injury forcing a move to lighter equipment, looking for others experiences

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Homo_erectus, May 26, 2016.

  1. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    Thanks to a shoulder / neck injury my dslr gear is having too great of a physical toll on me. After shooting an 8 hour event a few weeks ago I was unable to lift my left arm for most of a week. I've moved to mostly shooting with primes and only using the heavier lenses when it's absolutely necessary but I haven't been able to improve the situation enough. So it's time to consider less conservative alternatives.

    So, I'm looking at lightening the load. From a minimizing the weight perspective m43 is absolutely the best choice.

    I own an e-pl6 and a few m43 lenses and I'm perfectly happy with the image quality. My big concern is, of course, autofocus. My paying gigs are almost all events where I'm just collecting spontaneous moments of interaction between the attendees. I rely heavily on continuous af to let me capture the specific moment of maximum emotive expression. I'm rarely allowed to use flash and the lighting is basically always terrible. I need a body to be able to focus accurately and quickly in bad light.

    I understand that my e-pl6 is old and isn't a good example of what higher end models of bodies can do but I've brought it along to gigs and used it a number of times and it has disappointed me more times than it has pleased me. This naturally gives me pause when considering investing more heavily in m43.

    I'd love to just pop into a store and try out a newer / higher end body but I live in the sticks and there's no place to do that within a reasonable distance.

    So, do any of you shoot events professionally with your m43 gear? Would you share your experiences? Are you able to get the shots you need? When you are curating do you have multiple good choices to choose from?

    My current equipment's af is so great that when I am curating the images I always have my choice between a number of perfectly focused shots. I really don't want to be in the situation of having only one choice or of having to chose between a number of flawed choices.

    Also, I'd love to hear from anyone else who has had to change their equipment due to injury.

    Thanks for your time :)

  2. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    With a few exceptions, I can shoot anything with m43 that I shoot with my Nikon DSLR gear. Sports is a little rough at times, depending on the sport. If you need that kind of tracking a DSLR is best, still IMHO - although an m43 camera with on PDAF or Panasonic DFD can provide a good working kitif you take the time to learn the way it focus'.

    I've been using m43 gear for all kinds of pro shoots (been in business since 2008). Portraits, festivals, name it, I;ve shot it all with m43 and it does a fine job.

    If you need best tracking m43 can offer or want to use legacy 4/3 lenses, look into the Oly EM1 or the Panny GH4.
    If you do not need tracking, the world opens up to you big time. Don't need weather sealing? Anything in the PEN line or the EM10. Tons of Pany option as well.

    The biggest thing that I find useful is the EVF. Why? My Nikon DSLRs OVF require me to really know in my head ambient exposures and try and dial in properly from experience and chimping.
    Mirrorless EVFs allow you to see what the final image will look like immediately and even have an on screen histogram. Nailing exposures is a lot easier/quicker to dial in.

    Battery life is going to take a hit as well, make sure to get plenty of extras.

    Here are some posts I've made that have images/video from m43 gear (EM5, EM5 mkII, EM1, PEN-F)

    Just FYI - it was not long ago that I had a distal bicep rupture(tendon that connects the bicep muscle to the forearm disconnects). I couldn't hold anything in my right hand for weeks/months. I had clients and jobs to do and the rear touch screen focus/shutter release feature allowed me to continue working! Olympus essentially saved my business.

    Ohio Rennaisance Festival 2015
    Arnold Classic 2016 Powerlifting/Strongman
    Arnold Classic 2016 Bodybuilding and Physique
    Sports Hall of Fame Induction 2016
    Arnold Classic 2016 Pole Fitness Championships
    Dayton R/C Model Show

    My EM5 II Review

    There are many others.
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  3. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    One suggestion is to research on AF assist in an external flash. In most cases you can disable the flash head but utilize the AF assist lamp on the flash.

    This will potentially help you acquire i said do research. I've done this in the past by disabling the flash head and used dummy triggers to do strobist work. No modeling light with strobist work so it helped my dslr.

    A phase detect AF system may help you acquire focus in lower light with moving /events photography.

    I fully understand how you must cull through photos both for "money shot" content expression and elimination of absolutely unacceptable blurry soft photos. This is where you must subjectively select an ISO that will stop action with sufficient shutter speed and deal with the noise in post processing. For me shooting events I'm extremely particular on skin texture. You must find a balance with your m43 gear on the max iso before destroying detail with plastic skin.

    Currently what ISO do you use with your M43 with your primes in the bad light??? Hunting focus in bad light for a tool used for work can make or break you as a photo journalistic photog.

    In the meantime I'd suggest buying a spider holster and hold your camera on a belt using the holster system. This is how I can shoot 12 hours + with ZERO issues. I also use think tank modular bags on my belt to hold primes/zooms when I'm on the go!!

    I'd almost suggest putting your dlsr on a spider holster and use the M43 during the same time shooting the event. In dreadful lighting resort temporarily to the heavier gear.
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  4. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    Thank you both very, very, much! You're posts were exactly what I was hoping to hear.

    The issues I've had with the E-pl6 weren't so much an inability to focus. The camera is incredibly decisive in most circumstances. It certainly seems to think that it's got focus. But a lot of the shots, when I review them later on, are a tad blurry like the camera shook or the subject moved but the shutter speed is high enough that shouldn't be happening (at least it doesn't happen with the dslr at the same shutter speeds and with longer lenses). To answer directly I try not to let the ISO go above 2500 as that seems to be the point where the noise starts to bother me. I own the Sigma 60mm and 19mm lenses and I've been shooting them at F/2.8.I recognize that those lenses aren't the best that the format has to offer but the goal was to dip my toes in the system for cheap.

    Yes, the e-pl6's metering blew me away when I first got it. It was a little while before I realized that, while the metering is good, it's primarily the fact that the final exposure is *exactly* what you see on the screen that makes the metering so good. This and the fact that AF micro-adjustments are not required on mirrorless cameras are both big pluses in the changing formats column.
  5. bjurasz

    bjurasz Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 10, 2014
    Cedar Park
    This might be long. Sorry.

    Over 5 years ago I had similar problems that, thankfully, sent me to a nuerologist and then to a spinal surgeon. I had a severe spinal stenosis and had to have C4-5-6 fused to relieve what was a scary amount of spinal cord compression. Docs didn't know why I was still able to button my own shirt. Much better now but with some lingering scar tissue on the spinal cord I still need to be very careful. This forced me away from my Canon system of 2.8L lenses and into an Oly E-M10 system. The fact it has an EVF and is so light saved me.

    Now... what can it do? Personally I think an E-M5 MkII or E-M1 MkII with the Pro lens line could do most anything. And my camera salesperson since 2005 who sent me in the direction of Oly agrees. He now often shots UT basketball and football using an E-M1 rather than his pro Nikon gear. This guy is very good and very demanding and sees the u4/3 line for serious sports as absolutely doable. Photographer Robert Backman

    Not saying there isn't a need for Canon 1-series and big glass anymore. F1, MotoGP, NFL, Olympics, etc. And I still look back at my days shooting a Canon 1d Mark II and a 300/2.8L with misty eyes and wonderment at the experience of shooting with that setup. It was magical. But for most cases you would be very surprised what a top line u43 system can do these days.

    And go see a doctor. Could not use your arm for a week? Get that looked at. I was own my way to paralysis at the neck at a fast pace and would have never known.
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  6. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    Wondering if you are experiencing shutter shock. Are you using the 0 anti shock setting?
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  7. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    Excellent :) That's great to hear. And, yes, my doctor is in the loop. Thanks for posting :)
  8. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    I've experimented with the anti-shutter shock settings on my camera and I do think that some of the issue does come from it. However, the e-pl6 seems to have a less sophisticated way of dealing with shutter shock than other bodies so I can't use it in a lot of cases. At least, that's my understanding of the situation! I'd love to hear from other people.
  9. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    With all due respect to Olympus, the PL6 is a long ways away from an EM1. I think you should rent an EM1 and a 75mm f1.8 and try them out before giving up on the M43 system. :)
  10. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    I think you might have misunderstood me if you got that I was giving up on m43 from my posts. Renting is certainly on the agenda but I wanted to talk with people with experience before I started spending money willy-nilly :)
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  11. Drdave944

    Drdave944 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Your demands seem impossible if you are expecting multiple, sharp shutter shock free,pictures capturing the facial expressions on people in terrible lighting using a light camera. Have you thought of using a tripod. That would be the most cost effective way to both ease the weight problem and stabilize the camera. Since you have an epl-6 you could mount a fast prime such 45mm f1.8 on a very light delicate tripod. This option is never mentioned here but works wonders in poor lighting conditions and is very discreet since you can get away with a very small tripod . I have deployed these in places where flash is forbidden,such as churches, and gotten by without making any fuss.
  12. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    and here is where I call BS

    "My paying gigs are almost all events where I'm just collecting spontaneous moments of interaction between the attendees. I rely heavily on continuous af to let me capture the specific moment of maximum emotive expression. I'm rarely allowed to use flash and the lighting is basically always terrible. I need a body to be able to focus accurately and quickly in bad light."

    No camera does this by default... it needs an add on... its called a photographer .. nobody actually uses CF .. it sucks on all cameras.. especially in low light

    look forward to seeing your pics
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  13. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    Well, I keep reading that m43 is capable of doing everything that an slr can do with the possible exception of tracking fast and erratically moving subjects. :)

    My subjects motion can be frozen by a 1/100th shutter speed 99% of the time. They aren't particularly fast or erratic. I'm asking people who shoot with m43 gear what's actually doable, so I can better distinguish between reality and marketing hype.

    I can do everything I've described to my, and my clients, satisfaction with the equipment I currently own. I'd shoot with it forever if I could. If it's possible I'd like to do those same things with lighter weight gear. I recognize that there are compromises to be made. I'm fine with compromises. I'm just trying to get a feel for what they so I can make an informed decision.

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to answer my questions! I'm going to rent an e-m5ii and a lens or two and put them through the paces.

  14. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    I think you are being sarcastic, in which case: :bravo-009:
  15. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    nope;.. not sarcastic
  16. ashburtononline

    ashburtononline Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 21, 2015
    New Zealand
    I shoot professionally with EM1's having switched from Nikon D3's FF.

    Is the EM1 as good? NO! but its close. Are the Zuiko Lenses as good .... definitely !
    To get the best out of m43 you need to use the BEST lenses .... and fast ones .... Olympus are developing a range of f1.2 primes which will be stunning but at present we are limited to f1.8's. The Lumix 25 f1.4 and 42.5 f1.2 are both stellar lenses too as is the Zuiko 75 f1.8.

    I have no problem focusing in low light with these fast primes (theatre usually) so give it a go. Your arms will love you for it. As someone else said though .... extra batteries :)
  17. Homo_erectus

    Homo_erectus Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 3, 2015
    Huh, sarcasm detector must be broken.
  18. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    with all due respect.. an epl6 is a very fine compliment to an e-m1
  19. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    Ummm, actually I use CF almost exclusively at event receptions.
  20. kevinparis

    kevinparis Cantankerous Scotsman Subscribing Member

    Feb 12, 2010
    Gent, Belgium
    OK.. This sounds like an area for discussion
    And I wll hold my hand up and defer to David...

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