Is it easier to get steady shots with mirrorless than with DSLR?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by ohaya, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. ohaya

    ohaya Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 1, 2016

    I don't know if I'm imagining it, and also this is with just a little over a day of experience, but it seems like it's easier (way easier) to get steady shots with the E-PL2 that I just got vs. the DSLRs that I'd been using just previously (Pentax K-x and K-r).

    When I recently started using the DSLRs, I've had a heck of a time getting "sharp" pictures, even when I take a lot of time. Actually, sometimes it seemed like the more time I took for a shot, the worst it was.

    At first I thought it was my lenses, but I tried a bunch of lenses and I don't think it ever got as good as stuff that I'd shot a long time ago in the film and print days.

    Like I said, this is only a short time, but I was running around the house last night with the E-PL2 and the 14-42 lens, and was amazed that even with just a minimum of effort the stuff I was shooting was way, way sharper than anything that I got out of the Pentaxes.

    Before I had gotten the E-PL2 I had done some reading and the impression I got was that the heavier the camera, the easier it was to get steady, but that seemed really counter-intuitive to me. Now that I got the E-PL2 with the tiny lens, I'm starting to conclude that it's just the opposite. Either that or there's something physically different about the mirrorless vs. DSLR?

    One other thing that is different is that I don't have the USB cable for the E-PL2 yet, so I haven't been able to set up the VF-4 viewfinder, so I'm shooting the way I used to with my P&S, using just the LCD screen.

    So am I imagining this? And if not, why is it different?

  2. pdk42

    pdk42 One of the "Eh?" team

    Jan 11, 2013
    Leamington Spa, UK
    Seems odd to me. IBIS certainly makes a difference, but the e-PL2 doesn't have that, does it? Maybe it's a DOF issue?
  3. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    I think the E-PL2 has a 2-axis IBIS. Did you use stabilized lenses? Did you shoot with similar shutter speeds?

    Another explanation could be that you had a problem of back/front focus.

    DoF...maybe, if you shot with fast lenses, wide open, close distance you probable can notice the difference.
  4. ohaya

    ohaya Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 1, 2016
    I think the E-PL2 does have some stabilization, but both the Pentax K-r and K-x do also.

    Also, when I've been using the Pentaxes, I've been shooting aperture priority and try to set the aperture to something reasonable (i.e., not wide open, like 5.6 - 8).

    I really think that there's something physical going on, though the K-x is not very large or heavy. Maybe the IBIS in the E-PL2 is way way better than the image stabilization in the Pentaxes?

    I don't think any of the lenses I have (really only the 14-42 for now) have OIS, so it's all from IBIS.

    Could it be the mirror movement with the DSLR? Does that make that much of a difference?
  5. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    Mirror slap? Certainly at marginal shutter speeds, I find that my rangefinder / leaf-shutter camera is much easier to handhold at slow speeds with acceptable results (1/15s, say) than my SLR. That's film though, so I'm not shooting huge volumes, and it could just be luck of the draw. I know that the electronic shutter on my GX7 is great for getting really sharp images. Certainly landscape photographers will lock their mirror in the upright position after they've framed their shot in order to prevent the mirror movement from vibrating the camera, so that seems like a reasonable suggestion to me.

    Those older DSLRs probably also have stronger anti-aliasing filters than more modern mirrorless cameras.

    Otherwise, I might also guess backfocus. Could you get sharp images with manual focus in Live View?
  6. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    Too many variables to say whether one format is steadier than the other. In general, I would say the larger DSLR usually has an advantage with more weight and larger grip. DSLR has a mirror though, which causes vibration. Mirrorless has no mirror, yet there are some models where "shutter shock" is an issue. In your case, I would just be happy you are getting good shots and enjoying your equipment :)
  7. ohaya

    ohaya Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 1, 2016
    To your last question, "no, not really". I think almost everything was kind of what I'd call "soft". Not necessarily out of focus, but just "soft" if you know what I mean. And this is even with somewhere I was propped on a table. Seriously, I thought that it was because I was getting too old. Maybe I'm speaking too soon... need to do more shooting with the E-PL2 to be conclusive.

  8. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    It depends. Without more information its hard to say what could be going on.
    The only real way to tell would be to do a scientific test - maybe even a double-blind if you want to get fancy (same picture, framing, lens focal length (and approximate quality), light conditions, iso, shutter speed, same raw converter etc on a tripod and then get someone to look at both without telling them which is which). You could remove the subjective element by using a proper bench and a lens test pattern.

    As per previous comments - ultimately its all about shooting and enjoying the images regardless of camera :)
  9. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    Jim, I think there must have been something wrong with your Pentax or technique. This doesn't sound right at all. In any event, the good news is your current gear is working well.
  10. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    I found my shots generally sharper mainly because CDAF vs PDAF I think. I think the focus was just more accurate
  11. kingduct

    kingduct Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 12, 2013
    There isn't one camera with perfect ergonomics for everybody. I feel like your new camera may just work better for you than the old camera. If you are shooting jpegs, it's also quite possible that the default Olympus jpegs work better for you (on my old E-PL1, the jpegs were fantastic).
  12. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Different folk find the stabilisation on different body+lens combinations to be better or worse for them.
    Your original post title can be easily answered : NO.
    Some will find certain DSLR+lenses more stable, some will find certain mirrorless combinations more stable, there is no rule ...
    however the e-pL2 has one of the generally worst-performing stabilisations in the mirrorless realm.
    You are lucky in that at the moment it suits you.
    Enjoy and keep at it!
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