EPL1 or EPL3 for short-legged action

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by twmangrove, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    110
    May 8, 2011
    The Shuswap, B.C.
    I had a breakthrough the other day with my EPL1.
    For the past two weeks it sat neglected in my camera bag at home as I'd opted to take my old Fuji F31 on the family vacation up in the Yukon/northern B.C.
    The other night, the family and I decided to go for a stroll on a nearby trail so our two year old could run around a bit. I decided to bring the PL1, knowing it would be a challenge to photograph my son (my favourite subject) while he's on the move.
    Despite the wonderful lighting (strong sunlight mixed with light shadows), I decided to take control of the camera and knock the ISO up to 400 and use a reasonably high shutter speed. I had the Panny 14 on the front. To my surprise, I actually managed to get a couple of captures of my boy running. Terrible framing, but good sharpness. And I realized that my frustration with this camera has been based, in part, inability to decide whether to treat it like a DSLR or a point and shoot, because it really doesn't operate lake either.
    Treating it as a point and shoot (going on P mode - i-auto is CRAP for WB), the camera is okay provided your subject is perfectly still. As a DSLR, it's of course terribly slow and the liveview blackout thing can be a challenge for action. Mind you, my style of action shooting has always been single shot, follow the subject, focus and shoot, so I can deal with the blackout I guess. What concerns me is that initial focus/release response. Shutter lage I suppose.
    I think I'm getting close, but my real question now is if advances in shutter lag, either with the PL2 or, in particular, the PL3, I might see an even bigger difference, particularly with the way I shoot? Going by the PL3 review on DPreview, the camera is poo-pooed for action, though that's when the camera left to do the tracking.
    Perhaps I should just get a small DSLR, but I'm determined to make something work here, as I still prefer the smaller size of these Oly PL cameras.
    Thanks in advance for any thoughts, advice.
     
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    1. make sure there isn't shutter lag specified in the menu
    2. try turning off IBIS as it adds to the shutter lag
     
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Are you sure it's shutter lag, and not focus lag? Try separating your focus and shutter release with back-button focus. You can then take your time to focus on the target, then instantaneously release the shutter when the time is right. It'll make shooting action a lot more effective, even allowing you to pre-focus if you have the opportunity.
     
  4. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    110
    May 8, 2011
    The Shuswap, B.C.
    Thanks for these replies.
    Not sure what what you mean, tc, about making sure shutter lag isn't specified. I do turn off IBIS though.
    Ned, I will definitely try your suggestion out. Focus lag, I think is more appropriate, and that's why I was considering the PL3.
    I never could get used to the two button method for focus/shooting with Nikon SLRs like my old D300, mainly for ergonomic reasons. But the PL1 is a different creature. Can't wait to try it out. I'm also looking forward to putting your advice from another thread into practice regarding auto gradation. I've been using it outside for retaining highlights, but it seems you're not alone in thinking autograd isn't too hot. I did note how the pics from my excursion the other evening where rather noisy in the shadows at ISO 400. I'm guessing this was exacerbated by autograd.
    I have to say, for a point and shoot upgrade intended to be simple to use, the PL1 (and PL series in general from the looks of it) has quite a learning curve.
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    As far as ergonomics for back-button focus... the Direct-to-Video button on the E-PL1 and E-PL2 make perfect Autofocus buttons. :D This is the one reason I don't mind losing the thumbwheel on my E-PL2, because the big red "autofocus" button is nearly as handy. ;)
     
  6. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    On the PEN models, you can dial in a delay between when you actually push the trigger and the shutter actually fires.
     
  7. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    Unfortunately I don't have my old E-PL1 with me anymore to test, but from what I can remember comparing it to the E-P3 that I have now, taking shots is much more responsive. So I would say there is less "shutter lag".

    Best bet is to find a camera store that has the E-P3/PL/PM in stock and try it out.
     
  8. Caroline

    Caroline Mu-43 Regular

    87
    Mar 4, 2010
    London
    FWIW I've been using my E-PL3 for some pretty full-on motorsport shooting over the past couple of weeks (Le Mans cars, capable of 200mph+, and Goodwood Revival which although the cars are slower is a pretty fast circuit where they can easily get to 140-150mph along one of the straights where I was taking photos) and all I can say is I just don't believe the DPReview report. Yes there is some shot to shot blackout and this does make it easier to shoot in one-shot mode, but I have actually used continuous mode for panning and got some pretty good shots. I think it helps to use a fast card (I've bought Sandisk Extreme cards and they write pretty quickly, which I think helps reduce the blackout time) and I've also been fairly impressed by the tracking AF too - using that and taking one shot or a couple in continuous mode has worked very well for me. I posted a couple of examples on the "Cars" thread here but FWIW here are a few more from Goodwood:

    E-Type Jaguar on the Lavant straight, probably doing about 140mph:
    [​IMG]

    Closeup at the chicane (Longnose D Type Jaguar)
    [​IMG]

    Another on the Lavant straight
    [​IMG]

    Equivalent of 600mm (Olympus 75-300 lens) with the car going away at a fair speed, again using tracking AF and a high shutter speed (1/500s) - this one is so sharp that when I zoomed in to 100% I could even read the label on the back of the driver's race suit!
    [​IMG]

    Straight on shot, car coming towards me, focused using tracking C-AF
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Wow, those are wonderful shots Caroline, and a great example of how good the E-PL3's tracking focus really is!

    Could it be that DPReview was wrong in saying it can't do action? Naw, impossible! lol. Maybe they just need some photographers who know how the handle the cameras...
     
  10. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    110
    May 8, 2011
    The Shuswap, B.C.
    Thanks Caroline for the proof of what the PL3 is capable of. I suspect those Jaguars are going faster than my son's legs can carry him.
    I'm sorry TC, but might you be able to provide some guidance as to where in the menu system this adjustment might be found?
    Thanks all again,
    Lachlan
     
  11. bongestrella

    bongestrella Mu-43 Veteran

    404
    Sep 2, 2011
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    Those same photographers can take action photos with say, a 60d, just fine. Not a fair comparison to the e-pl3, but the conclusion that this camera is not designed for action is justified.
     
  12. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Y'know, I couldn't take very still photos when I first switched from a DSLR to the first E-P1 Digital PEN, myself. It actually does take some experience to know how to handle a particular camera system.
     
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  13. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    On the older cameras it was called anti-shock, might not be on the newer cameras.
     
  14. twmangrove

    twmangrove Mu-43 Regular

    110
    May 8, 2011
    The Shuswap, B.C.
    Oh, antishock, I forgot about that (there's a lot in that menu). I don't think I've ever touched that, but will give it a look-see. Thanks
     
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Why didn't Olympus just call it "Mirror Lockup" like everybody else? xP

    Well, I guess if they had done that it would have had to undergo a name change with the PEN system. Maybe Olympus was thinking that far ahead? lol.
     
  16. jalywol

    jalywol New to Mu-43

    8
    Sep 26, 2011
    I had an EPL1, and ended up switching to the GH2 (and G2 before that). The speed of the EPL1 is terribly slow compared to the GH2 and the G3 (which I tried but did not care for). Even the G2 is faster by a fair bit. I also tried a Pen Mini in the store the other day, and it seemed much faster than the EPL1, but I didn't spend much time with it as the salespeople were otherwise engaged (and it did not have a card in it.) I have not tried the EP3 yet, so I can't tell you how that compares to the EPL1, though.

    Two thoughts: The EPL1 is indeed slow. You will gain a substantial amount of responsiveness with any of the current generation of M43s over it. If you do want to try and speed it up some, you may want to make sure you have a very fast SD card, and also you may want to make sure you have turned off the auto-review after each shot (that slowed my shot-to-shot rate down radically until I figured out how to shut it off).

    I believe that you do not have to go back to a DSLR for moderate action photos with one of the newer models...and I expect that that will only continue to improve as the system matures.
     
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  17. DDBazooka

    DDBazooka Mu-43 Veteran

    211
    Sep 3, 2011
    To be fair, the F31 is legendary :)
     
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