Left the SLR at home for the firs time report.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by DeoreDX, May 23, 2013.

  1. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    We had a 4.5 day beach vacation planned for the panhandle of Florida. It isn't exactly photo location and is a type of trip I bought my E-PM1 for. Getting 4 adults and a kid squeezed into even a fairly large Cadillac STS can be difficult without packing light. I paired the kit down to the bare essentials.

    14-42R MKII
    FL-FM1 Flash

    We all know the size of the Mu43 system is fantastic. I found myself taking it many places I wouldn't have bothered to carry my SLR, various stores, dinner, etc. Places I normally would have just used my phone. For this the 14/2.5 lived on the camera.




    I will say I love the tilting EVF. It really does help getting that different perspective without having to use the rear LCD which was near impossible to see in the bright conditions at the beach. The 14-42 did a respectable job. I wish it had just a tad longer reach. I actually love the 18-105 Nikkor it's such a great focal range for a walk around lens for me. I wish there was something similar for MU43. Just a hair more long end would be perfect, without having to go to something like the 14-140. How about a 14-75ish Oly just for me? :biggrin:




    All in all I thought the E-PM1 did a fine job. It was nice to have such a small and compact camera I could take with me anywhere. I almost always had it draped around me shoulder the whole trip.



    The limitations of the E-PM1 did show up quite a bit though. I missed more than a few images because I was slightly OOF. The camera is snappy to lock focus but without good tracking it was still hard to always capture a fast moving 4yo. Maybe I can sharpen my technique but I'm used to setting my camera on AF-C drawing the SLR quickly and machine gunning just as the camera grabs focus and tracks. Startup time is still a big deal as my Nikon is ready to fire before I can even bring it up to my eye. Often that ~1-2 second delay powering up the camera ment the difference between a moment captured and a moment lost. Take this sample image. By the time I brought my camera powered and ready to shoot my son had already run through the area of good lighting and by the time I focused and snapped three pictures he had already run through my DoF and the one I liked the most was this last image where he is ever so slightly OOF. I woul dhave been perfectly sharp with my Nikon and I would have gotten images of him as soon as he started running towards me at the end of the board walk. Sure this image looks fine on the web but still irks me I didn't get the image as well as I would have liked.


    When trying to keep the kit as small as possible I avoided buying an larger external flash. Unfortunately the included FL-FM1 just wasn't powerful enough to give good fill in the bright beachy conditions. It was pretty much useless and I could have left it at home. Because the E-PM1 has so much shadow noise it's hard to lift the shadows without screwing up the image. You can see in this image the flash barely made a dent in the shadows. Bringing up the shadows in post and removing the noise blew away a ton of detail. It made getting good portraits at the beach really difficult to impossible in some situations unless you like a ton of shadows across the face or people squinting looking into the sun.


    I think it was a good learning experience leaving the SLR at home. I'm not sure I would repeat leaving my Nikon at home without moving up to the better 16MP Oly sensor if only to lower the amount of noise in the shadows the E-PM1 produces. Right now my favorite use case of my E-PM1 is as a second wide angle camera with the 14/2.5 on it as I have the 70-300 on the SLR. I'm considering dumping the E-PM1, VF3, and 14-42 and just get a GX1 for the 14/2.5 and a LVF2 and call it a day with mu43 for a while.
  2. swampduck

    swampduck Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 29, 2013
    Taneytown , MD
    Real Name:
    oh yeah, :43: , love it. I am headed to the beach this weekend for the official opening of the our place...taking my whole setup in one little sling bag. 14 2.5 will get a work out this weekend
  3. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    BTW the crappy gradiation on the skys is an issue with Picasa doing a crappy job resizing my image more so than anything at fault with the E-PM1.
  4. twalker294

    twalker294 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 18, 2010
    I think you hit it on the head when you said that you took the camera many places that you wouldn't have considered taking a DSLR. I have had the same experience since getting my EM5 and dumping all of my Canon gear. They say the best camera is the one you have with you and I have my EM5 with me almost all the time, which I could definitely not say when I was shooting a 40D.

    Now step up to that 16mp sensor and you'll forget you ever owned a Nikon ;-)

    Good shooting!
  5. DeoreDX

    DeoreDX Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 13, 2013
    I think the 16mp sensor will solve my shadow noise woes, but focus tracking will always be an issue, at least until my toddler stops moving around so much :biggrin:
  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The biggest weakness of all older generation 4/3 and m4/3 sensors has always been dynamic range. That weakness shows up in exactly the situations you're shooting in - outdoors in bright sunlight.

    Personally, I don't think the GX1 + LVF2 would be the best upgrade for you. Of course you would be losing money selling your VF-3 used, plus going to the GX1 would not be getting you the best Sony sensor out now. The improvement in that field will be minor over your E-PM1. Why not keep your VF-3 and get a newer Olympus body? The E-PM2 and E-PL5 are both very affordable, and will still keep the ultra-slim design that you have in the E-PM1 without bulking up like the GX-1 (unless you really wanted the extra controls). You will save on the viewfinder which you already own, plus you will get the best new Sony sensor which sounds like your main priority.

    PS, also make sure you have your Graduation set to Normal and not Auto. Auto applies Shadow Adjustment Technology, which boosts the exposure in the shadows and creates a lot of noise. I doubt this is the problem because you are shooting in very high Dynamic Range situations so that is the most likely issue, but SAT is one thing you might want to check on just to be sure.

    PPS, the new Olympus E-P5 has both the new sensor as well as ISO100 and 1/8000s shutter speed. If you're feeling rich, you may want to look in that direction as well... ;) You'd be moving up to a GX1 sized body, but with much better controls.
  7. mcumeda

    mcumeda Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 25, 2011
    War eagle!

    The dynamic range on the OM-D is just as good as most, if not all, APS-C cameras, and I think it is quite noticeable from the past generation of sensors.

    You could consider getting one a EPL5 or EPM-2 instead of a GX1 or wait a bit until the EM-6 is released, which will bring down the prices of everything.

    The start up time is quite a bit slower than a DSLR, but you also don't have to bring the EPM1 camera to your eye, which saves... a half second... maybe less (not a huge advantage, but every bit counts). I don't use AF-C on my OM-D. If your lens can focus fast enough, just let her rip in AF-S. In other words, I don't half press. Or with the newer cameras, you can use the touch screen to fire off shots, and that seems to be fairly accurate.

    I take my OM-D places where I know I wouldn't take my DSLR, which I think is a huge advantage. The best camera is the one you have with you. I find it is more fun to shoot with my mirrorless camera than my DSLR, and most of the time, I don't need the absolute best image quality or to have the most technically perfect image. I just want to capture a moment and my OM-D helps me do that quite a bit, and the image quality is fantastic to boot.
  8. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Real Name:
    You got some great shots - looks like lots of fun! :biggrin:
  9. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Real Name:
    The Olympus 12-50 will have almost exactly the same FoV as the 18-105 DX lens.