowingo all day. If the issue is camera capability, perhaps I can raise a little awareness.

    While using big lenses and gimbal heads on tripods is the norm at Conowingo, I know from talking to him that the instructor shoots hand-held, as I do. I will bring my heavier equipment with me, though.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2015
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  18. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    He probably knows that mirrorless and DSLRS function differently and understands DSLRs, so he concentrates on what he knows to meet customer expectations. If someone had not used an E-M1 they might be surprised by the large focus areas and would not know how to have someone select the smallest focus target. And he might be surprised by the lack of options for group focus targets or how to set up focus lock on an Olympus.

    I've not used a Panasonic and would not want to teach how to use one.
     
  19. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    I don't think Pentax DSLRs are particularly highly reputed for their continuous AF, though, for instance. I guess the assumption is that Pentax, like mirrorless, is such a bit player that you're unlikely to encounter one in the wild.
     
  20. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    I think most here are reading far too much into this. I bet his reasoning is that he doesn't want a room full of point and shoot cameras. Take both cameras for the first time and see what happens.

    I remember turnkey photography courses (mostly geared to wedding and event photographers) would ALWAYS specify that you needed at least one Hassy 5xx series camera body and two lenses, one specific Metz potato-masher flash and some accessories. Then you had to duplicate it for redundancy.

    I also remember people taking photography courses with different gear, being unhappy and demanding their money back from the course because the class didn't teach them how to navigate their unusual gear.

    The more things change:

    More and more, I'm finding "professional" photographers who make money at their craft come from turnkey teaching operations. The courses outline the exact camera body (or range of bodies), range of lenses, and accessories to minimize the time needed to re-explain or re-evaluate during the course.

    I asked a wedding photographer why she chose Canon and not Nikon. She said that the course was geared towards Canon cameras, and most of the students didn't actually own any professional gear. So part of the course actually mapped out exactly what brand and gear she should get. Nobody was interested in "fiddling" or experimenting. Strange? Maybe not.
    Needless to say, she's VERY successful!

    The only oddball thing she had was a Sankyo 8mm (boles-type) movie camera. She didn't know much about it other than how to load it, wind it and press the trigger to "blow film".

    Her husband, who also photographs professionally but is also an amateur photographer, has a few Leica film cameras, a Nikon DSLR and a other odds and sods. He's much more versed in the intricacies of aperture, shutter speed, manual flash, but admitted that for the job, the cameras pretty much run themselves and the "moment" is far more important than f4.5 vs f5.6 for an artistic choice.