In the Studio with the EM1

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by DigitalD, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    So after a pretty long hiatus I went back into the studio with vigor armed with my EM1 yesterday and thought I would share the results as well as my quick impressions.

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    First what I liked. The size is definitely a big plus on a Studio shoot. Our session lasted about 3.5 hours and we worked in 4 lighting setups. By the last shot we were all tired, but me and my arm a little less so! My partner on the shoot, also a photographer, was shooting with his 5DMKIII and the monster 70-200mm 2.8 L. Boy was he envious of me by the time 11pm rolled around!

    Battery life was very good. I did not use a battery grip and did not change the battery during the entire shoot. I did turn off the camera between set ups. I did use the JP designs wooden grip however which helps the ergonomics of the camera as a whole. Definitely recommended for long lasting comfort.

    The EM1 focus is extremely fast and very reliable. When I light and shoot I rarely put the model lights on full as I like to see what my lighting is generally doing even while getting the shot. However modeling lights offer little ambient light in a darkened studio so I was worried I may end up hunting for focus here and there. Nope never. Not even once. I also have never used facial recognition before on a studio shoot, mostly because I never had it on any of my older DSLRs. I was surprised how flexible that made it for me to frame up and shoot while not interrupting the flow of the moment. It may have helped that the lens I was using had a max aperture of 1.2.

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    Which also brings me to my first con. The last time I was in the studio I had a 5D mkII in hands as well as its OVF. Unfortunately when using modeling lights your overall light and WB is very different. So relying only on the EVF of the EM1 or Monitor didn't really make for a great experience. It wasn't bad, but it did make me think that there could be some changes made that would make it better. First would be to have more control over the LVF. Or Live View Functions. First, you definitely need to have LVF Boost set to ON. That basically boosts the ISO for the LV only so that in darkened environment you can see and compose your shot. However it can produce a fairly noisy image in which to compose. Not in the worst way but not great either. Also the WB in the LV is based on your current setting. The problem with modeling lights are they are Tungsten which produces a very warm light compared to the Flash daylight Kelvin light levels.

    What would be great would be to have more adjustment on the LVF/EVF such as ISO caping, WB adjustment and overall brightness. I think these small options would make the studio experience with the EM1 a slam dunk.

    The next is not necessarily a Con because it is what it is but it would also be nice to be able to squeeze ISO 50 or close to it out of the sensor. Though generally ISO 100 is plenty low for Studio shoots, on one of the setups we lit a little hot overall and almost pushed f16 which is not ideal to me for studio. F8 is my aperture of choice, 11 being the highest.

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    All in all, I was very pleased to have had a successful shoot as well as wow a few people on how such a small camera can produce such big results! The lens was the Panasonic 42.5 1.2. which performed exactly as intended. I did work in a few shots with the legacy Canon FD 50mm 1.2 L as well. I do not yet own the 75mm however its on the short list if I end up doing this more often again.

    Thanks for reading! Cheers!

    Model Credit: Christine Llerins of Nicole Shelly Models Inc. Miami Florida.
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 1
  2. adi10times

    adi10times Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 24, 2010
    Bandung, Indonesia
    Michael Adi P.
    Great work
    thanks for sharing
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Were you shooting RAW? If so then a possible workaround is to use auto flash WB in camera. That way the preview looks better with auto WB enabled, but the camera knows to apply flash daylight WB for the real exposure. Of course the resulting WB may not be exactly what you had intended, but if you shoot RAW you can just force the WB in post.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  4. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    Ah good suggestion! I will certainly try that. Thank you :D
  5. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    Lovely model, she looked fun to work with, and nice to see no tramp stamps or iron work, such a rare thing these days.

    Nice set of photos as well.

    • Like Like x 1
  6. twellsphoto

    twellsphoto New to Mu-43

    Jul 2, 2014
    May I ask what lights you were using?
  7. DigitalD

    DigitalD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2014
    We were using the studio's Hensel Monolights. 1x 1000w 2x500w. It was the first time for me using them. Were very nice to work with and set up. Lots of control in set up. A little slow on recycle time compared to similar Bowens heads I have used in the past. One nice thing is they have built in RF wizards for triggering.
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