General thoughts on mFT vs other formats in typical situations

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Djarum, May 16, 2010.

  1. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Last night I went to a roller derby match. This has gotten quite popular here. They are held at our convention center. There were alot of people there, and as the curious observer I am, I was noticing the variety of photographic equipment being used by the everyday crowd. While there were a few avid amature or professional photographers there, my thoughts here are more of a concern to the everyday crowd and what they shoot with.

    The amount of lighting in the hall was suprisingly good. Better than many gymnasiums. In saying that, with my OLY kit zoom lens, getting decent pictures was still a challenge. For most shots, I really needed to stay in the 35mm(70 35mm eq) range or more, which is fairly slow. No matter where I moved to take a picture, one still needed decent telephoto to frame in on the action. I was having to shoot at ISO1600+ and keeping the shutter speed at 1/100 to 1/120 to minimize blur from the action. In regards to focusing, luckily, with these women just going around a circular track, it was easy to focus on a pack and keep the focus. So, with the stage set, here are some of my thoughts about my experiences to what I was observing with others and their equipment. Keep in mind the place was crowded, and moving around without effecting another's view of the action was difficult.

    1. The Pen with kit lens vs APSC with kit zoom lens.

    Most of the people who had Canon EOS and Nikon APSC sensor type cameras were shooting with this. The question becomes, in the overall scope of things, what system is better served for this sort of event?

    In terms of portability, it really doesn't matter. Most shooters with the larger SLR's were sitting or standing in one place and shooting. They had neck straps or sling straps, so portability really wasn't a factor in comparison. The one advantage that these cameras have is they do focus faster.

    But with the mix of incadecent and flourecent, I noticed some were not pleased with their exposures..etc. A friend of mine was having trouble with exposure on his Canon. That is the disadvantage of non-live view. Now I realize most seasone photographers can adapt quickly, but the everyday mom and pop aren't going to be that quick. I ran into the same problem. But because of Liveview, it was easy for me adjust exposure.

    Now it really comes down to ISO levels and IQ at ISO levels. Considering that most of these images will be web sized or small anyways with these girls racing around the track, I don't see that much of an advantage with the the better ISO abilities of the APSC camera.

    The one advantage I fell my pen had was that if I was taking plain old portraits of some of the derby girls with fans, they didn't seem quite as intimidated as they did with the typical SLR's.

    2. APSC with slow telephoto

    I only saw a few individuals with some slower zoom lenses there shooting. They were in the same boat, fast shutter speeds and higher ISO. They could isolate action better. I'm not as convinced, mainly because most of these shooters where fairly novice, that they would have good results consistently in this environment. Neither would I, I think.

    3. APSC with fast telephoto.

    I saw two people with APSC cameras and f2.8 70mm-200mm lenses. One guy looked like he knew exactly what he was doing. Portability thrown out the window, and a tough time moving around because he needed enough room for his tripod, I envy his results. There was another guy there using one of the aparatuses that holds the camera and a large bounce flash on top. He seemed to struggle to hold the camera steady with this setup. The flash was useless because the action was too far away for the flash to be effective. I'm not convinced that this is an ideal setup for this sort of event. It is more portable than having a tripod and moving around and having room.

    Where does that leave me and how I feel about the mFT format? First, the lighting was difficult, and the overall situation could be fairly difficult to take good shots consistently, unless for the professional. But my thoughts here are only in relation to the average Joe shooter.

    What could have improved my own situation with my camera and experience here? I think simply, a 40mm-150mmish f2.8 lens.

    There has been a ton of arguement that this is NOT what the mFT was design for, or at least, to couple with that sort of lens. But I have just proved to myself(and if such a beast existed, to the other shooters), that this is what this system is about. Let me explain. First, the weight of such system would be much much less than the few guys shooting with fast tele's on the APSC format. Increased portability and less bulk. Even with the slower focusing, it would have been easy to get well exposed shots that were not blurry due to unsteadiness in the bulk. Another option may have been a 100mm f2.8 prime telephoto, however, much less flexibility for the type of action of these derby girls. Because these girls go around a track, the best bet is to stay put, and use zoom to get the shots. Moving was not fast enough nor practical.

    I realize that my train of thought here slaps in the face about what many shooters for this system want. But if the mFT is really trying to grab the parents and casual photographers, zoom lenses I think are whats going to sell. And there are so many situations where a prime is not useful. There are many situations where it makes perfect sense.

    Oly is in the right direction with the 14-150, even though the price is high to start. However, I'd gladly pay $1k for a 40-150ish f2.8 lens. I'm finding myself in more and more situations where I need something like this.

    Ok, rant over, LOL
  2. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    FWIW, if I ever put on a lens longer than 40mm I also attach it to a monopod. I shoot cars mostly, which usually move MUCH faster than girls on skates. ;)

    The monopod allows for panning and the Panny (pardon the pun) G1 has an OIS setting specifically for panning situations.
  3. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    good thought ...the pen has an ibis panning setting too also try prefocus in mf mode ahd shoot when they pass a certain point
  4. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I guess the point of the long winded post is that, there seems to be an outcry for small, fast primes for this system and zooms are crap and not what the system is about. I, on the other hand, can make just as big an argument for a good zoom, which many the average joe could find useful.
  5. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    The guy with the tripod certainly didn't know what he was doing. The 70-200mm should have been easy to handhold or, at most, he should have only been using a monopod.

    Currently, m4/3s doesn't fall to sports photography as well as the most basic DSLR, it's not that it can't be done, but it takes a lot more effort, patience and skill. You could have got reasonable images, had you shot video and extracted still shots from that, as long as you didn't want to make overly large prints.

    I shot these as an experiment (with the Pen 2 and a Nikon 300mm and Minolta 135mm from memory on a monopod) while my arm was in a cast last month. These are shots extracted from video footage (reduced from max size and compressed).






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