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GAS, ISO race. Fringe user?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by noelh, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Insufficient balance in the mu43 account and a bit of disappointment in the latest gen (GX-1 & X-lens) has ablated my gear acquisition syndrome. The impressions from posts on this forum are that the "IQ" of the latest generation Pany sensors at lower ISOs are similar to the older gen.

    I tend to shoot at low ISO. Normally at 100. Sometimes pushed to 200. Only if absolutely necessary at 400. Wishing for ISO 50 at times. Prefer not to use a ND filter until no choice. For my subject choices a tripod or OIS usually deals with the lower light situations. Quick & "intuitive" camera operations that do not interfere with the image capturing process are much higher on the list than lower noise at high ISOs. Preference is to visualize the subject through a viewfinder and not have to draw my attention away from the image. Reason why I prefer dials, buttons & switches assuming they are properly located on the camera body or lens. Rather have faster lens with the added benefit of lower dof over less noise at high ISO even though it would be more expensive and add bulk to deal with lower light level conditions.

    Assuming I'm on the fringe or somewhere on one of the ends of the bell curve of the perceived population of potential customers of the marketing people.

    If having to choose between hypothetical or existing faster (f/2.0 or faster)mu43 lens or an existing latest gen body which would you select?
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Without question the lens.

    Besides which, next year there's going to be another body out with even better high ISO capabilities. Look at the profound difference between our bodies of this year and two years ago. Your lens will always be f/2, and putting it on a new body will still give you the same benefits.
     
  3. Luke

    Luke Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 30, 2010
    Milwaukee, WI
    Luke
    I LOVE fast lenses.....as much for their shallower DOF as for their light gathering ability. But if the bodies would perform better at higher ISO, I wouldn't need to buy the more expensive faster lenses. I prefer shooting at lower ISO, but a lot of my photography is in lower light and I'm left with no choice (And I'm no good with flashes).
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    No, you'll just have to buy a new body every other year to keep up with the rapidly changing technology, or you lose that advantage. Trust me, that's a much more costly endeavor than getting a nice fast lens every 5-10 years. ;)

    Eventually bodies wear out anyways, so you have to upgrade them irregardless. Your nice fast lens will still be with you when that happens.
     
  5. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    The problem with fast lenses in low light is that they cut DoF where in many instances more DoF is needed. Unless you want to use flash, ISO is important to control DoF (so you don't resort to shooting wide open)
     
  6. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    532
    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Mark
    Faster lenses please. I can keep them to use 3 or 4 generations of bodies down the line when there may be a real difference in performance.
     
  7. RichDesmond

    RichDesmond Mu-43 Veteran

    356
    Nov 18, 2011
    It's not really an either/or thing. If you need the fast lens to isolate the subject, then higher ISO does you no good. Conversely, if you're in low light and need more DOF then a fast lens doesn't help at all, you need the greater ISO capability.
    I suspect most of us shoot in enough of a variety of situations that we need both. :)
     
  8. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    I think it's like car engines - no replacement for displacement.

    Lens.

    You can always turn up the ISO on your existing body. Yes, there are tradeoffs, but in terms of capturing a special image, it is at least possible.

    You can always stop down a fast lens to get the DOF you desire, and probably will get better image quality/sharpness as the "trade off". With our sensor size, insufficient DOF will rarely be a problem at "normal" focus distances.

    But you can never open up a lens beyond its widest built aperture. If your lens is f/4, and you want f/2.8 for subject isolation, light gathering, whatever, that option is not available to you.
     
  9. grantb

    grantb Mu-43 Veteran

    This is where I'm at right now. I can mostly get the handheld low light shots I want right now with the lenses I have... at ISO 1600. Unfortunately, this is more noise than I want, and I'd prefer to shoot at 800 or lower with the e-p3. To do this with the lenses I have requires too shallow DoF for some subjects.

    For the OP, I'm going to vote faster lens though. f/2 is a minimum to get in the zone IMO. Then you'll know if current generation MFT can do what you need.
     
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Don't forget about post-processing for noise reduction either guys. :) High ISO shots are easily obtained from any camera with good detail resolving power like the current Olympus cameras, with little to no noise by taking a little extra time to run the photo through Noise Ninja, Neat Image, Nik Dfine, etc.

    Post processing can't give you a faster aperture, though.
     
  11. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    I'm of the Colin Chapman school of car design: "Add lightness". It's all about bhp/weight.

    Back on topic, I vote faster lens for all of the reasons others have mentioned.
     
  12. Art

    Art Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    Are those noise reduction sofware any better than Lightroom?
     
  13. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    563
    Sep 3, 2011
    L.A.
    I used Noise Ninja before the Lightroom v. 3 release. I think LR noise reduction is just as good and certainly more convenient.
     
  14. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Boston
    It's not NR though. It's keeping the colors at high ISO, IMO, that's the issue.
     
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Bingo! And there you just hit the nail on the head why the high ISO capabilities of the newer Olympus cameras using the weak AA filters (ie, the E-5 and newer) are so much better than the previous generations. I've heard too many people say, "so what, it's still noisy", as if that's all there is to being able to use high ISO. I don't think most of these critics have actually taken these cameras out into dismal lighting conditions to see how they actually handle low light sensitivity in real life (as opposed to high ISO tests in a studio environment), or they would see that it's night and day from previous generations. Two things that stand out with the new cameras is both detail retention and color accuracy when the sensitivity is bumped up. There's no white or colored streaks (ie, like the blue streaks I always saw in my E-3), and no shift in color as you see on many other systems - only natural color. Noise is nothing if detail and natural color is retained. NR programs can clean up "grain" to any extent you want, but it can't bring back detail that's been lost, and it has a hell of a time dealing with chroma and luma noise.